Almost there...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baby Update - Day 382

I like babies. The whole idea of Athena becoming a toddler has worried me more than a little bit. But I have to admit that the past couple of weeks has been a blast. She keeps demonstrating that she's comprehending and adapting more and more each day.

She moved from the infant room to the pre-tots room at daycare and after months of encouraging her to use signs for "more" or "all done" at meals, the very next day she promptly used both correctly at dinner. We praised the staff for being miracle workers and they laughed with us. After many tears when she first started going to EH, she now plops down, starts playing, and when I say, "Bye bye Athena!" she looks up, waves, and goes back to playing. I'm still amazed.

Her other dinner time trick is that she's developed a real love for putting the lids back onto the food packets. She can now easily negotiate getting the cap on the stem and twisting it closed. Sure, she's watched me do it a million times, but now she actively wants the lid, not to chew on, but to put back on the food.

Just today she boggled me a little. I presume we're still a few months from real words beyond Mama, but I said, "Wave bye-bye to Pepper Kitty. We'll see her tonight." Athena enthusiastically responded with a wave for Pepper and "Bye-bye. Bye bye bye." I... yeah, that's what I said to do. Nice going kiddo!

Earlier that morning, Erik helped me get her sweater on. She's so consistent about putting her arms into sleeves. Offer a sleeve and she puts her hand into it and away we go. We fumbled a bit with the sweater this morning, and Erik helped us get it back on, then kissed me goodbye. Athena watched this from my arms and then put her hand to her mouth and said, "Mwah!" and blew us a kiss. We again looked at each other like, "Did that just happen?" Yes, yes it did. Wow.

She's gotten better at petting Pepper too. And Pepper tolerates her affection with the love of someone who has been fed many many cat treats. Athena's favorite evening activity is reaching into the bag of Greenies, pulling one out, and handing it to Pepper. Pepper ends up getting six or seven Greenies a day this way and they've worked out how to do it so gracefully where Pepper's pointy fangs never bite the baby. Meanwhile, the other night Athena came in and started petting Pepper. Pepper doesn't run or anything. Athena is occasionally still a big more pat the kitty than pet the kitty, but she's gotten much better. Many refrains of "pet gently" have done their job. Anyway, she was petting Pepper, who lay down on her side. Then Athena leaned down and put her head on Pepper for a hug. Pepper totally rolled with it. These are the moments when I wish I had an embedded camera with a thirty-seconds back reel that I could play back at a whim and record. Meanwhile, Leeloo is still terrified of the baby. Oh well.

Also, she loves playing chase with Daddy.


Science News!

I love science, so Valentine's Day is a great time for a Science News post.

I loved this team's approach to sharing some science news. Sure, their paper was published in Nature, but then they got the word out with LOL Cats and YouTube.

Then Robert Krulwich posted about this cool application of nanotech - a hydrophobic, oleophobic coating. It was cool enough that I made Erik watch it. He got kind of giddy because this could conceivably be an engineering application of the work he was doing in his PhD.

Then there's the ever popular science news where they try doing something that we all saw on Star Trek. In this case, it's wiring up rat's brains to see using a technology similar to Geordi's visor.

Ever near to my heart is some recent Stanford research on child development. Specifically, it's amazing what a difference it makes to say to a child "You worked really hard on that. Good job!" rather than "Wow, you're so smart!" Ultimately, kids who hear the former are far more likely to persevere when things get harder, and saying it matters from as soon as they have a basic understanding of language.

And as a perfect capstone for Valentine's Day, new research is showing that monogamous couples may have a bit to learn from those who are consensually nonmonogamous. This includes things like "people who cheat on their partners sexually are less likely to engage in safe sex while doing so than are people in consensual nonmonogamous relationships" and that when jealousy occurs, those in consensually nonmonogamous relationships are more likely to discuss the situation and negotiate boundaries that everyone can live with.
I hope everyone has a happy, safe, loving Valentine's Day!