This was a blog about my adventures with Joe. Then, along came Nia. Four years later, along came Stage 3 breast cancer. Fast forward two years, and I'm now caring for my dad while he fights his own cancer battle.
This month, Nia's walking really took off. It started a couple weeks ago with Nia getting really confident on the grass at the park. I spread a blanket on the ground and she started doing little radiating trips out from the blanket, all on her own. She was soooo pleased with herself. And when she fell, it was no biggie because the grass was soft. Then, about a week later, instead of asking for a hand when she wanted to walk around the house, she just took off. It was so adorable: She went from toy to toy, room to room, just toddling and grinning ear to ear. She really enjoys carrying things as she walks like her little basket of blocks. She also likes putting things like balls in her mouth and walking as if to say, "Look! No hands!"
Another big thing that happened this last month was Nia's interest in eating with her fork. I can put just about anything on her fork and she'll eat it. She wants to pierce things with the fork but hasn't mastered that skill yet. She also really likes to feed me food (or rocks) now, too.
We've started going to the Live Oak Farmers' Market on Sundays regularily. Nia boogies down to the bluegrass music and cruises all over the place while Joe and I drink coffee and eat Beckmann's or Concious Creations yummies. It is a really nice place to let her walk around (here she usually still holds our hands).
Another thing that has become a regular activity for Nia & I this summer is "swimming" at Simpkins Swim Center. I say "swimming" because it is more like wading in and out of the water. Nia loves walking in the water, and walking out of the water, and then back in again. It is a pretty great way to wear her out, though (and me, too).
This month Nia is initiating more games with Joe and I. She's always played peek-a-boo, aka "where's Nia?" but recently she started wanting to play more physical, connection-making games like wrestling, "I'm gonna get you!" and chase games. These happen a lot on the bed where she can flop around without getting hurt, but the other night when we were out walking in the evening, Nia wanted Joe to chase her. It was so cute. She was holding my hand, and looking back over her shoulder at Joe, giggling and trying to run. After Joe caught her, we turned around and chased him, all the while I'm trying really hard not to let her face-plant into the sidewalk! Nia also loves playing games with balls, too. She's got a pretty good throwing arm. :)
I feel so lucky to spend every day with this little, fun-loving person.
Yesterday my friend Meadow & I took our girls to Seabright Beach. This was Nia's first time dipping her toes in the Pacific -- and she loved it! We walked in and out of the water over and over again. Can't wait to go again!
My friend Tina (yep, Pen-Pal Tina from WAY back!) keeps an awesome, very detailed blog about the happenings of her 20-month-old daughter, Sara. After reading about all of Sara's various activities and recent accomplishments, I felt that I had kind of cheated you, dear Reader, out of really knowing who Nia is right now by merely posting pictures the other day. That, and Aunt Marilyn did say the other day how much she appreciates when I take the time to actually write something about Nia (was that a hint?). So, here is an update to go along with the recent pictures of our dear Nia.
Who is she?
Wow. Where to begin? Well, let's start at the beginning of each day. Each morning begins right next to Nia. She sleeps between Joe and I on her sheepskin, and the morning usually begins around 8a with wiggles and talking and lots of smiles. Sometimes it is just she and & I who are awake, so eventually she wakes up Joe by touching his hair or yelling, "Hi!" at him. While I quickly dash to the bathroom, Nia and Joe play with the contents of my bedside table (my cell phone, the stereo remote, the skylight remote) or her favorite right now: Animal pop-up books (with Joe making all the animal sounds).
Then, Nia and I leave Joe to get a couple more hours of sleep while we start our day. We go find Kalli who gets many "gentle touches" (which are actually getting more and more gentle lately, thankfully).Then I grab some clothes for Nia and a clean diaper and we head upstairs to visit Bama and Baba (Nia can say Baba now, but we haven't heard Bama yet). First stop: Baba's lap and looking at pictures of Zomina and Nia on the laptop. Then she spots Bama in the kitchen and goes to visit her. At some point I catch the busy girl and change her. Then its breakfast: Usually steel cut oats, but sometimes un-cooked regular oats with walnuts and raisens. Or eggs and toast. Or fruit and yogurt. Or, on special days, sweet potatoe pancakes!
Often around 9a we go out for a bit, either for a walk or to the park or to a mama/baby sing-along group called Mother Song.
At 11a, Nia goes to Joe and I start working. On M W F, I try to work till about 3p, and on T Th I work till 1:30 or 2p. Every day, around noon, Nia and Joe go for a walk in search of The Nap. 99% of the time, they find it within 30 minutes and then Joe and I lay Nia down on her sheep skin for an hour-long nap with the white noise machine playing (the "waterfall" setting, which could also be called "static).
A couple months ago, we moved the Queen bed out of "Nia's room" and made a nest of blankets and pads on the ground. We did this to keep Crawling Nia from falling off the bed. Because the bed is low, now each day after her nap, Nia silently crawls (or walks maybe) over to the door, which is open an inch, and opens the door to peer out at who ever is waiting for her to wake. It is so cute!
After the nap comes lunch. Lately Nia is enjoying rice cakes or blue corn chips with hummus, turkey, artichoke, cheese, and sunflower butter or almond butter. She signs "food", "more", and now a new sign which is a combination of both "milk" and "water" when she's thirsty. This is super handy!
Once I'm done with work, it is back to playing outside usually. We often go to the park, the library, go swimming, go walk around downtown, play at a friend's house, play at the beach, etc. Nia loves being outside. She loves kids and she loves dogs ("woof!"). Now that she's walking so much, it is really fun to walk to the park with her. She studies everything along the way and we take frequent detours into driveways and pathways. Rocks & plants get special attention (and sometimes a taste).
After dinner (usually the same type of food as she had for lunch -- the artichoke is the mainstay lately), we often go outside again for yet another trip to the park, or a walk in the Harbor (or a walk to the pizza place for mama to get ice cream -- shhhh!).
At 8p we start the night routine. If Joe is home, he and Nia take a bath together and then Nia and I read books, do a massage, sing songs, and finally nurse to sleep. She is usually asleep by 9:30. Now she goes to sleep on the nest of blankets in her room, and then I carry her to bed with me a couple hours later (so we don't have to worry about Crawling Nia tumbling off the bed). Usually she stays asleep till I carry her to bed, but sometimes she needs a bit more nursing (and she still nurses several times in the night -- thankfully I hardly wake up!).
And that's pretty much Nia these days. She's such a happy little girl. Always smiling, and talking so much these days. When we go walking together now, she babbles the whole way. When she sees something interesting she always says, "Oh!" and points. She is so into her books. She always hands us books and then signs "more." "More" can mean a lot of different things, but it is always obvious what she means by it, whether it is "read this book" or "open this bag of chips" or "see more dogs" or "more tickles."
She also likes to hand us the TV remote and sign "more" which in this case means "put on the music now, please." So we turn it to the music station and she boogies down. Her dancing is a combo of twisting at the waste and doing squats.
Oh, one more thing: She is fake laughing now. She wrinkles up her nose, opens her mouth wide and goes, " Ah ha ha ha." That usually is in response to us laughing.
I don't know if this sums her up or not. She's so smart, and so fun. A total delight to be around. I can't imagine a life without playing with her every day. Joe and I talk frequently about how lucky we are to have her and this life. I <3 my life!