Monday, March 28, 2011

A Day in the Life

Not much is going on these days, so I thought I'd post about our normal routine. What's a typical day for Princess Sophie and her retinue? And how have things changed since before she was born?

Between 8:30 and 10 a.m. - Sophie awakes, and I go in to find her crawling around or sitting up in her crib. She is sometimes still pretty sleepy, but sometimes I get a happy grin.

"Good morning, Mommy!"

We pull up the shades and see what kind of a day it is outside and then it's time for a diaper change and nursing session.

What kind of a day is it today? Sunny, windy and cool is the norm these days.

Morning activities - We both get dressed and then make breakfast together.

All dressed and ready for the day

These days, Sophie enjoys Cheerios or oatmeal with banana, strawberries, or melon. After breakfast, we play a little, get laundry started, and clean up our dishes.

Around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. - We read a few books, change Sophie's diaper, and settle in for another nursing session, which usually leads to a nap for an hour or two.

1-2 p.m. - Lunchtime! We love heating up leftovers from last night's dinner, plus some apples, oranges, or Asian pears.

Afternoon activities - In the afternoon, the name of the game is "get OUT of the apartment." On the best days we visit friends or take a walk, but sometimes we just go to the post office or the grocery store. Lately we've been taking care of cats for friends who are on vacation, so that gives us one more thing to do. I can't wait for warmer weather so we can just hang out outside!

4ish - Tuckered out from the afternoon's adventures, it's time for another nap. If we are lucky, this nap ends when Daddy gets home from work - yay! Sophie always has a huge grin for her daddy when she sees him. It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Evening activities - If we have time, we've been enjoying walks down to the fishing pier in the evenings, with snacks!

Enjoying junk food on the beach before dinner - what a great example we're setting.

Then it's time to get dinner ready. Usually I cook while Keegan entertains the baby, but sometimes we trade roles.

7 p.m. - Dinnertime! Current favorites for Sophie are potatoes, tofu, pasta, and bread. She tolerates green beans, carrots, and broccoli as well.

Daddy is still hungry and decides to nibble on the baby. She loves it!

8 p.m. - Start the bedtime routine with books, a last bottle, and bath time! The big tub is a huge hit. There's lots of crawling around, playing with bath toys, pulling up, splashing, and smiling. Then it's into pajamas and blanket sleeper to be nursed to sleep by Mommy. Within half an hour, a certain baby is usually out like a light and Mommy and Daddy have some time for dessert and TV. We don't stay up too late, though, since it won't be long until we start the whole rigamarole all over again!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sophie Update

Sophie is changing so quickly these days, and it's hard to keep up with her! I thought I'd take a minute to write about some of her new abilities, interests, and habits.

Slowly but surely our squirmy little girl is showing more interest in books. She likes turning the pages, and she's crazy about peek-a-boo books like the Spot series. Other favorites are That's Not My Monkey, Babies, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and both of the recordable books we have featuring Grandma's voice. She also loved the Dogs pop-up book she got to read at Nate and Eliza's, so we may buy her another Matthew Van Fleet book when we get home in May. Books with "plots" don't interest her much yet. She likes to be able to manipulate things!

Reading Spot's First Walk with Mommy

Speaking of manipulating things, Sophie's ability to eat finger foods is growing by the day. She's still a pretty messy eater, but more and more of what we give her is actually ending up in her mouth! She hasn't quite mastered her pincer grasp yet, but she has figured out how to bring the food to her mouth with one fist and then shove it in with the other.

Fun with tofu and zucchini

Keegan reports that she also knows how to use drool-covered hands to stick bits of food and get them to her mouth. Favorites remain bananas and yogurt, but grapes and avocado are also on the list. I guess I should admit that she also enjoys the occasional pizza crust. She is getting better at drinking water from a cup and can almost use her sippy cup by herself!

Since Sophie first shakily began crawling at the end of February, she has really taken off! She now crawls around all over the apartment and ends each day with red knees. She can easily go from sitting to crawling and back again and often demonstrates the ability to go from laying down to crawling in her crib at night. Now she is starting to pull up on various pieces of furniture around the apartment.

I was so surprised when I turned around and saw her standing!

She also likes to straighten her legs out into a standing position while she's leaning forward with her hands in my lap. I wouldn't be surprised if walking happens sooner than we thought! All this movement translates to hard times on the changing table, where our wiggly girl rolls around and repeatedly kicks off her pant legs while I'm trying to put them on. Sophie's increased mobility is also hard on the cats, who are learning that they have to work a little harder to avoid grabby baby hands. Chili gives Sophie a wide, wide berth, but Pepper is a little more tolerant. She loves both cats and squeals in delight when she sees them. She particularly likes the sound of Chili's mews and often responds to them.

A fortunate side effect of all this activity is that Sophie has been sleeping really well at night! She usually goes to bed pretty easily around 9:30 and wakes up around 8:30 in the morning. She'll wake up once or twice at night to nurse. Sometimes, if the stars align, she'll sleep well past nine, and Mommy gets a chance to relax a bit and get things done around the apartment! Who knows how long this agreeable sleep pattern will last? We are enjoying it for now.

Sophie's sparkly personality is getting more enjoyable by the day as she becomes more communicative. She has started waving, although I don't think that she quite knows how to use the motion to greet people yet. Mostly, she just likes our happy reactions when she waves. She will "Gimme 5!" sometimes when she is in her highchair and we're playing together. We have decided to introduce some baby sign language to Sophie, and I think she's definitely interested in it. She smiles at me when I make the signs for "milk" and for "water" during meal times, and she thinks that blowing on her food to cool it off (which is also the sign for "hot") is hilarious. She says "mamamamamamama!" when she is upset and wants something - guess that's pretty much what "mama" means to her at this point. I can't wait until she says her first word and uses her first sign!

Another fun development during playtime is that Sophie now really gets a kick out of being tickled. If you get her in the right mood, she will really get a good squeal going. It's a lot of fun.

She also enjoys when I get down on all fours and hide from her behind the ottoman, but it freaks the cats out, so I try to limit the times we play that game.

All in all it is, as everyone says, a wonderful age. We're enjoying parenthood much more now than we did in the early days. Who knows, maybe we'll even do it all again someday....but not any day soon!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday in the Park

Sophie and I have been looking for unique ways to keep ourselves busy this week while Keegan was away on his sea trial. Fortunately, yesterday was fairly mild and it didn't rain, despite the gray clouds that hung around all morning. So after lunch, I put Sophie in the baby backpack and we walked to our favorite park on top of the hill between Deokpo and Okpo.

Sundays have a festive atmosphere around here. Many people work a half day on Saturday, so Sundays are the only full day of rest, and everyone takes full advantage of them. We like to say that Koreans work very hard, but then they play very hard. I like to look out our window on Sundays and see families playing on the beach and walking along the waterfront. I look at the toddlers enjoying the wide-open beach and I think about how much fun Sophie and I will have there when she's a bit older. Anyway, all this is to say that the park was brimming with lively children and their parents enjoying everyone's favorite day of the week. Sophie really enjoyed watching all the activity, especially the kids on bikes and the little dogs running around. She even made a new friend.

Sophie makes friends easily as a result of her foreign baby celebrity status.

We didn't stay for too long because Sophie didn't like crawling on the dry, spiky grass (not that I blame her), and she was getting tired.

"Mommy, this grass is too prickly!"

She fell asleep on the way home, happy as a clam in the gently rocking backpack.

I hope we'll enjoy the park more as the weather gets warmer and Sophie gets more and more mobile.