As the days click by in Nyana’s first full year, we are constantly being reminded that she is not the same little two-and-a-half pound girl she was this time last year, naturally. She’s come a long way and left a trail of cuteness and pink in her wake, among that – three paper boxes full of outgrown clothes! For the head that I could cup my palm around without touching, we now have a number of too-small hats. For the sleepers that even the tiniest on the market would be oversized, we’re now choking under the growing mountain of ones she just can’t squeeze into one more night. Our little girl is getting bigger by the day, and as her big day gets closer we find ourselves in our first noticeable transition phase.
The Next Size Up.
Last weekend we dropped the crib down a level. It had to be done, especially after finding her leg lounging over the top bar like she was riding shotgun in a Trans-Am. And since pulling herself up is currently in her repertoire of daily exercises, we couldn’t let it go any longer. The change brings some pros and some cons both, and I guess they wash each other out in the end. Now she has some great targets to practice pulling up (and just last night was rewarded with her first seating-to-one-knee-to-seating-to-two-knees pull-up ever) but at the same time the bed is so much farther down that I feel like my back is aging me faster than it should every time I need to handle her. I suppose one more benefit Nyana brings to our lives is getting us couch potatoes moving and stretching and somewhat active once again, but there are some nights (like when she’s being uncooperative with the puffer) that I really wish we had those six inches back. Yes, I know, safety and responsibility and all that…not to mention Bedtime Dance Funtime is greatly enhanced by having a deeper dancefloor and higher hang-on bar. Like I said, there are some pros.
Last week Karen also ran the first clinical trials of the Big Girl Stroller. Yes, that’s right, we finally took out the carseat attachment and let Nyana ride facing front for the first time. It was, overall, successful. As I’m sure you can imagine, Nyana had some adjustments to make.
There are the usual seperation anxiety issues of not being able to see your driver all of a sudden, the perspective shift as the world is now rushing at you (or you, at it) instead of lazily floating past you (or you, through it), and the physical positioning changes in now sitting taller and being a more active participant in the world you’re in, whether you’re awake and energetic or you decide to knock off for a nap. I took Nyana out in her second run in the Big Girl Stroller yesterday for a huge walk around the False Creek seawall – all the way down, and back up through Granville Island and across over Burrard Bridge – and she handled it (like most everything) like a champ. Karen is out with her now for her third run this afternoon, but I think it’s safe to say already that, despite the diminished storage space in the stroller, it’s a mad success. Although we may have a little bit of work to do with big gusts of wind. Now that she’s no longer sheltered by the carseat, she’s exposed to any and all breezes that come flapping about and she didn’t seem to be enjoying those too much during our walk by the water. I’m guessing that comes from either living with a blowing-air-windpipe strapped to your face all day, or her mother Karen. I may be letting out a secret here, but Karen hates the wind. Passionately.
My lovely ladies have just returned from their fun in the sun today and Karen and I have discussed it and agree. All field test trials with Big Girl Stroller have gone very well, and we’re not going to go back. We’ve shed about ten pounds (which makes mobility easier overall, but especially on the stairs!), lowered our centre of gravity, and have a much less bulky ride altogether. We do lose a nice shelf that Mr. Bipap used to ride in, so he goes down below with everyone else – filling up the entire undercarriage. Also, the extra hook-up off the front (carseat carrying handle) is gone and the footrest is now occupied by Nyana’s feet, so piling up bags of groceries off the front like a couple of hillbillies is over, too. What do normal people do when they go shopping with a stroller? Backpacks? Mommy hooks? Just make the baby carry stuff?
With Big Girl Stroller, comes another change that just might be the biggest change of them all. While I was so focused on how Nyana would take on the world in her new configuration, I neglected to consider how the world would take on Nyana. Now, she is front-and-centre, face first, comin’ at ya. I think around these parts, most of us have gotten quite familiar and comfortable with respirators in the past year, and seeing Mr. Bipap or Mr. Oxygen is nothing unusual at all. On my walk yesterday I was reminded of how many people are not familiar with respirators. Instead of seeing the hoses and tubes and trying to sneak a peek at what’s “under the hood”, she is right out in front for all to see. And all do. I was amazed at how many more looks we got, and how many less comments we got. Not one person approached us to say something, but almost everyone we passed did a double-take, peeked out from their sunglasses, or just plain stared at us walking by. We smiled at some of them, waved at others, and in the Granville Island Market Nyana parted the thick, livestockian crowds like Moses. And right as we were in the home stretch – two blocks from home – we had the most surprising occurance of all. A smoker, out in the sidewalk outside a bar, was talking to his friend. Young kid, thinks he’s a cool dude. He takes a drag as he looks up and sees us, does a double-take on Ny, and then to my total surprise he backs off the sidewalk to give us lots of room and holds his smoke as far away as he can while he exhales the other way as well. While it would have been nice for him to not even be smoking at all, it was a really nice gesture. As I was enjoying that exchange, I passed three smoking octogenarians in the last two blocks to home that didn’t even budge. Hmm. Nyana reminded me that it was probably because of their slow reflexes. Smart girl.
So as the first year draws to a close and we get ready for another one to begin, we can already see the huge footprint this big little girl has in this big little world. She’s inspired us and changed us, mixed us up and put us back together stronger than we were before. Sucking us up into her Sunshine Brigade and spitting us out with goofy, toothless grins and drool puddles on our shirts. Where did we get these cookies? I don’t know.