Thursday, October 27, 2011

6 months

Dear Daughter,
Half a year. MAN OH MAN. I won't lie, lately I have felt this weird compulsion to start planning your 1st birthday.. but then I'd stop myself and say 'no, you crazy fool, it's WAY too early for that!'.. but then wait.. it's not. It's 6 months away! (which, in my corrupted over-punctual mind, is the perfect time to start planning something like this) Should I also start pre-registration for Harvard? It almost feels that way, time is just slipping through my fingers. I wish you didn't have so many delicious baby fat-rolls and I wish you didn't smell as good as you do, because damn. It's going to be gone someday! Your rolls will slowly thin out and your baby-lavender Aveeno soap/baby smell will be replaced with a distinct mixture of Play Doh and cheetos. And that makes me a little weepy.
On a more positive note, you are doing so many new things, I can't keep up. For one, you are a bonafied totally professional unassisted sitter. I don't think Andrew was a pro at this until closer to 7 months, so the fact that you achieved this about a week before turning 6 months old sort of scares me. You hear about girls being early developers than boys, and you even read about it in the preachy over-informative baby development books. And it's scary! Because who wants a 9 month old that can walk??! NOT I. I know, when Andrew was a little on the later side of walking/crawling, I was so annoyingly anxious and sometimes-frustrated, but looking back, man I had it made! I'll take later development over early any day of the week. I don't think you're hearing me on this, though. You're very likely to be walking before your first birthday, and even more likely to be doing our taxes by Kindergarten.
When I put you down in the middle of the living room, sitting up, surrounded by fun toys to grab (and knaw on) so that I can go do dishes or some other quick chore, you often are just fine until you look up and see me somewhere else. You'll make eye contact with me (or I'll be a total noob and call your name to get you to look up, what am I thinking?!?!) and then just lose it. Sad sad sobbing, of the 'why did you abandon me foooorever?!?' variety. And it's SO CUTE. With Andrew, I remember this phase, and it annoyed me, not going to lie. The constant clinginess. But you know, subsequent babies are awesome in that a healthy dose of perspective comes free with package! I know this stage is so fleeting, and you're crying because you want to be around me! How adorable and just awesome is that! It makes it even more awesome when your brother acts out on such a regular basis that clearly, he must have a vengeful pact to put me in the nuthouse. So your obsession with being around me is way more than flattering. It's renewing.
O yes, something noteworthy, your source of food has drastically changed recently. From tap to bottle. It started to become slightly challenging to nurse you, for many reasons.. I knew I would be infinitely happier/saner if I weaned you to bottles. You went probably a good 3 months though of TOTALLY refusing all bottles. You might deign to take a whole ounce, sometimes, if you were starving and the stars were aligned properly. But for the most part, no. You also physically gagged at the taste of just 1/4th formula to 3/4th breastmilk mixture. Long boring story short, after spending much money on much bottles, you finally started taking one. Naturally, the bottle we started with (and thankfully were in high supply of, thanks to secondhand from Andrew) The fact that you now take five 5-6-ounce bottles of 100% formula in a 24 hour period still seems like a small miracle to me. My boobs are still not the dried up lifeless pancakes I was hoping they'd be by now, but I gotta be patient. They'll get the memo eventually.
You think Andrew is hilarious. No matter what he does. He has a very specific intonation of 'Peeeekabooooo' and you die. Every time. He has no regard whatsoever for your personal space, and while this GREATLY annoyed me at first (for while I love you (differently but) equally, you are a baby and he is a germy preschooler), I now have found several parts about it to be oh so grateful for. Like how you grab at his face, because that's just what you do, and he never gets irritated with this. He just ducks and covers or puts your hands elsewhere..  I know all too soon, you'll be going for his hair but not in a curious innocent kind of way. Instead of laughter, I'm sure to hear 'I'm telling!'..  so I'll savor this stage we're in.
You do an indescribably cute pig snort. Yep - total 100% pig snort. You scrunch up your nose and sort of breathe really heavy and fast..  SO adorable. I have plenty of videos of this, of course with me saying 'who's mommy's little piggy???'..  I am saving these little gems specifically for your prom date.
You hate outfit changes. Pulling and pushing your flailing little body into the cutest of clothes is quite the Olympic feat. You often cry - but it's just the cutest cry ever. So high-pitched and just dripping with annoyance over the cruel injustices of outfit changes.. I laugh every time.
You weighed in at your 6 month appointment at 17 pounds 12 ounces. And 27 and 3/4 inches. 99th percentile for height and 88th for weight. Hearty stock.
You nap three times a day still. Always around 9am, then again around 12 or 12:30, then again between 3 and 4. Your last nap of the day will definitely be the first to go - once we attempt to put you on two naps a day. You go to bed almost every night around 7:40. You get a bath every night, too. Totally not necessary, but we are very much creatures of habit, and let's face it: a chubby naked wet baby is the best kind of baby.
You are being very slow about solids.. not ever truly eager to shovel in the puree presented to you.. but we tried puffs yesterday, and they went well. Not at all like the first time I gave one to Andrew, whenst he gagged and then vomited all over himself. You looked confused, but happily let it dissolve in your toothless mouth..  success! You also are a whiz at the straw cup. We're just going to skip traditional sippy cups altogether, lessen the odds of a lisp and all that, so your quick study of the straw has been very helpful. It's that 'voracious suck' (God I love saying that) that all those lactation consultants marveled over..  you sucked the latex glove right off one of those ladies' fingers, as a 2 day old baby, so is it any surprise you know what to do with a straw?!

You are just the most gorgeous, sweeeeeeetest little nugget of baby girl that ever was. You bring me daily joy and laughter and I love you SO SO much. Happy half-year.

Friday, October 7, 2011


To both my kiddos,
You are both so precious to me. There's always so much going on in your day-to-day development that it's hard to sit down and hope I remember it all. And scribbling down quick notes when I think of them always just passes me by. Too much in one day. I'll just wing it as I usually do....
You are 5.5 months as I type this. You are just a big nugget of delicious-ness. To say you are the most edible baby that ever was is a serious understatement. I kiss your round cheeks and your fleshy neck ALL day long. You now grab your feet when on the changing table, I think you just discovered you had them. Also while changing, you twist and turn and go stiff-legged.. so it's become semi-challenging. I can imagine as time passes that it will only get worse. We used the changing table with Andrew up until he was out of diapers (2 yrs 4 mts old), never really having to use the floor as most do, because of physical challenges, and being on the go. I think this might not be the case with you! The changing table might not see it to age 2!
You look so so much like my mother, moreso every passing day. You look like her when you make certain faces, you look like her from the side, you look like her while you sleep. And it's not just me who knows this, plenty of others have commented. It's amazing to me.. I miss my mother so much, and I still don't really display any photos of her around the house. Maybe one on the fridge, because it's just too hard. I actually prefer how crazy-busy life keeps me that I can't ever sit and dwell on the deep loss I know is there.. so I haven't made much effort to surround myself with her image. But, you. You remind me so much of her.. and it's not one bit painful. It's absolutely incredible. God makes all babies perfect in their own way, and special.. but I think He made you look like her with every intention to keep her here with us, because her time on Earth was just far too short. We get to see her everyday, in you, and my gosh that just makes me want to cry just writing that. You are so special, you have no idea. It also makes me laugh sometimes, when you are being a fussy little toot at the most inopportune times (think: dinner burning, toddler misbehaving, doorbell ringing, cue your cries!) and you look like a mini version of my mother. Sometimes you are also my mother's revenge!
You are so in love with Andrew. Every Tues and Thurs at preschool pick-up time, if you are awake, you absolutely light up at the sight of him, in the backseat of the car. I swear, I can't get you to smile that huge and genuine ALL day.. just the sight of him and you just radiate. He plays little games with you, specifically the 'Where's Avery' game..  he turns opposite from you, saying 'Wheeere's Avery.. where's Avery?!?'.. then turns really fast and says 'There you ARE!'.. and you smile SO big. When he can get a real laugh out of you, he is so proud of himself. It's really something.
Right now, you love to be held... I think you are in the midst of your first separation-anxiety phase.. one of many, if you are anything like Andrew was! I remember our old pediatrician telling us something (3 years ago, with him) that seemed so brilliant, yet so commonsense.. for us to really be diligent with saying 'I'll be right back!' every time we left the room, if for 30 seconds or 3 minutes.. to always say that. So we've been trying to do that a lot. If you start fussing when we have to leave your sight, 9 times out of 10, Andrew will come barrelling in to console you.. usually saying 'it's ok Avery! don't worry!!!'.. or 'I'll take care of you!'..   He does this also, in the car, if you start to fuss a few miles before home (or our destination).. he'll say 'we're allllmost there! it's ok!'
But for as sweet as Andrew is with you, he is also a tad rough at times. I think he wants to really see how far he can go, how much he can get away with.. he tries to roll you over, which we have to repeat ourselves daily that this is NOT OKAY, and he likes to hover over you - very nerve wracking considering how large he is. He also has pulled on your arms/legs while we are carrying you.. or pushed down a bit too hard on your belly.. all of this has not yet made you cry or even fuss.. so clearly he hasn't hurt you yet. But is is exhausting on my end, constantly reiterating to be gentle... 
You just started sleeping on your belly. This gets us more sleep, which is no surprise really..  we've just always been too nervous to intentionally place your on your belly. Now you do it all on your own. And we never flip you back over, unless you wake up crying.. and even then, we roll you on your side. I don't think I ever saw Andrew sleep on his stomach as a baby, so this is new territory!
You started blowing raspberries right at 4.5 months. It was a pretty big obsession for a few days, then it tapered off and you didn't do it for a few weeks. I am glad it's not a huge obsession anymore, because trying to get you to have a focused nursing session during that time was all but impossible. Yes, you blew raspberries upon my nipples. It was sometimes messy.  :>/ 
You aren't what I consider a 'drooler'. Andrew was. Our person was always covered in his drool.. his outfits always adorned with a soaked drool bib. You really don't drool that much, but I know that can change overnight! Speaking of drool, you have one tooth I know is coming in..  it's been a white spot on your gums for about 2 months now. Slowly but surely!
You can sit up for just a few seconds on your own, before falling backwards or forwards (or to the side!).. I don't know why I am encouraging this mobility, as I know it leads to MORE mobility.. but it's pretty cute. I think the girth of your thighs will serve you well in anchoring you to the ground, when you are truly ready to sit by yourself.
I can't believe you will be 6 months old in just a few weeks..  half a year. It seems like nothing, in the grand scheme of things, 6 months IS a very short time.. but when I look at the helpless little squawking newborn you were just a handful of months ago, to the roll-y little nugget of joy you are now?? Makes my head spin a little...
Andrew: Child. What can I say? That I've considered selling you on ebay lately? That I've screamed into a pillow at the end of one brutal day with you? That we have just ordered 2 (maybe 3?) discipline books on amazon, because we feel completely out of our league? So. You've been.. a challenge. One curve-ball of discipline needs after another. And all of this following about 3 years of near-perfect, who am I kidding ANGELIC, behavior..  and oh yes, also following the birth of your little sister. So to say I am tired.. well, that's just a ridiculous understatement. Last night was the first night in ohhhhh.. a year? that you got up in the middle of the night, requiring both of us to come negotiate you going back to sleep. It was also the night that Avery decided to throw us a super long sleep stretch, so that makes perfect sense right? Pretty standard, I hear.
I don't know what it is, really. I think we have let a few misbehaviors slide, because we were focused too much on 'picking our battles', given the huge life change you were experiencing with a new sibling. All those misbehaviors gave way to new ones, and snowball effect blah blah blah. Or maybe it's an age thing? I really have no idea and I'm honestly too tired to venture guesses. All I know is, you are not very pleasant to be around a lot of the time. I'm sorry, but let's just stop beating around the bush! It doesn't mean we don't love you any less right now.. but kid? Sometimes we don't like you very much. You seem to make it a point to be as loud as possible, all. the. time. When we ask you to please use an inside-voice, you sometimes cackle in our faces. Your tantrums have reached epic proportions.. it would shock the neighbors, that is for sure. One fatal mistake on my behalf, such as ohhhh I dunno, turning the TV off before bedtime (after allowing YOU to do it, but you stalling, and me giving you way too many chances) and it's ScreamFest 2011. Top of the lungs, body thrown into the middle of the hall, refusing and and all requests (demands) regarding bath/bedtime. Add in a tired fussy baby who unfortunately has to take a bath after you, and it's some goooood times over here!
Two main problems we are dealing with: knowing the difference between on purpose and an accident. And lying. They sort of intertwine, am I right? You lie. A lot. About little inconsequential things, but still. And when I catch you in a lie - and of course, say the word 'lie' - you maniacally laugh.. as you think the word 'lie' is the funniest word ever. You say it, laugh hysterically, repeat 10 times before I can get your attention to move on. Its... maddening. And when I finally got my point across to please not DO THAT, you said 'la'.. and laughed. After calling you on it, you said 'but I didn't say LIE! I said la!'... Oh child. I am in for it, am I not???!
As I type this, (you are outside w/your father and sister) you are ringing the doorbell incessantly, laughing like a nutjob for the entire street to hear. I cannot catch a break, even separated by brick walls. 

I could literally go on for pages.. you do so much that irritates all of us these days. But just tonight, at dinner, you thanked me, unprompted, as you do every night. You stopped eating, looked at me, and said 'thank you for dinner!'..  And when your father got home, you immediately asked him how his day was. Totally unprompted and from the bottom of your heart. You have your moments, and lots of them.. but we still know how lucky we are. We won't call SuperNanny... yet.