May 7 - June 7, 2012Dear Carys,
You. You, you, you.
You are eleven months old.
Let me say that again, so it sinks in.
Eleven. Months. Old.
Pardon my French, but: WHAT THE HELL?
This is your last month as a baby. Next month, you're officially a toddler (although I think some days, you look positively MONTHS older and so toddler-ish already).
And...surprise...toddle you do! You have officially started walking.
You will take anywhere from 2 or 3 to 10 or 15 at a time, depending on your mood and who you're walking too, and at the very end of your tenth month you do it regularly. Not to brag, but you'll almost always walk to me because you obviously love me most. You'll walk to others on your own terms, but you almost always will come to me. If you don't feel like walking, you buckle your legs and collapse to the floor in a hilarious dramatic move. But this is rare. You always. want. to. walk. ALWAYS. You have this way of grabbing someone's hand, and before they know it they're trapped walking you around the house forever. You won't let go, and if they force you to (by peeling your fingers off of their fingers), you'll do the aforementioned collapsing move and cry while looking for someone else to trap. Not that we don't love walking you around, darling, but it is hell on the back after five minutes.
You spread the "hunched over backache" around to many family members this month who were gathered here for your Aunt Jenna's wedding, which was the big event this month. So many events for the wedding!
The Adkins girls (now Hanlon and Kessell) at the rehearsal dinner.
With the beautiful bride
I loved your little dress, and you loved my bouquet.
The wedding was beautiful and their love was beautiful and your Uncle Jared was VERY happy by the end of the night...
...but the best part of the whole thing was seeing my Aunt Mary Jo and Aunt Theresa and cousin Erin who we don't get to see very often, but who we miss wildly. We hung out almost every day they were here, and it was all I could do to let them leave. I miss them already. It was the first time Mary Jo and Erin had met you and you, of course, charmed their socks off.
You are such a good, funny, sweet baby. You offer up these shy smiles (deceptively shy!) and anyone who is on the receiving end is just a total goner.
What else are you? A TOTAL MESS MAKER. You know that Fiddler on the Roof song? "Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match..."? I sing that to you, only it goes, "Messmaker, messmaker, making a mess...". You're a little tornado.
You also got to see your cousin (second cousin) Anika quite a few times - she's straight up walking everywhere, so you have three weeks to catch up with her to stay even! At one point I took both of you to the zoo and pushed you around a double stroller and delighted in everyone thinking I had (very) fraternal twins.
Later that night, Sunny dropped Charley off for a little bit, so for a short period of time it was like I had triplets! It went smoothly until it was bedtime - then I was glad your Aunt Kimber was there to help! But the cuteness of three babies overwhelmed.
During the wedding craziness, I got the chance to go out with Erin and her boyfriend Mike and some other family members a few times WITHOUT YOU. I know. WHAT? I've been out without you a handful of times before - shot a few weddings, gone to a bachelorette party, gone on a few dates with Dada - but this was easily the most time away from you in the shortest time frame. (Honestly? I know it makes me one of those moms, but most of the time we'd rather go out with you than without you - but you're not exactly appropriate for a pub crawl!) Your dad got to hang with you a few times, but your Nana really pulled through for us and watched you quite a bit. She took you to the zoo while Dada and I went to a movie and had sushi (your future favorite food if you want to remain my daughter). Shortly before that, she took you to the botanical gardens with Mary Jo and Theresa while your dad and I took a flying lesson (yes, Carys, if you're reading this in the future, back in the day, we were that awesome).
Nana just loves you SO much and you are so good for her every single time. You've yet to cry for her and she always raves about how great you did. You so rarely cry, period, that it shouldn't surprise me. Seeing your bond grow this summer after she has been so far away for much of your live has been so fulfilling, and her leaving at the end of this summer to go back to work is going to rip my heart out, I know. Kimber, however, remains your FAVORITE EVERYTHING OF ALL TIME, EVER and you will go to her over me at times. Sob. No, no, it's fine. I'm sure it's just that you see me all the time so it's a special treat to get to hang out with her and that's why you choose her over me. But she can't give you milk and I can, so overall I STILL WIN.
Reading with Immer
Besides walking, the big development this month has been sleeping through the night with nary a peep. You had been going to bed at 8:30ish and waking up about 8:30ish, with maybe 1-2 wake ups a night (three if it was a bad night, zero on good ones). If you woke, you'd latch on and immediately zonk out again most times, though there were a few bad nights you'd want to be up for a couple hours, and on those nights I seriously considered selling you to the Gypsies. But overall the wakings didn't bother me too much. I'm a light sleeper and get up that often anyway, and the brief time you were awake didn't seem to affect the overall amount of sleep I got. So I didn't actively try to improve it or do anything to make you to sleep through the night. And you were still getting plenty of sleep. But suddenly a few weeks ago, you just...DID IT. Nothing I did contributed - you were just ready. (After watching 100 women in my mom group go through every possible sleep issue and type of sleep training, I am pretty sure most of a kid's sleep patterns are based on the individual kid and not anything the parents do or don't do.) It did move your wake-up time up a little, so now you usually wake up between 7:30 and 8 instead of between 8:30 and 9, which I could do without, but hey! You sleep through the night every night (knock on wood)! We'll take it. Although I am sad to report that I don't feel any more rested thanks to the previously mentioned light sleeping. You still nap once in the morning for two hours like clockwork, and usually have a second two hour nap a few hours after the first one ends (sadly, I can't take advantage of your naps - I'm not a napper and just can't sleep during the day).
We did got bit of grief from a family member or two for not letting you cry it out, but while that works for a lot of people, it wasn't for us. Or you. I gave it a shot once or twice, but you would get so worked up it took longer to calm you down when I eventually had to go in than if I'd just gone in and nursed you back down. In the long run, it just wasn't something I saw as a problem and I knew you'd get there eventually, so it wasn't something I tried to "fix."
Thank GOD, however, that you've only ever bitten me while nursing once. My squeal of pain was enough to scare you to the point of tears and you never did it again. I'm thankful, because if you'd kept biting, we might have had to stop, and I love nursing you - it's the one time you'll settle down and let me cuddle you! You've learned the sign for "milk" and you'll sign it, making sure I see it by waving your fist in my face, and then lean in for the nursing session. It's probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen, you purposefully putting your little baby fist up in the air and opening and closing those chubby fingers, and KNOWING what you're doing and what it means and what will happen. We're so close of making it to my first goal of nursing a year, so YAY US! Besides the whole "birthing you thing" that's one of the things I'm most proud of. (When you're reading this as a 15 year old are you mortified that I'm talking about nursing you? Would it mortify you more if I told you that you are a TOTAL boob-monster and you love nursing?).
You've been "dressing yourself" for a while - meaning that if I put a shirt over your head, you can find the arm holes and put your hands through them. One of your favorite things to do is to keep your hands inside the sleeves until I ask, "Where are your hands??" and then you'll pop them out and laugh at your own cleverness and ability to trick Mama. You love to clap and you love to wave and you LOVE to point at everything (but mostly the dog). You've re-discovered "peek-a-boo" and delight in hiding your face until I ask, "Where's Carys?" and you pop out and giggle.
This month was full of trips and outings.
Children's Museum with Dad, where you went on your first carousel ride.
Zoo with Max (goats!).
Westroad's play area with the playdate babies...many times. We usually hit it up once a week or so. Which means that I've become addicted to Scooter's Coffe smoothies.
Feeding frenzy at playdate (babies aged 9 to 15 months, which is hilarious
since you're all pretty much identical in size)
since you're all pretty much identical in size)
Park and fountain with more of the playdate babies.
You were SO brave and loved the water.
You are so gentle and loving. You love Riley (your dad's gotten you guys to play tug of war and you both are so gentle with each other, and after you wake up in the morning the first thing you do is lean over the bed, point to Riley, and say, "Dog! Doggie!"). You love Nissa, Nana and Grandpa's cat. You love the goats and rabbits at the zoo and Aunt Ana and Funcle FJ's new puppy Kaikala (if we're being honest, so do I!). Anything soft and fluffy. You gently pet them, stroke their ears, you rub your face on their fur, you kiss them (your wonderful open-mouth baby kisses). You've even taken to rubbing stuffed animals on your cheek. And I can't forget your newest "stop-my-heart-it-is-so-sweet" move - the head touch. You softly tilt your head towards the lucky recipient and rest your forehead on them. Sometimes it's a forward tilt, sometimes a side tilt, sometimes a back tilt. You've done it to all of us, Great-grandma, the dog, the cat, your favorite book...anything you love. And it is heart-stopping-ly precious.
Aunt Ana and Funcle FJ with their new puppy
Your dad taught you to run your finger over your lips to make that "lub lub lub" sound. You'll do it yourself, but you like us to do it for you. You'll start making the sound then come over and put your mouth on our hand until we do it for you. You think it's just wonderful.
You've REALLY discovered music and love to shake your head and dance to it. You push the button on your Weeble house over and over until a specific song comes on and will bop around for the ten seconds it places, then repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
For a while, you were testing this new theory you'd developed, where you believed that responding to something being taken away from you with tears would get you the object back. We didn't acquiesce, so it petered out in seconds, but it was amusing to see you test it. And I wonder how you ever thought that would work or how you knew to try it? Or, on another note, when and how you figured out that the word "dog" refers to dogs of all shapes and sizes. Or that bopping your head around to music was a thing to do. I wish I could be in your brain for just a day to see how it works. I'm sure it's completely amazing.
How could it not be? YOU are amazing. You are just pure sweetness and light. Every moment I'm with you I have to refrain from squeezing you and biting your delicious cheeks and kissing you in that spot on your neck that makes you squeal with laughter. You're totally enchanting, and we're all under your spell. In fact, just writing this and thinking about how wonderful you are makes me want to go wake you up for one more cuddle.
Kid, I love you so much. Don't ever doubt this.