Dear E.V. (Month Eleven)

Dear E.V.,

The other day your dad was buckling in your car seat and exclaimed, “She looks like a little girl right now!” and I smiled at the thought. It’s so true–these days you’re growing by leaps and bounds, and there are so many moments when I see glimpses of a little girl in you. However, for now I’m holding onto these fleeting moments where you haven’t quite stepped over into true toddlerhood; you’re still my little baby, and for now I’m keeping it that way! :)

Emma Vance, every month I feel like you’ve come so far and learned so much, but this month you really, really progressed far. It’s as if all of a sudden, mid-month, you became teachable. It’s amazing! You now understand when we’re trying to get you to do something, and thus you imitate us quickly and with wit. (Although you still won’t “perform” on command, which drives your dad crazy.) You can wave, do “crazy baby” (where you shake your head and scream–which your dad taught you of course), give high fives, pet the dogs gently, give hugs…the list goes on and on! Your vocabulary is also growing, and you babble ALL THE TIME. You say all sorts of words: dada, mama, hey, hi, dog, nana (banana), nana (night night), yay, and (my personal favorite) wow. (We’ve purposely trying to avoid teaching you “no” and “uh-oh,” which is where “yay” and “wow” came into play. It’s pretty darn cute.) This month you learned to–or, rather, you demonstrated that you already could–climb stairs. Oh, the stair climbing! You want to go upstairs about a million times a day to find Dada or to play with your bath toys, and I’m constantly following you to make sure you don’t fall. You are so fearless, and I love that about you! This month you began consistently standing on your own, and your favorite place to practice your standing is in the tub–which is nerve wracking for a mom! :) It won’t be long until you’re toddling along, but for now we’ll be happy with your fast-paced crawls and wobbly cruising.

As the weather’s gotten warmer, we’re spending more and more time outside these days. You love the outdoors and are always trying to sneak out the back door to crawl around the backyard. When we’re outside, you like to inspect bugs, touch the grass, pull apart flowers and watch animals, but most of all you like to be in your baby pool, splashing around to your heart’s content. You are a total water baby, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you grew up with a desire to live by the waterside. (Can your dad and I come too? :) ) In the evenings we take a walk after dinner, strolling the nearby neighborhoods for some fresh air and exercise. I try to talk to you during these walks, but you prefer to sit back and relax; you take it all in and enjoy the peacefulness of our time roaming around.

This month we visited the emergency care because I mistakenly thought your dad and I fed you a parasite (so far so good), you were dedicated at North Point Community Church, and you met your great Uncle Joe and Aunt Shawn. It was a big month for you! Speaking of “big,” you’re filling out your 12 month clothes to the max and have already started the transition to 12-18 month sizes; it’s those dang chunky thighs! :)

You’re a terribly slow eater these days, little lady. You are still obsessed with oatmeal and whine when you see me grab the bowl to mix it up. (“Hurry, Mom! Faster!”) You love bananas, avocados, cheese, spinach + potato baby food (the only baby food we still feed you), black beans, cheese puffs and Mommy’s Shakeology drinks. We’re still feeding you organic food, and you like these “whole” foods a lot. This month you hit a growth spurt and started taking very large bottles (comparatively). At night you drink a full eight ounces, whereas last month we’d be happy to get four in you! As you grow, you get less and less tolerant of us feeding you and more and more independent. Your two bottom teeth are your pride and joy, and when you aren’t showing them off with your big, goofy grin, your chomping down with them. Right now your two bottom molars have broken through and your top four teeth are bulging out, and I know your mouth is bothering you lately. I think that may be why you’re not chowing down on food lately, and I feel so bad for you! It took over a month for your bottom two teeth came in, so we’ll pray for your comfort and feed you teething tablets to help with the pain until they make their way out. (You are going to be SO cute when those top teeth come in! Yay!) And, Emma Vance, I forgive you for always biting me these days because I know you’re in pain. (However, if you could stop biting me, that’d be great…)

Your two-nap schedule (from 10-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.) is still going strong, although on occasion this month you’ve attempted the jump to a one-nap schedule. Before bedtime we always take a bath (your favorite daily activity), play with your toys (babydolls!) for just a little bit to get that baby energy out of you, read a book or two, say our prayers, and then listen to your Fisher Price Seahorse as we rock. You are crying less and less before you fall asleep–maybe one to ten minutes at most these days. If you cry longer than ten minutes, I know you have a poopy diaper or need a little more snuggling to calm you down (and am happy to oblige!).

E.V., you are so full of personality! You are sooo smart, learning things easily and mastering skills quickly. You love books (especially turning the pages), and “Pat the Bunny” is your current favorite. You know how to do all of the tasks in “Pat the Bunny” by heart, and we read it almost every night. (You LOVE touch ‘n feel books of all kinds right now.) We let you watch “Sesame Street” while you have your bottle, and it fascinates you (and us!). You are also very, very social–which you get from your dad. When we take you to restaurants, you can’t even concentrate on eating because you like to try to get other kids’ attentions by yelling “HEY!” to them from your highchair. You are not even a bit shy or afraid of strangers; you enjoy being held by anyone and are quick to make friends. In addition to being outgoing, you are loving and sweet. Your bear hugs make your dad and I melt; you are happiest cuddling in our big bed (and are even returning to the newborn habit of curling up on our bellies again!); you rarely cry but rather grin and smile and share your toys with us. Every person we meet tells us how content and sweet and smart of a baby you are, and we agree wholeheartedly.

Emma Vance, you are the light of our lives, and I am always aware of what a privilege it is to be your mom; holding you at night, comforting you when you cry, seeing you get excited when I walk in a room, having you by my side 24 hours a day–these are all the benefits of having you in our family, and for that I’m thankful. As we go into the last month before you turn a year old, I’m going to cherish all of these small moments of babyhood while I can, and I hope that in some small way you’re able to cherish them too.

Love you always,
Me (and Dad)

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