Gisele's 13th month just passed, but I'm calling this her 12 month update. There have been countless changes since the last update 3 months ago. The most exciting is that Gisele now walks! Once she figured it out, she quickly embraced a bipedal lifestyle. Sometimes she'll walk with both of her arms behind her body and sometimes she'll walk with them out front, but all of the time she's pigeon-toed. Learning to walk was a sort of epiphany for Gisele; she learned to crawl soon after. So there's no stopping her now, and we finally had to start baby-proofing. Oh, did I mention that we bought a condominium? You can read about it here.

Another amazing development is that Gisele finally eats solids. I may be exaggerating a bit-- I should say that she chews solids and then spits them out. It's very cute to see her put a bean in her mouth, chew it briefly, spit it out, and then pop another bean in to continue the process. After she's done eating there is always a pile of chewed-up food on her lap. She's still growing well, though. Her height at 12 months was 32" (above the 97th percentile), and her weight was 25 lbs. (95th percentile). Another way to look at it is that she's the size of an average 19 month old. Gisele's tushie is very large in all directions, especially when compared to her cousin Anne (see picture below). I think that she is becoming less squishy now that she's moving all around. Her arms are still nice and fat, and while she's tanning from all the time spent outside, the creases in her arms are remaining white in the shadows of her fat.

So, what are Gisele's favorite toys nowadays? Pens are still in favor, but have been replaced for the most part by balloons and brooms. Whenever she sees a balloon in the grocery store she reaches out her arm and says "na na na na" in an urgent voice. I don't let her play with them unsupervised, unless she's crying in the car and I'm going nuts. I keep a balloon in the front seat for such emergencies. The other thing Gisele gets excited about is the space between our fridge and the cabinets. There are 3 broomlike objects and a bunch of paper bags. I pull all the brooms and mops out for her, but then she never knows what to do with them. Stimpy is still good for a laugh, too. He doesn't have to do anything out of the ordinary to be fascinating to Gisele. She also is intensely interested in dogs and other animals she sees.

We are coming to the conclusion that Gisele may be a little spoiled and a lot wimpy. When she doesn't get what she wants immediately she'll let out a primal cry that leaves you with no option but to comply quickly. And, yes, she's still biting me when she's over-tired and I'm nursing her to sleep. Gisele can sure dish it out, but when it comes to her own precious flesh she's a real baby. She has a lot of fakey cries that she reserves for situations such as falling on her bum, seeing me walk out of the room, or getting her diaper changed.

Once again, here are some comparison baby pictures from long ago. This time I've added a picture of Annick and of Nels' sister, Kelda. In order, the pictures are of Nels, Kelda, Janine, and Annick. Notice the close resemblance between Annick and Anne.

Cousin Connection
Anne is doing just great these days. Unfortunately her unvaccinated playgroup pals aren't fairing so well. After Anne received her 1 year vaccinations, she gave a youngster mumps. The mumps vaccine uses a live virus, so all Anne had to do was slobber on some toys to spread the disease. When Anne isn't acting as a vector for communicable diseases, she's pushing buttons. Some of her favorite buttons are the garage door opener and the tv. Because she was praised at first for turning the tv off, she does it obsessively now. As she places her finger on the power switch, she whips her head around to see the joyful claps headed her way. No one claps when she climbs the play structure outside, though. This is because she naughtily climbs it when no one is looking.

George is nearing his 4th birthday and he's already in training to become a daddy. Not a daddy to a baby, though. George has adopted a manatee. Pictured below, you see that the manatee is wearing fairy wings while relaxing next to George on the couch. I think they're watching a video. In the next picture you see the manatee in a Maya Wrap sling that George is wearing. He often takes him out and about like this. George has also befriended various pieces of food from around the house recently. On occasion he'll make a friend in the garden, it could be a strawberry or a peach, and he'll bring it inside and put it in the fridge to make it last longer. He has a graham cracker friend on the entertainment center. One real friend he's made is the gopher tunneling through the backyard. Unbeknownst to neighbors, the Smith household has been feeding a local gopher so much that it will now eat out of their hands. Before judgement is passed, remember that gophers are extremely cute.

George is full of stories and false memories. One example is the story of the demise of his pet salmon. According to George, the salmon got polio and died. When pressed for details he'll tell you that it was a long time ago, so you never know if the salmon really got polio. George is also becoming a conscientious consumer like his mama. He's always asking if certain foods have pesticides or are made with whole wheat. If he gets an answer he likes he'll make sounds of approval.

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