Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Ellie - Five Months

My dear Ellie,

Another month has passed and now you are five months old. It is possible that this past month has flashed by the quickest of them all so far. It was like I blinked my eyes, and suddenly you were five months old instead of four. How does that keep happening?

This month has been a wonderful one. I feel like so much of the uncertainty of your early days is behind us and we are all settling into our roles in this family comfortably. When I look back at your newborn pictures, I am struck by how, at that point, you were essentially a stranger to us. We barely knew you at all. We loved you completely and overwhelmingly from the moment you were born, but we just didn't know you. Now I feel like we know you. We know what you like and what you don't like. We know what makes you smile. We know how you like to move, songs you like to sing and games you like to play. We know your cries and we know your laugh. We almost always know what you need when you cry and we know how best to help you. It has been a pleasure getting to know you, little girl, and I look forward to getting to know you better every day!

You are just so much fun these days. This month, for the first time, I found myself silently willing you awake while you were napping because I just couldn't wait to talk to you and play with you again. Oh sure, your naps are still a bit of a mess, so I would never purposefully wake you, but when you sleep I actually miss you. I can't wait for you to wake up and look up at me with that precious smile of yours. It makes my whole day every time.

You have been very generous with the smiles and the laughs these days. Earlier this month you were cracking up at Achilles, and it was the greatest thing ever. I love that when something particularly pleases you, your nose crinkles as your face lights in up your biggest smile, and that little dimple shows itself on your cheek. I love the sound of your laugh - happy little giggles just bursting out of you. I love the way your entire little body shakes when you find something really funny. It's all just too, too good. No matter what else may be going on in my day, when you smile and laugh I just can't help but smile and laugh with you. And there is no limit to what I will do to make you smile. I think the fact that a new favorite activity of yours is dancing around with me while I sing "Ice, Ice, Baby" to you proves that point all too well. I am not above anything that will put a smile on your face!

You love to play these days. You have a few games that are your current favorites, including pulling Mommy and Daddy's glasses off our faces, and what we call the "Suffocation Game" - you put a cloth over your face, smashing it into your mouth and nose while you make gasping sounds and frantically kick your feet. After a few moments you pull the cloth away and grin at us. I have to admit, I am not as much a fan of this game as you are.

Another favorite of yours this month is your Jumperoo. You were lukewarm about it before we left for our Florida/Cleveland trips, but when we returned two weeks later, you were officially convinced that the Jumperoo is the greatest thing ever. You love to play with all the toys and you jump constantly and furiously, stopping only to find us in the room and flash us a smile. Your little feet just go to town and sometimes it looks like you're dancing a very complicated jig. Watching you in your Jumperoo has become one of our greatest sources of entertainment lately!

Last month you were just starting to blow raspberries, and that is one of your favorite activities now. You are also making new sounds all the time and have been very vocal lately. You especially like when we mimic your sounds back to you, and when I say "mama" to you. I'm really pushing for that to be your first word, so help me out here, baby!

I am still in awe of the way you constantly examine and explore your world. You have gotten much more coordinated with your hands, and are constantly reaching for and grabbing things. When you grab hold of something you turn it all around in your hands, inspecting it from every possible angle before stuffing it in your mouth. You have some toys you love (Pooh Bear especially), but you also particularly enjoy the television remote control and your mommy's cell phone!

As for your motor development, you still have not quite mastered rolling from your belly to your back, although I think you're getting closer. I'm still very anxious for you to master that skill because as of now we are still waking up often at the wee hours of the morning to flip you back over after you roll in your sleep and wake up angry about it. You are also making great progress towards sitting alone, and have actually sat up unsupported for a few seconds many times now! You're still pretty wobbly, but I'm very impressed. What a strong girl! You also are working on pinching and scratching, neither of which is particularly fun for me. You like to scratch the wall while I change your diaper (a sound that gives me the chills), and you especially like to pinch while nursing. I can't say I'm a big fan of that! You've also gotten a good hold on Achilles a few times now. He's very patient with you but I'm pretty sure he'll be glad when you are able to understand the term "gentle."

Probably the coolest thing for me this month has just been getting the sense that you actually like me - that you know that I'm your mama and you want to be near me. For a while there I was pretty sure that you mostly just loved me because I am The Lady Who Brings The Food, but now I see you search me out in a room and light up when you spot me. I see you look to me for reassurance as you jump and play. If you are upset, you quiet as I come near you but if I walk away again without picking you up, you only cry harder (and shatter my heart into a million pieces). When I do pick you up, your crying stops instantly and you grab hold of my arm and lean your head down onto my shoulder, burying your face in my neck. A few times, you have also wrapped your other arm around my neck and squeezed, in sort of a little baby hug. Each time you do that, my heart grows three sizes (Grinch-style) and nearly bursts right out of my chest. I love you so much, sweet pea, and I so desperately want us to have a wonderful relationship as you grow up. I love to think that these actions are only the beginning of the great bond we will always share.

Sweet baby girl, I hope you know how much your daddy and I adore you. I hope you know that no matter where life leads us, no matter what changes or uncertainty may come our way, we are always here for you and will always take great care of you. You are our most precious gift, our most treasured blessing. You bring us so much joy and we love you so much.

Happy Five Months, Sunshine.

All my love,

* * * * *

Dear Ellie,

Are you really five months old? It seems like we just celebrated number four. I realize this is probably because it has only been 31 days, but it could be because you have not done anything major for the first time this month. Instead, you have been perfecting a lot of what you began doing earlier this summer. You smile constantly, laugh at least a couple of times every day and are getting really good at grabbing and holding things, which you do as often as your Mommy and I will indulge you. You are also starting to sit up and roll in all directions and, at night, you almost always eat and fall asleep within 25 minutes and stay asleep for around 9 hours.

If I had to describe you at five months old, I would say that you continue to be very curious. You almost always settle down when we pick you up and walk you around to look at things. You are constantly using your newfound hands to grab anything within reach, look it over, turn it around and taste it. Ellie, I really hope that you will always be like this (minus the tasting of things that aren't food). Curiosity is a tremendous virtue that can lead you to new and wonderful experiences and keep you from being too complacent in your own level of knowledge and way of thinking. I am going to love you anyway, but didn't figure it would hurt to make the suggestion.

At five months old, I would also say that you are a very happy baby. You definitely still get tired and cranky at times and have strong preferences at any given moment about what you like and do not like doing. However, the big difference between now and months two and three is that it is no longer true that everything negative is the worst thing that ever happened to you. As such, your cries now reasonably match your level of displeasure, which is a wonderful new development. Essentially, this means that your fussiness no longer threatens to distract from how happy a baby you are. You really do smile all the time and some of your favorite things this month are: being held up over my head ("flying"); watching me make strange faces and noises; being bitten on the cheek or legs; and good old Winnie-the-Pooh.

Finally, I would like you to know how much I love to watch you "blow raspberries." I would never have believed it and probably won't admit it to anyone in person, but it just might be my favorite thing you do. It is too adorable for words. I don't know if I like it because it is a complex motion and it makes me think of the real life things you are going to do as you grow up, or if I just love your adorable dimples and tiny tongue. Could be either.

Ellie, you and your Mommy are my favorites and I feel so incredibly blessed to share a family with you.

All my love,


Lauren said...

I can't believe she is already 5 months, craziness! So precious :-)

Becky said...

You guys never fail to make me cry with these letters. I just feel the deep love and devotion to this special little girl that is Ellie. I love all three of you!

Jessica Renee said...

Sweet girl, I just love her and wish I could squeez her! Just reading these letters I know what amazing parents y'all are and she is so lucky to have you!! Give her a birthday squeeze for me? :)