The longer I live in Florida, the more I miss the traditional four seasons and the changes each one brings along with it. When I hear people complaining about cold weather and countless inches of snow on the ground- and, believe me, I used to be one of those people- I can’t help but feel a pang of anger and a tinge of jealousy. It’s halfway through February, the “coldest” time of year around here, and the South Florida sun is still so hot that I can’t even open my blinds and allow daylight into my house. It’s like we live in a cave.
I’ve been longing to return to the Northeast since we found out we were expecting Miss P, and it’s been very difficult for me to accept that Tim doesn’t want to move. While I’ll never give up on the idea, I’ve decided I need to make the most of our time here. That means instead of staying cooped up inside the house all day, Miss P and I need to get out more, and, I have to say, we’ve really been living up to this goal. In fact, last week was full of fun and firsts.
Speaking of firsts, we got our first woven wrap last weekend. So exciting! We began using a stretchy wrap when Miss P was a newborn, and it worked very well for us (once we finally figured out how the heck the thing worked, that is). Since the fabric is, well, stretchy, we started running into problems as she got heavier (around the three-month-mark). It says on the package that it can be used until your child is 35 pounds, and while it may be true that the fabric is strong enough to accomplish this, by the time Miss P was approaching 14 pounds, the wrap became terribly unsupportive and, as a result, uncomfortable. We’ve been using a soft-structured carrier over the past month, and while it’s easy to use and extremely supportive, she’s still a bit too small for it. So far our woven wrap is perfect for us.
Miss P also had her first trip to the beach last weekend. By the time we arrived I was starving, so we stopped at a Subway along the boardwalk. Veggie Delight, anyone? Of course Miss P was so cozy in our new wrap she was asleep by the time we finished eating, and she slept through the rest of our excursion. This was a bit disappointing because I really wanted her to get to see the ocean. Looks like we’ll be making another trip soon.
Miss P’s not the only one around here experiencing firsts. Our dog, Brooklyn, and our cat, Oliver, have never had the pleasure of knowing a baby before, and it often seems like they’re not quite sure what to think of this whole ordeal.
From time to time, Oliver is fascinated by Miss P. He likes to relax along the edge of her play mat. He sprawls and preens and watches every little move she makes, which is wise because Miss P’s quickly becoming an expert at reaching for and grabbing objects, and said “objects” often include Brooklyn’s tail and Oliver’s fur.
Miss P seems to be quite fond of Brooklyn and Oliver. Her eyes widen and she smiles each time they pass by. Sometimes she kicks Brooklyn- on accident, of course- as he prances across her activity center. You’d think he’d learn to walk around it, but no. Miss P startles as he lets out a meek yelp, then she smiles.
The other day I managed to retrieve a sizable clump of dog hair from her hand as it was en route to her mouth. It was a close call.
In addition to her sudden interest in the family pets, Miss P has discovered her thumb! According to the manuals, I’m supposed to be horrified, but I must confess, I think it’s quite cute. She seems positively thrilled with this new toy. Just look at that smile:
She’s also found her feet. She constantly reaches for her toes and tries to roll over while holding tightly to them. The other evening she kept grabbing her foot and bringing it up to her face while she was nursing. She became so infatuated with her foot that she stopped eating so she could shove it into her mouth. After a few seconds, she let out a growling sound that told me she was still hungry and wasn’t having much luck getting any milk from this exciting new object.
As far as outings go, Miss P’s been on the move. Last week we had a lovely picnic at the park with a friend and her daughter. We’ve also met up with a local babywearing group a couple of times, and, I have to say, It’s been wonderful getting out of the house and meeting some new Mamas! These occasions aren’t just fun for me; the more alert and observant Miss P grows to be, the more she seems to enjoy the change in scenery as well. (That is when she’s not sleeping.)
If all this excitement wasn’t enough, Miss P just celebrated her first Valentine’s Day. We spent the morning conducting an impromptu photo shoot, because, seriously, I can never seem to take enough pictures of this little woman. She was so eager to show off her tummy-time skills and that sweet little smile. I used a clip art kiss because no Valentine’s Day picture would be complete without one, but I just couldn’t bring myself to smudge lipstick on my baby’s face.
After our photo shoot, we took a walk to the mailbox where Miss P’s first official Valentine was waiting. It was from Grandma and Grandpa Bob. (She’s since gotten a couple more.)
That evening, on the phone, my mom told me that she and my dad chose that particular card because of the bow (which is actually a detachable barrette). Legend has it, when I was a child, all of the little girls I drew- and there were many- each had a bow, just like the one on the card. My mom and dad thought it was cute and ironic and couldn’t resist this card because of it.
As for me, I don’t remember the bows. I vaguely remember the little girls. I clearly remember adding eyes and a smile to every sun and tree I drew throughout the entirety of my childhood. Thinking back, it seems that a smiling sun and tree were featured in nearly every drawing I created.
Sometimes the tree branches boasted bright green puffs- my rudimentary attempt at leaves. Other times, they were adorned with red, orange, and gold swirls. If it was a tree I drew on Valentine’s Day, the branches would likely be bare, in reflection of winter. Regardless of the season, I guarantee there was a smiling sun peeking out from the top left corner. Isn’t it funny what our minds choose to cling to?
I can’t wait to share the story behind Miss P’s first Valentine with her when she’s a bit older. She’ll wear her red bow as I tell her that I, her Mommy, drew a bow just like it on all of my little girls when I was her age.
I wonder what characteristics Miss P’s future drawings will feature. One thing is certain: I will have made it my mission for her to grow up in a place that allows her trees to change throughout the year.