And just like that, she’s one! It’s hard to imagine, she came out (finally) and was just a hardly alive, reddish, plump of a baby. She’d cry hysterically every time we changed her diaper (what, like 12 times a day), every time we changed her clothes, in the ten seconds between wanting milk and becoming starving. Then she became more awake, and opened her eyes more and more. She’d stare at you and she’d stare at the ceiling fan. She’d make little baby coos and always had the hiccups. She woke up, more and more, until she’d follow you with her eyes around the room while she layed on the mat. She learned to roll over, and would cry helpless on her tummy, until you flipped her back. (She did not learn to roll back until months later). She started eating purees and loved them. She’d smack her lips around the tiny spoon, delighted by flavor. She sat in her baby bouncer on top of the dining table while we ate breakfast. While napping, she’d stick her limbs right out of the crib slats. When it was too hot, her body would get heat rash and we’d have to stay inside, where there was air conditioning. I went back to work and Steve became the stay-at-home parent. He helped her learn how to sleep on her own and took her to the swings and Noguchi museum almost every day. She started sitting up, first with help, and later on her own, climbing up from tummy, to hands and knees, to falling back into a seat. When she was awake from her nap, we’d find her in the crib sitting up and playing with her baby panda. Sitting up, she loved to be brought toys and play with them. Stacking rings, colorful shakers, books, and blocks. She’d windshield wiper her legs like a powerful tugboat generating endless splash in the bath which delighted her. From sitting, she went to rocking on her hands and knees, for over a month, before she learned to crawl. Steve went back to work and she went to daycare where she met the wonderful Waafa and Hoda. She got to paint, play with mud (pudding), feed Mr. Doggy, and play the drum. When she left, they’d sing, “bye bye MG / bye bye MG / bye bye MG / we’ll see you again next time.” Then crawling, off she’d go, panting like a dog. She learned where her toy bookshelf was and would crawl over there to plead for you to read her a book. I’d read Sandra Boyton books and Steve would read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and act out all of the animal noises. She started eating finger foods and we had family mealtimes where she sat at a real high-chair at the table. She loved kiwi, bambas, red lentil soup, all Indian food, and yogurt. She started crawling fast and pulling up to stand and would throw all of her toys off the bookshelf. She learned to bring you the books she wanted you to read her. She learned the layout of the apartment and would crawl around looking for you. She made babbles – starting with mamama and dadada and moving to harsh sounds like bap! and dadun. Sometimes she’d zone out and when she came back she’d hiss at you like a witch: haaaaa. She started to recognize people – her Shani Masi who came for a visit on most Sunday nights. Her Nani and Nanoo who watched her for a full weekend when she was 11-months old and who loved it as much as she did. She loved skyping with her Nana and Nono and Divy Masi. She started standing with more confidence and – one day – took one shaky step. One or two shaky steps. One or two or three shaky steps. She loved to take things out of containers and put them back in – her barrets, her dominos, Steve’s protein shake ingredients. She loved to cuddle the big panda and her baby panda. She is our baby girl – a whole year old! Happy Birthday MG!
A few months ago, I tried reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski. I found it almost unreadable, mostly due to its narrative style. But the author, and her identical twin sister (!) recently released a podcast focused on feminist survival in 2020. It is SO GOOD. Really, so so good.
The first episodes were about completing the stress cycle. Basically, stress will happen regardless. But what’s important is “completing” the stress cycle so your body can relax. I retain basically no information but somehow I remembered so many ways to do this. They include:
- physical activity
- social connection (superficial or intimate)
- deep breathing
- physical connection
I just really liked this framework. Say you had a terrible client meeting and are stressed. When you come home, there are concrete things you can do to feel better! It also explains why I like foot rubs and long hugs so much.