Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dear Ellie - Ten Months

My dear Ellie,

Today you are ten months old, and as always, I can hardly believe it. I feel like time is passing by so quickly and all I want to do is slow it all down and savor every moment. I think this is largely because we have already started making plans for your first birthday party in less than two months, and I am absolutely in shock that we're already staring one year in the face. I'm not sure I'm ready to let go of your babyhood and welcome you into the toddler world just yet. It's happening too fast!

But, you are not quite there yet! Today you are ten wonderful months old and I am going to officially declare this my favorite age for you so far. This month you have been such a delight - a happy, playful, fun little girl once again, a stark contrast to poor, teething, temper tantrum-ing, Mommy-phasing, unhappy you of last month. This month, you are more smiley, more playful, and you laugh more freely. You are far more interactive now than you used to be, and I feel like we can actually play together, which is so incredibly fun. I watch you learning new things almost constantly and spend my days just staring at you in awe...well, until I have to get up and chase you as you scoot-crawl your way out of the room like a little flash of lighting!

One thing you have recently learned to do is place toys in other things, such as tupperware containers. You especially like to put your Little People Nativity pieces into the stable (turned on its side). Your Little People Mary is your favorite, though, and she often travels around the house with you. You also figured out how to open and close things this month, and particularly enjoy opening and closing your toy laptop and the barn door on your walker. You have also learned to share, I think at least in part to a weekend we spent with your new friend Lena recently. You spend a lot of time handing your toys to me, your daddy, your grandpa, and even Achilles. You grin when we take it and thank you, and then happily accept it back when we offer it. It is so very sweet. Another of the more precious things you learned this month is how to "dance," and you rock back and forth to music. You already have a great sense for the beat, so I'm convinced you'll make an excellent musician one day!

You have also become fascinated with books this month. You go through your stacks of board books, handing them to us over and over again so we'll read them to you. Your favorite books include your small Pat-A-Cake and Humpty Dumpty books, the Indestructibles books Santa brought you for Christmas, Is Your Mama a Llama? and I Love You Through and Through. You study the pictures and bounce with anticipation when it is time to turn the page. I just adore this new book love you have going on.

As far as other motor skills, you haven't necessarily mastered anything new this month but are perfecting and becoming more comfortable with old skills. Your scoot-crawl can get you from place to place in record time, and you have gotten the hang of crawling with a toy in hand. You love to spend time every day exploring the whole house, crawling from room to room in search of other people, or just checking things out. You pull yourself up with ease, and spend much of your day standing at our coffee table playing with your toys. You also particularly like to pull yourself up on the window pane that separates the dining and family rooms, looking through at Achilles or us on the other side and laughing. You do love windows in general these days, and taking a lap to look out the windows has become a part of our naptime preparation ritual. You're also getting more confident in your standing, often using only one hand, and I have even seen you stand on your own for several seconds at a time! So, I'm sure it won't be long before you're standing freely and then...WALKING.

You have been especially vocal this month. You talk and shriek almost constantly, and we get the feeling you are really trying to say things. The highlight of this month for me was most certainly hearing you say "mama!" You have started saying it regularly, and not only as a part of your normal babble. You have also said it distinctly to me as you crawl into my lap or when I come to get you out of your carseat or high chair. Sometimes you even say it upon request! It is so surreal to hear that sweet sound come from you and I can't even begin to describe how unbelievable it makes me feel. I just love you so much, my Ellie-Girl.

Another highlight has been your laughter. Prior to this month, your laughs have been relatively rare treats, but this month, you laugh much more easily. You laugh at Achilles, at our funny faces, at tickles and fun games. You particularly like when we play peek-a-boo, and laugh with such delight when we pop out from wherever we are hiding. In fact, you like peek-a-boo so much that you have started playing it with me on your own as you nurse, either pulling my hand or my shirt down over your eyes until I ask, "where's Ellie?" and then pulling it away with a sweet smile on your face. It is the most adorable thing.

Speaking of nursing, we are still going strong with that at 10 months and I still enjoy it immensely. It is so nice to have that quiet time with you, when you are still (well, as still as you ever are while awake) and we can just cuddle up together, with a little playing and tickling mixed in. My goal was to nurse you until you are a year old but as that time approaches, I'm not sure I'll want to stop at that point. I think we'll just take it a day at a time and see where we end up.

In general, though, you love to eat. You eat three meals of solids a day now, plus one snack, and are especially excited about the finger food portion of each meal. You love almost everything I have given you, with the exception of avocado which, if placed on your tray, you will pick up and throw right back down without taking one bite. Everything else gets shoved into your mouth at warp speed, so this is very abnormal. Your favorite food so far seems to be banana, which I can hardly cut up fast enough to keep up with you. I'm so glad you're such a good eater!

As for sleep, your naps have vastly improved and you now take at least two good naps each day with little to no protest, and sometimes you'll even take a third (I probably should not have just put that in writing!). At night, however, you're still waking up several times, generally at 1:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m. and 5:30-6:00 a.m. I'm always able to get you back to sleep easily by nursing you for a few minutes, which is both nice and exhausting. As much as I enjoy those quiet moments together, I can't say I would mind a night or two to just stay in bed for the duration of the night. But, that time will come. In the blink of an eye, you'll be a teenager and I'll be the one dragging you out of bed!

Baby girl, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on these past 10 months as we near your first birthday, and I'm just so overwhelmed with how far we've come. Those days of bouncing you on the exercise ball for hours seem like a lifetime ago, and I can hardly believe you were ever anything but this happy little girl with the scrunchy-nosed smile crawling all over the house. You amaze me, Ellie-Bellie. I'm so proud of you and so over-the-moon in love with you that all I can do is sit back and watch you turn into the little person you were meant to be, praise God for entrusting you to me, and give you as many kisses as one person can possibly give another in any given day. I am just so very blessed.

Happy Ten Months, Sunshine. I love you so.

All my love,

* * * * *

Dear Ellie,

How are you already knocking on the door of being one year old? Ten is a lot of months and I find it hard to believe you have been around for that long. Feel as I might, your first calendar year has officially ended and January is drawing to a close as well. Even though you are continuing to grow up with every day that passes, I am grateful to still have some time to refer to your age in months.

Looking back at my earlier letters to you, I am struck by how much more appropriate some of my thoughts and feelings are this month than they were when I originally wrote them. I can already sense this is going to be the case for a long time, but that doesn't make it any less true now. For example, you are becoming such a real person. You are starting to grow actual hair (we may even have spotted early signs of bed head), eat real food with your own hands, intentionally say "mom" and "dad" (we are pretty sure!) and move in all directions. Obviously, you are still pretty much of a baby, but you are growing so much more physically capable and exhibiting so much personality. I suppose it will always be relative, but you were definitely more of a baby at the earlier times than I gave you credit for. The other big example is how comfortable your mommy and I have gotten with our (not quite so) new identity as your parents. We have all sorts of routines, including modified ones for the days after you get off the regular ones. We are comfortable with and both enjoy entertaining and taking care of you and, judging by your pure bouncing excitement to see us after any period of absence, we must not be terrible at it. There is an awful lot of love being passed around our little family and it is so awesome to be a part of it.

In other month ten news, you have, fortunately, eased up on the Mommy-or-bust madness, which has freed you up to start doing lots of adorable things. You have started to share your toys with people and dogs, give us books to read while you study the pictures, practice putting things in and taking them out of other things and work on figuring out the magic of windows. You also smile at and reach for people all the time. You are just so precious.

Another thing I noticed about the earlier letters is how many of my favorite things I had to be reminded about. Although I can still remember them vividly, I probably would not have been able to compose a full list without help. It is so sad to think about the sweet things you no longer do, though I am sure there are even more fun things we will someday do together. Nonetheless, I take my poor memory and lack of specificity as a sign that you are starting to rub off on me. Ellie, you live unequivocally in the present, which allows you to express joy as only a child can. I am so grateful for each day we are able to spend together and am very excited about the future I would be able to describe more clearly if I weren't so busy loving every moment of the present.

All my love,

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I really can't believe she's TEN months, where does time go? I want to meet your cutie sometime soon :-)