When you were placed in my arms, you weighed just over 6 pounds. You retain your nickname of “Peanut” with you weight hovering around 18 pounds while your height is a full 10 inches taller.
In comparison to your brother, my pregnancy with you was easy. Hardly any sickness. Hardly any acid reflux. I was able to work out the entire way through (most memorably working out the morning of your due date when you still hadn’t appeared). And when you still weren’t here by the new year, we left Henry at your grandparents’ house and went in early in the morning on January 2nd for me to be induced.
Birthing you was, dare I say, also easy. In part because I’d already gone through induction before so I knew what to expect and I knew to get my epidural early this time. So at 10:00 AM when my nurse came in to start pitocin, the anesthesiologist also came in to get my epidural going. I ended up only having about 10 minutes of severe contractions before the epidural was in place and kicked in, which was sheer relief in comparison to what I was anticipating.
Four years ago, you took your first breath. You were placed in my arms and you just looked at me, not crying, just taking it all in, this strange journey you had just managed from inside to outside. I loved you from the moment I found out you existed, growing inside of me, but in that moment, untethered of me and your own self-existing human, I loved you more than I ever dreamed possible.
You have developed quite a personality in your short time here so far. I think I spotted it a while ago, but it’s become so much more evident the older you’ve become. You’re eight months older and frustrated that you’re not three years old. That’s the nutshell version.
You started sitting when you were five months old and it was solely motivated because you wanted to be able to owl your neck every which way to watch Henry. You recently discovered that your legs can support you and so now, despite the fact that your arms aren’t quite strong enough to pull you all the way up, you want to stand. You’ll pull up to your knees then usually whine to get all the way on your feet. Once I put you on your feet, you can hold on and lean into something for a decent chunk of time, but you still take your tumbles, followed by lots of tears. Mostly frustrated tears, I suspect. If it were up to you, you’d be walking and running already. Your body isn’t quite there yet and your fear of missing out is very strong.
I love this age, where you’re sitting on your own, but not crawling yet (you’re so close though!). We still have a short window of time before the baby gates need to go up. But—but—part of me hopes you’ll start moving soon if only so that you aren’t so frustrated with your current limitations.
This past month you dropped your cozy, loose sleep sack (really, a wearable blanket). Henry wore his long past his first birthday, but our air conditioning went out at the beginning of August and it took several days before we could get a new unit put in. Since it was so hot, out of necessity, we just put you to bed in a onesie and you surprised us with how well you did. So as not to have to wean you from your sleep sack later on, when we got our air back, we decided just to stick to pajamas and you have rocked it without missing a beat. And really, is there anything cuter than little baby pajamas?
You’re jabbering more and more now and I’m noticing so many new consonants in your gibberish. It’s so fun to hear you talk, as if you actually think you’re part of the conversation. Henry loves to get in your face and talk right back to you and I sometimes wonder if you guys have some sort of communication line that I’m not part of.
You’re a cuddlier baby than I remember Henry being and my favorite moments are right before your naps when I start to rock you. Your favorite place to be is straddling me, your chubby legs against my sides and you rest your head on my chest. If your hear Henry, you pop up to look around for him, but then you gently lay your head back down and hum to yourself. I could hold you like that all day and never get tired of it.
No teeth yet, but you’re still drooling, occasionally fussy, and always, always putting things in your mouth to chew on. I keep thinking teeth will pop out soon, but I also sort of remember this with Henry and it was an ongoing thing for a long time (he didn’t pop his first tooth until after he was one).
We had a busy month and maybe it was because Henry starts preschool in just a couple of days or that I realized summer was almost over so we were trying to fit all of our final days of summer into one chunk of time. We had a picnic at the park. We went to the zoo. We turned in your first summer reading program at the library. (You got a book as a reward.) We took lots of walks. We roasted s’mores in the fire pit. We took trips to Lowes, Theisen’s, Target, the grocery store, all of which you love because you get to ride in the cart or, even better, drive the car cart if we are lucky enough to get one. (I say lucky, but really, lucky for you and Henry. Those things are beasts to push around.) We drank it up, every last drop of summer. And now we’re moving on to fall. The pumpkin patch. The apple orchard. Crunching leaves. Nature walks. Sweatshirts at the park. It’s all coming up, darling.
I’m treasuring this age, even as I know from experience the upcoming stages are even more fun. I feel more relaxed this time around, more willing to soak you in right here in the present and less looking for the next thing you’ll do. I look at you and my heart aches, physically aches inside of me, because I love you so much and I just feel so truly lucky to be the one you will call mama.
I will love you forever, darling girl.
Loves: standing up (supported), sitting up, eating food, having people talk to you/getting attention, “talking”, your pacifier, your brother
We’re inching closer to your birthday than your birth. Can you believe that? In the next few months, you’ll be crawling, and pulling yourself up to things, and walking. You’ll be stealing Henry’s toys even more than you already are. You are enamored with him, swiveling your head around just to find him in the room, keeping your eyes on him always. He is the first to make you smile and the first to distract you from drinking your bottle. (I particularly love when I ask, “Where’s Henry?” and you immediately start looking for him.) He loves you so much and is always helping to entertain you, giving you toys (except the ones he wants, of course), and giving you good night kisses before he turns on your sound machine and throws away your diaper. It’s no wonder you adore him so much.
You started sitting on your own shortly before you turned 6 months old and, I swear, it was only so you could see what is happening around you. You have serious fear-of-missing-out and now you get mad if I lay you down (except for nap time, thankfully, when you roll over and fall asleep). I have a feeling you’ll be quicker to move than Henry was strictly because of your motivation to keep up with him.
You recently started doing this thing where if you get mad or are really tired, you throw yourself backwards, no warning and no hesitation. It’s so alarming and it’s particularly hard if I am carrying you and my other hand is full. So please stop. It cannot be good for your little spine.
You’re transitioning to two naps a day, dropping that third catnap in the early evening, and I forgot how hard this transition is. You’re tired and the evenings are often a power-through to bedtime. We try everything: going outside, taking baths, singing songs, switching out toys. And speaking of toys, your favorite thing to chew on (because teething, ugh!) is a yellow hot wheel car. You pilfered it from Henry one day and it’s since become yours and is constantly covered in saliva.
Speaking of, the drool is constant these days. I have no experience with baby’s getting teeth because Henry didn’t pop his first one until after he was a year old. (Though, for the record, one is definitely still a baby, but moving on…) I can’t feel any teeth coming in, but given your unusual fussiness and drool, I think something’s moving around in those gums of yours.
The summer is winding down—it’s August already!—and though that normally doesn’t mean anything to us since no one is in school in our house, this fall will mean a big change with Henry starting preschool. It’ll just be two mornings a week, but it will be different for all of us. So those will become our times, baby girl. You and me, hanging out.
My sweet girl, I know it could be assumed that I love you, but let me never make you assume that. I love you. I love you so very, very much. You are special. You are unique. You are beloved. It is a joy to be your mother and my heart continuously bursts with overwhelming love and pride. I love you, Perrin.
Loves: music & singing & reading, sitting up, swinging, stroller rides, eating food, having people talk to you/getting attention, “talking”, your pacifier
A few nights ago, we were busy and you missed your late afternoon catnap, the one that gets you through the evening until bedtime. You were so tired and grumpy that I finally just rocked you, trying to hold you off until bedtime. But you fell asleep in my arms, cuddled so close to me that our breaths mixed, your face tucked into the curve of my neck. If there is anything perfect in this world, that was it.
There’s a lot of ugliness in our world and I won’t burden your sweet, young soul with the details, but not a moment goes by that I don’t think of how lucky I am to be with you. To have you in my arms. To watch you giggle at Henry. To tuck you in every night. To kiss your chubby cheeks a thousand times a day. To tickle your tummy. To hold your innocent gaze. (And by the way, locking eyes with a baby is another perfection in this world. Adults don’t lock eyes anymore; we somehow become self-conscious to hold a gaze for too long, but babies don’t have that self-consciousness yet and I can get lost in the depths of your eyes.) To see your beaming smile when I wake you up from a nap.
You are my child, a brand new person who started your life inside my own body, and to know your absolute trust in me takes me breath away. You have no fears. You have no doubts in my abilities to care for you. You have unwavering faith that I’ll get you from your bed, that I’ll feed you, that I’ll change your diaper, that I’ll sing to you and talk to you and hold you and play with you. You trust me with absolution. One of my biggest fears in life is breaking that trust, even non-intentionally. To have something happen to prevent me from being able to meet your needs and be with you. I say all this because that ugliness I mentioned? It’s my worst nightmare happening to other loving parents. And the events that are playing out in history right now make me all the more aware of every blessed moment I have with you and Henry. When I say I’m lucky, I know how true that is. I don’t take a moment of it for granted.
I read this recently in a book, “There’s just something about daughters. From the very beginning, I felt a rush of wisdom that I wanted to impart to her about womanhood: how to be brave, how to build real confidence, and fake it when you have to, how to respect yourself without taking yourself too seriously, how to love yourself or at least try to and never stop trying, how to decide who opinion to value and whose to disregard quietly, how to believe if yourself even when others don’t.” (from What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton) That paragraph resonated so deeply with me that I returned the iPad ebook to the library and bought the hardcover just so I could highlight the physical pages.
You’ve just recently started sitting on your own. You still have some spills when you get excited or tired from sitting too long, but you’re getting visibly stronger every day. We have reached this magical, unicorn stage of babyhood where you can independently sit, but you can’t yet get anywhere. We have a very limited time before the baby gate will need to go up and Henry will have to put his small toys out of reach. (I can imagine how mad he’s going to get the first time—or several times—that you get into his stuff.)
I can’t believe how fast time is going and I’m not just saying that in cliche mom-talk. You’re eating food like a ravenous girl (like, you will aggressively try to pull the spoon if I’m not getting to your mouth quickly enough), you are learning how to drink from a sippy cup (how are you old enough for this?), you are sitting up, you’re funny and adorable and interactive and incredibly curious about what everyone around you is doing, mostly Henry. Your smiles are bright and big for your daddy. You have moved from the carseat-in-the-stroller to just sitting in the stroller like a little girl. You can sit in a baby swing now and you love it! You are so cuddly and not just because you are squishy (you do have the most amazing rolls!). You are cuddly in that you actually love to snuggle close. You like to take my face in both your hands and then just head butt me to get your head tucked against mine so that my lips are lined up with the top of your head, perfect for kissing. You giggle when I kiss your cheeks and neck and then snuggle back in for more. (Similarly, when Henry’s in a snuggly mood, he asks for “nineteen four twenty” kisses, a number whose origin I don’t know, but it’s consistent every time. “Nineteen four twenty”.) In so many ways, the things that I had been looking forward to—longing for—back when you were first born are already here. Bam. You’re a half a year old and when we do the same amount of time again, you’ll be walking.
What a joy to be your mama. What a great responsibility—and I mean that not as big, but as wonderful—to have your trust in me to provide for your needs, to be there for you always. The way you look at me is filled with pure, undiluted love and I echo that right back to you. “There’s just something about daughters…”
I love you with abandon.
This smile…it’s the most angelic whole-face smile I’ve ever seen.
Arts Fest downtown…
…and Tractorcade with Grandpa
My friend saw this picture and said, “She looks at you like you are absolutely the only thing she loves in the entire world.” <3
Loves: your jumperoo, music & singing & reading, sitting up, swinging, stroller rides, eating food, having people talk to you/getting attention, “talking”, your pacifier, being in just your diaper
Wears: 3-6m in clothes, moving into 6-9m, size 3 diapers
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon)
These days your smiles come easily and your opinions are strong. For the most part, you have become an easy baby, though evenings are still when you get crankiest. You are a good sleeper and you really prefer your room and bed over sleeping on the go, but you don’t always get that luxury with the warm weather and an older brother and playdates and walks to the park.
I have realized that time is going faster with you, my second child. It’s partly because I have less first-mom-syndrome and partly because my focus is split between two kids. You’re reaching milestones before I’ve even had a chance to think about them. With Henry, I was always aware of what would be coming next; soon he’ll roll over, soon he’ll laugh, soon he’ll sit up. With you, I’m so focused on each day that I barely realize time is passing and you’re either doing things already or will be soon. Because, see, you’re already four months old and it feels like I just pulled you up onto my chest in the hospital room.
When you turned three months old, you could start going to the daycare at the gym rather than coming with me in the carseat and stowing away in the corner while I worked out. It’s been an adjustment and most mornings there, you refuse sleep until about 10 minutes before I pick you up when you finally conk out in someone’s arms. Thankfully, so far you’ve been good about going down for a nap once we get home and getting back on track for the day. I love seeing your resilient little self and am thankful that you’re learning to be flexible.
We finally (finally!) have warm weather after a seemingly endless winter. We’ve been spending our afternoons at the park, on ice cream runs, having playdates, playing outside, and going for walks. Again, I’m thankful that you’re learning to be flexible because the fresh air is so good for all of us.
Your brother adores you. His voice changes to a high-pitched, adorable, baby-gaga voice when he talks to you. And he gives constant updates on your response to him. “Mama, her eyes are open!” Mama, she’s looking around!” “She’s smiling at me, mama!” You are fascinated with him and always look around to see where he’s at. He will be your best protector and I am so excited to see the relationship between the two of you grow.
This next month will undoubtedly continue to bring more changes; you keep growing and discovering and learning new tricks. I love to see your personality shine and I’m so excited to continue to watch you grow. I’m savoring every moment, while also looking forward to new milestones: sitting up, crawling, climbing. I’m just soaking you in.
I am so grateful to have you in our family, Perrin. You bring joy to my heart and I will never be able to describe how much I love you. Some day I hope you will understand when you have children of your own, but for now, you have to trust that the love I have for you is just indescribable. It’s deep and wide and goes farther than you can see. As one of your books say, “You’ll never outgrow it. It stretches itself.”
Oh, my sweet, I love you so.
Taking these monthly photos is no easy chore and I’m usually sweaty by the time I’m done. I already know from experience with Henry that these photos are priceless and I’ll treasure them always so the effort is worth it. This month, Perrin was waaayyyy more interested in chewing on her hands or making duck faces than she was in smiling. And Henry was trying to do his own photoshoot so that made for some extra fun workaround.
Weighs: 13 pounds, 1 ounce
Height: 25.25 inches
Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, having people talk to you, cooing, your pacifier
Wears: 0-3m in clothes in a few, but going up to 3-6m now, size 2 diapers
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon)