Dear E.V. (Month Seven)

Dear E.V.,
I know I say it every time, but SEVEN months?!? I really can’t comprehend how time keeps marching, sprinting forward without my consent. A lot has happened this month, and yet you’re still on the verge of so much more…
The biggest change you’ve experienced this month has been eating solid food. (Yay!) You like to be in your high chair, at adult-level, playing with your toys while I make dinner or put away the dishes; it’s one of your favorite places to be right now because (I think) it makes you feel like a big kid. You took to eating solid foods easily, and then, just as easily, you learned that you could resist eating them (the yucky ones, of course). Oatmeal is by far your favorite food–especially if it’s super liquid-y. Unfortunately, there isn’t one single fruit or vegetable that you seem to really, really LOVE; in fact, none that I’ve given you have excited you. We started with peas, then green beans, then apples and pears, squash and sweet potato…and you were NOT impressed with any of them. In fact, you HATE bananas, which is sad because your mom lives off of them. :( It got so bad that I dropped the “only introduce one food every three days” rule because I was desperate to find something, anything that you’d be eager to gobble up. The closest we’ve come has been mango, but I think you enjoyed it because it was the first food I let you have from a squeezy pouch, and you find the novelty of how you eat more interesting than the actual food you eat. Then we moved onto rice cakes (Baby Mum Mums) and teething biscuits, which you like. You do enjoy Mum Mums a lot, mostly because I break them into small pieces for you to pick up, and you love to feed yourself. Since you’re spending so much time in your high chair, we’re working on your table manners already–saying a blessing, having a napkin in your lap, signing “please.” (You’re still the messiest eater I’ve ever encountered, but, hey, A+ for effort!)
You’re still nursing and drinking formula with each of your meals and a little bit here and there throughout the day as you get thirsty. Your largest bottles are in the mornings and right before bed, where you take four to six ounces happily. When you’re in the highchair I give you a sippy cup to practice with, and you love to bang it around while I pull together your meals. Truthfully, you’re still a bit confused how to use it; it’s very different from a bottle! So, after you’ve had your fun for a while, I usually end up removing the top, tipping it up and letting you drink like a grown-up. It can be messy, but it works. 
All of that feeding is paying off (considering it feels like that’s all I do now that we’ve added in solid food!) because you’re growing right on schedule, gaining another two pounds this month. Your little thighs are so chunky, girl! Let me just say in advance, before you become an adult who curses your genetics for big thighs, I’m sorry. :) They’re so thick that we’ve jumped up to size four diapers early (three pounds before the recommended weight) just to be able to comfortably latch them closed around your legs. I love how chubby you are, though, how flubby your little hands are still, how round your big belly is, how soft your little behind is…
As for sleep, I’m thankful that you’re transitioning to two long naps instead of those yucky 45-minuters. However, this second half of this month has been mostly about transitioning to that two-nap schedule, making the past few weeks a little unpredictable. You follow one of three patterns everyday: three 45-minuters, long-short-short, or short-short-long. I can usually tell which pattern you’ve chosen for the day by mid-morning, so we just adjust our daily schedule accordingly. I have to admit it, though, that the few days you’ve taken two long naps have been heavenly, so I’m eager to get through this transition and into a permanent schedule! Some of my favorite moments during the day are being able to hold you for the few minutes before you go down, singing you a song or two and calming you down. Then, when I place you in your crib you either pass out immediately (which is awesome!), or you are eager to play for a while. You crack me up when I watch you fall asleep through the monitor; you roll around, banging you legs on the mattress and attacking your toys (always seeming to go for Cookie Monster in particular–hmmmm…), typically ending up in some crazy, seemingly uncomfortable position with your arms all akimbo or your leg tucked up underneath you–until I come in and gently try to move you to a better position. And, then, inevitably you wake up with some big, red lines across your face where you slept on your hand or blanket, and I just smile. You are always at your best first thing in the morning; your eyes are so bright and big, and you just seem so alive in those early morning hours. 
During your waking hours, you’re more active than ever. The world around you is your playground, and it always seems to be recess! You are struggling so hard and acting so frustrated at your lingering inability to crawl. You’ve been trying since the day we brought you home it seems, and now that it’s a true possibility within your reach, you can’t stand it! You fuss and flail about on your belly, eventually pushing up on all fours but too unstable to move forward. I’m always there, encouraging you, “Crawl, girl, crawl!,” but inevitably you revert to rolling yourself around the living room, exploring all four corners and every “toy” that you can scratch or pick up along the way. (Speaking of scratching, it still continued this month in full force…) You’ve also been trying to pull yourself up, which isn’t going to well. :) Instead, I’ve been helping you pull up to lean on the couch, which you love. You, of course, still need help staying on your feet, but you are so, so strong! Now that you can sit up on your own for long periods of time, you love to be at your piano and bang on it like a pro. Right now you have two exersaucers, and you’re as happy as a clam to play in them. You LOVE to jump, and just like you used to kick even when you weren’t laying at your piano, now you jump even when you’re not in your exersaucers. You are so stinkin’ smart that you immediately figured out all of the little bells and whistles on them and now make whatever noise or light work as you choose. It’s truly amazing and encouraging to watch. No matter how fancy the toys get, though, your favorite “toy” right now is a pack of baby wipes; the crinkling sound it makes when you roll around with one is insanely entertaining for you, and, hey, it’s a “cheap” thrill for me! You also love to play patty cake, to sit and wave your arms up and down and be tickled. In fact, tickling your belly actually makes you laugh now, which is a new development this month. I guess it’s the anticipation that makes you squeal and giggle so much, but I’m tempted to tickle you all the time because it’s so endearing! You also think it’s the most hilarious thing in the world when I kiss your feet, so almost every diaper change is accompanied by foot smooches and baby laughs.
There are two main things that occupy your fascination these days–dogs and electronics. Oscar and Olive are the ultimate entertainment in your world, and they are always happy to put on a show. Olive loves to sit with us as we’re on the floor playing, although I suspect she’s in it for the attention :), and Oscar can’t get enough of you. I’ve caught him several times gently nibbling on your clothes and pulling you around by the foot of your pajamas–no kidding! He’s so gentle and careful (how do dogs know things like that?), but he’s SO eager for you to play back soon. I always kindly ask him to leave you alone, but he adores you so much. You return his adoration and eagerness by pulling out his fur, which he likes, despite it hurting a little bit. (Hey, attention is attention in his puppy mind!) One day this month you were in your exersaucer, sitting still and staring down Olive, who was seated in front of you. Oscar must not have realized that you were actually in there, because when you broke Olive’s stare and did one jump, it alerted him to your presence, and he got so excited he pounced at you (good-naturedly). I saw the whole thing, and it was amazing–as Oscar started to jump up INTO the exersaucer to play with you, Olive lunged toward him, intersected him and threw him to the ground! She wasn’t mad, but she knew Oscar had no clue that he was going to hurt you; so she protected you. Oscar was a little confused (“What, E.V.’s NOT a puppy that I can pounce on and play rough with?!?”), but you had Olive to watch over you, thank goodness!
As for electronics, you must’ve gotten your dad’s genes because you are fascinated by them! Sadly, we’ve stopped watching “Sesame Street” and “Dinosaur Train,” and most TV altogether. I started to get paranoid that it would scramble your brains, and now that you eat solid food, we’re in the kitchen way more than the living room nowadays. However, anytime you can get your little hands on a remote, a phone, or a keyboard, you squeal and act like you’ve just won a million dollars. It seriously cracks me up–although your little hands have sent a few odd text messages here and there! Oops. Sorry friends! Maybe you’re trying to text some of your baby friends to set up play dates? :) 
Bath time is definitely your favorite time of day, so we’ve been spending extra long in the tub, splashing and playing with rubber duckies and such. When I run your bath, you love to grab at the splashing water from the faucet and to put your head under the spout or to try stand up in front of it. You always seem so sad when it’s over, and that makes me so sad, but prune-y hands are not a good look for you, little lady. When we dry you off, I’m always amazed to see that little mohawk pop up as quickly as the water pushed it down. Your hair is getting long–and scraggly!–and your mohawk is slowly falling down. It’s not AS crazy as before, but it’s still pretty awesome (along with your rattail, which is super long itself) and garners you much attention as ever. In fact, we were at the grocery store the other day, and all of these grandmas kept coming up to you and oohing and aahing about how cute you were, how wonderful your temperament and how fun your hair was! One grandma stayed next to you the whole time we were stopped at the deli and began talking to the other little old ladies as if you belonged to her! I would’ve been mad, but how could I blame her? :)
You’re latest and most exciting new activity is actually sitting up in shopping carts and restaurant high chairs. You LOVE being strolled around stores, grasping at whatever I put in the cart to try and chew on it; you also love being part of the table conversation at meals, sitting big and tall, eating your Mum Mums and watching the grown-ups talk. It’s like you have a whole new perspective on life–literally! You also adore being in your big girl stroller, sitting up as we walk around; in fact, this month the weather’s been crazy so we’ve actually gotten to go on walks outside this January, which is the first chance we’ve had to use your big girl stroller outside. You’ve always loved being outdoors, but now that you can look around more easily, you’re especially in awe of everything around you; it amazes me how aware you are at this age. We stroll the neighborhoods around our house, listening to music or talking about what we see. Speaking of the odd weather, it was so nice one day that we even took a blanket out into the yard and sat for a while; you pull out grass and tried to eat pinestraw; it was so fun and made me eager for when you’re really able to play outside. You also “played” at church and at the gym for the first time this month, making new friends and enjoying new toys (especially the swing at the gym). Everyone who babysits you says that you’re an angel, happy and excited to be with other babies, too social to ever take a bottle while in public of course! You always leave your time in the nursery exhausted and smiling. I know that one day you’ll be so excited when I drop you off; you’ll wiggle out of my arms, run into a big group of your friends, yell “Bye, Mom!” without even looking back–and, as for me, I’ll be equally happy and sad in that moment. (I am both eager for and dreading that time to come…)
Emma Vance, as I write this, you’re sitting (or rather rolling around) on the floor next to me, happy as can be, grinning that big ol’ toothless grin at me, flailing you legs and arms around, desperate to crawl. I could watch you every second of every day and still be enthralled with every little thing you do, every little discovery about this world that you make. And I love this age, because, well, it seems that you feel the same way about me, and I never want that to end. I’m desperate to capture every small moment in your life because each one is so precious to me, because you are so precious to me. I love you, your dad loves you, your dogs love you–but, most of all, I love you. :)
Love You Always,
Me (and Dad)

Also, on a side note, these shoots are getting a little more complicated as time goes on and Emma Vance becomes more active… :)
Wiggle worms require a mom AND a dad to keep them in the right spot!
Put that down and smile for the camera, lovey!
No, seriously. Put that down. Put. It. Down

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *