A year ago, we were in the final countdown to your birth. Things seemed to be moving along easily and I honestly thought you would be a Christmas baby. I remember singing at church for the Christmas program and we joked that I might go into labor on stage and bring new meaning to “live nativity.” But, just like your brother, you were comfy in there and needed a little assistance to motivate you to come out.
And now, in what seems like a snap of the finger, we’ve been holding you in our arms, kissing your chubby cheeks, and tickling your tummy for 11 months. Oh, how we love and adore you.
You’re a complete daddy’s girl. You love him so much and particularly being held by him. You hear the door to the garage open and instantly speed crawl that direction, jabbering “dadadadada”. (You also jabber “mamamamama”, but I’m definitely second fiddle to your daddy.)
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’re getting so close to one year and it’s giving me all the feels. These past ten months have flown by and I’m sad that you’re growing so quickly, while also reveling in all your new developments. You’re my baby and I’m trying to hold onto you as long as I can, even as your chubby legs are starting to get stronger and your tummy is starting to lose the baby fat.
I remember the exact moment when I realized that Henry was growing up. It was when he was much older than you are, probably two or so, and I picked him up and he fit his legs perfectly around my waist as he sat on my hip. And I realized that there would quickly come a day when he wouldn’t fit on my hip anymore. (Spoiler: just yesterday I tried to pick him up so he could see something and he doesn’t fit anymore.) You’re still firmly in the fit-on-my-hip stage and you love being held so you’ll find me or your daddy anywhere, climb up against our legs, and beg to be held.
Nine months. You’ve been out as long as you were in. That blows my mind because pregnancy seemed to last forever and now, bam, you’ve been in our arms for nine months already! I constantly have to pause myself and remember that all those things I was looking forward to—the smiling, the babbling, the crawling, sitting up, sleeping, discovering—it’s all happening right now. Somehow those moments I was looking forward to just happened without any warning.
You are crawling everywhere now with ease, pulling up on anything you can. I’ve even caught you standing on top of things, which of course is terrifying for me. You love playing with Henry’s toys, particularly his farm toys and I think it’s because those little tractor tires and plow hooks feel really good on your gums. We’re on a fast-track (for both of you) in learning to share.
You got your first tooth a few weeks ago. It came in with a runny nose and a grumpy few days, but finally it popped through and you resumed being happy again. The other bottom front tooth right beside it is working it’s way through now too so we’re heading into another stretch of #allthefeelings.
Up to this point, you didn’t experience much clinginess when I’d leave you. I remember Henry hitting a stretch of time around 4 months old where he would cry anytime I’d leave him. You didn’t do that…until now. Places you go all the time, daily to the gym daycare, for example, and yet the moment I put you down and leave, you start wailing. I’m told that as soon as I leave you’re fine, but you can’t stand to see me walk away. Similarly, when you’ve got a tooth popping through, you don’t even want to be put down when we’re at home. Full arms over here and lots of multitasking.
You love to eat and the faces you make with new tastes and textures makes me laugh. You’ve been drinking from a sippy cup for months now with ease, but you discovered Henry’s water bottle and now you really want to use a straw cup.
You’re still a champion sleeper, sleeping 12 hours at night and 2 long naps during the day. We’re so grateful for good sleepers. You prefer your crib to sleep so it’s hard to do any morning play dates for Henry, but occasionally, we do anyway and after fussing around for a while, you’ll usually fall asleep in the carrier. When we’re home though, you don’t even want to be rocked anymore before bed. You just want to get in your bed and lay down. The most fun thing is when you wake up and stand up in your crib waiting for us to come get you.
This past month has been filled with so much growth: crawling, climbing, pulling up, walking with help, first tooth! It’s all happened so fast and it’s been so fun to see you discovering your capabilities. I will always be cheering you on.
I love you, baby girl.
Loves: crawling, pulling up on furniture, eating food, having people talk to you/getting attention, “talking”, your pacifier, your brother, your brother’s toys
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
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)