Amarys is fourteen months! Nutty. In fact, I call Amarys 'Peanutty' and 'Peanut Butter' as variations of 'Peanut' all the time, so it is appropriate that it feels nutty that she is growing in leaps and bounds. Dudes, she's growing up at warp speed~the more kids I have, the faster it goes... I just love her so much. Which shouldn't surprise me anymore, since I love all my kids so much, but it really does feel astonishing that I can hold so much love for another being inside me, and not split open and die. Multiplied by four. How is there room in me for so much love?
Amarys is a spicy nut. She's particular and everyone knows it. On the one hand, it would be so great if our circle of amazing family and friends could develop a deeper relationship with her and really get to enjoy her vivacious personality; for now, she is still very standoffish. On the other hand, it is who she is. And we celebrate her. We all know she will warm up eventually, because our circle is so full of wonderful, loving, amazing people~ and so we should just cherish these moments when the Vose Six are her entire universe. And in fact she is already starting to branch out. She played with my mom when we went to Vernon to adopt out Simon, and she ran up to her Aunt and hugged her legs today, before running away like she had touched a fire, screeching whenever Auntie looked at her afterwards.
She also seems to be settling, in her soul. She has developed trust for us as her parents to respond when she needs us and to love her unconditionally, and she is slowly expanding her exploration comfort zone. She will happily cruise up and down our stairs, tossing shoes and filling them with surprises, for up to half an hour. She can feed herself 100% independently now, including utensils (even soup!). She is a fabulous eater, and eats anything. She LOVES meat and prefers it over anything else. She is petite and delicate in stature but ferocious in spirited personality. Sometimes we call her 'Angry Bird' because she really is light and tiny like a bird, and often enough she is sooooo angry about some thing or another. She can get angry because you smiled at her, took her photo, or tickled her when she didn't want you to. Or because she can't walk when she has MY shoes on because they are too big and heavy. Or because she wanted to walk up the stairs on her own and you didn't get her telepathic mind memo regarding it. She has a new noise for "I want that." Remarkably, the noise is polite and pleasant! It is just a noise and not a phonetic sound per se, but it is phrased like a question, rising at the end. She will point and make her noise, and hopefully someone tunes into what she wants rather soon, or she will hit the floor in frustration. We do baby sign language with her, but she's not that into it. She would really rather just communicate in her own way, which is fine! The one sign she consistently uses eleventymillion times a day is 'milk.' If you don't look at her when she's communicating with you, she slaps you. Hard. Open palm, to your chest if she can reach it, or your arm if she can't. If she can manage it, she will slap your face, but generally she can't reach. She also likes to slap me while she breastfeeds. She slaps the boys all the time, scratches their faces, and pulls their hair. But sometimes, she gives them hugs instead, and once in awhile she will back her sweet little bum onto their laps for a cuddle.
She's got a hate on for diapers these days, and prefers to be naked. She also hates the potty so I'm not down with diaperless in the cool edge of early spring. Maybe in the summer when she is cruising around outside more and it isn't so cold! I have a heck of a time changing her diaper and have resorted to fastening the clean diaper before I slip it on~she will generally consent to lying down to have her dirty diaper taken off, and then she's kicking me hard and flailing like a pit of snakes the second I pull out the clean one... If I let her stand to slip on the new one though, she will go with it. For now. =) I'm sure that will change in the next few days!
She's a sleep fighter, too. Ugh. Getting her to sleep is a huge deal, and if she doesn't sleep in her regular rhythm she gets WAY out of whack and it takes days to readjust. I've always felt that people who plan their entire days around their kids' body rhythms were kind of whack jobs. Inflexible whack jobs. Like, I'm all for encouraging a pattern so our kids know what to expect, physiologically; we generally sleep at this time and wake at this time and eat at this time, etc, but never deviating? I don't get it. Kids will adjust. They will nap on the go or eat snacky meals or whatever, and you just tough out some crankies and get back to the rhythm as normal the next day. Right? Well I'm starting to get it with Amarys. She's SO CRANKY when you deviate from her regular pattern and it takes SO LONG to get back to it, that it is tempting to arrange my life around it.
I would, actually, if she didn't fight sleep so hard. She needs to sleep around 11:30, for about two hours. She will sleep at this time about 20% of the time. The rest of the time she falls asleep sometime between 2 and 3 pm, once she has utterly exhausted herself and me. Not for lack of trying. What's the point in arranging your whole life around being home at 11:30 every day if she's not even going to fall asleep then? Poor kid. You make your own bed, and then you won't lie in it.
She hasn't pulled a middle of the night party in awhile (knock on wood), so there's that! She pretty regularly goes down around 8:30, gets up to nurse and join us in our bed around midnight, and sleeps heavily until around 6 a.m. She won't get up for the day til 7:30 but she wakes up off and on every ten to fifteen minutes to breastfeed from 6 to 7:30 or so. She always sleeps on her stomach, and has since she was four months old and could wiggle her way over on her own. She'll thrash around while she's falling asleep but I can always tell she's about to crash into a deep sleep when she rolls onto her tummy, tucks her legs up, sticks her bum in the air, and folds her arms up under her chest. She's so sweet. She also cannot fall asleep with any type of blanket on her at any time, ever. Some of her night wakings around midnight have to be about temperature regulation, because she will feel cool when I go to her room to pick her up, and warm up quickly while nursing and thrash around kicking my blanket off her legs and detangling from the sheets. This arrangement makes me rather cold, but we've worked out a system of several blankets and certain angles and tucking that seems to work!
As for her especial passionate loves, which of course she has just as strongly as her passionate dislikes, she is particularly taken with shoes. She loves her own shoes and brings them to us, hands them over, and then picks up her little foot to tell us that she wants them put on, about eleventythousand times a day. Seriously. And then she stomps around, all proud of herself. She also loves my crochet toys. She snuggles them all the time. She loves her brothers. She climbs up on the window seat in our livingroom by herself and cruises around, watching the neighborhood, or us, and babbling comments. She loves her own tummy and will frequently lift her shirt to show it off, point to it, and chatter away in a tone that denotes surprise, happiness, and some sort of secret inside joke, all at once. She calls everyone in our family "Mama," and generally yells it at the top of her lungs at whoever she is talking to. She knows how to say "Dada," but he usually gets MAMA just like everyone else. She claps when she's really taken with something. She's tough as nails; she can fall and rebound off some sharp edge or hard surface, and she's back running without skipping a beat. She knows how to wrestle. She knows how to make the appropriate vehicle noises when pushing a toy truck or car or airplane, and she's pretty clueless as to what you're supposed to do with a doll. She has one doll she likes but she only really likes it because it makes noise when you squeeze it.
She loves to choose her own clothes and is quite opinionated about it. She's often wearing some combination of pyjamas and long sleeved shirt, but at night she will invariably pick fleece one piece PJs which make her sweat so much she can't sleep. I need to put the fleece away out of sight one of these days. Of course, she'd rather be naked much of the time anyways.
She loves our cat and picks her up by the armpits all the time (what are those on a cat; legpits?), dragging the cat around on her butt because Amarys is too short to carry the cat. Paige totally puts up with it and even seems to like it, which is hilarious after 8 years of little boys harassing her. You would think she would hate all little kids, but she doesn't. Whenever the cat comes in the room Amarys makes her "I want that" noise, points, laughs, and runs over to poke her or lift her up by the legpits.
She's pretty sensitive; if I yelp or raise my voice (can you imagine that I would ever need to do that, in a household with three wild boys in it?) she will sometimes cry. Especially if she's tired, and especially if she caused the yelp. She bites when she's breastfeeding, and damn if it doesn't make me yelp pretty loud. Not the occasional nip, like other babies. She full on BITES. Yowch. Then I yelp and bring her up to eye level and tell her no, and her face crumples and she starts wailing like I hurt her feelings. Yikes! Brent hurt her feelings the other day, too; I can't remember what she did, but it made him yelp and she got all weepy on him. With all the noise around here she's quite accustomed to loud noises; it is the emotion behind the noise that she reacts to, I think.
Speaking of noise, she has destroyed my hearing. I'm sure of it. She is SO FREAKING LOUD. You literally cannot have a conversation if she is screeching, unless you can lip read. Her happy noises, discontent noises, surprised noises, exploring noises, ALL of them are SO LOUD! Certainly, no one is ever going to take advantage of this little girl, or coerce her into doing anything she's not sold on. She might lead others down the path to the river and jump into the rapids, but she won't be following. That's good, right? She's one intense kid.
And she makes a liar out of me in public all the time by sitting quietly and watching the world go by. =)
Anyone who touches her or tries to interact with her gets a taste of it, though; she jerks her arm away like they have leprosy and gives them The Eyebrows... (The odd time she will give a shy smile or duck her head instead; she's starting to come out of her shell, but mostly it's just the YOU'VE CONTAMINATED ME routine).
Just today she blew on her food to cool it off at dinnertime and I just about died from the cuteness.
She's inquisitive, smart, funny, busy, opinionated, energetic, sweet, loud, fantastic, and fun to be around. I said to Brent the other day that as much as I love when our kids are babies, this stage that Amarys is at is when it really starts getting fun. The learning is so remarkable, and how they absorb new things and reproduce them, and start interacting at more complex levels, and it is just so fun. When they run around and have opinions and their eyes are wide open with wonder at everything from the way eggs crack to the taste of shoe tread, it brings everyone joy. When they start knowing that after bathtime, we brush teeth and read books, so they bang their toothbrush on the sink and then run and get a story and back into your lap to listen, it is just so cool. They are born these warm, puking, wiggly little kangaroo babies with no experience of the world except what is done to them, and in one year they are suddenly acting upon the world in order to make it do things for them, and they love with wild abandon, and it is just so beautiful.
Thank you, Amarys, for being you. For being in the world, and for coming into our family at exactly the right time. For being a girl. For being spicy and opinionated, and for your beautiful blue grey eyes, left cheek dimple, and preference for shoes. I love you, baby bird.