I hardly know where to start this month. You are exploding into this hilarious little person and I am more in love with you every day. I love to snuggle with you. I love to tickle you under your chin with my nose because it makes you laugh hysterically. I’ve been so thankful for the fun moments we’ve had recently – the ones where you have no place you’d rather be than just hanging with your mommy – because you are always a busy little bug and because I’ve finally been feeling a greater bond with you, one that’s taken so much time. Earlier this month I found some photos from the morning you were born that I didn’t know existed and there you were, snuggled on my chest, both of us sleeping. Those first couple months were marked by dark depression for me and I had trouble connecting with you. I especially felt sadness at my skewed memory of your birth-day; seeing those pictures was the first time I realized that I had actually gotten to hold you in the early hours after you born, because all I remembered was sickness, drug-induced sleep, and you in your layette across the room. Those pictures made me cry and I think they were part of what’s made me fall so much further in love with you these past few weeks. That and you are beyond adorable, beautiful, hilarious, smart.
So, where to start? Smart: Of course like any parents, Daddy & I remark to each other regularly that you are a genius. That’s probably not technically correct, but let me present my case: You have started with your first words. ACTUAL WORDS. The reason this is a big deal is that your brother started with his first words two months ago. The boy is going to get a run for his money from you, child. The first time we knew they were real words, you were in Daddy’s office where I’d just left you. You crawled to the door and pawed it, crying, “Mamamamamama.” When Daddy asked you “Did Mama go bye-bye?” You started saying “Byebyebyebyebye.” Stuff like that has been happening with increasing regularity. Your best words are Dada (obviously for Daddy) and Mama. (You’d think it meant Mommy, but usually it means “More.”) Whenever you want food you say “Mamamama,” though sometimes you’ll also clap your fists in a sign, something that you’ve been reluctant to do till the last few days. Bye-bye is becoming pretty dependable, though usually you wave instead of saying it. It just blows my mind that you are making these language connections before your first birthday, even though I realize this is pretty average. You also love to imitate things we do, and your favorite of these is to blow raspberries.
You love to clap, and our prompt for you is to say “Yay Meredith!” In fact, we’re pretty sure you think that’s what clapping means. So the other night when we attended a summer band concert and everyone clapped at the end of the music you looked around like “I Am Awesome.” OK, I admit we read a lot into that, but that’s how we make it fun around here. I am glad there is not a recorded list somewhere of all the interpretations we impose on you. I hope if you grow up with the same snarky sense of humor as we have that you will be nice with it…
You’ve been a great sleeper lately, and I especially love your dependable 12-hour nights. You wake up happy around 7:00 a.m. and when we go get you in the morning you have that look of joy on your face that I remember in your brother: Surprise that we get to do it all over again yet another day. Maybe surprise because you forgot how much you love those faces staring down at you.
After a couple weeks of battling it out over your morning nap you won, fair and square, and we have settled into a peaceful routine of one nap a day. When you are in a growth spurt you will sleep for four glorious hours. Sometimes it’s only two, but at least you seem happy to go to sleep instead of screaming about it, which is what you’d resorted to when I’d put you down in the mornings. Early on in this transition we went for an adventure and met Daddy downtown for pizza after his class. Despite his best efforts, you fell asleep on his way to park the van while Jacob & I ordered our lunch, and when he walked into the restaurant you were snuggled in for your nap right there on his shoulder. Around the same time we went to the beach with our friends and you didn’t make it home awake. I was sure you’d wake up as soon as we parked but you were out cold. Soon, tired of waiting outside with you, I unbuckled your whole car seat and carried it in the house where you slept for another 10 or 15 minutes right in the middle of everything, sandy toes in the air.
The other funny nap-related story happened yesterday, when Daddy went to get you up from your nap and he was puzzled to find you without pants on. Then he saw them, on the floor where you are fond of throwing your paci and bear before going to sleep. So you figured out how to take off your own pants, something your compliant, chilled out brother still doesn’t know how to do. Not sure whether to file this under the “Smart” or “Little Pistol” category.
You are a little pistol, that is for sure. It hit me a few weeks ago that you were fast surpassing your brother as my most difficult child. You have this look in your eyes all the time that says “Yes. Yes I did. Do you wanna go?” You are into everything with a fierce determination. You head for stairs and bathrooms faster than I can keep up with. One day, I hate to say it, you made it up who-knows-how-many stairs with both Daddy & Mommy assuming the other one had you. We looked at each other thinking “Where’s Meredith?” just in time to hear you tumble down, crying. Sorry about that, baby girl. (The rest of that story is that, rather than learning a lesson to avoid the stairs, you went right back towards them but cried the whole time as if to say “Can’t stop. Must climb. So scared.”
The other day at the park I turned my back for a second and there you were, at the top of the little red slide. Now every time we are there you spend all your time climbing it, over and over again. You love the pool and beach, too, and seem to have no fear of water. You’ve learned to manage it well and can sense when you’re crawling in too deep to keep your face out of the water, then you sit up and splash, or crawl back towards shore.
You are finally drinking from a sippy cup after months of trying. Usually it’s not your sippy cup, but one of Jacob’s that you’ll find lying here or there. This drives him nuts, but I’m pretty sure you enjoy it more than drinking from your own. You are eating just about anything, though you seem to be getting really fussy about how much effort you care to invest, and if it’s not in small enough chunks or doesn’t end up between teeth instead of on your tongue you just give up and throw it on the floor.
You are still weency, still wearing some of your 3-6mo onesies and just starting to fit a few of the 12 month outfits you have. Some of the tricks we had with Jacob aren’t working so well with you, like using the piano bench to block the stairs, since you are small enough to climb right underneath. Your hair is finally starting to grow and you are on the fast track to being ready to walk, which is mind-boggling. You opt for the Mowgli-Walk half the time, instead of crawling on your knees. It’s especially useful when you are wearing dresses that get in the way of your preference for rapid mobility. Also, you go barefoot all the time because you don’t have any shoes that fit. We have 5 cute pairs of hand-me-downs that will fit you this fall, but for now, I say who needs ’em? Your little toes are too cute to hide.
Your favorite things lately are instruments and a Baby Einstein mirror book. I am obsessed with reading you that book because it is so funny when you see your face in the mirror and grab the book to put it all the way up to your face like you’re kissing yourself. You love all the bright-colored animal characters in it and get so excited to see them. As for instruments, you love the whole bucket of them, cymbals, maracas, tambourine. You even know how to blow into the recorder, which is hilarious.
Last Sunday you sat through church pretty successfully supported only by my powder compact and lip gloss tube, since I’d intended to put you in the nursery and found there was no nursery worker. We had to improvise, and I was amazed that you kept the yelling to a minimum. You’ve spent most of the past few months in the nursery, something that I’m hoping we can change this fall so you can learn to worship with us. Besides, you hate being in the nursery. The last few times I’ve had you in there I’ve gotten a report when I’ve fetched you that you cried the entire time. So it’s definitely time for a change.
Thanks for all the snuggles and laughs and ridiculous photo-ops this month, little bug. You are completely delightful.
I love you.