Did I Hear a “Niner”?

Dear Alice,

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Some in church this morning said, “Good morning, Alice! Wow! You are growing so fast!” That is totally the theme of every baby’s first year of life. Every baby in the world grew up quickly in their first year, but it always surprises us. This month you have hit a bunch of milestones.

First, you are crawling! Last month you were just starting to army crawl around. Most of the time you would roll and pull yourself until you got what you wanted, now you are taking trips around the house in a full-on crawl. It’s a good thing daddy put the gate up by the steps a few weeks ago! You already crawl over and peek down when a brother disappears down the steps.

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You are pulling up to your knees on things too! Mostly on me or daddy, but you love the pull up by the couch or ottoman too. It’s funny because once your brothers learned to crawl and pull up we were constantly saying “no, no!” and chasing them around because they would get into all the things. I am sure that is coming with you, but for now you crawl to what you want and then sit and play

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It’s really getting hard to get a non-blurry picture of you! Plus you love to “talk” and make yelling noises–or singing noises.  And you laugh at EVERYTHING. If Charlie is crying, you laugh. If Eddie looks at you, you laugh. If we make a pretend chuckle at you, you start cracking up. Everything is funny and worth a grin and a guffaw. You are just so so sweet.

You get mad only when you are tired, poopy, or hungry. The rest of the time it’s smiles for days. Grandma and Grandpa say you look just like me. I think you look like your brothers, but they swear by it. And I guess they would know…they knew me when I was your size.

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You now have four teeth on the bottom and four on top. You love to eat, but are not very quick about it. Not like your brothers. You like to self-feed, but you’ll eat baby food if we give it to you.  You gagged on avocado and bananas, so I guess we will hold off on giving you “real” food for a bit longer and stick with melt-away crackers and such.

We don’t carry you around in the infant carrier anymore. You still use it for a carseat because you comfortably fit in it and it’s rear-facing, but we usually leave it in the car and you ride around on our hip.

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Most of the time my view of you is this. Reaching for things and crawling over obstacles.  You are just the sweetest, snuggliest, funny little honey pants ever. Daddy often looks at us together and grins and says, “my two girls.” We are quite the pair, my little girl.

Oh, I would be remiss to not mention here that in the past month you have started a new habit: Floor Sleeping. Almost every night between your 7pm bottle and your last bottle of the night (which maybe we are about done with?), you play yourself to sleep on the floor. I have started taking your picture almost every time and it’s been keeping my friends on Instagram and Facebook so happy. Because you are adorable.

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I can honestly say I miss the days of tiny baby, but not enough to have another one. I can also honestly say that I love you more and more each day. I look forward to seeing you first thing in the morning, after work, and snuggling you at night.

The way your face lights up when you see any of us, really, is just beautiful. You love your daddy and brothers and momma. You are our shining little light always.

I’m proud of you that you hold your own bottle, but I love that you let me hold you while you do it.  I love that you can fall asleep on your own, but let me snuggle you while you do it. I hope this is always true, my Alice: that you can do things on your own, but allow me to be a part of your life.

I know I say it each month, but I truly had no idea how much I wanted…and needed…a daughter. I didn’t think having a girl was a big deal…or at least that much different than a boy, but I was as wrong as wrong can be. I am so glad you are here. I am so glad you are part of our family.

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You are so loved, my little one.



on the move

Nine months.

A school year.

A full-term pregnancy.

Eddie’s age when I finally reached out for help with my postpartum depression.

Nine months.

Tomorrow, dear Charlie, you will be nine months old.

Three quarters of a year.

Officially on the “outside” longer than on the “inside”.

I’m trying not to be emotional about this month, but my little son, this 9-month thing strikes me so strangely in my heart and in my mind.

Today I held you before bed and watched as you got so silly with sleepiness.  Each time I asked you if you want to go “night night” you shook your head and grinned.

You are so SO happy.

You are so SO amazingly gracious and loving and stubborn and cute and smart and chatty and all of the things.

I try to soak every second of it in becauseI just don’t remember this time of Eddie’s life.

He was just as old as you are when I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression.  It still shocks me how little I can recall from that time.

I don’t want that to happen again.

You are growing and changing so fast, Charlie.  It’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to absorb every little change because just when I think I have you re-memorized, you change and grow a bit more.

You have yet to meet a food you won’t eat.  Seriously, you like it all, and you sort of want to eat all the things when you are hungry.  However, no matter how much you had for dinner, you NEED at least a small bottle before you can fall asleep.  Confession? I love that. Because 9 times out of 10 it’s me who gets to give you that bottle.  It’s my guaranteed Charlie Time each day.

At Thanksgiving we let you taste potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and turkey. You liked all of them and would have very much preferred more than just the tiny taste of each.  But you ate the baby food we fed you anyway.  And sucked down a bottle of formula like a champ.  Like I said, you don’t turn down food.

Unless your gums hurt.

Like when four teeth tried to break through at the same time…two of which were your two front teeth.

Your poor little gums were swollen to the max and were giving you fits.

You had a high fever, the barfs, the poops…and then POP.  Four teeth and you were a little dream again.

You are “talking” more and more.  It’s like you have figured out that there are other ways of communicating your needs rather than crying and you are exploring them all.

It also tickles you when we repeat back to you what you just “said.”  It’s like you have made a giant discovery that you control the sounds coming out of your mouth.

We have been signing to your words like “more” and “please” and “thank you” like we did with Eddie.  And just like Eddie, you are picking them up, but adapting them.

Eddie did the more sign correctly, but you hold your hands together above your head.  It’s like you’re doing “So Big”.  But you only do it in your high chair when you run out of food.  It’s hilarious.

And you’re quickly learning that you have a super smile and that it gets you everywhere right now.

Want to be picked up? Flash that smile.  Given a toy? The smirk comes out.  Attention paid to you?  A grunt and then a smile.

You’re suave, bud.

Your love for your brother just gets stronger as you grow…as does his love for you.

You can be a crabby mess, but when Eddie shows up?  You grin and start making “eh eh eh” sounds.

You want what Eddie has.  You are not at all interested in most stuffed animals, but when Eddie has Lamby? You do your best to strong-arm your way into his lap and grab Lamby away.  If Eddie is playing with a toy, you want to do it too.

This month, upon putting up the Christmas tree, you figured out how to crawl.  Like a moth to a flame, I tell ya.

Eddie very fashionably put a million ornaments in stylish “clumps” near the bottom.  Once he saw you beeline to them, he put them higher before I even asked.  He is smart like that, your brother.  Always looking out for you.

Even when we ask him to lay off.  He is still known to yell out, “NO SHA-WEE!” about everything.

But back to this crawling you do.

It’s funny.

You are teaching me over and over that just because I’ve had a baby your age, doesn’t mean I know anything about babies.  Unlike your brother who got up on all fours after being able to pull up from sitting to his knees and then rocked a bit and then took off at the ripe age of 8 months, you have laid on your tummy and flapped your arms and legs hoping to “take off”.  You have used rolling as your mode of transportation.

But once that tree was up, rolling was just not good enough.

You reached out your arms and pulled that little, flapping body along the floor.  This past weekend you realized you could also push with your feet and knees.

So you army crawl.

And you pull things down. Or out.

Then you roll to your back, hold what you want with your feet, and play.

Like a darn cat.

You show zero signs of trying to sit up on your own from the crawling position.

You have no desire to pull up to your knees.

You are always just content with what you can do…until you aren’t.

Then you learn what you need to be content again.  Quickly and efficiently.

That is an awesome trait, my son.

Despite my telling everyone what a happy, content baby you are, you always look so serious to others.

It takes you a while to warm up to new situations and new people…even when those people are not technically new. And so you are told, “you’re such a serious one,” all the time.

But you are not…not really.  Not once people get to know you.

Not when you are busy exploring the world that just got so much bigger to you.

I watched this week as you discovered you can now go anywhere. It’s not just the tree.  No way, that is old news.  You can get to the kitchen now and pull down all the things on the fridge.

You can take a bite of the rug (ew. something we are constantly battling with you over).

You can head down the hall to the bathroom so you can see your brother when he is in the tub.

You can book down towards our bedroom when you know daddy went that way.

I could clearly write forever about you.

{and because I don’t have a baby book even purchased let alone started for you, I sort of feel obliged to.}

But I will just tell you this:

I never expected to be so in love with you.

I thought my heart was full with your brother, but having you here with us…in our family…has changed my heart.  It has grown.

And the love I have for Eddie has changed.

The love I have for you is different.

All that love is so much…just so much.  That sometimes? I can’t believe it’s real.

That you are real.

That you are my baby.

That smile slays me.

And makes me cry.

And laugh.

And jump for joy.

But mostly? It makes me fall on my knees in thanksgiving.

Because you are a gift, Bird.

One of the three best gifts I have ever been blessed with.