Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stereotypes & Milestones


Someone made a comment to Abby recently that made me inwardly cringe, but maybe it's just me. Abby was playing happily, toodling around doing her little thing, hugging or petting one of her little toys, a doll, I think. This person said something to the effect of "Yes, you should take care of your baby. That's what little girls do." Cringe! Does anyone else agree with me? I know that we (the proverbial "we" that really means the generalized "society") begin gender training from the moment of birth (what hospital and/or new parent doesn't automatically plaster pink or blue over everything when the little one is born?), and I know that our conversation is heavily gendered, but such overt and old-fashioned statements make me wince. I've never ever heard someone say the same thing to a little boy. Yes, we should take good care of your little (insert toy here). That's what little boys do. It's really hard to nurture a toy hammer or dump truck.

I also know that there are parents out there who are determined to raise their child in a gender-neutral environment: dolls, Spiderman, high heels, and light sabers for all boys and girls. I also know that I'm not one of those. I'm fairly comfortable raising Abby in a pink bubble insofar as appearances go, but I refuse to use such gendered language with her. I refuse to insinuate that as a female, she is best suited only for nurturing roles.

On a lighter note, Abby's abilities are exploding! We're going through a stretch where she seems to be doing something different or really showing new levels of expertise every day. And it's so exciting for us to watch, as I'm sure it is for all new parents! It's amazing!! A lot of what she's learning is largely based on intuition, and it's so incredible to have primary access to watching this develop.

She's beyond walking, practically running now. And, she's so far (keeping fingers crossed on this one) taking after Ben in her build. As much as I generally dislike listening to people talk about running (snooze), we would both love it if she were a runner. It's SO nice to be able to set her down and a) know that she's steady on her feet and b) can follow me or come to me if I need her to.

She only has about 2 weeks of formula left. Yay!

She's eating bigger chunks of a greater variety of yumminess.

She's working on learning how to use a spoon. Quite humorous!

Her flinging reflex is hilarious. If only this could be part of a sport...

Abby can say "baby," which generally stands for her name and our cat Toby's name (her favorite toy). She's also rockin' the "daddy" and has been throwing "mama" out with greater regularity and focus lately.

My absolute favorite new skill that we learned this weekend: we were talking about ducks during her bath the other night, whereupon I quacked a few times. And then she quacked back!! AND, she'll now quack if you ask her what a duck says. I love it. I guess that there's a reason I call her my little duck.

She's wearing mostly 12-mo. size clothes now. And as always, I get a little sad when I have to put away another little outfit that she's outgrown. But this is a good melancholy.

She's a champ about putting things away.

Abby is a cuddler; the absolute best part of my day is snuggling with her on the floor after supper and before bath when she's at her lovey-est.

She loves looking at books, even by herself, for good stretches of time. Does this mean that she'll be a reader?!?! As an English teacher, meaning as one who understands the incredible importance of reading, I so desperately want her to not despise reading.

Abby looooooves being outdoors, which we try to carve out some time for this every day since this spring has been stupendous weather overall. She loves the wind in her face. She loves loading up in the stroller for long walks, which she frequently narrates. And, she's learned to pull weeds. However, she hasn't yet distinguished between weeds and my fledgling pepper plants. (I started at down to six between her and the cat. Natural selection? Survival of the fittest?)

Abby's first birthday is in 2 weeks. When I think about where she is at today versus where she was out exactly one year ago, I'm amazed. It truly truly boggles my mind. What an incredible journey of growth in such a short amount of time. What a fantastic year!

"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves."
--Lynn Hall

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