Sunday, March 13, 2005

Our First Fortnight With Baby

We've been home from China for two weeks and things seem to be going amazingly well. I almost hate to say how well they're going for fear of jinxing it.

We seem to have settled into a pretty good daily pattern. She's been pretty good about going to bed with a minimum of fuss. She's now crawling and toddling all over the house. We seem to be sleeping as well as we ever did (we're used to the dogs rousting us out of bed in the middle of the night so uninterrupted sleep has never really been a big thing around here). I'm still waking up earlier than I'd like but there's not much I can do about it--once I wake up my mind starts spinning and it's impossible to get back to sleep. On the up side, it gives me some quiet time to be on the computer. But falling asleep at 9:00 p.m. really puts a cramp in one's social life....

She is such a happy child. My nieces Julia and Sophia were and are both very happy children, children that make you marvel at their mothers, and Dada seems to be at least as happy. But I know it can't be because of us but at least we haven't yet made it worse. She is really comfortable around strangers and is getting much more comfortable around men. She is a wonder.

So far the minute-by-minute child care has been much less taxing than I expected it to be. Part of this is that I have been slacking at work, giving me more time at home, part of this is that we've pretty much put aside anything else we used to do with the time we're now spending attending to a child (most of which seems to be supervising her play at this point). Part of this is that when I am at work I don't see what Julie has to put up with, although all the reports so far have been consistent with my experience. Julie's doing a bit more laundry and we're doing more dishes (which is probably good since it forces us to be a bit more tidy in the kitchen). I'm finding that I actually enjoy the mundane parts of child care: bottle preparation, diaper changing, playing on the floor.

I'm particularly suprised at how much I enjoy diaper changing, for the simple reason that it's a time for focused interaction with this delightful child and a time to take stock of her physical condition, both because you've got her half undressed and because you can examine what's coming out of her. I've never been particularly sqeamish about poopy so that's not a problem (and really, except for the occasional really messy diaper, it hasn't been that big a deal anyway). So diaper time is fun time. I don't know how long this will last--that is, how long she'll consider a diaper change a fun experience. I do realize she'll be potty trained at some point.

My biggest issue right now is that I pretty much don't want to go to work any more. But of course that's not an option.

We seem to be pretty good at going places with her. We travel pretty light and she's always up for a trip so we can get out of the house about as fast as we ever did.

We're still working out top-down motoring--we probably need to rig up some sort of awning for her to protect her from the sun when the top's down, but she does seem to generally enjoy the experience (or at least not complain about it). I've ordered some strap-on baby sunglasses. We'll see how those work. Unsurprisingly she's not keen on keeping her hat on.

Dada and I went to the Attached Parents Music Playgroup the other day (Julie had to go and meet with our tax people) and that was fun. Dada seems to enjoy being with other children and plays as well as any 15-month-old will, which is to say she doesn't seem to be into hitting or biting but sharing is not yet a concept for her. I did feel a little conspicuous being the only adult male in the group but the mom's were very nice and we all had a good time. We were secretly pleased that she seems to be more advanced than another child that was a month older. So either we were seriously lied to about Dada's real age or she is in fact pretty well along on some of her milestones. Not that I really care that much--mostly we want to make sure she's not missing some key skill or ability, although that's looking less and less like something to worry about. She's certainly well within the normal range as defined by our "What To Expect: Toddler Years" book.

Today we'll have our first really big day out, going to the dog park in the morning and then to the Zilker kite festival in the afternoon.


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