18 Months Old

Our Lily is 18 months old. Everyday is a new day, everyday she learns something new, everyday is becoming harder and harder to catch up with her. Soon, at this rate, she will be smarter than us by the time she’s five!! Not only has she been reading since she was 10 months old, now she also knows all of her colors, her shapes (even “half circle” and “crescent”), her phonics, she can count from 1 to 20, and she is now a singer too!

Here’s another video of her reading a bit more clearly:

From the get-go, we’ve been singing to her a lot. I think somehow, this has ingrained in her the love for music and harmony. We’ve also noticed in the past couple of months that songs are connected to emotions for her. We were stunned when one day, Daddy decided to sing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” to her after not singing it to her since she was about 6 months old, and she started tearing up at a high note. We thought something was wrong, but she looked at her Daddy and asked for a hug and kiss, and asked him to sing the song again. So he did, and sure enough, at the certain high note, she teared up again and suddenly started full blown sobbing, asking him to finish the song. She clung onto him, giving him a huge hug, and gave him teary kisses. What a sweet girl. We were stunned that a song can bring such emotion out of her, and equally stunned that she remembered this song from her very early babyhood months.

We’ve recently found that certain songs will evoke out of her strong, emotional responses as well. For example, the way Sarah McLachlan sings “Silent Night” makes her teary-eyed, and she demands cuddles with Mommy while she listens to the song. When I sing “You are my sunshine” to her when it’s not bedtime (it is our routine bedtime song before I put her down to sleep), she tears up and sings along. She is quite the sensitive child. Such beautiful, emotional responses. We are stunned, and so proud.

Then, out of nowhere, she decides that she can sing the songs we’ve been singing with her. Word for word, in her own baby accent. It started with just the end words of the verses, and suddenly she just went for it and sang whole songs while we were singing them.

Here she is singing the “ABC” song in its entirety:

Here she is singing the Railroad song with her daddy:

We also went through a whirlwind of a Christmas holiday. Our house sold right before Christmas, and we spent the majority of December house hunting for a new home! In the midst of all of that, we almost forgot about Christmas! But, we were right on time to putting up our Christmas tree (about a week before Christmas):

The haul we got for Christmas was absolutely ridiculous. Most of this stuff belonged to Lily, of course. We couldn’t stop ourselves from getting her more and more and more and so much more. And apparently, neither could all her aunts and uncles and grandparents!

One of the coolest things Lily got this year for Christmas was her rocking horse!

This year, like last, my sister Sophie, who is Lily’s Auntie “Bopee,” visited for Christmas for two weeks. Lily had the pleasure (much to my sister’s grunting dismay) of waking her Auntie Bopee up every morning with a kiss and a lot of loud toddler talking:

For Christmas, we all went to Nana’s (my mother-in-law) house for Christmas Eve dinner and opening presents from the aunts and uncles. On Christmas Day, this was our first year hosting Christmas dinner!! It went so well, and we even cooked and prepared food. We may have a repeat of this next Christmas as well! I was nervous about it, but it went without a hitch! Lily loved having people over, and she was ecstatic to be a hostess. Unfortunately, amongst all the craziness, I forgot to take pictures for our Christmas day dinner, but here are some from Christmas Eve:

Lily with her great-granny, Lilias (who she was named after, and who she affectionately calls “Ganny”):

One of the things we did while Auntie Bopee was here (one involving ME going SKIING.. I know, crazy, right?) was go to Vancouver’s Chinatown. It’s one of our favorite places to visit because of its familiarity to our roots. Lily loved the Chinese and Japanese zen garden!

The holidays have come and gone, and now we are just wrapping up the first month of 2010, hopefully with some positive news about a new house to be moved into at the end of February! We have something in mind, but nothing is finalized yet, so we are hoping for the best. Lily has gone to every house hunting escapade with us, and has given her own version of a seal of approval (does it have STAIRS that she can climb up and down on?!) on several homes. Here’s us keeping our fingers crossed!!

In the meantime, our Lily continues to grow… and grow… and grow. She is sleeping 11-12 hours a night. She still has her regular naps every afternoon around 1pm. She eats voraciously and she gives hugs and kisses openly. One day I tried counting how many words she can say, and I lost count at about 9am after about 80 words. So who knows how many she can say. It seems like her growth is exponential. She follows directions really well. She sometimes has tantrums. She definitely has a mind of her own and can be very, very stubborn. She’s a little firecracker and a little bulldozer. She is ALWAYS, always on the move. However, our Lily shows us constantly that she is kind and compassionate to others’ needs. She shares wonderfully and she likes to include other people in what she does. She has opinions about what she wants to read and what she wants to play. She greets people openly when we’re out and about. She knows several words in Vietnamese and affectionately calls my parents “Ngoai” without an accent (except her baby accent, of course). She says her “please” when she wants something, and is learning to say “thank you” every time after she gets something. She is our little sweetheart. She is loving, and we’re amazed at what a warm spirit she is. However, she also definitely has a mind of her own. We’re amazed how much stubborn she can be when she wants something, and she seems to have a very clear sense of what is “right” and “wrong.” We have so many speculations about what she would be like as she gets older, but most of all, we are just so excited and ecstatic to be able to be part of her world and see her grow.

Meeting Up With Ngoai

In Vietnamese, “Ngoai” means maternal grandparent. It could be used for both grandpa and grandma. It was one of the words Lily learned to say while we were in California. My parents are absolutely in love with Lily. Unfortunately, she is still a bit hesitant around them since she doesn’t get to spend too much time with them (seeing as how they live in North Carolina and all).

My daddy and Lily

As you can see, Lily gets her big cheeks from me, who got them from my dad. Heh.

My mommy and Lily

Lily wasn’t too sure about my sleeping brother, her Uncle Eddie, and the massive black stuff on his head called hair. She kept staring at him. She even tried poking him to see if he was real!

Lily specifically loves my sister, who resembles me most, and who she’s met most. She was more familiar with my sister and let her hold her from the very beginning.

She also got used to my cousin Linda very quickly as well. I think Lily prefers females over males, at least when it comes to strangers. She seems to warm up towards females more quickly.

Lily was very generous with her kisses. She stole hearts all over the place with her giggles, squeals, laughs, and yelps.

This is Lily giving my cousin Tony (Linda’s big brother) a wet, wet, slobbery kiss:

And of course, wet kisses for her Auntie Sophie:

On July 5, we had a birthday celebration with my side of the family — extended and all. It was a huuuge celebration. Vegetarian food galore, Asians talking over each other, yelling over each other, kids running amok, and Lily had a great time playing with everyone.

In my culture, for a first birthday, the baby gets to pick out from a tray of items her favorite thing (or two). The superstition is that whatever she chooses dictates her personality and her future.

So Lily was given full reign of all the objects…

And she chose…

A red envelope of money, and a camera lens! That means.. what? She’s going to be a rich photographer? A successful artist of some sort? Heh. Well, the traditional practice was fun to watch, anyway.

Then, it was cake time! We sang happy birthday, and my dad had ordered a special eggless ice cream cake for her. She was a bit wired by that time (being that it was waaay past her bedtime and she was overtired), so she couldn’t keep still long enough to blow out the candles and stuff. And she barely had a bite of the cake and then she was off again!

We were very overwhelmed by all the support and love from my side of the family. Lily was also very happy to have gotten all this extra, undivided attention.

1st Birthday

There have been many, many milestones in the last couple of weeks, it seems. Lily turned 1 whole year today, and life couldn’t be more interesting for the Edwards family. Lily is growing so fast, and she is learning so much, and showing us so much that we’re amazed at how quickly this time seems to go. I can’t believe it has already been one whole year since her birth. This time last year, we were in the hospital, recovering from a difficult labor, and we had no idea what was in store for us. We are so in love with this little girl. Judging by how happy she is all the time, I think she gets just how much we love her.

From July 4th to July 11th, we went to Southern California, partly to celebrate her birthday with my side of the family, and partly to celebrate summer vacation with Dave’s side of the family at Disneyland. The trip went very well, though some parts of it were stressful, as it was ssooo packed full throughout the entire time. Lily did soooo well with sleep and going with the flow. She dropped a bottle throughout the week, but ended up eating a WHOLE lot more solids, so things seem to balance out. She can’t seem to get enough of food, especially on the go. She seems to be eating twice as much food as she did just a week ago, so this is new to us, and we can’t say we’re not pleased!

Now that we’ve unpacked everything and the house looks decent again, I have some time to do some updates while our lovely little Lily sleeps.

Lily has learned how to wave on command (it resembles a bit of the queen’s wave), say “hi” on command, walk more steadily and longer (she walks EVERYwhere now), express herself when she wants something and doesn’t want something, can point to things she wants (though most of the time she just hollers at us till we get it.. heh), can read more words, can say more words (cat, hi, ngoai [Vietnamese for Grandma]), can mimic a word if you ask her to say it, can point to herself when she sees a photo of herself, she can nod and shake her head to questions, she can drink out of a straw, etc. etc. I can’t even remember all the things she’s doing now because they seem to come on so fast and so quickly, all bunched together.

Some pictures from the trip….

Lily’s first flight!

Lily was very awesome on the plane, even though she was very, very, VERY tired. Like, exhausted. She slept on the flight to California, but didn’t on the flight back to Vancouver.

In fact, Lily slept most of the trip at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. She got some kiddie rides in, though.

In front of Disneyland!

In front of California Adventure Park!

Daddy and Lily in California Adventure Park.

Daddy and Lily at LAX on our way back to Vancouver on July 11.

And for pictures from today, her actual birthday. We had a small family celebration and Kendra and Addie were also able to join us for a bit of it for some present opening and cake eating. Most of the family are still on holiday in California, so we’ll do a family thing when they get back within the next couple of weeks. Then, in the evening, we went to visit Granny (the person whom she was named after — Lilias) in the hospital.

Lily got a water/sand tray from us for her birthday. It was too cold out to be filled with either right now, but she certainly was interested!

She opened the other presents from us while Kendra and little Addie were here.

Some bath and water toys!

A baby pool with cover!

She also loved the Elmo birthday card we got — it especially tasted good, she said.

Then the two babies got ready for some cake. “We want cake! We want cake!”

We sang her happy birthday, to which she was amused and curious about.

Then it was cake eating time! Yay! She wasn’t afraid of the cake this time, which was great. She saw what Addie was doing, and she learned to do it too.

The end product of the birthday cake after the babies got their hands on it.

Then we went to see Great Granny in the hospital! Great Granny was ssooo happy to receive hugs and kisses galore!

Standing, Walking, Etc.

Lily is growing so fast, I don’t even know where to begin to announce all the changes going on with her. But I shall try anyway.

  • She can now clap. She learned about a month or so ago, and now she doesn’t do anything BUT clap. She also knows that if you ask her to clap, she’ll do it for you. And if she hears the song, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…” she also go ahead and clap along to the song. It’s very cute. It’s also her way of cheering herself on during mealtimes.
  • Lily can also shake her head. Although technically, she’s learned this around 7 months or so, now it’s much more pronounced and at will. When you ask her a question, even if the answer is “yes,” she’ll still shake her head “no” as a response. Such as… “Are you a happy girl?” She’ll shake her head “no” with a giant smile on her face.
  • Lily has now perfected the one-hand walk/run. She only requires holding onto one of our hands in order to walk and run. She practically bolts. She loves playing chase and tag with us. She also loves chasing Tink around the house. Sometimes she thinks she can trick us and run faster than us, but then she realizes that we’re actually RIGHT behind her and she can’t outrun us since she’s holding onto our finger!
  • Lily has, overnight, at about 10.25 months old, learned to eat finger foods and feed herself throughout every meal. All of a sudden, she just started picking food off her tray and putting them directly into her mouth. Before that, SOMETIMES we’d get lucky and she’d put something into her mouth during mealtimes, but most of the time she just played with her food. Recently, something “clicked” and now she’s a nonstop eating machine. I’m so relieved! She’s also a trooper and tries to eat everything I put on her tray, even if it’s new. She’s tried smoked gouda (she likes it, but in smaller doses), miso soup tofu, mango, toast (not a huge fan of this), almond butter (turned out to be mildly allergic), peas (her favorites), oranges (looooves this), grapes, cheerios, puffs, etc. etc. etc. I’ve been trying to mix and match up with veggies more. She loves pears and apples in chunks too.

  • We’re trying to teach her “all done” in sign language, since she’s darn loud!

  • While nap times during the day are easier (she’s now back to her usual 2 naps a day, thanks to Daddy), night time sleep continues to be a mystery. Sometimes she goes down easy, other times she doesn’t. Sometimes she wants to be cuddled, other times she doesn’t. We’re going to have to decide on ONE routine among the two of us (me and Daddy) and stick with it, because the inconsistency is really confusing. She can put herself to sleep now, but we’re not consistent about it, so sometimes it takes her longer and sometimes it only takes 5 minutes for her. She has regular night wakings too, and sometimes they are just binky emergencies and other times they are longer cuddle sessions. Sometimes she is okay with me leaving the room after sticking the binky back into her mouth, and other times she cries for me to stay. Last night, she woke up at 2:30a and decided to stay up until 6:20a. ABSOLUTELY exhausted the whole time, but for some reason couldn’t go back to sleep. I think she’s teething (again? we’re still waiting for the first tooth!), and she was just so irritated and uncomfortable. Sleep continues to be a mystery.
  • The most exciting news is that two days ago, Lily decided to take her first independent step! Three times in one day! They were very itty bitty steps, but she did it on her own and we’re so proud of her! I missed the first two since I was at work, but she performed to me when I got home afterwards. So proud of our little girl.
  • And, as mentioned in an earlier post, here’s a video of Lily giving kisses.

    I’ve been up since 2:30a, thanks to Miss Lily Bean. I’m exhausted. Time to get ready for work. Oi.

    10 Months and Stuff

    Well, our Lily Bean is 10 months old now. Time goes so fast, and I can’t believe that it seemed only like yesterday when I gave birth to her, when we brought her home from the hospital, when she had her days and nights mixed up. Oh, Lily girl, you’re growing too fast for us sometimes.

    Some updates on how our baby girl is doing, before I forget and before the time catches up with me and she’s already 5 years old. Heh.

    • Our Lily Bean can stand on her own now, more and more. She really surprises herself when she does it. She’ll let go of our hands, or of the object she was leaning on, and suddenly she’s standing up by herself. Then she’d look down, and see the ground, and her little legs start shaking nervously, and she lets out a little alarmed yelp, and looks for our hands again, to steady her again. TOTALLY cute.
    • As mentioned before, she knows how to give kisses, and now hugs. She gives Mommy mostly kisses, and Daddy mostly hugs. She also knows what “soft” means. I’ve been teaching her by letting her feel “soft” things next to her face, so now whenever I ask her, “Is this soft, Lily?” she’ll take the object I’m asking about and put it close to her face and nuzzle against it, as if to test out if it’s soft.
    • Over the last week or so, she’s been perfecting different positions to get in and out of. Most notably, recently, she’s learned how to go from sitting to crawling and back to sitting. That last part was a big one for her. She also knows how to play while kneeled down on her knees.
    • No teeth yet. Wow, it’s taking a while! But my mom said I didn’t have teeth till I was about 10 months, and Sylvia said the same about Dave, so I guess it’s normal for her to get it late too?
    • Big issue #1: sleep. We’ve been doing Dave’s plan for about two weeks now, and the first week or so was difficult. First, Dave was able to get her down faster and sooner and less painful, but Lily wasn’t associating that with me. We also had to get her to the living room to calm her down before she was able to relax enough to fall asleep in our arms. Then we’d transfer her to her crib. First week and a half or so, she was waking up several times a night due to this new bedtime routine. I have to admit, bedtime gave me a bit of anxiety because I never knew how long it would take, or how grumpy she would be, or how fidgety, or how much she’d fight it. Then, as if magically, over the last 3 or 4 days, she started going down for me easier. Granted, still in my arms, while I rocked her, but I stopped bringing her out to the living room, and she’s again associated her bedroom with the lights off as “sleep” instead of “AH I wanna fight it!”Big thing now, though, is trying to get her down wide awake so she can fall asleep on her own. We’re debating whether or not to try my plan out this upcoming long weekend, since Dave’s plan is gradually working. We’re putting her down more awake each other, and she’s less fussy and she’s fighting it less, so there may not be a need to go to my plan. She’s starting to sleep through the night again, with minimal wakings, and her wakings are generally very mild and she just needs a binky (as she did before). First week or so of Dave’s plan was a bit hellish, since she was waking up several times a night and sometimes wouldn’t fall asleep for an hour or more. However, it’s hard to say if this was due to Dave’s plan or due to something entirely different, since she’s such a sensitive little baby when it comes to sleep, anyway.

      So, we shall see, I suppose.

      This is how Lily was sleeping when I came in at 7a this morning.

      We also got a video monitor finally, and we love watching her while she’s in the crib. So cute.

    • Big issue #2: eating. We’re doing Baby-Led Weaning for her meal times. Meaning, we offer her all sorts of wonderful, colorful, healthy foods, and she can decide during each meal what she wants to eat, how much of it, and learn on her own time how to get them into her mouth. She’s got the pincher grasp down pretty well (though not perfect yet), but she’s still just playing with her food for the most part. Sometimes some of the food makes it into her mouth, and today we had a bit of a breakthrough when her cousin Chelsea was over. Chelsea ate some of the cheerios on her tray, and Lily decided that she, also, wanted to eat some of the cheerios, so she fed herself. Woohoo! There was practically no feeding from us. It was all led by her.

      I’m really trying to keep my anxiety about meal times at bay. I don’t want her to associate meal times or food as a control issue to be had, so I want to just relax and let it go and let her do her thing. She’ll eat when she needs to, right? But sometimes, I just wish she’d eat MORE. Then I start thinking, “Wait a minute. I don’t eat a whole lot, and she’s a smaller baby too, so why am I expecting or wanting or hoping that she’d eat the same amount as other babies might? I certainly don’t eat the same amount as other adults do!” Not fair to our individual little firecracker to be compared to other babies.

      Having said that, I took her to her doc’s appointment for a check-up about two weeks ago. As of that time, she weighed 16 lbs 12 oz. Still in the 25th percentile. I described to our doc that sometimes Lily would get so upset that she’d vomit, and the doc is concerned that she may have acid reflux, which would explain why meal times have become so difficult, and why it has been giving her so much anxiety. More so than before. So we’re looking into that and seeing what we need to do if she indeed does have acid reflux.

    • Our Lily loooves her books. We read to her constantly throughout the day, and of course she gets her scheduled, routine storytime reading before bed. She has “favorite” books that she likes us to read to her, and she knows how to “turn the page” when asked and knows how to “close the book” when we say “The End” at the end. It’s the cutest thing.

    • Lily’s day is full of play, play, and more play. Recently, we found a long tube-like box that used to hold her play pen, and I emptied it all out and made it into a play-tube for her. She loooooves crawling through it. It’s the funnest thing in the world right now. Even Tink can’t help but join in from time to time!

    In general, our little girl is a beautiful, healthy, happy (VERY HAPPY) little girl. We can’t be more pleased. We signed her up for a play-and-grow class at Gymboree. We go for about an hour or so every Saturday, where she gets to tumble around and climb and learn to walk and crawl and bounce in this giant baby-friendly room with her babies who are also learning to do the same things. She’s very interested in other babies. Reaches out to them, tries to talk to them, tries to follow them around (until she gets bored or gets distracted and does her own thing, of course).

    And, of course, our Lily continues to love her bath every night before bed. I couldn’t help but take photos of the gratuitous rock star baby look too.

    Mother’s Day was awesome. Dave took us out to one of our favorite (Thai) restaurants near home, and it was my first awesome possum Mother’s Day with the Lily Bean. She’s very loud in restaurants, but she loves it because she gets so much attention from everyone who turns to look at her and makes goo-goo ga-ga faces and sounds at her.