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Monday, May 7, 2012

Letters to Carrots : Month Ten

April 7 - May 7, 2012
Dear Carys,

You are now ten months old. You have now existed outside of my body for as long as you were inside.  In the "inside" ten months, you went from a tiny cluster of cells to a newborn baby who breathed and sucked and looked at the world in wonder. In the "outside" ten months, you went from a helpless, tiny little thing to an unstoppable force of nature who talks and moves and discovers and delights.  And makes messes.

My god, the messes you make. If something is in a drawer, you take it out. If something is on the couch, you pull it off. If something is in a bag, you pull it out. Books on shelves. Off. Items in my purse. Scattered. Clean laundry. On the floor. Socks in a basket. Thrown. Babylegs. Tossed. We used to call your Aunt Jenna "The Pink Tornado" because of the swath of messes she made wherever she went, but you are a tornado and hurricane and tidal wave all in one.  My little baby natural disaster.

(Yes, you put the drum on yourself)

In fact, it's hard to call you a baby anymore. You look and act more like a toddler every day.

Your newest trick? Scaling the stairs...up is old news, but now you go down too.  You will go up and down five stairs over and over. To go down, you sit on the edge and scoot your butt out, reaching with your leg and foot and toes until you can touch just touch the stair below. But you're starting to go down backwards, too, which is much faster for you and much more nerve-wracking for your mother.

You are, I think, just weeks (maybe days) away from walking. You take three or so steps and will be a split second from falling the entire time; the momentum of your forward movement being all that keeps you upright. But you take your push toy, piled with kitchen towels and your lovey, up and down the hallway until I get sick of turning you around.

(Please ignore the carpet...the dog tracked in a ton of mud 
and I haven't had a chance to have a carpet guy out yet. Sigh.)

For someone who can't really walk yet, you're incredibly self-assured in your movements.  Given a helping hand, you'll quite literally take off running.  I don't think you quite realize that you can't do it on your own yet. In the meantime, you "real" crawl all the time now and have been since just days after you turned nine months. Your army crawling days are long gone. And you remain quite the daredevil, climbing everything you can, dropping down from the bed to the floor, trusting that it will somehow work out.


You have gone from baby babbling to something different. It's still nonsense words and sounds, for the most part, but now your sentences have weight and meaning. "Da da ga BA da?" you'll ask. "Ga! Ga ma dog ri me!" Your phrases end in a lilt, or with a definitive sound. And yes, that is "dog" in there. You follow Riley around all day saying "Dog! Dog! Dog!" I suppose mama and dada don't hold nearly the allure that the big shiny black thing does; that thing who, frankly, is sick of you and hoping you'll go back to wherever you came from already.  I believe you also say "dada" but your dad isn't quite ready to call that one yet.  When you're in the right mood, you'll repeat sounds endlessly. At Carol's house for Aunt Jenna's shower, you chased the cat around saying, "Kee! Kee!" I told you "I love you" and you parroted back, "I oo!"  Samar taught you to say "vroom, vroom!"as you push your toy cars around (though you say "rooo, rooo!"). You've also mimicked "blue," "pepper," "Riley," and "ovaraptor." Yes, really.

Sunny and I took you and Charlotte to a sign language class, and the instructor told us that frustration was the number one reason small children acted out. I can already see that in you: if I close a bottle of water that you weren't done with, you'll holler. To combat that, I'm trying to be diligent with the signs that I'm teaching you now; I half-heartedly started around six months but the only one I did regularly was "all done." And you caught onto that quickly: if I do the "all done" sign while you're eating, you'll push the highchair tray away from you and try to take your bib off. So I'm attempting to work "milk," "drink," "eat," and "more" into our daily routine, and "please," "thank you," "no," "touch," "share," "up," "dirty," and "hurt" in as well, although I'm not quite as fervent with those ones. You picked up "milk" after like two minutes and will come crawling across the room to get to me if I sign that to you.

You have developed several hilarious habits, my favorite of which is your big fake smile. I think you discovered how to smile purposefully (rather than by instinct), so you put those muscles to work and end up with a wonderful cheesy smile that scrunches up your nose and eyes and shows off those two bottom teeth. Sometimes your eyes close entirely. Sometimes you tilt your head back. Of the many, many things that I never want to forget about you as a baby, this smile is one of the top ones.

You also started blowing raspberries, sometimes for what seems like hours on end. You learned to do it with your lips months ago, but just in the last few weeks learned to do it with your tongue (a true raspberry).

Another goofy thing? Your fake cough. You may have learned that from Baby Leah, but wherever you picked it up from, it never fails to make me laugh, and you delight in people fake coughing back to you.

You've bettered my life in so many ways, but one big one is you've made me healthier. I haven't had fast food or anything too "fake" since you started eating with me. You are such a great eater; so far you haven't rejected anything I've tried. Pesto tortellini. Crab-stuffed sole. Turkey meatballs. Chimichurri salmon. Brussel sprouts. Peas. And of course, coconut sorbet.

(fake smile on top right!)

You love to put your feet up on things or push against things. If you're laying in bed with me, you'll drape your feet over my legs. If you're nursing, you'll bring your foot up and kick it against my shoulder. If you're in your high chair, they're pushing against the table. If we're reading books in the rocker, you'll push against the dresser or put your feet in the books. I think you get this from me. I always have to have my feet on something, too. If your dad makes fun of you, blame me.

You got a big bump on your head a couple of weeks ago while we were visiting Becky and Baby Leah.  You leaned forward into their coffee table and BAM! Immediate, big, dark bruise and bump. You cried so hard; I felt awful. Of course, you refused to let me put ice on it, the one thing that would have helped you feel better (Besides some comfort nursing, which....yeah. I love being able to provide you relief and comfort any time!). Then last night we were at a wedding with you, and you fell forward and banged your chin on one of the folding table legs.  Today, you have a big dark bruise on your chin. You are a walking (crawling) disaster. I have a feeling I may need to print out copies of this blog as proof of your recklessness and daring, because I think after your third broken arm the hospital is going to call CPS on us.

In other health news, the pediatrician finally broke down and prescribed antibiotics to us for your ongoing ear infection, which she believes is caused by your ongoing teething. You hate the antibiotics and are quite certain that I'm attempting to murder you when I administer them, so I mixed them in with some sweet purees and gave them to you that way. You have a sneaky mom. I will always win! Remember that.

Speaking of teeth, still just the bottom two, but you can literally SEE the top two trying to pop through your top gums. You wake up in the middle of the night sometimes just sobbing in agony and I wish I could take the pain away. It's not fair. If it wasn't for those damn teeth, this would probably be my favorite age.

You went to two wedding showers for your Aunt Jenna, one at Carol's and one at a tea room. You were positively delightful at both (though they put us in the corner in the tea room, which was a TERRIBLE move on their part, as we were farthest from the door and the walls were covered with hangings...you may have been the first baby ever to attend tea there. Whoops.).  You loved "helping" open presents. Well, you loved the tissue paper, at least.

In your shower finery

You do NOT love dresses, as you can't crawl in them. You try, and try to do this goofy one-kneed gorilla butt scoot thing, but you get tripped up and don't know what to do. I usually bring a change of clothes and put you in something that actually allows movement after everyone has had a chance to coo over your cuteness. It's kind of a shame because you have a lot of darling summer dresses, but we'll wait on putting them on you until you can walk.  (Why are girls' clothes so impractical?!?)

We went on a playdate the other day, at the Westroads play area, and every time we meet up with other kids you just blow my mind. After an initial shy period where you adorably bury your head in my shoulder, you are so outgoing and friendly. Other kids flock to you, and you to them. I watched you crawl off to a group of slightly older kids and play with them in the tunnel. At one point you were in the tunnel, back against one side and feet up on the other, with two kids on either side of you.  Another time we went to the Aksarben Park with Sunny and you took off across the park, not caring whether I was behind you. You then found a group of slightly older kids and worked yourself into their activities.

And I marvel. Here you are, this baby (and no matter how much you LOOK like a toddler, you are, in truth, still a baby) making friends with and communicating with kids one and two and three years older than you.  At those moments, you didn't need me. You didn't look back at me or look for me. You were confident and content in exploring and going off on your own and forging your own path to new little friendships, and I couldn't have been more proud of you. You want to be a big kid so badly.

You are growing so fast, little one. Your legs are so long. Your hair gets wavier and curlier. Your eyes continue to mystify me, your tiny teeth peek through, you get taller (so tall!), and smarter and stronger and braver and sweeter and funnier. You are, in a word, perfect. And the best part? You aren't actually perfect, but you're perfect for me. I would not trade you for the world. Not even if the world offered 100 gallons of free coconut sorbet.

I love you, babycakes.