Katherine, my sweet baby girl,
You are eleven months old, my little love, and this has been another month of big changes. You put on another pound, weighing in at 16 ¾ pounds and climbing all the way up to the 9th percentile for your actual age. You’ve started to wave, without knowing what the gesture meant, but you think it’s hilarious when we wave back so you do it again and again for a laugh. Same with shaking your head “no.” Although you haven’t yet discovered the word “no” for yourself, you have no trouble communicating the concept. Particularly when I try to feed you something you don’t want. You scrunch up your little face and huff air in and out, and your meaning is quite clear. That face, which is hilarious, is also used when you are perplexed or irritated by anything else. You are a delight, for the most part, giggling and smiling through your days. It takes only simple things to make you happy. Despite all the toys in your playpen, I’m sure you would be content in there with nothing more than a wooden spoon, your toy mirror, and your silicone toothbrush, since those are the things you play with most. You’ve also discovered that books have interesting stuff inside them, and pages to turn, and turn and turn back again and you love the fabric books that your grandma made you.
You began to pull yourself up to your knees in your bednest early this month, and so we finally got you a full-size crib. I moved out of your nursery after a week or two getting you settled. The overall transition in your sleeping arrangements was so smooth that after more than ten months of sharing space for our sleeping hours, I realized perhaps I needed you next to me more than you needed to be there. It was certainly more convenient for me when you cry out for your bottle sometime between 4:00 and 7:00 am. Despite that ongoing habit, you still sleep very well, drifting off to sleep easily in your crib at bedtime, rarely waking except when hungry and immediately turning over to sleep again after your bottle is emptied. You generally sleep until a civilized hour, waking sometime after 7:30 and occasionally staying contentedly in bed until 9:00.
You crawl like an old pro now and you’ve learned to sit up properly. Although many babies learn to sit long before now, I never propped you up, preferring to let you figure out how to safely move in and out of that position on your own. Sure enough, once you learned to crawl, you easily achieved that accomplishment. Your sense of pride when you found yourself sturdily sitting on your own was clearly evident. You sit on your knees when there is something nearby to grab for balance, and if you are near a box of the right height, you get your feet under you in a position I like to call “belly up to the bar.” It’s so fun to see you up and about like a proper young lady after months of watching you play in a prone position. It gives you a new perspective while you are playing and it gives us a new perspective on you.
Now that you are mobile, you are typically off and into everything you can reach. When you are trying to achieve access to the object of your desire, keeping you away from contraband items is like trying to wrestle a particularly determined eel. Daddy has dubbed you “eel girl” and, in an homage to “The Big Bang Theory” often declares, “Eel Girl is nobody’s sidekick!” And he’s right. You are your own little person and this month, you’ve discovered your own will. After months of docile compliance during changing and dressing, now you have decided that if you don’t think it’s time for such nonsense you will have none of it. Sometimes, this means you go charging off half-dressed with your sleepsuit legs flapping behind you like a gentlemen in tails. Temper tantrums are rare, but for the first time this month we have had a handful of moments when you’ve decided to vehemently protest the current situation. Fortunately, as you are a good-natured little soul, these moments pass as quickly as they come.
Your new mobility has opened up the world to you. Up until now, we’ve spent most of our time playing at home since I believe a calm, familiar environment makes for a calm and contented baby. Now that I know you have the power to choose where you want to be, I’ve started to take you out to places like the children’s section of the library and setting you free to explore. I was so proud the first time we went there and you charged off confidently to check out your surroundings and meet other children, because you are fascinated by small people of any size. These are your first steps to a lifetime of independence, and like all mothers, my wish for you is to grow up strong and confident. It brings joy to my heart to see that strength emerge and grow from moment to moment.
Sometimes, baby girl, when I look at you my heart explodes because to me you are beautiful… sometimes achingly beautiful, and you take my breath away. The other night, I sat next to you in the dark, listening to your slow, even breathing as you drifted off to sleep. I could just see your profile in the soft glow of the full moon shining through your window. I stayed there, long past the point when you were peacefully asleep, savoring the moment and a bit in awe that this, this, is my life now. After waiting so long to become a mother and wondering whether I even would, you are here, breathing softly next to me and it is amazing. You are amazing.
I love you with all my heart,