Dear E.V. (Eight Months)

Dear E.V.,

You can crawl! You can crawl! YAY!

It took seven months and eleven days for you to figure it out, but it finally happened! You’ve been eagerly trying since the moment you were born, climbing up our chests and willing yourself forward  while on your tummy with grunts and squeals, and this month you finally crawled. I could not be any prouder of you, Emma Vance. I’m simultaneously ecstatic and saddened: I know your world has just changed vastly, and I’m so eager for you to explore it with a bit of independence; on the other hand, I’m already teary at the thought of you as my little newborn, all bundled up, relying on me for literally everything. I suppose that this is how the next 18 years will go–enjoying my little girl’s growing up while mourning the loss of her youth…

So, back to the crawling. :) You are a total army crawler at this moment in time. You use your left arm to pull yourself forward and your right leg to push off. You don’t quite seem to grasp the back-and-forth that characterizes most army crawls; you have a style that’s all your own, and it works. I know that you’re aware that there’s a more proper way to crawl, because occasionally you’ll get up on all fours, bounce back and forth a bit, then throw yourself forward a few inches before landing on your belly and giving in to the army crawl. It’s hilarious to see! One day you’ll get it, girlie, one day. For now, however, the army crawl gets you where you need to go, and that’s all that matters!

Because you have this newfound mobility, you are into EVERYTHING. Seriously, I can’t turn my back on you for a moment! It’s so fun to see which toys and objects you really prefer (versus my handing you toys to play with before), and it’s no surprise that you prefer Mom and Dad’s toys to your own. Whether it’s a phone, a computer or the iPad, you love technology (and its shiny, moving screens)! You also love to chew on paper (weird), and when I put you down in the bathroom to play while I shower, I’ve learned to hide the toilet paper. The first time I found you with a mouthful, I grabbed it away from you, thinking that would suffice; however, for the rest of the day I was digging out spit wads from your chubby little cheeks. Yuck! I’ve also been a little challenged when I have to be in the kitchen; although it’s close to the living room (where your toys are), it isn’t a direct view, so I’ve been setting you down on the floor next to me. To keep you occupied (and in one place!), I’ve been giving you pots and cups and spoons, making your own little drum kit and teaching you how to play it. You aren’t to bad for a novice! (Ha!)

Along with your new crawling skills, you have blossomed in so many ways this month. You’ve become adventurous in the tub, flipping over to scratch the whale’s padding and trying to stand while holding the faucet. (Bath time is still your absolute favorite time of day.) You’ve realized that you can chase after the dogs (which they do NOT like), and so you spend a lot of your playtime terrorizing Oscar and Olive. (We’ve had to work with them–and you–to make sure no one gets hurt when the three of you are together.) You have gone on a few play dates and restaurant dates this month, and every new situation reveals to me how social you are (which you get from your dad). You LOVE people; they energize you. You will go straight through nap time without so much as a fuss if there are people around for entertainment. The biggest thing that you’ve learned this month (other than crawling) has been clapping. You clap, clap, clap to the hits on the radio, to the tunes your Learning Puppy plays, to the ABC song your dad sings. It’s so sweet and innocent that every time you clap away, I can’t help but excitedly join in with you.

You spend so much time in the kitchen nowadays, especially since we’ve added self-feeding to your mealtime routine. You LOVE to pick up your own food and feed yourself, so usually for lunch you have bananas, avocados and veggie puffs. Last month you were going through a picky-eater stage, but this month you’ve been content with whatever we place before you. (Although you do like chunks of banana WAY more than pureed banana.) You gobble your fruits and veggies up and are always excited when you see me making a bowl of oatmeal. It is by far your favorite food (carbs!). You’re taking the same amount of milk and formula last month, because when I tried to up your bottle intake this month you barfed everywhere, every time I tried to sneak another ounce into you. I give up! White flag! :) You’ve never loved or hated bottles, but in order to speed things along, we’ve been occasionally giving you your formula via syringe, which you LOVE. We’ve tried several sippy cups this month to no avail. HOWEVER, your favorite drinking method of all is to drink like a big girl, “cup style” as your dad and I call it. (I can’t wait for you to be big enough to drink like that on your own!)

Because you became mobile and thus soooo much more active this month, you seem so skinny to me! (That’s one reason I tried to get you to drink more.) I suppose it’s just you growing up, though. Your looks are changing so much these days. I feel like more and more people are commenting how you look like me, perhaps because your blue eyes are turning colors. They aren’t brown like mine (yet?), but change daily, varying from gray to green with brown flecks. They are beautiful, and are quickly becoming my favorite feature of yours. Also, your hair is settling down. The mohawk flies high some days and is non-existent others, making me fear the day it finally gives up for good. Your “other” hair is growing so fast, making for a long rattail and scraggly sides. I’m definitely ready for it to all become one head of hair! ;) Another physical change I thought we’d see this month was some teeth, but although they’re bulging (and have been all month), they have yet to make an appearance.

I think that it might be your impending teeth, but you have been waking up during the nighttime a bit this month. Usually it’s around 2 a.m., and you’re easily consoled, so I’m not too worried (although your dad has less tolerance for it than I do). You wake up promptly each morning at 7:30 a.m. (almost to the dot) and go to bed around 7:30 p.m. depending on your nap schedule for the day. You spent the month dropping your third nap, taking slightly longer morning and afternoon naps instead. This was not a quick transition and every time I was ready to declare the transition over, you’d have a relapse day. Now, though, it seems settled, and you usually sleep from 10-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. One morning I plopped you in bed with your dad while I showered, and when he turned on Sesame Street to entertain (both of) you, you accidentally fell asleep while watching TV next to him! It was so sweet! In fact, you have been much, much better about crying when I put you down, and I’m eager for that to go away all together.

You are such a daddy’s girl. You murmur “dadada” all day long, and although it really is your default word for anything and everything, there’s a distinct difference when you say it to your dad. It melts my heart to hear it, to see the two of you interacting, and it makes me love him even more (if that’s even possible!) to see how much he loves you.

You also say “mama” often, crying out for me in the night or when you bump your head. I love to hear you say my name, and hope you will never go through a phase where you want to call me “Talie.” :) Promise you won’t, okay?

Emma Vance, I love you so much. I get all teary-eyed thinking about you, how much you’ve grown, how much you’ve changed and how much you will continue to change as time passes by. I would give anything for you to stay little, but since I know that isn’t possible, I promise to help you grow up to be the woman of God that I know you will choose to be. You are amazing and are destined to do great things in life; this I know in my heart.

Love you always,
Me (and Dad)

P.S. When your baby knows how to take a selfie, you’re in trouble… :)

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