Grin and bear it

It was one of those mornings where I didn’t think I’d ever get out the door.  Up at 6am, but by 8:05 I still wasn’t fully dressed or have my bag packed.  Charlotte had pooped through two layers of pajamas, and then angrily flailed about when I tried to change her, so that she stepped and rolled right in her own poop.

The cat was slinking in and out of the hallway coat closet…and upon further inspection, I found that he’d been using it as a litter box for…who knows how long?

Charlotte was begging for milk, signing and shouting it simultaneously, but refusing every vessel I put it in.  I finally relent and go for the open “big kid” cup, which she demands to handle by herself.  And we suddenly have a pool of milk on the living room rug.

The yogurt wasn’t cold and the ice cubes were melted.  Did I really have time to examine a broken appliance right now?  Just as I’m skimming the owners manual to learn how to adjust the settings, I tune into the fact that it is painfully quiet in the kitchen…

…and round the corner to find Charlotte chowing down on the cat’s dry food.  Smiling.  And signing “kitty crackers” to me.

I admit.  When I finally got Charlotte into her car seat (and she had tried–and failed–to buckle all the buckles by herself), I got into the drivers seat and cried for about 30 seconds.  Not one of my finer moments.  Self-pity is not pretty.

But as we’re driving to day care, I catch a glimpse of her in the backseat that turned my whole day around.  Rockin’ out to Aretha Franklin, the girl was shimmying her shoulders and bobbing her head as if her life depended on it.  Really, there is nothing cuter than a dancing baby.  All was right in her world, so I decided to let it all be right in mine as well.

Thank you, little ‘Bee 🙂  You really are my sunshine.  I hope you’ll keep reminding me this when we have two kids under the age of two…I might easily forget.




Signing with Charlotte

At 13 1/2 months, Charlotte is taking off with her sign language and adding new signs each day!  She is able to tell us when she wants milk, when she’s hungry or all finished, when she wants to sleep, and things she wants to do like read books or watch Signing Time on TV.

Gone are the grunts of frustration during meal time, or bedtime meltdowns because she’s just so darn tired but doesn’t know what to do.  She can simply sign “more” for more food, or “sleep” to stop-reading-already-and-put-me-the-heck-to-bed!

And yes, she does have a bunch of words that she can say too (more, book, bird, milk, hat…)  But it generally seems the signs come first, and she matches spoken words to them soon after.  Here’s a list of all the signs she knows–I write this here so that with Baby #2, I’ll remember which signs are best to teach first!:

more, all finished, milk, apple, cracker, food



Mom and Dad

bird, cat, dog, bear



airplane, train

hat, shoes, socks

wash hands, brush teeth


signing “book” while surrounded by her books


I am always amazed when mothers (such as my own) can remember back 20 or 30 years and say with exact certainty “You said your first word when you were 9 months old!”  or “You weaned yourself at 9 and 3/4 months of age”.

I worry that my memory is already fading, and Charlotte is a mere 10 months old.  So I’m getting some things down here quickly, before I forget!


One of my all time favorite pictures, 1 day old.

First smile: Charlotte first smiled around 7 weeks of age, and those early smiles were few and far between.  As I was home on maternity leave, I was with her every minute of every day (and night).  I had seen the smile a few times and was eager for Fred to see the same–but it took a week of disbelief before he finally saw it and had the same reaction I did…tears in his eyes that this little newborn blob was finally responding to us!

Grampie plays with his little Charlabee

Grampie plays with his smiley little Charlabee

Sleeping through the night:  Fred and I were already debating our foggy memories about this last night!  Sometime around 4ish months, Charlotte started sleeping about 8 hours at a time.  But she’d be up for the day around 4am.  Does this count as sleeping through the night?  It wasn’t until 6 months that she slept solidly from 7pm-6am, and she’s still doing it now at 10 months!

photo 1

Rolling over:  Charlotte rolled over one way, by accident, around three months old.  When I excitedly told her day care provider about the news, she said “Oh yeah!  She’s been doing that here for a few weeks!”  Doh.  Enter mommy guilt.

Crawling:  No dice on this one!  At ten months, Charlotte still hasn’t managed to get up on her knees and get her belly off the ground!  She has gotten good at rolling as a means of transportation though.

First solid food:  We held off on the normal 4 month baby cereal routine, as we really wanted to go the baby led weaning route.  Charlotte had her first taste of baby oatmeal around 5 1/2 months, and started solid finger foods at 6 months.  No mush, no fuss here!  She has the best baby appetite I’ve ever seen.  Her first favorites were prunes and baked apples with cinnamon.  Now, at 10 months her favorites are meats of any kind, fish, and fresh raspberries.


black {bean} beard

Sitting up:  At six months Charlotte could sit up and play upright for a change!  Tummy time fell by the wayside at this point, as she preferred to see things from a higher angle.

Sitting and reading, reading and sitting

Sitting and reading, reading and sitting.

Walking:  Beginning at 7 months, Charlotte loved to stand with support.  She’d stand all day long if someone would hold her fingers for balance.  At 9 months she began high-stepping around the living room with us holding her fingers for balance.  Now at 10 months, she holds on her little push cart and takes wobbly steps towards the cats, the Christmas tree, and the TV….stopping to wave at everything along the way!  No independent steps yet, so we cannot say that she is actually walking.  Give it time…

Practicing walking on Thanksgiving

Practicing walking on Thanksgiving


Talking/signing:  Right around 10 months, Charlotte started signing “dog” (although to her it means any animal), signed “milk” in the middle of the night, and said “MAMA” when mama was wiping her nose too aggressively.

At 10 months we are still exclusively breastfeeding, eating three solid-food meals a day, and sleeping through the night (with a few bumps along the way).  She loves peek-a-boo and row row row your boat, and is practicing clapping.  She follows the Wonder Weeks theory like clockwork.  And for someone who cannot tell time, she is on a regimented schedule of 7am wake up, 9am nap, 1pm nap, and 7pm bedtime.  “She even poops on a schedule!” says Connie her day care provider!


happy holiday baby


four generations




Baby Einstein (*)

So many new developments this week!  Charlotte is just barely 10 months old, and suddenly it seems that her language skills are exploding!  We’ve had four big changes in the past few days.

1-On Thanksgiving, Aunt Julia excitedly realized that Charlotte was doing the sign for “dog”.  Julia’s dog Suzy was visiting for Thanksgiving, and each time Suzy entered the room Charlotte would pat her leg (the sign language sign for dog).  Aunt Julia and Memere were amazed!  Fred and I were skeptical, as Charlotte is in constant motion and seems to pat her leg a lot.

However, we quickly noticed at home the following week, Charlotte started patting her leg each time she saw the cats.  And each time she saw a dog or cat on tv, in a book, or in pictures.  The sign dog, to her, simply means animal!

[For those of you that haven’t seen us in awhile, we are teaching Charlotte a handful of basic signs because she will need them to communicate with Memere and Papa, her Deaf grandparents.  Each Wednesday, Memere and Papa sign to Charlotte exclusively.  At home, Fred and I have chosen a handful of easy and meaningful signs that Charlotte will use often as soon as she can sign!]

2-Yesterday, as I was wiping Charlotte’s runny nose for the 1000th time, she pushed my hand away and said “mama!  mama!” in a whiny voice.  Fred’s eyes absolutely jumped out of his head.  Aside from her imitating a cheerful “hiiiii!’ with a frantic wave, this was her first real word in context!

3-Last night, Charlotte uncharacteristically woke at 2am.  As she whined from her crib, I leaned in to see if she had a dirty diaper.  Grabbing my shirt and pulling on the collar, she frantically reached up and signed “milk” to me three times.  This time, MY eyes nearly jumped out of my head.

4-She now points at things she wants to look at or know more about.  She spent lunchtime today pointing at all the family pictures in the dining room, wanting us to bring them to her for closer inspection.  This morning she noticed the clock on the kitchen wall, and pointed at it repeatedly until I named it “clock” for her.

I still can’t believe she is putting language into use so quickly.  I know that she’s been starting to understand some of our words, and receptive language rapidly develops before expressive language.  But to actually see it happen, and to have some means of communicating with a tiny little person is kind of mind boggling!

(*) I am not one of those crazy mamas that thinks their baby is a genius.  The title is only meant to be a pun on the toy brand Baby Einstein 🙂