Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby Steps by Bobbi Duffy

Baby Steps

Yesterday I stepped out of my
Comfort zone
I went to the city fair
All alone
I smiled as I made
My way
Down the street
As if to say
Here I am world
I’m alive
I’ve decided
I want to thrive
I want to be part
Of the world again
And this is the beginning
Of my campaign
To set my body
And spirit free
To take what life has
To offer me
To get out of the rut
I was in
And this is how
I choose to begin
One thing that
I have learned
It doesn’t matter
If my smile
is returned
My smiling is
Its own reward
Because I do it
Of my own accord
And that makes it
A grace to my soul
And that, after all
Is the ultimate goal
So I’ll continue to take a step
Forward each day
Because that is
The only way
That I can
Build a life anew
By slowly changing
My point of view
--Bobbi Duffy

Well, after that last post, it's time for some happy baby Elizabeth news.

The first thing I've been noticing lately is the way she plays with toys. I first noticed this behavior when she was playing with the Fisher Price stacking rings. first she pulls all the rings off the spindle (she has the dexterity to put them back on, but has no interest in doing it). Next she picks up one donut shaped ring and holds it joyfully over her head like a trophy and does a little happy bounce. Then she spots another ring and tries to pick it up too. Sometimes she'll pick it up in her other hand, knock the two together and enjoy the sound they make. Usually, though, she'll try to pick them both up in the same hand. To do this, she puts one down on top of the other and pushes down hard, trying to stretch her fingers around both. She can sometimes manage to get them both if she's using the small red and orange rings, but most of the time one slips off of the other, causing her to lose her balance, and tip over. Undeterred, she'll get back up on her hands and knees and try again over and over and over.

Once I figured out what she was doing with the stacking rings, I saw that she did the same thing with most of her other toys with varying degrees of success. She can get both of her favorite rattles (the one from the exersaucer, and the Johnson and Johnson one with six blue balls that go into a red and white striped tube) into one hand. She can also sometimes get two ping pong balls or Fisher Price Little People. I don't know why it's so important to her, but she spends a lot of time working on it.

Another thing she spends a lot of time on is books. Every day, sometimes two or three times a day, she'll want to sit and read book after book. It starts when we sit down in the rocker to nurse. She spots the bookshelf and starts making "MMMMMMM mmmm" or "Uhhhhhh uhhhhhh" noises that mean "I want that!" I say, "Do you want a book?" and she smiles and looks at the bookcase some more. Then I try to get her to sign "book" to me so that she'll eventually realize that there are better ways of communicating than "Mmmmmmm mmmmmmmm" and a longing gaze. I'll make the sign for book (hands together like you're praying, then open them up like a book), which gets her really excited, then I'll push her hands together. By this time, she understands what I want her to do, and she will open her hands like a book, then laugh with glee because she knows what comes next -- the actual book!

She has definite views on which books are interesting, and which aren't. She will have nothing to do with Sandra Boynton's drawings, and actively pushes them away. Photos of babies are the best, but she also loves her Little Gorilla book. She also has favorite pictures in the books. For instance, in Little Gorilla, she always stops and looks in fascinated awe at the picture of the lion, and she looks surprised and happy when we see that Little Gorilla was BIG! Finally, she gives a happy chirp and bounce on the Happy Birthday page. But nothing beats her very favorite picture from the Baby Signs for Bedtime book. On the Love page, there's a photo of a toddler hugging a baby, and Elizabeth's whole face lights up every time she sees it. She pats the babies and smiles, and sometimes she'll even turn to the previous page, and then back to this one so she can see it again.

Here's a video of me reading her Happy Baby Colors and Little Gorilla

Once we're done with a book, I put it back on the shelf, and she reaches with her whole body for another one. We go through the process of getting her to sign "book" again, and she gives a laugh of nervous relief because Mama reaches for another book. Generally it'll take six or seven books to satisfy her.

Today, I was feeling quite ill, and had to put her down after only about four books, and she wanted more. She started to walk towards the bookcase with one hand on the arm of the rocker, and the other on the side of the crib. When she got to the end of the crib, she was about two steps away from the bookcase. She reached out with the hand that was holding onto the rocker, and could almost get there, but not quite. So then she let go with both hands and took the last step unsupported before grabbing onto the bookcase! I'll admit, that I had imagined her first step being from my arms to her Daddy's, where she'd get a shower of kisses rather than a weak, "Good Job!" from a Mama who hardly has the energy to sit up, but it does make me happy that it was books that motivated her to venture into the unknown. And Peter and I will have plenty of time to practice walking and showering her with kisses.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some fun pictures I took of Elizabeth and her friends wearing the tutus I've been making. Her friend Anna stalwartly refuses to have anything to do with tutus, but other girls in our park group are not so anti-ruffles and were more than happy to play dress up. In fact, they had so much fun that one of the boys came over and said that he wanted to wear the red one because, "It's the Boy tutu."

And now, here's one more funny story because we all need a laugh sometimes. While I was working on one of the tutus at the park, a little girl, about 3 years old, came to watch me. She wanted to try it on when I was done with it, but I got interrupted when Elizabeth fell off the stroller she was trying to climb and needed some comfort. She was also tired and hungry, so I decided to try nursing her. The little girl seemed confused as Elizabeth latched on the first time, and craned her neck to get a better look. This distracted Elizabeth, who let go for a second, then went back to nursing. The little girl looked up at me and said, "Oh! I see! She's suckin' on your boob!"

Well, that's all for now. If any of you want to buy tutus for the little girls (or boys) in your life, they make great Christmas presents that can be worn all year long. Drop me a line, and I'll give you a special blog reader's discount.

PS I've got more tutu photos, photos of Elizabeth in November, and Youtube videos up too!


  1. I'm so happy to see you posting again (I have missed hearing about your life), but I'm sad to hear that you're not feeling well. I hope you feel better soon. I cannot believe how big Elizabeth is getting! She is absolutely adorable. How much are you charging for the tutus? (I still owe you a book!)

  2. Fun stuff about Elizabeth, and I love the tutus.

  3. Hey Karen,
    I read this post a long time ago and wondered if you could ship your tutus to Taiwan? I'm assuming they'd ship well being as they're lightweight and small. If so, I'd like to order some. Could you contact me and let me know how much they are?

  4. Karen, I'm so glad you chose one of my poems to postr on your blog. I was thrilled to hear about the baby. I have some good news of my own to tell you. My fantasy novel, The Warrior Amara is coming out later this year, I think you might enjoy that too.

    Bobbi Duiffy

  5. Karen, I was so glad that you used on of my poems on your blog. And it was great to read about the baby. I have some exciting news of my own. My fantasy novel THE WARRIOR AMARA is coming out later this year. If you want to know something about the world it's set in go www.authorsden.com/bobbiduffy and read Sha'Mung and the Great He and She in my story file.

    Bobbi Duffy