11 Months

Dear Evie,

Today you are eleven months old. As I make plans for your first birthday next month, I still can’t believe that so much time has passed. You are turning into a toddler before my eyes and all I want to do is make you slow down. As I celebrate each new accomplishment, I mourn the babyhood that you are leaving behind.

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Each day it seems that you pop out a new word. I don’t always understand what you are saying, but you are saying a lot. You tell everyone “hi” with your sweet little voice either in greeting or sometimes just to get our attention. You call the dogs “bubba” and “bop bop”, our nicknames for them. I think you are also trying to say “brother” and you attempt to repeat much of what we say to you as well. The best part though, is when you sing with me. I love when you bust out with the “yayayayayaya” in the car as we drive home in the evenings.

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You’re getting more mobile, even though you don’t seem to have much desire to walk yet (you crawl faster than I can walk anyway). You stand up and walk along the furniture quite a lot, and have even been seen letting go from time to time. I caught you standing in your crib one day with hands up in the air not touching a single thing. However, as soon as we try to stand you up to walk, your legs collapse as if they’re made out of jello. I know you’ll do it when you’re ready, but for some reason I’m just anxious to see those first few steps.

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You’ve also been really starting to notice people around you more. You are starting to enjoy playing with (or at least next to) others. When your brother is around you always want to be right next to him and usually want whatever toy he happens to have in his hand at the time. That doesn’t always go over so well, but he is starting to get used to it and is learning to be a little more patient with you.

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You also are figuring out cause/effect. For instance, when you push the buttons on the TV and turn it off you get a very big reaction. You think it is the funniest thing in the world, but daddy sure doesn’t. Even Zach has learned to tell you “No-No!” when you get near those fun little buttons. Today he picked you up and moved you away from the TV when you were about to go for a second round. You loved it when your brother lifted you up and you had a huge grin on your face.

Evie vs. The Sucker

A few weeks ago you got very sick. It all started with a cold. Then you got a stomach virus and the cold turned into a bad double ear infection. Amazingly it was your first ear infection ever. We spent days cuddling on the couch together while your body tried to heal itself. Even though I hated it that you were so miserable I couldn’t help but enjoy the cuddles. You are such a snuggler and it really comes out when you don’t feel well.

Giving Kisses

Next to your snuggles, I think the sweetest thing you do is when you give kisses. You either smack your lips together like you are blowing kisses or you just dive (open-mouthed) toward my face and plant one on me. I wish I could say I was the only one on the receiving end of that special token of love but you are quite generous with your slobbery kisses (just ask your brother!).

Look at Those Teeth!

Baby girl, I don’t think I could ever tell you just how much you bring to my life. The love, the joy, the laughter that is now part of my every day life is so far beyond what I ever thought was possible. Watching you and your brother together makes my heart melt into a big puddle. No matter what the day brings my way, knowing that I get to come home and be with this family that your dad and I have created makes it all worth it.

Love always,
Mama

10 Months

Dear Evie,

Yesterday you turned ten months old. Ten months. That means that you have now been outside of my body longer than you were inside the confines of my protective belly. There are days when I would give anything to be able to put you back there, where you were safe from the harsh outside world but when I remember just how big you are that thought goes right out the window. Last month, at your nine month check up, you weighed 20 pounds and were 29 1/4 inches tall. You are a little more than double your birth weight.

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The bigger you get, the more I am reminded just how fast these baby days will be over. Over the last two months, you have cut five new teeth. You have a total of eight teeth now, which makes nursing quite interesting. Your brother stopped nursing at nine months so I never had to deal with so many teeth with him. You, on the other hand, have no interest in stopping any time soon and you like to BITE! The worst part is that when I tell you “NO!” you start crying and then I actually feel bad because you bit me. Tell me how that’s fair.

You really love your nursing time and (except for the biting) I do too. When you want to nurse you barrel your head into my chest and say “na-na” over and over again until I give you want you want. I cherish that time with you. I love having a few quiet moments with you every day where it is just the two of us. Unfortunately, I see that time coming to an end soon.

Pre-Christmas 2008

A few weeks ago your Daddy and I decided it was time for you to start sleeping in your own bed. We shipped Zach off with Grandma for the weekend and were determined to make you sleep in your bed even if it meant letting you cry. And boy did you cry. I’ll let you in on a little secret though – I spent a big part of that first night with tears in my eyes too. As hard as it was those first few nights, it actually worked. You’ve been sleeping through the night in your own bed for just over three weeks now. The downside to that is that you are no longer nursing all night long and my milk supply is feeling the change. If I’m lucky I’m able to pump you one bottle during the day, but you are drinking pretty much everything I have during your morning and bedtime feedings. I hope that I can keep it up until you are ready to wean yourself because I hate to have to take it away before you are ready.

Because of the breast milk supply issues, we have started introducing you to cow’s milk. I know it is a bit earlier than doctors recommend, but you absolutely hate formula and soy milk. You aren’t super thrilled with the cow’s milk either, but you will take a few drinks out of a sippy cup. If we mix it with a little breast milk you drink it right up.

Now There's A Smile!

You are starting to eat more and more table food and less baby food. So far you are a much more finicky eater than your brother was. He would eat pretty much anything I put in front of him but if you don’t like something you spit it right back out. You absolutely hate green beans. Your favorite foods are carrots, bologna, any kind of fruit, and Gerber Graduates ravioli (in any flavor variety). Last week you saw Daddy peeling an orange and decided you had to have some. You ate a whole slice in about 2 seconds and screamed until we gave you some more.

After having a reaction to bananas and a couple other foods, we ended up taking you to an allergist for testing. Every time you eat bananas your face turns bright red around your mouth and down your neck. As it turns out, you tested negative for everything, including bananas. The doctor told us not to hold back on anything so we are re-introducing some of the foods I had stopped feeding you (including milk). I’m still holing off on the bananas for now but hopefully you’ll be able to eat them again soon because you really love them.

Evie - 9 Months

You are starting to say more words, although sometimes it is a struggle to figure out exactly what you are trying to say. Right now you have about 6 words that come out pretty clear: Mama, Dada, na-na, cat, doggy, and Bubba. I think I have also caught you saying Zach(“ack”) and “Budduh” (brother) a time or two but those aren’t as clear. Recently you have really latched onto a baby doll that you got for Christmas and you have a name for that too. At first I thought you were trying to say “baby” since that is what I kept calling it, but I think you are actually calling it Kyra. There is a baby at day care (only 2 months younger than you) named D’Kyra, and I’m pretty sure that is where you are getting the “Kuddah” sound that you are calling your baby.

You are also getting closer and closer to walking. You don’t seem to be ready to let go quite yet, but you walk along the furniture pretty easily these days. I’ve even caught you doing a little climbing and using toys as steps when you want to reach up a little higher.

Evie - 9 Months

Your personality comes out more and more all the time. You are a Mama’s girl through and through. You love to giggle and play with Daddy, but when it is time to snuggle you want to be in Mama’s arms. And do you ever like to snuggle! You are such a cuddly girl that sometimes I have to remind myself just to sit and enjoy it rather than get frustrated. In a perfect world I would be able to just sit and snuggle with you all day but it seems like there is always something else that needs to be done and cuts our time short. Since you have been sleeping in your own bed at night, it seems like those few moments we get to snuggle in the evenings are even more special. As much as I need the sleep at night, I really miss having you cuddled up next to me.

You have developed a little game that you like to play when I come pick you up from day care. When I get there you squeal and get really happy. Then, when I reach my arms out to take you from Miss P, you turn away from me and snuggle up with her instead. Then you reach out to me and quickly turn back to her again. You usually do this three or four times before you come to me and you think it is so funny. I would be offended, but I’m so glad that you love Miss P as much as you do that it doesn’t really bother me. The other night you played your game with Grandma while I was holding you and I have to admit it was even cuter from that angle.

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Last month we got to celebrate your very first Christmas. It was the first time that our little family has spent Christmas morning together, just the four of us. While I loved watching you and your brother open all your gifts (Santa went a little overboard this year!), the best part was sitting back knowing that there was absolutely no other place in the world I would rather be than right there in that moment. You, your brother, and your daddy make my life complete in ways I never knew were possible and for some reason on that day I realized just how blessed I am.

Tomorrow is going to be a historic day in our country. Even though you won’t remember it, you were with me in your sling when I cast my vote for Barack Obama, our 44th President. Tomorrow is the Presidential Inaguration and Obama will officially become the first black President of the United States. While the color of his skin shouldn’t matter at all, it does. It matters because of how far our country has come. Only a few decades ago, people with colored skin were not allowed the same rights as your ancestors and starting tomorrow a black man will lead our entire country. By the time you are in school, this election will be in your history books. I hope that when you read about it you won’t understand why this is even such a big deal. As a country we still have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction. I hope that you and your brother will never see color when you look at another person’s face, but see the person inside instead.

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I suppose I should wrap this up and get some of that precious sleep that I’m finally able to enjoy these days. I have about seven hours before you will wake up and start hollering “dada” from your crib. Even though you can say other words, “dada” is still your word of choice. It’s okay though. “Mama” has been slipping out more and more frequently here lately. It really doesn’t matter though because I’m the one that gets all the smiles and happy cuddles in the morning anyway.

Baby girl, I love you more and more each day. I’m not sure how much a heart can grow, but it seems like mine just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Every day I spend with you, your brother, and our little family I feel so very blessed. I don’t know what I would do without you all in my life.

Love always,
Mama

8 Months

Dear Evie,

I can’t believe that it is already time to write you another monthly letter.  You are eight months old now.  Month seven came and went and I never could find the time I needed to sit and reflect on the month before so I’m going to try to cram both months into this one.  I hate doing that because if I don’t get it written down right away I forget some of the details and I’m afraid I’ve already lost some of the memories I wanted to hold on to.  Some day when you are a sleep-deprived mom you’ll understand how the time and details can slip away. 

Cookie Time!

You have been a very busy little girl over the last two months.  Your weight gain has slowed down a little bit now, but at your six month check-up you were 19 pounds, 1 ounce and 28 1/4 inches tall.  The last time you were weighed (just shy of 8 months) you were 20 pounds, 2 ounces.  You have pretty much caught up with Caitlin and you are almost exactly the same size as Mikayla, who are both several months older than you.

Just after you turned six months old you started sleeping through the night.  You made it about five nights straight and then you started waking up again.  I’m not sure what happened, but I was very grateful for those five nights of sleep.  Anytime you want to resume that sleeping thing would be just fine with me.  I’m hoping that the night waking is due to teething and all of the rapid developments you’ve been going through recently but if it isn’t, we need to have a little talk.  Mama needs her sleep – preferably before she loses her mind.

Sitting Up

Speaking of rapid developments, you can now sit up by yourself, crawl (although you still prefer the army crawl most of the time), stand up on your own, and you love to clap (especially when you hear music).  We had to set baby gates up in the living room because you kept getting away from us when we weren’t watching.  You are starting to pull yourself up on everything and get really mad when I make you lay down to change your diaper.  You grab and my shirt the whole time I’m changing you and try to stand up.  Apparently I need to start practicing the standing diaper change again.  I haven’t had to do that one for a while.

Your official first word(s) were spoken clearly on October 10th and just like your brother you chose “dada” over “mama”.  You actually combined it with “hi” and we’ve been hearing “hi dada!” ever since.  I think I’ve caught “bubba” a few times and you’ve also started saying “mama”.  The first time I heard a clear “mama” you were in the floor crying.  You wanted me to pick you up but I was trying to finish up something.  Once you screamed out “MAMA!” I could no longer resist and scooped you up right away. 

Sleepy Girl

Over the last week or so you have decided that you don’t want baby food anymore.  Anything that you can pick up with your hands and put in your mouth yourself is just fine, but if you see a spoon headed your way you turn away from it.  I assume it is because you have finally mastered the pincer grasp, but this does complicate things just a bit.  Even though you have four teeth now, you still can’t do a whole lot of chewing which greatly limits what I can feed you.  Your favorite things to eat are the Gerber fruit puffs and cheese puffs (that look like mini cheetos!) but somehow I think you need a little more nutrition that what those can offer you.  You did seem to like your brother’s Spagettios that I let you try though, so I guess that’s a start.

I’ve started trying to get you to drink out of a sippy cup for a while now but you aren’t really taking to it like I thought you would.  You will drink out of it now and then, but most of the time you just prefer to chew on it.  I was really hoping you would like it because you have started refusing to take a bottle from anyone other than Miss Paula.  Since I do have to leave you with someone else on occasion, it would be nice if you would drink something when I’m not around.  I know you would rather have me around to breastfeed you whenever you get a little thirsty but that isn’t always an option.  I have a feeling we won’t be weaning anytime soon though.

2008 Halloween Photo Shoot

Along with all of the other developments, your personality has really popped out over the last couple of months.  You don’t hesitate to let us know when you don’t like something.  You laugh like crazy when your brother does something silly – and he’ll do nearly anything to make you laugh.  You also have figured out a couple of ways to make us laugh.  You scrunch your face up into the cutest smile I’ve ever seen and you love to make funny noises with your tongue.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started calling you my “little monkey” because of the way you latch onto me when you want to cuddle.  You wrap your arms and legs around me and squeeze tight like you are giving me a hug.  It is nearly impossible to put you down when you’re in one of these moods and if I do you’ll scream until I pick you back up.  You have also started giving kisses which is the cutest thing ever.  You turn your head toward the targeted person and then push your whole face up against them.  I love it when I am the lucky recipient.

Zach & Evie

You have had a lot of first experiences over the last couple of months too.  You had your very first ride in a park swing, which you loved.  Then we celebrated your very first Halloween.  You were absolutely adorable dressed up as Tinkerbell.  We took you out trick-or-treating with the boys (Zach and your cousins) but you were much more interested in the flashlight I was trying to carry.  For the next two days you carried that thing around and it was the only thing that would make you stop crying. 

About two weeks ago you got sick for the first time.  At first I thought you had Strep, but after two doctor’s visits we figured out it was Roseola instead.  I missed almost an entire week of work and spent most of that time holding you and trying to keep your fever down so you weren’t so uncomfortable.  I hated it that you were so sick, but at the same time realized just how lucky you were to make it 7 1/2 months without really being sick at all.

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You recovered from you illness just in time for us to pack up and make a second trip to Texas.  You got to meet several family members that you didn’t meet the last time around, including your Uncle Tut, Aunt Luli, and cousin Mikayla.  I loved finally getting to see you and Mikayla together.  Even though the two of you are nearly the same size, she has an age advantage of four months and it was very evident.  It reminded me of just how fast things change and what I have to look forward to in the next few months (no rush though!).

As usual, I feel like I have left so much out of this.  Just as there is truly no way to tell you how much I love you, there is no way to recap an entire two months of your life in one letter.  I can’t capture all of the smiles and snuggles and warmth that you have brought into my life in words.  I only hope that some day when you read these words that they will bring the smiles and warmth back to you and you will know just how much you are loved.

Love always,
Mama