Vale Turns One

Vale turned one recently. We already celebrated her birthday with family a couple of weeks earlier, so we did not have another party. However, she did have a little celebration at daycare, and exhibited some pretty greedy behavior, reaching for a second donut while the first was still unfinished, in her mouth (let’s be honest – there’s no way she can even finish the first donut, much less the second!)  On the actual day of her birthday, she received a visit and some neat presents from her buddy Luka from San Francisco. They played together a little, though Vale was abnormally shy about it.

Later in the day, we took her to the park (her favorite!), where she enjoyed climbing slides, throwing sand, and other playground gadgets. In the early evening, we gave her presents mailed from Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Aaron. She liked chewing on the panda bear’s nose, and was immediately interested in the Chinese version of Hungry Hungry Catepillar. We gave her a percussion instrument set, including a xylophone, maracas, jingle bells, claves, a small drum, and a guiro. She took to it quickly and could be a future bando in the making.

At night, Dad baked her a chocolate chip cookie (from scratch!), and we sang happy birthday to her in Mandarin and English. She refused to try even a bite of the cookie, unfortunately. She appeared confused by this birthday spectacle.

Vale loves animal crackers and bananas and is increasingly developing a personality. Her likes and dislikes are always in flux, and she has even exhibited some rather intense fears. Grandma gave her a pretty cool Curious George-in-the Box for her birthday, but she is not yet a fan. She was initially terrorized by George popping out of the box, and attempted to flee the scene, but also proved curiously drawn to it. Her fears have somewhat diminished after interacting with the toy multiple times, but it seems George still continues to put her somewhat ill-at-ease.

Another toy that has really ruffled her feathers, is a talking teddy bear given by a kind family member. The bear recites a prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, guide me through the starry night, and wake me with the morning light (or something along those lines). We actually received this item before she was born, and it creeped me the fuck out, so I put it away in a drawer. Recently, I pulled some toys out of the drawer, including this bear, and pressed its belly to make it talk. Vale immediately dropped to the ground on all floors and started bawling. Due to the extremely dramatic display, I questioned whether her reaction was some kind of a coincidence, and related to another external stimulus. However, when I again brought the bear near her a few minutes later, her lips curled downward like she was going to cry.

In contrast, when I cruised her down the aisle of Halloween decorations at the 99 cent store, and waved dead bodies, bloody skeletons, and murderous clowns in her face, while saying, “oOOooOOooO,” she was much less concerned. The combination of these circumstances could be an indication she is a heathen, or worse, some unholy daemon.

She still loves In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company by The Dead South, and likes to bob her head and bounce her butt to the song, while watching the music video.

She continues to enjoy bath time, and even jumped in with all her clothes on before I could stop her on one occasion. She likes riding around in her Cozy Coup, and has another fun car in the works, a present from her uncle, auntie, and cousins.

Vale at 11 Months

At this stage in life, it is apparent Vale has opinions about things. She does not like putting on clothes (let’s see how this plays out when the weather gets cooler, kiddo!). She does not appreciate being dragged away from things and “goals” she intends to pursue, e.g. breakable dishes, electrical sockets, bottles of wine, picture frames, etc.

She remains quite social, but tends to be much more charmed and interested by older kids, as opposed to babies closer to her own age. She had a grand time playing with a 3 or 4 year old boy and a couple of 12 year old girls at Crack Shack. They played with giant Legos and made fast friends.

She made her second trip to Mexico (TJ), and accompanied the adults on various taco and beer adventures, where she enjoyed a few bites of taco meat, washed down with yummy Horchata.

She loves toddling around, exploring her environment, and being outdoors. She’s starting to get quite a tan, and mom has restricted direct sun exposure to after 3:00 p.m., especially since she refuses to keep a hat on her head. Her favorite toys are constantly changing, and recently, she enjoys taking things in and out of a small makeup pouch.

She’s eating more and more solid foods, though unfortunately, this includes some junk food, such as cheese balls. Dad got her a gigantic tub of these at WinCo. One questions why these cheese balls only come in a 3 gallon tub, but then you eat one and remember  they are about as addicting as crack. After a stint without cheesy poofs, she will walk over to the container and pound on the lid to demand more.

 

Vale at 10 months

We went to Maui this month, and Vale proved again to be a relatively compliant little traveler on the plane. However, due to the slight time change and new environment, she woke up twice a night to eat for almost the whole trip. On the positive side – she pooped three times on the toilet, and took one step on our vacation. She loved playing in the pool water, splashing in the ocean waves, and visiting with the staff at Java Jazz cafe/bar.

Over the next couple of weeks after we returned from Maui, she added more and more steps, and we think she’ll be fully walking any day now. She has finally started to be amenable to solid foods once again, and is back to eating avocado. She also likes string cheese, Pirate’s Booty cheese puffs, celery, and unfortunately, cat food.

Her new favorite activities include tearing into the spice drawer and playing with her new alphabet flashcards. She also enjoys playing in the sand pit and turf at Crack Shack while her parents enjoy beers.

We attended a beer and cheese tasting at Alesmith brewing, hosted by our real estate agent, and decided to bring Vale along. She enjoyed a fancy, dry, gouda with excellent flavor crystals. She also tried and liked the triple cream brie, goat, and bleu. Unfortunately, she was not of legal age to pair these cheeses with the recommended Alesmith Nut Brown, .394 Pale, Horny Devil (Belgian), or Speedway Stout, respectively.

 

Vale at 9 Months

Vale enjoyed playing with her buddy Sienna when we went to visit Matt & Jess in Arvada, CO. On this trip, she thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors, the grass, time by the lake, and discovered her love of slides. She enjoys climbing up slides, though she’s a bit less certain about the sliding down part. She was slightly less cooperative on the plane this time, but still slept most of the way there and back.

 

Overall, she is quite social and enjoys interacting with other babies and people. She had a blast at a couple of birthday parties for her buddies recently.

Vale has learned to like the water a bit more: she enjoys splashing during baths and playing in the hot tub/pool. She was less fond of putting on a bathing suit and being slathered with sunscreen, but the fun times that followed appeared to be worth it, as she had a great afternoon playing in the water at her cousins’ birthday party.

She detests shoes, and broke down in a tearful demonstration of melodrama when we tried to put some cute, sparkly, silver shoes on her feet. She doesn’t walk, and thus doesn’t really need them anyway, though she has stood unassisted a couple of times and just might be walking soon.

She has proven to be an active baby, and hates being confined. If we don’t let her crawl around and explore, she gets extremely frustrated. She’s also a bit stubborn – with shoes, solid foods, hats, and bottles. In the solid food department, we are making some progress though – she regularly eats yogurt now, and has taken a few bites of mozzarella.

Vale at 8 Months

It feels like she is on hyper speed. She started crawling about 5 weeks ago, and now loves booking it across the room on all fours, or pulling herself up to a standing position using anything she can possibly reach. We bought a walker toy for her, since she showed great interest in her friend’s walker during play dates, and she took to this quickly also.

She continues to have a pretty serious case of FOMO. She does not sleep or eat well if she is out and about, or in the company of friends. She prefers to go hungry rather than miss an interaction or activity. Since the last post, she has celebrated Easter, hung out on campus at Mom and Dad’s alma mater, played some soccer golf, and visited the desert.

She continues to be a stubborn eater; she has finally started eating some yogurt, but has maintained her distaste for other solid foods. She tears hats and bows off her head and gets frustrated easily.

Her sense of humor continues to be fickle. Yesterday, the word “burrito” caused her to throw her head back in a big, hearty, laugh repeatedly, but we’re willing to bet it won’t be funny to her tomorrow! Aside from her big hearty laugh, and the George Dubya “heh heh” chuckle, she also has developed a funny snorting snicker, accompanied by a face scrunch, for matters of minor amusement.

April 8, 2018

I caught you smiling, half asleep in the dark. I leaned in a little closer to be sure and it turned into a giggle. You rolled into my arms still half asleep, still giggling, breathed lazily into my shirt, and I forgot all about how you kicked me really hard in the face twice while sleeping next to me the night before.

Your twitchy little fingers smell like buttery bread again. I reflect on the day and think about how you’re turning into a little human right before my very eyes.

April 6, 2018

The scariest thing about having a child is that I love her more as time passes. Some women are struck dumb and overwhelmed immediately by a newfound love for their child as soon as they lay eyes on their newborn, but I was not that way. I marveled at our tiny new human and felt an overpowering sense of responsibility, but love came gradually and incrementally; she grew and continues to grow on me like an incipient, spreading fungus, which is a foul trick I played on her father some 13 years ago. I didn’t cry when maternity leave ended and I had to be apart for her for full work days, but 5 months later, I miss her in an unexpectedly sentimental manner in the middle of the work day, from time to time.

And she is like me in this regard. She takes her time to make up her mind. She is amenable and flexible at first, until 3 weeks or 2 months later, she isn’t – whether it’s the bottle, solid foods, or sleeping through the night, and it’s frustrating to others who thought they understood, and indeed, relied upon her fleeting agreeableness. I don’t know how many times I thought I was not mad at my husband, only to decide, after some contemplation, several days or even a week later, that in fact I was very, very angry, just when he had settled back into a comfortable complacency.

Her father thinks she smells weird, but I love the way she smells, milky and soft. Her chubby hands smell like buttery buns from a Taiwanese bakery, and her scalp smells funny yet familiar.

A friend of mine once told me having a child is to experience your own obsolescence with each milestone. I understand this now, and also frequently consider that in almost no time, she may despise me, find me annoying, feel bitter about my failings as a mother, and become frustrated at how out of touch or technologically inept I am. I get lost in these thoughts and sometimes wonder what the point of this all was, but then another part of me doesn’t care.

Vale at 7 Months

At 7 months, Vale is scooting faster and faster, and getting up on her knees. She has the dexterity to be able to pick up small items, such as rice crackers, with her thumb and index finger, but chooses to only put non-food items in her mouth (Post-its – yum!); she picks up rice crackers with her fingers only to deliberately drop them on the ground. She has exhibited an aversion to solid foods, and you’d think we were feeding her poison, instead of avocado or carrots.

She babbles constantly, and still likes her nursery rhyme music book (her crack book), though her obsession with this toy is waning a little bit. She is not much of a cuddler, but she is very social. She loves being held by people (even strangers) at parties, and does not seem to have a sense of “stranger danger.”

She likes numbers and her ABC flash cards. She hates shoes, and will immediately rip them off her feet.

She has taken an interest in the cats. She has tried to pet Fiona on a number of occasions, much to poor Fiona’s annoyance.

She attended her first Yelp event at the Flower Fields (snuck in, even though she’s not 21), but of course, with her refusal to eat solid foods, the fare was not impressive to her.

Vale at 6 Months

Vale spent her 6-month birthday in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. She did not enjoy being dunked in the cold ocean water, but loved meeting friends on the plane and experiencing new sights.

She is increasingly mobile, and loves to scoot, turn, flip over, and put things into her mouth. She is able to sit upright in her booster chair, but gets bored after a while if she does not have a toy to keep her pre-occupied. She likes listening to numbers in mandarin and looking at ABC flashcards. These activities always bring a smile to her face.

She is still stubborn as ever about drinking milk out of a bottle, and her parents question whence this trait came.

She babbles constantly, including at 4:30 a.m. on occasion, which apparently is just a good a time as any for riveting conversation. She still laughs infrequently, and her sense of humor seems unpredictable (it may have been funny to her yesterday, but it won’t necessarily be funny today or tomorrow). When she does laugh, it’s a sort of a “heeeh heh heh” smirk/chuckle reminiscent of George W.

She has started paying more attention to her cat sisters, and occasionally reaches out for a pet (or a fistful of fur!), so they continue to be relatively wary and suspicious of her.