Friday, February 13, 2009

Elliette - Month 11

Month 11

Dearest Almost-not-a-Babygirl Elliette,

This is my last month with you as a baby. My last 30 (actually less since February is a short month) days to enjoy the thought that every day you wake up – it’s your first time ever being alive on that day. I mean – after March 13th, I can’t say that – THIS is your very first (insert Holiday here). It will be your SECOND. The magical “firsts” will slowly become “seconds” and then who knows – maybe I will stop even keeping count! It’s been a tough month for me knowing that right around the corner is your FIRST BIRTHDAY. It’s exciting obviously, because you continue to amaze me with your personality and curiosity. But it’s also bittersweet because you can’t go back! You just keep on getting more and more independent and self-sufficient.

In fact, this week, you officially became the OLDEST baby in the infant room. WHAT? The oldest boy Sullivan went off to the toddler room, leaving you there to teach the little ones all the big kid stuff you have learned in your short little 11 months. I will admit that I cried on the way to work that day, because it was just a reminder of what is to come for you in a few short months. You will be moving into the toddler room before I know it! I understand it’s part of the process, but I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it would take on me! I am sure this is just the beginning of a very emotional and rewarding journey of being a parent.

I know it always seems that each month I write about how THIS is the biggest month for development yet – and how DIFFERENT you are, but that is just because every month I think that you couldn’t possibly change anymore - but you do! And of course, this month is no different.

You have gone from crawling to running on all fours, and that is only if there is nothing for you to cruise alongside of – because that is your preferred method of getting around. You use WHATEVER you can to cruise across the room. Usually it’s furniture, but you also have started to use our legs. Every once in a while I will be doing something and I don’t notice you hanging on to me standing there until I go to take a step and I am stuck! You cling on and sort of walk with me wherever I go. It’s definitely not long until you won’t need my leg or the furniture to walk around. You will just walk. And be a big kid. Oh god… I can feel the tears… Does this get easier?????

As you get older, your food needs are changing too. At daycare, they have been trying to transition you (me) to the hot lunch program. At first, I was not on board. I have been trying for MONTHS to get you to try food that had texture and you would just turn your nose up at it. I just assumed that you were not ready yet. But Mary, your teacher would try every week to explain the benefits of the program and I would put it off. Finally, I gave in and you are now officially eating what all the big kids are eating - like full on meals! The other day, they told me you ate FISH! You are getting better about trying stuff that feels weird, but you are still very picky. If it’s a bread type item – you love it. If it’s crunchy – you love it. If it’s a vegetable or fresh fruit, you will NOT go there. I am just going to try and keep my cool and offer them to you anyway. Maybe you will get crazy and decide to eat them!

This transition has been the hardest adjustment for me. When it was all bottles – it was so easy! Then, even when there was some baby food mixed in, at least it was pre-made and I knew it was healthy and easy to bring along. It’s this next stage of real food that is so hard for me. I am constantly trying to think of foods you will eat, but it’s hard! It needs to be quick and easy to make, but also healthy. I have started to make some stuff in big batches and then just re-heat them throughout the week and in theory that would work – but really, you only like things for 1 day. I gave you tater tots one night and you couldn’t get them into your mouth fast enough. I gave them to you the next day, and you wouldn’t even eat one! You tried to give them all to Lena! Trial and error I guess! I just hope you are getting enough food to grow big and strong and as we work into the next level of eating, it’s going to be harder and harder to know for sure.

You have become a little social butterfly this month. You love to be around people and other kids, and I have noticed a little flirty head tilt when you are introduced to people as if you are playing hard to get… but you always have a sweet little smile as if to say – don’t stop… I love it. You are still a pointing machine and your favorite thing to do when we wake up in the morning, is look over the edge of the bed to find the dogs so you can point and say “dog” and laugh. It’s adorable! You also have totally mastered the high 5, which is just the cutest, cutest, cutest thing ever. You really try to get behind it and make it SLAP! You are also getting very good at waving on command. HOWEVER - I think my favorite new trick, is the dancing. OH MY GOD child, you are a grooving machine! It must have been all the beat-box dancing your Daddy has done with you, but you have the beat inside Love, and we couldn’t be happier… No matter what the music is – on TV, on your toys or even something we sing – you start bouncing and wiggling that little baby bum! If you are sitting, you sway back and fourth with your little arms and you always have a very serious look like it’s totally uncontrollable. You just have to let out the beat!

You got to travel yet again this month! We went back to the Papa Wawa Lodge, but this time we took friends. You of course went to bed on cue every night without a hitch, no middle of the night wake ups and you were just a perfectly behaved little angel. I swear you make everyone around you want to have babies because you act like you could do no wrong. You always seem to save those “moments” for when it’s just Daddy and I. I appreciate that though, because I really want our friends to have babies soon!

It was also an exciting weekend at the Lodge because your Daddy surprised me with an engagement ring!! That’s right Elliette – your Mommy and Daddy are finally going to be married! It’s never been a major concern of ours. We love each other, and when we thought about starting a family, it wasn’t important to us to wait until we were “official”. Once we got pregnant with you, we didn’t want to get married just because of that – we wanted to wait until it was right. Mostly because we didn’t want it to take away from the big event of your arrival, and it would seem like we were only doing it because you were coming and we didn’t want that. Now, we are so glad we waited, because how cool is it that you get to be a part of such a special day for your Daddy and I? It will make that day even more wonderful…

The Highlights of Month Eleven:

- You have finally crossed the line of standing at the stairs to climbing them. It was so crazy – one day, you were just hanging out on the bottom step, banging it with your hands not at all interested in the potential danger – and the NEXT day (literally) I was trying to entice you (I know – IDIOT) to try and you just got it. BOOM. You went up all of them. It was pretty incredible. And now, the baby gate is our new best friend.
- Your sleeping has been less than perfect this month. And I say less than perfect, because you pretty much have always been a perfect sleeper. I am not sure if it’s because you are on the verge of major changes or if its your teeth, but it’s definitely not awesome… Thankfully it’s only been a few bad nights.
- Speaking of teeth, your mouth has completely exploded. Seriously, you went from 3 teeth to 5 and I think there is a 6th making it’s way out. The top 2 have forged their way out – and my god, child – let’s hope they shrink by the time they are visible when you smile, because they are HUGE. Like chipmunk style. If they don’t, we will just have to add Buck Tooth Belly to your list of nicknames… I promise we will still love you!
- We have started to brush your teeth and you LOVE it. It’s funny because I can’t get you to open your mouth to show off your teeth without you screaming bloody murder, but throw a little baby toothpaste on a finger brush and you open up that mouth wide! Gotta keep those massive teeth healthy!
- You have started to become a little more uneasy when we leave you in a room alone. It’s nothing crazy, but we have definitely noticed you being more attached to us. I am not complaining, because forever I just thought you were indifferent about your parents because you never went through that separation anxiety phase. Now, I feel a little closer to you because I know you need me - and not just someone.
- Your favorite toys right now: your Farm and all the animals that go with it, your finger puppets, books – especially one’s that have actual paper pages and not hard cardboard ones, dog toys, computer cords, baby gates and the garbage can in the laundry room. It’s a good thing you are having a birthday soon so you can get some new toys!
- Current foods you will eat: All crunchy stuff – especially graham crackers, jelly sandwiches, tater tots, pasta shells with cheese, cornbread muffins, waffles, cheese chunks, carrots (barely), English muffins, applesauce, and your very favorite thing in the entire world – YOGURT.
- You have finally started to use a sippy cup the RIGHT way! It took you a while to figure out how to tilt it up to get the stuff to come out. You haven’t quite mastered the sucking part because it’s way different than a bottle, but you bite down on the spout and you get some liquid so for now, that’s enough for you!
- You are starting to get frustrated when you are trying to communicate, but just don’t have the words yet. I might try to teach you a few symbols in sign language to see if that works.

Current Nicknames:

- Belly
- Belgian, Belgie
- Miss, Little Miss, Missy or Missy May
- Baby Girl
- Sass or Sassy Pants
- Punchy
- Munch or Munchy
- Sweets

T-minus 1 month to go my baby. One more month to try and get in all the snuggles, and nuzzles that I can while you are still a baby. I know it seems like I am trying to hold on to you, but it’s just that I only know you as this baby and it’s hard to imagine you not. It’s a scary world out there and I want to be able to protect you from it all. The older you get, the harder it is for me to keep you safe. I know that you are going to grow up no matter how I feel, and honestly, I can’t wait to see you grow into a toddler and then to see how you develop into a little girl, because you are one special kid. But that doesn’t mean that a part of me won’t always have this aching sadness when I think about the first few months of your life. Those months of getting to know you and watching you see everything for the first time were so wonderful and life changing. I just hope I can hold onto these memories forever because they are so precious to me… I love you so much sweets…