Ruby at 17 months

Ruby’s developed a general curiosity with books. She’ll be playing in her room and her favorite thing to do is to open up a book and flip through the pages. Oftentimes she’ll grab our fingers and point to something and have us name objects in the pictures.

As of late last week, she’s pretty much memorized the whole alphabet, capital letters only. She gets them correct about 90% of the time now, and she got about ten letters correctly before I started taking this video. We’re going to start working on lowercase letters and numbers.

I think she’s partially toilet trained. She rarely poos in her diapers now, and sometimes after a night time sleep or a daytime nap, she’ll wake up with a dry diaper and have a big pee in the toilet. Illie’s aunt tells us not to toilet train her too early though – maybe at around two years. So hopefully she’ll only need her diapers at night in six months or so.

Ruby’s signing vocabulary has now exceeded mine. She’s learned most of her words from Signing Time and will now sign words to me that I can’t understand. We’ve noticed for the first time last Sunday that she’s combined two signs into a sentence. Her verbal abilities have improved only slightly : more specifically, she can’t make the “E” sound, as well as a huge portion of the consonant sounds in English. Some of her favorite sounds have been “baht”, “daht”, and “vahm.” Recently she started saying “bahtah”.

She can now walk up and down stairs while holding down the bannister. She went halfway down the stairs unsupervised (accidentally) last Saturday.

Ruby’s 16th month checkpoint

I read while back to expect her cognitive ability to explode around this time, and it has – especially in the last couple weeks. She’s becoming a lot less baby-like and a lot more child-like. Her listening comprehension has improved to the point where we can almost pretty much speak simple things to her normally and expect her to understand (though, whether she follows through with commands is a completely different story). Her spoken vocabulary is approaching about 10 words.

She is understanding everyday occurrences now. She now understands why she has to take a bath, why her diaper needs to be changed, and is a lot more patient with these routines. She helps me put her shirt on but sticking her arm out. She understands when we ask her to smile for pictures now, though she doesn’t always do it. But when she does smile, it definitely doesn’t looka s natural.

Feeding is becoming more of a routine, and while she still resists she doesn’t put up as much of a fight anymore. Her weight is around 35 percentile now, according to infantchart.com. She’s grown tall enough to reach the top drawers of her dresser, which will probably need babyproofing now. Seems like she might have had a growth spurt a couple weeks ago, or maybe it had something to do with a couple weekend stays at Illie’s parents’ house, where she gets fed more than we feed her here.

We’re not explicitly trying to potty train her, but for a long time now we’ve had this routine of putting her on the toilet after every meal. Her pooing has become pretty regular now, and she hasn’t had poo in her diaper for several weeks now, maybe almost a month. She’ll still pee in her diaper quite a bit.

Due to walking and friction with the cloth diaper, she’s developed some diaper rash that won’t go away unless we use disposables. So now we’re on half disposables and half cloth diapering.

Ruby seems to have almost none of Illie’s personality in her. In fact, she seems to be halfway in between me and Rosa, almost like she came from my parents instead of from me and Illie. Unlike me and Illie, she enjoys going out and exploring the park or going on a hike. She doesn’t like to be caged indoors all day long like I did when I was her age. I hope she at least has some Wu-brains genes.

Vacation to the Pacific Northwest

First week of June was a vacation to the Pacific Northwest to visit my brother in law in Portland. We then stayed three nights at Paradise Inn in Mt Rainier, and then the weekend in Seattle where we stayed with Maz and saw Illie’s high school best friends Erin and Chris. Illie and I are really in love with the Pacific Northwest, and if it weren’t for family in Southern California there would be no doubt that we would move up there. It is so green, alive, and beautiful, and the cloudy/misty/cool climate is perfect for us. I went running in the suburbs of Hillsboro, and due to the perfect running temperature (cloudy, low 50s), a brisk low 7 min/mile pace felt strangely easy. That’s compared to the same effort at high 7 min/mile pace in Southern California. I ran with Illie’s cousin, then with a Malaysian intern from Mt Rainier I met, and then with Erin and Chris. Before the vacation, I had felt burnt out at work, and I came back from the vacation refreshed, well rested and happier.

I felt like Ruby’s development was noticeable during the trip, especially since I was spending more time with her and not away at work. She’s becoming more verbal and blabbing more – some of her favorite sounds are “daht”, “baht”, and “bahf”. She’s starting to associate “ma” with Illie and starting to say “ba” but she doesn’t use them to directly address us. Her understanding of our Taiwanese has improved and we’re starting to speak to her more as a child than as a baby. She’s also a lot more stable walking now, and has started to run.

Staying with Maz and Hwayoung was great because they have a 6 and 3 year old that Ruby is especially curious about. Ruby was very curious about their toys, and especially liked following the 6 year old around. With those kids, we as parents felt like it was okay to not keep an eye on Ruby all the time, and it was relaxing. Also, staying with parents made it a lot easier to care for Ruby because everything we needed was there, the house was already child proof, and any kind of mess we made was the norm. That was probably the highlight of the trip, along with recounting college memories from a decade ago.

Spoonfeeding her has become almost impossible, especially when she doesn’t nap enough. She’s figured out our tricks and is adamant about doing things herself instead of having things done for her. But her ability to self feed has improved, though not as much as we’d like. Illie has constantly been trying to fatten her up, and we’ve tried to give her lots of puree with high fat/caloric content, but to our dismay she doesn’t like carbs and protein very much. Yesterday night Illie and I observed that lately her food preferences, in adult terms really makes her a "health nut". She loves fruit, especially steamed apples, oranges, and strawberries. She also loves vegetables such as chickpeas, onions, peppers, and black olives. She absolutely loves drinking plain water and dislikes milk and juice. She’ll eat rice and tofu. The only meat that she’ll eat is fish, and she doesn’t like beef, potatoes, cookies, cake, or any kind of junk food. Is this common for kids this age? I hope she carries these tastes through adulthood.

Ruby @ 14 months, running

Ruby turned 14 months a week ago. Since about a month ago, we counted about 15 words of vocabulary that consist mostly of signs, one word “flower” (as in my previous blog) and the word “more” which she doesn’t seem to say anymore. While I’ve been very strict about restricting any kind of TV watching, we’ve allowed her to watch Baby Signing Time only during feedings, which has actually taught her to sign. Now that she vastly prefers walking to crawling, we’ve been taking her outside for walks and when she encounters a dog or a baby, she’ll spontaneously sign “dog” and “baby”. Baby Signing Time has also distracted her during feeding, which helps because she naturally dislikes being fed. We also discovered a feeding tactic that takes advantage of what seems to be a reflex, and we’ve been able to put a lot more food in Ruby’s stomach than before. As of last week she was about 21.5 pounds, but she’s had days where she was over 22 pounds. She is now completely walking and almost running, while stumbling a lot less than she used to.

It seems that after about a year, the amount of change has increased, but the types of changes has decreased.

Illie’s mom has come back from a vacation and has graciously helped out in taking care of Ruby. I’ve been able to increase my running mileage as a result, my long run is up to 11 miles and I’ve finally surpassed a 30 mile week again. I’ve been continuing speedwork on my own, but it’s no substitute with during speedwork with a group. I’m back close to marathoning weight, but I don’t believe I’m close to racing fitness as I was in ’07-’09.

Illie started a full time job at Altamed about a month ago. We’ve been ready to buy a house but it is practically impossible to find a suitable house in the area that we want to live. I have no idea how much longer we will be renting, it could be for years.

Ruby @ 13 Months

Ruby turned 13 months last Thursday. While she’s been enunciating “maa maa” and “daa daa”, I think she is really just babbling. The first real word she’s said is the word “flower” 花 in mandarin. She repeats the word after an adult with the impeccable first tone, which I’ve seen third/fourth year college Chinese students struggle with. I’m not sure she associates it with an actual flower though.

I’m trying to figure out how to be a parent of a one year old. It’s different from taking care of a baby. Babies are naturally selfish, think of only themselves, and this is expected. As a 13 month old toddler Ruby is still pretty selfish, and she has no inhibitions about going over to another child and taking a toy away. Last Saturday she tried to take her sippy cup away from Erika, and as usual I laugh and think it’s adorable/entertaining that she’s interacting with another toddler. Today she tried to take a toy from her 2-year old (second) cousin to his annoyance. Seems like it’s time to stop treating her like a baby and start teaching her to learn to share, even though I don’t think she understands what I’m saying. Feels like this change happened so fast.

Ruby @12.5 months

Yesterday 4/9/2011 marks the first day I actually consider Ruby a toddler instead of a baby. She’s taken a huge interest in walking on twos, and spent almost all day practicing. Her ability to self feed has also improved, and her reflex of using her tongue to push food out has mostly gone away. She’s getting a lot harder to spoonfeed, so at this point I think we’re going to feed her less puree and more adult food.

From about a month ago, her very first steps:

well she’s awake now from a two hour nap. Got to go get her…

Almost one year

Ruby is turning 1 year in five days. We’re celebrating her birthday on Saturday with some friends and family.

New developments since the last blog entry:

  • Perhaps the most promising development is that it appears she’s developed an interest in books. There are a couple of books she’s shown a lot of interest in, and will crawl over to them and start flipping pages. She isn’t so much interested in being read to as she is in flipping pages herself (upside down or not)
  • Am I reading into this correctly, or am I projecting? Looks to me like Ruby has developed a sense of humor, or at least a sense of silliness. It’s with the sounds that she makes, and the things that she does to get adult reaction.
  • Starting about a week ago, Ruby began showing a habitual interest in walking. Illie considers Ruby as “walking” now – I believe she"s just stepping. Her preferred method of locomotion is still (bear) crawling, but she reaches about 12 steps everyday (with 16 steps being her record, set yesterday). Usually it’s get up, two steps, flop on butt. Seems as though it’ll be a matter of weeks before she’s actually walking more than she crawls.
  • As of this week, Ruby’s exceeded 20 pounds. She’s tripled her weight about a week before her first birthday, and is now about 35-40 percentile. We’ll confirm on her first birthday doctor’s visit.
  • About a week or two ago she’s been giving objects to adults. She’s fed Illie strawberries, and often hands objects over to me, including books. Hopefully this is a sign that she will be a giving, generous person.

BAA, almost 11 months, parenting…

Earlier this week I found out that thea Boston Athletic Association change the qualifying standards to get into the Boston marathon. So whereas before, I felt pretty confident that I could qualify for 2013, it looks like the time I’d have to invest in training now is too much. I’ve decided to shelve my plans to qualify for Boston. In the meantime I get to enjoy my running and not spend too much time away from home.

Tomorrow, Ruby will be 11 months old. She is now walking while pushing onto something, like a cart or a musical table. It seems to me that her balance and ability to stand and walk on her own is improving without actually practicing. She appears to be a bit risk averse so she isn’t daring to stand and walk on her own that much – often times I see her standing on her own without realizing it. Illie reported that she took two steps without holding onto anything last week, but we’re not sure whether those really count as her first steps.

She’s learned several signs that are mostly cute but impractical: clapping, raising her arms, a begging sign, “milk”, “baby”, and repeatedly sticking out her tongue. Her eating has improved, but she is still horribly messy and still hasn’t kicked the habit of pushing food out with her tongue. Her top two teeth are already budding, so hopefully when they come in, that will improve her eating.
I’ve figured out how to get Ruby to enjoy bathing a lot more. I put her in the soapy water and let her play on her own for awhile before I actually start washing her, and now this sets a really good tone for the rest of the night. Unfortunately for the last couple nights Ruby has developed a habit of crying out in the middle of the night, and she now demands two sessions of breastfeeding before she wakes up for good in the morning. Hopefully this isn’t going to be happening every night now.

We’re starting to discover that having a baby creates a gap between us and our childless friends, while making us closer to the friends and family who also have babies. There’s a lot of implicit understanding and unspoken sympathy with friends who also have kids. At the same time, some who don’t have kids and haven’t gone through the same struggles have a difficult time understanding what we parents go through. Case in point, a childless friend visiting for the weekend initially invited me to go clubbing, and when I said no, he asked me whether I was interested in karaoke. It was already inappropriate for him to suggest these baby-unfriendly activities, but then to aggressively counsel me on how I should conduct my family affairs, how I should be a father, and then not back off became very offensive. But this was only part of the irritation: in the past, without a child, it was already somewhat annoying to always have to give an hour or two to waiting this particular friend to be late (habitually), but I always tried to be flexible. Now with a child, we no longer have that hour or two to give. We’ve decided this weekend that we can no longer tolerate this anymore.