Dear E.V. (Month Nine)

Dear E.V.,

Well, little love, it’s official. You have been out here for just as long as you were in my belly, and every moment of the past nine months has been for the purpose of your gaining independence–and in those moments I have been so proud for you and so sad for myself. :)
You are our little miss Baby Wise, happy to stay on schedule most days. The days you sleep too long or too short, everyone feels a little off! You currently take two naps a day, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Every morning we wake up and trek downstairs to let the dogs out, listen to the radio (The Bert Show), and have oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve started adding prune juice to your oatimeal (our nickname) because you LOVE bananas so much and they, um, “stop you up.” You seem to like your morning prune juice, just like a little old lady. :) And, of course, oatmeal is your absolute favorite thing to eat. You grunt and cry out of anxiety while I make it, which is apparently too slow in your opinion! We play in your corner of toys, and everyday I try to read a little bit from “The Wizard of Oz” to you as you dump out your toy bins to find various objects to bang together. And then, when you’re ready to wind down, watch Sesame Street while you have your mid-morning bottle, and then you’re usually very eager to pass out for an hour. The afternoons are filled with errands, going to the gym to see your childcare buddies, or long walks in your stroller. You love to be outside, in your stroller or on the ground. You’re peaceful when you have the breeze in your hair, and explorative with the dirt under your bum. You are a little more reluctant to take your afternoon naps usually, and use the occasion to demonstrate your latest talent–standing up in your crib! This month you learned how to pull yourself up, so we lowered your crib mattress. You LOVE to lean against the rail, pleading with me to pick you up in lieu of a nap. You rarely win, though, E.V., so remember that Mom always gets her way! :)
Beyond just standing up in your crib, this month your skills have skyrocketed in so many ways! You pull yourself up to a standing position very easily, crawl at lightning-fast speeds, cruise along furniture, talk up a storm (mama/dada/nana/hey)…it’s scary how quickly things are moving along! I have to watch you constantly because with your expert mobility you are now into EVERYTHING more so than ever. (You particularly enjoy scratching outlets, so, yeah…NOT safe, okay?) You have no fears, and oftentimes I watch you out of the corner of my eye as you crawl from one room to another to grab a toy you remember you left there earlier. I always run after you, especially when we’re upstairs because you try to follow the dogs down to the living room; in fact, one time I literally caught you by the belly as you lunged head-first after them! (We’ll tackle the stairs a little later in life, if that’s okay with you!) This month we retired your baby whale tub, so now you take big girl baths. I had to get a no-slip mat because the tub has become your favorite place to practice standing, which is so dangerous! You also pick up the tiniest items, stickers and leaves and fuzzballs, eating them all with curious pleasure. I often find you with a closed mouth and a confused look on your face, and in those moments you are NOT eager to share you discoveries with me! I have to force your little mouth open to make sure you don’t swallow whatever you’ve found, and since you got your first two teeth this month (!), you have no qualms about biting me in retaliation. Ouch!

You love your dogs, and this month in particular you have begun truly interacting with Oscar and Olive. You crawl after them as they play, dump our their dog bowls, and grab their toys right out of their mouths! They’ve been a little leery now that you’re mobile, but they’re slowly coming around. :)
More than your dogs (and even your mom, unfortunately), you love your dad. He’s the light of your life, and you grin when he walks in the room. You got to go to work with him on set this month, and you stole the show. When he’s at home in his office, you relish your visits with him between phone calls and emails, and he relishes them too. You adore sitting in his lap and banging away on the keyboard, and he indulges you because you are his little princess. He has taught you many things successfully because you LOVE to imitate him. You clap when he sings the ABCs to you, rub your little monkey toes in his beard curiously, and ask for him by name every morning. I don’t doubt for one second that you are going to be a total Daddy’s Girl, which is fine, because I also don’t doubt that he is already a total Girly’s Dad. :)
Emma Vance, in your ninth month, you developed a heart wrenching case of separation anxiety, and it’s aptly timed. I’ve been thinking about my nine months of pregnancy and your nine months of life so much lately, drawing parallels in my mind, getting weepy at the thought of you growing so fast. I can’t stand to be away from you when I hear that particular anxiety-ridden cry; it’s as if your little world is ending, that you believe I’ve left you for good, and that nothing can ever be the same again…but none of that is true, and when I walk into your nursery, pick you up and grasp you ever so tightly, I hope you know that I love you too much to let any of those things happen to you. You are my world, my greatest accomplishment, and my purpose. I love you and will NEVER leave you.
Love You Always,
Me (and Dad)

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