Baby,  Montessori Bunnies

13 months


a now, a few notes on Alma before another month slips away:

She still has eczema, especially around her ankles, patches of dinosaur skin that blister red and itch. It’s hard for me to know how much it bothers her. After moisturizing her skin (primarily I use compounds with coconut oil), I pull on socks and then booties, and tuck her pants into those. If I leave her skin bare, she itches it and scratches herself fiercely. But if the skin is covered, she doesn’t seem to notice it.

I miss seeing her bare legs and feet though. Clothes are a poor varnish for babies’ perfect bodies.

Because of the eczema and the potential of food allergies causing it, I’ve delayed weaning her. I’m happy to be nursing a bit longer than I did with the other two, though I think we’ll be done by the end of the month. I sense that she’s weaning herself, and feeling very cuddly as a result, often pulling herself onto my lap to sit, or crawling merrily behind me while I pace (as it must seem to her) the apartment.

She plays by herself the most of all three of them, often crawling into the girls’ room on her own and slowly destroying it. I lean into the doorway and find her settled on Joan’s pillow, her tongue-tap “ta, ta” as she tosses, one by one, a stack of cards over the edge of the bed. She turns to glance at me, grinning. We smile at each other for awhile and then go on with our duties.

She now gets frustrated when she isn’t given something she wants the moment she wants it–like being allowed to climb on the table and pinch cereal pillows out of the girls’ bowls, milk dripping down her arm. She sees my iphone as a possession which we share; she likes to coo at softly while holding it with both hands. Fortunately I have two other children so I know that the cellphone ownership-mimicry gradually fades and it is not an early indicator that you have developed a creepy tech-obsessed enfant terrible.

She is very happy when imitating a pretentious stage reader. She comes upon books left on the floor, and settles down cross legged to examine them. She grabs the edges of the pages and flips at random through the book for several minutes, never looking up, all the while running a loud, low-pitched tone, like an aged generator that happens to drool. She often does this while I’m reading aloud too, perching next to me and nearly over-droning my voice while I read to the girls. If she finds me reading to myself, she grabs the edge of the book and flips through it as if looking for a page number, slowly pulling it away from me. She thinks it is hilarious if I try to read aloud to her in my lap, giggling loudly and then demanding the book for herself.

The girls are extremely indulgent of her and hate to hear her cry. If Lux is sitting next to her in the car, she’ll drape her hair over Alma’s fingers to yank on, sing to her, dig through her backpack to find distractions. Lux’s teacher told me she is often raising her hand and asking “if babies can come” to any school event being announced. Joan will cry ALMA! and dart around the house looking for a toy to give her.

I do find myself often stalling on a request of Joan’s because Alma needs something, which I regret. I’d like to streamline my actions and the household revolutions more cleanly. Right now I’m often feeding one, cleaning up after the other, in endless cycle.

There’s no denying that a thirteen (to eighteen!) month old is a chaotic element for a household. You never know where they are or how they might be attempting to poison themselves. They require constant vigilance, and if I could find a robot to follow her around and undo her every action, that would be fantastic. That said, we are absolutely obsessed with her presence in our lives.


  • Megan

    We have 3 children, the oldest has severe food allergies and moderate but well-controlled eczema. Best thing we’ve found is Curel Itch Defense lotion-the one that has the seal of approval for eczema on it. We use it once to twice per day and have started all 3 of ours on it around 6 months old. Good luck!!

  • Jane

    Hi! I have eczema and I remember crying when I was a kid and my Mom would make me wear wool tights to church. I would tell her they were itchy but she didn’t truly understand. Woolen underwear, wool tights, flannel sheets etc heat up your skin and cause the itching to become intense. Now as a Mother of 2 young sons I am sure to keep cotton clothing directly on their skin. Oh and thick Aveeno lotion everyday 🙂 Good luck!

  • kate

    My little girl has struggled with eczema too! I’m so sorry! I use a blend of shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, emu oil…I like it, but it’s not magic or anything. She had a secondary eczema flare up when she was two, full body rash, it was hellish (It was actually right after a vaccine, not that the allergist allowed any connection there…) the secondary rash didn’t clear up fully until she got a virus. During the virus her skin was completely clear. The immune system is a weird weird animal. Good luck to you and Alma!

  • Rebecca

    Eczema is horrible. I had it when I was little and still occasionally have bouts of it. Most of my 9 kids had it when they were little.
    My now 14 year old had weeping bleeding eczema everywhere. We finally got that under control – allergies to 13 foods (now down to just dairy, egg, soy, peanut/garbanzos/lentils/peas). But he still had “alligator skin” eczema. It was so rough and scaly. He itched it whenever he could and then it would bleed too. For him the answer was laundry detergent. Even the allergy free ones were horrible for him. I now make homemade detergent with Fels Naptha, Washing Soda and Borax. No more alligator skin. I’ve found one store bought detergent that he can use too – Ecos plant based.
    Since you mention that your daughter’s is mostly on her ankles, I would definitely consider all detergents, lotions, soaps, etc. That’s an odd place to have a food allergy based eczema. The socks/shoes/pants could be chafing it and allowing the detergents to do more damage.
    Hope you can figure it out. It’s miserable.

    Just found your blog today through a link on Reading My Tea Leaves. Enjoying your writing!

    • Rachael

      Thank you Rebecca! I will definitely look into the detergent, it could be a factor. I don’t use soap on her for the most part and I didn’t introduce lotion until after it appeared, I appreciate this tip!

  • Katharine

    Just redound this post, so this comment is WAY behind the times, but I use Primally Pure’s Baby Balm for both my son’s and my eczema. It’s tallow-based with all good grade ingredients, which is ideal because the 13 month olds eczema primarily shows up on his cheeks and neck. It is pricey, but it is also utterly AMAZING, wipes out a flare up in about 24 hours!

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