Dear E.V. (Month Six)

Dear E.V.,
I can’t believe that half a year has passed already. It seems like only yesterday I was dreaming about who you were going to be, and at the same time it’s hard for me to remember what life was like without you in it.
Every day you surprise and delight me. You are the greatest joy in our lives, and you never fail to seize an opportunity to confirm that notion to us. You are growing and changing and becoming a little person day by day, and every time you reveal a new facet of your personality to us, it is more precious than diamonds. Your smile (toothless as it is!) lights up a room, and I cannot wait until you recognize your God-given gift of bringing joy to others. I truly believe that you might be the happiest baby ever to live, and I pray that your wonderful, joyful demeanor remains with you throughout all of your days.
This month, like every other that has preceded it, was full of development and growth for you. Your grabbing objects is now very intentional, and when you really want something you can be so precise in getting it. You still love scratching everything within reach, but now I can see you processing the items you scratch in that little mind of yours, cataloging and comparing anything you touch. The down side to this adorable habit is that you love to scratch faces, which can be a bit painful at times! (You’ve even taken to grabbing the dogs’ fur, to which we always have to remind you, “Gentle!”) It’s caused your dad to cut your nails quite often, although he swears cutting them just makes them grow in faster. Over the past few weeks you’ve mastered how to easily sit up on your own for long periods of time, although when you’re “done” you’re done and tend to throw yourself on the ground, which is a bit concerning. :) You never seem to get hurt, though, and are a very tough little girl. In the moments when you seem like you’re about to cry because of a bump or boo boo, I just simply smile and start talking to you and your tears disappear quickly. You also love pulling yourself up into a sitting position, but you can only do so if you’re already somewhat propped up. You get so frustrated when you’re flat on your back, flailing and throwing your feet down, trying to sit up unsuccessfully. (Soon enough, my love.) You adore playing on the ground now, sitting up for awhile then plopping down and rolling around. Going from back-to-belly is now an easy task for you (that one took a while to develop), and you use your abilities to roll all over the living room during your activity time. Although you have yet to crawl on your own, man are you trying! Toward the end of your sixth month you discovered that you can scooch backwards, making your mobility even more impressive. I always thought you might walk before you crawl because you love standing up so much, but you’re so close to crawling now! You are such a determined little baby full of self-motivation; when I put you down for naps in your crib, you always spend at least a few minutes working on your crawling skills before passing out, which I love to watch through our monitor.
Nap time is always a big topic of discussion around here, little lady. For your first three months you were a three-hour schedule baby like clockwork, and for your last three months you’ve been a two-and-a-half-hour schedule pretty regularly. This month you continued to take your 45-minute naps, but we discovered that if we put you to sleep in our bed, you’ll gladly sleep longer. Add a mom, dad or dog to snuggle with in that bed, and you’re out for a few hours easily! :) I love that you love comfort and closeness, and confess that I snuggle you during your naps (and early in the mornings) more often than I’d like to admit. (It’s just SO sweet of a time, and that time is so fleeting!) The hard thing is that I totally understand: Your crib is cold and hard and lonely, and our bed is warm and soft and lovely. How could I blame you? When you do sleep in your crib, you sleep on your belly nowadays. Ever since you learned how to roll over onto your stomach, almost immediately you stopped sleeping on your back. I was nervous at first, but I know that you’re a big girl now who can turn your head and flop around somewhat easily (although I still stare at the monitor to make sure you’re breathing). I had uninstalled your bumper for fear of suffocation, but since your newfound mobility caused you to get your chunky little legs stuck between the crib spindles TWICE, I opted to put it back in and have been very happy with that decision, especially since you flop very hard into the sides of your crib a lot! 
This was your last month of only drinking formula and milk. You drink about four ounces at every feeding, although the experts say you should be drinking six to eight ounces per feeding. I tried so hard to get you to drink more, even using a little syringe instead of a bottle. (You, by the way, love that syringe!) We try all sorts of tactics, the most effective of which is singing to you as you drink. It seems to keep you focused, allowing you to drink away while concentrating on our faces and voices. Unfortunately for you (and your dad), I can’t carry a tune to save my life (although my singing sounds perfect in my head). It’s been quite entertaining for him to listen to me try and try. (“O Holy Night” is the song of choice as of lately). He, of course, is much better at singing than I am, and you love listening to him. One night I practically forced you to take six ounces, and upon completion, I was so proud of you. Then you immediately spit up a full ounce in one big burp. And then another. So much for that! Ever since then, I’ve just let you eat to your heart’s content, and you’ve gained weight just fine.
Emma Vance, you are a natural born talker. It’s constant noise and babbling from you, and I have to admit that I love it. As you’re getting older, you’ve developed different sounds and voices. You love to make a wookie sound, to gurgle and blow raspberries, to screech and hoot. Every morning you wake up saying “dada,” looking for you dad and grinning when you see his sleepy face. In fact, “dada” has become your favorite thing to babble on about, and he loves hearing it (as do I). You say “mama” when you’re sad or upset, which I also love hearing. (Who doesn’t love being needed?) You can also say “nana” and “yaya,” and I swear on occasion you answer “yeah” or mimic full sentences you hear. I cannot wait until you are able to tell me all of your little thoughts. There are a million of them already, and each one is precious to me.
You are so darn cute, girl. It’s almost not fair. Seriously. You have the most expressive face I’ve ever seen on a baby, and it is nothing short of adorable. Every day your looks change. Sometimes you’re the spitting image of your dad, and sometimes I feel like I’m looking in a mirror. Your eyes are slowly getting specks of brown in them, so we’re curiously and eagerly awaiting the final result. The mohawk is still going strong, although we’ve discovered that a good brushing post-bath can make it lie mostly flat now. (An option we don’t often choose for you.) Your rattail is growing to ridiculous lengths, and cracks me up every time I look at it. Every time your dad looks at it, though, he beams with pride. He cannot wait for you to be his little Rapunzel, long locks and all. 
This month was your first Christmas, and it was full of excitement, family and presents. Everyone was so eager to be around you and hold you, to pass you around and play with you. You were a little lady, enjoying everyone’s company politely and without fussing, but you slept so hard after all of that stimulation! You received a lot of toys for Christmas, including a jumper, and exersaucer and a playmat for you to roll around on. Most of all, though, you love the noisy toys, of course. Anything that makes sound fascinates and amuses you, which fascinates and amuses us. Your dad and I are already talking about how we’ll shape your future holidays; yes, dear, the company and gifts are delightful, but it really is about Jesus Christ and we want you to not only know that, but also experience that.
Perhaps the most terrifying moment of your life happened this month, Emma Vance, and I hate even thinking about it. Your dad was in the living room, and I was giving you a bath. You’ve started to squirm around in the tub nowadays, and I’ve gotten in the habit of having a hand on you at all times. However, on this particular night, for whatever reason, you decided to try and roll over in your little whale tub. It happened so quickly that I couldn’t stop you even with a hand on your arm. You threw yourself on your side, slipping under the water for a moment. I plucked you up immediately. I will never forget the look in your eyes, wide and pleading as you found that you couldn’t breathe for a moment. I cried out to your dad, threw you on my lap and hit you on the back until you spit up the bit of water you had swallowed. E.V., I was terrified for you. I love you so fiercely, and the reality that I could lose you so quickly now haunts me. The reality that you were so scared and looking to me to save you also terrifies me; I’m just a person, not a superhero. I pray that you are always safe and that if I’m ever put in such a situation that I will have the strength and clarity to come through for you.
E.V., you are SO smart and curious and adventurous and determined. I cannot tell you enough how much we love you, how much joy you bring to our lives. I don’t want you to grow up, thinking that surely this is just a wonderful phase, but with each month you just seem to be getting better and better (if that’s even possible). We adore you and know that you are going to do great things with the life God has given you.
Love you always, 
Me (and Dad)

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