Today, I came to the sudden realization that tomorrow will be our last day in New Jersey. It's strange how time works when you're away from home- it seems that we've only just begun to settle in, and at the same time, I can't say I won't be relieved to finally be home, when it comes down to it.
We will have ended up spending only a week here, but the kids have experienced so much in that time, particularly Abby. I began reflecting upon the various things that she's learned during her stay, which comprise an impressive list, indeed:
Snow looks awesome on Christmas trees (and pretty much everything else around).
The more hats, the merrier.
Coloring is great fun, whether in coloring books,
or even on the frames of electrical outlets.
She's also picked up a few new phrases, including:
"Oh my goodness!"
"I can't believe it."
And this evening, she saw her very first light show. Unfortunately, I could not attend, as it was a walking tour, and I was too tired out after a brief trip to the mall this afternoon to do any more walking. However, Abby had a great time with Nana and Papa. It was held at a local zoo, so she saw a few animals, too, and rode a carousel. Nana perched her on a seal that moved up and down, and held her steady, but perhaps next time we'll try the bench seating; Abby got a bit nervous before too long and finished the ride in Nana's arms.
Finally, our Cute Abby Moment of the week:
While Tom, Mei Mei and I were off at the Met, Nana put Abby down for her afternoon nap, and forgot to give her a binky before leaving the room. At first, Abby chatted to herself cheerfully, but after a few minutes, she grew tired, and began to whine. When Nana went up to check on her, she found Abby tearfully clutching her new Madeline doll. Abby looked up at her as she entered the room and said, woefully, "Madeline wants to go to sleep." At that point, Nana realized her omission, offered a binky, and all was then well.
As for Michael, he's mostly just been getting into trouble, especially with the tree. Despite our best efforts to block his access, he's broken no less than four ornaments. He's also gotten even more adept at climbing over objects to get where he wants to go, including staircases. He's ascended the stairs to the upper level at least three times now, and regularly tackles the lower shelves of end tables and large toys that block his way.
That's not all he's been up to, however. He's really become invested in using his voice to communicate, and has developed a range of sounds to get his point across that no longer hinge on crying. Most of his "words" are variations on oh, ah, and heh, but he varies the volume and inflection to indicate his level of desire or need. He's also continued to practice the few consonant sounds that he has mastered, and will spend a few minutes here and there exclaiming loudly to himself in "babble."
His journey towards walking independently has been an interesting one to observe ever since he began to pull to standing. For some time now, he's indicated some amount of readiness, but he's gotten so efficient with crawling that lately, he;s lacked the motivation to develop an alternate means of getting around. I've therefore given up on trying to predict when his first steps will occur, as they could happen tomorrow, or some months from now, depending on when he starts to actually take an interest.
However, in the last few days, he does seem to have made some progress on that front. On Christmas day, he "walked" across the room while pushing a light, hollow plastic chair in front of him. Today he took a few steps while leaning on the matching plastic table. And in general, he is pulling up more, and in more places (such as up against sliding doors to suck on the glass -ick),
and when he stands, he does so with great confidence.
Maybe he'll be walking soon, after all.
Or maybe not...
The phrase "que sera, sera," comes to mind, though truthfully, the more I see his capacity for trouble-making grow, the more I began to suspect that I'm much better off having him down on all fours for as long as he will stay there.