Alert, alert! We have full-on walking. Over the last few days Lula has tranformed from a walking-4-steps-to-fall-onto-something baby to a steady-walking MACHINE. She's actually been refusing to hold my hand while she walks. She does this funny, shuffling straight-legged walk, with her hands held out in front of her a little. And every so often she pauses to sway forward and back, losing and then regaining her balance. That balance correction thing is what enables her to walk for many steps in a row, I think. Plus she's learned to fall better, generally.
I say "generally" because today was full of falls. She fell and hit the back of her head several times, and fell to a sitting position several times, sometimes falling onto her side from there; and she fell on her face at the playground (on those rubbery tiles, not concrete, but still), a fall from which she did not emotionally recover until we got home. She also skipped her afternoon nap today and yesterday, which may have something to do with it. Or it may be another symptom of whatever is really going on -- growth spurt, cognitive leap fallout, etc. -- inside that little body of hers. It is unknowable.
But this weekend was great, in that we brought her to the Tea Lounge (a large, crowded coffee house near us) and she walked and walked and walked. She walked up to strangers, children and adults, and poked and grabbed at them, shouting "Bah!" or "ma ma ma ma," dribbling saliva everywhere. She walked up to the pastry display and banged on the glass. She walked to the door, then out the door, to the curb. She was very, very happy about all this.
Of course this means I have to learn some new social skills. It reminds me a little of the summer I spent canvassing door-to-door for NJPIRG. I have to be able to suss out which strangers will welcome or engage with my daughter and which ones will be annoyed by her interruptions. And I have to keep my senses peeled for the crazies, too. (Peeled senses? Yeah, you heard me.) It's a hard thing when you haven't showered that day and maybe you're feeling a bit shy and introverted and dorky. But you have a child who is dying to get out there and interact with The People. And that's what's good for her. So.
There has also been some language happening. She's been saying "ba-eeeee!" for "good-bye" for a couple of weeks now, along with the "Mmmm" moo and the "Bah!" baa. But just recently she's started saying "ha" for hat and "bsh" for brush. She can identify most commonly-illustrated animals by pointing, too. Butterflies and ladybugs are favorites, and are both (still) "buh." And I believe she's started saying "yass" for "yes." (she's only done that one a few times so far.) And she loves to go over to her books, pick one out, and then walk over to me and hold the book up so I will pick her up and read to her.
She's becoming more interactive and more fun every day. It's truly amazing to witness.
Perhaps later I'll blog about my work/home dilemma, but for now, let me just say this: I don't know how the housewives did it. Taking care of Lula is a more than full-time job, and although I clean up after myself and Lula throughout the day, general apartment upkeep (cleaning the bathroom, say, or mopping) just never gets done. The only way I COULD do such chores is while Lula's asleep, and while she's napping I'm usually either passed out or trying to feed myself. And then in the evening (the two hours between my dinner and my bedtime) I'm so fried that the thought of cleaning the bathroom makes me seriously despressed. It's enough to contemplate self-medicating using alternating doses of dexedrine and valium! Wait a minute...