Archive for March 2013

Dear Ashelyn,

One year ago today, you were born in our bathroom, while your father freaked out because he didn’t know how to deliver a baby. (Well, now he does.)

IMG_3586You’re always bucking the script. Remember how you were crawling and pulling up and cruising and climbing at six months? At the rate you were hitting those milestones, you should have been walking months ago … but you’re not! (You do, however, “walk” on your knees.) This month you’ve been willing to walk while holding my hand or holding onto our fingers, but before, whenever we tried, you’d just become dead weight. Totally uninterested.

Do you realize this is infringing on my bragging rights?

I thank you for that.

You’ve started saying “hi.” It comes out more like “aye,” but people get the idea, especially since you say it repeatedly: “Hi. Hi. Hi!” I carry you in the Ergo, and you greet anyone who happens to come alongside us.

You also say “oh wow” and “uh oh” (originally “woh woh”). I know when you drop something on purpose because you’ll say “uh oh” before you let go.

Last month you were nodding and shaking your head in response to hearing the words “yes” and “no” … now you nod to mean yes and shake your head to mean no. Let’s go outside! Yes. Want another strawberry? Yes. Shall I take you for a minute and give mama a break? No.

IMG_3569You clap in response to “yay” and “good job” and “好棒啊!” When we say it’s time to brush your teeth – four now – you run your finger across your mouth like a toothbrush. When you see a stray tissue, you’ll use it to “wipe” the nearest surface. Then you’ll pinch it into little confetti bits. You know both the Mandarin and English words for “kiss,” and you give them freely, generously, maybe a touch too indiscriminately.

In the evenings, you flop backwards in bed and kick your legs crazily in all directions, a throwback to when you were mere weeks old. Part of me is still taken aback whenever I see babies younger than you are; wasn’t it just yesterday you were the newest of them all? And now, now you say “mama” and smush your nose into my face.

IMG_3561Some mothers say they no longer remember life before their little ones, but I do. I remember late nights and lengthy internet browsing and leisurely meals. I miss those things sometimes, but I’ve found parenthood to be remarkably good at exposing the selfish parts of me, prying them away without anaesthetic.

You’re worth it.


When I was pregnant, one of my parenthetical fears was that our noisy, hulking beast of a vacuum cleaner would scare the baby.

Turns out vacuuming lulls her to sleep! Sometimes. Only if …

  1. She’s decided not to sleepfight.
  2. I’m wearing her in the Ergo while I vacuum.

My back says UGH but any weapon in the anti-sleepfighting arsenal is too valuable to reject.


Posted on: 12 March 2013

Ashelyn has been napping for some time. I gamble that she’ll stay asleep long enough for me to flat iron my hair, another ten minutes? It’s kind of an unruly mess, and Kevin is expecting someone over for a business meeting.

No luck, though. I’m halfway through when she wakes. I set her down in the hallway outside the bathroom so I can keep an eye on her while I finish.

But before I can, she starts doing the poop grunt.

So I whisk her to the potty, because baby poop doesn’t wait. At least, not long. Not if I want a “clean catch.” The potty is beside the change table, which is in a fairly prominent place in the living room.

This is apparently the perfect time for M to arrive. Ashelyn is in the middle of pooping. It smells. I’m holding her wriggly butt in place, 1/4 of my hair curly and the rest slipping out of a hair claw.

Hi. A pleasure to meet you, too.

I’m (very, shamefully) late in noticing this, but you “dance” to music. It’s a little rhythmic bounce you do while standing or on your knees, often accompanied by wildly flailing arms.

The other day you were “dancing” a little too enthusiastically and bumped your chin into the coffee table. There was a minor amount of fussing, but the funny thing about your reaction to pain is (1) the delay, and (2) the disbelief. Whenever there’s a mishap you freeze, then make this incredulous hurt face that seems to say, How could this happen?

You love to watch video clips of yourself.

I have no idea where this came from, but you randomly and spontaneously attempt arabesques. (Sometimes while breastfeeding.)

IMG_3440Daddy was first to discover that you’ve begun crawling out of your highchair. (The straps on the toddler side are missing.) He occasionally drags the highchair into the kitchen so he can cook and supervise you at the same time, except one day he blinked and you’d half crawled onto the stove! Luckily he was only doing prep work, so none of the elements were on … I think.

Interestingly, you aren’t really drawn to stuffies or soft toys. You favour hard, shiny, SMALL objects … choking hazards. Of course.

IMG_3524Your other favourite plaything is a container full of some homogeneous item: a box of sugar packets, a basket of blankets, a laundry mesh bag of nursing pads. You’re a fan of scattering everything with gusto all over the place. You’re not a fan of cleaning up after.

Your crooked-salute wave became an up-and-down wave, and is now a real wave. You wave at the words “bye” and “hi” and “wave.” If you’re extra excited, you may wave with both hands.

And you can nod now! You nod at “yes” and shake your head at “no.” Although you still like to shake your head randomly.

You’re a chatterbox and your vocalizations span the entire alphabet; still, there are a few recurring syllables: the bright, chipper “ahn ahn ahn” (sometimes “ahn-ye”), the murmured “ma ma ma,” the impatient “dar dar dar.”IMG_3461

When it’s time to sleep, you protest by throwing yourself backwards, or squiggling around like a caterpillar in its death throes.

You know how to climb off the sofa.

You’re really getting the hang of mimicry, as evidenced by the growl-offs and squinty-face contests you have with daddy.