When Owl was a baby I posted constant updates on his many advances and progress, while Fritter has gotten almost no blog attention. But I promise that the neglect is only in writing. I enjoy her so much that it is ridiculous, and I want to really introduce her to you.
She is seven months old now.
She can roll around, eat solid food, and say “ba ba ba”. She creeps around on her belly but she still can’t sit up completely independently. Her growth is perfectly on the 50th percentile, making her much bigger than Owl was at the same age but nicely average. She actually wore 6 months clothes at 6 months, can you believe that? Some of the clothes are handmedowns from Owl, which he wore at 9 months. She sleeps better than Owl did but still wakes up multiple times in the night.
But that’s all just data. It doesn’t tell you who Fritter is.
I love this ridiculous, derpy little baby.
Fritter is a people watcher. She especially loves to watch her brother’s antics, and she gets a big grin on her face when he comes into view. A game of peekaboo with him will have her laughing out loud.
She doesn’t laugh out loud super often, though. Her laugh is a rare and delightful thing. Usually she just grins, or if you give her kisses or blow raspberries at her she chortles.
She loves dogs. My friend the Farm Fairy has a puppy who is only 2 weeks older than Fritter and they are great friends. I’ve taken her to a couple of dog training appointments, too, and she just grins at the dog and watches everything quietly.
Her smile blooms.
It starts out just gently tugging at the corners of her mouth, and then slowly grows over her whole face, until the emotion overwhelms her and she has to hide it, usually in my chest if she’s in the carrier, otherwise behind her own arms or behind a blankie.
She loves to cover her face and eyes. She rubs her “Sleepy Sheep” all over her face as soon as we hand it to her. She will cover her face with the sheep blanket, or a curtain, or anything she can get her hands on and wait for us to say “Where’s Fritter?” and then she whips it off of her face with a big grin.
She is definitely shyer of strangers than Owl is, and she’s a little overattached to me. And by “a little overattached” I mean that she bursts into tears when I leave the room, or if I hand her to anybody, including her own father.
I think part of this is nature, and part of this is nurture. I think she is naturally a little more easily frightened. She went through a period when she was 2-3 months old where the slightest unexpected sound, even if it was just her father coughing or someone speaking when the room had gone silent, was enough to throw her into an angry pout followed by a protesting cry.
This is an unfortunate situation when you have an active five year old and a dog in the house. Every bark, every shout would send her into a fit of fear-rage.
Thankfully she has adjusted a bit, and now only does her angry pout if a genuinely startling noise happens.
On the other hand, she hasn’t been as well socialized as Owl in some ways.
Sure, she sees people more often than Owl did at that age, since she comes along to drop off and pick up at school, and on many play dates. I didn’t have a car when I was on mat leave with Owl so I was housebound, but now that PH is home on disability I can take her out shopping and she is out of the house almost every day.
But she is always on ME. I am her primary and virtually sole caretaker.
She is almost never held by anyone else except her father, and that’s only for short periods. We haven’t had a date night out since she was born, partially because we were unable to get her on a bottle and partially because PH has been unwell and has very little energy for evening shenanigans, so she has never been left with a sitter.
Owl, on the other hand, was FORCED onto a bottle and left with a sitter on a bi-weekly basis from a month old onwards. He was cared for by a rota of friends and I think he learned early that lots of people have the ability to care for him.
Fritter, on the other hand, probably thinks she will die if I leave the room because she doesn’t know otherwise.
Now that she is on solids we are working on this problem. Our first step is to get her to trust her father to look after her. Now that she’s past the screamy newborn stage he can play with her and put her in her high chair and feed her and she will learn that I am not the only person in the world who can feed and clothe her. Then we’ll start leaving her with other people.
Mockingjay Part 2 is in theatres now, so we consider this an emergency. We missed Mad Max and The Martian but we aren’t missing MOCKINGJAY.
Now, let’s talk about her looks.
Everyone says she looks just like Owl, and it’s funny because she does, and she doesn’t.
Owl has my eyes and his father’s eyebrows. She has her father’s eyes and my eyebrows. Overall she looks more like me than Owl, and people have noticed that.
That being said, there really is a resemblance, especially when I compare photos of them at similar ages and clothing.
No matter whose various body parts she has, her face ultimately looks like herself. I do love her little face. She gets such derpy expressions sometimes that it seems easy to underestimate her, but I think she’s actually pretty bright.
She was reaching for things early, and she studies how things work. She studies my reactions, turning to search my face for clues about what is happening around her. As I have already mentioned, she will initiate peekaboo and listens for a specific verbal cue before whipping the blanket off of her face.
It’s hard to explain but I just have this creeping feeling that there is a keen intelligence behind that cabbage patch face. Maybe I’m just being a doting parent. We’ll see.
In the mean time, I am just enjoying her babyhood. I can’t stop cuddling her like she’s a stuffed toy and kissing those chubby cheeks. And even though I know that I need to get out to see Mockingjay, and that she needs to feel comfortable with other people, I have no real desire to pass her off to other people.
She’s my last baby, and it goes so fast.