June 8, 2015

A Letter to Claire

Dear sweet Claire,

I truly cannot believe how much you've grown.  I've taken photos of you every month, every week, and possibly every day, yet I'm just now posting them here.  I've scrambled to write down notes about you as you've grown and have sticky notes, parts of notebooks, and the notepad on my phone filled with things that I long to remember.  I have cherished every stage so far.  Even through some of the tougher weeks, you've brightened each day with your joyful smile.  You are a very happy baby.

I know I am biased, but I think you are just beautiful.  You look at me with such pensive eyes - like you know me so well.  We spend so much time together, so maybe you do.  You must have known I would go back to work after only a few short months, so you decided to refuse the bottle.  You probably sensed that we would be moving you out of our room, and so you decided to stop sleeping long stretches at night.  At the same time, you must know which days I'm feeling the most vulnerable, because you stare at me while nursing and reach your hand up to grab mine.  When you rest your head on my shoulder as I'm singing you your goodnight song, I forget about the trials from that day.  There are so many ways that you make me feel needed and loved (isn't this what I'm supposed to do for you?).  I already feel like we are great friends. :)

I can't believe you are over 9 months old.  Most people say that you look a lot like your brother, and most of the time that's true.  You also look similar to me as a baby, and it's fun to compare our photos side by side.  I wonder if you will be tall, like your dad, since you've grown long like a string bean, ever since you were born.  At 2 weeks, you weighed over 10 pounds, but ever since then, you've gained weight gradually, and are pretty lean.  You are healthy and strong and crawling all over the place these days.  Just today you even stood up on your own, and then plopped back down.  Maybe you'll walk soon - you are always trying to keep up with your brother.

Speaking of Miles, you love to crawl right up to him and play with his toys.  Even more, you love crawling up his back, grabbing his hair, and burying your face into his.  He must secretly love this, since he never pushes you away.

If there is one word that I would use to describe you, it is "playful."  Wrestling, tickling, and chase are all games you enjoy, and you smile so big when I whisk you up to "dance."  It is a joy to spend time with you, and you remind us to take life a little less seriously sometimes.

Right now, you are sleeping soundly in the bedroom that you share with Miles.  But for some reason, you have been waking up pretty early these days.  You've kept me guessing about the reason - teething, napping too long, light in your room, too hot, a combination of these -  but, like all babies, you will get through this phase eventually.  With all of the new food you're trying, you sometimes get frustrated with us when we don't give you more of what you want (you could eat blueberries for days), and rarely let me feed you from a spoon (you want to do it yourself).  I've had to watch you carefully lately because you want to crawl up the stairs and up onto boxes and stools.  You've had a few little falls.  But all in all, you are as cheerful as they come. 

Here are your monthly photos 1-9 and a few things I want to remember about each time.  I have moments of sadness as I look back on these pictures, but then I remember how much fun it is to be with you, and I can't help but get excited for the future.  Thank you for being such a sweet member of our family.  We love you so much!

*1 month*
  • sleeping - sometimes 5-6 hour stretches at night
  • watching Miles
  • eating - every 2-3 hours
  • walks in the Ergo with the infant insert - we went everywhere with this, and it was essential for keeping up with Miles
  • getting in the car seat
  • gas
  • evenings - some nights, crying from 7 pm until bedtime at 10

*2 months*
  • sleeping - one long nap each day and some shorter cat naps (tried a loose schedule, but many naps were too short to be consistent)
  • reclining on my legs and having "chats"
  • sleeping in the Pack N Play - sometimes only one wake up each night!
  • earlier bedtimes
  • waking up from naps

*3 months*
  • sitting in bouncy chair with a toy
  • bath time!
  • long naps
  • the Ergo
  • bottles - I could write an entire post on the battle of the bottle...
    *4 months*
    • rolling over
    • laughing
    • peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
    • being held in the air
    • watching Miles
    • mouth noises, like popping sounds
    • loud noises like the blender or vacuum
    • short 45 minutes naps (the 45 minute intruder visited us regularly!)

    *5 months*
    • under arm tickles
    • grabbing faces and things at the table - starting to be interested in eating our food!
    • rolling onto your tummy and sucking your thumb to sleep
    • crying when going to sleep - we let you learn to soothe yourself to sleep.  Once we gradually weaned you off of the swaddle, you were content to roll over and suck your thumb, sometimes tucking your legs under you with your bottom up.  It was like you finally found your comfy spot.
    *6 months*
    • feeding yourself - you were an enthusiastic eater, especially at the beginning!
    • watching other babies or toddlers
    • sharing your room with your brother (I think you like it?)
    • waking up really early, now that you're sleeping in your crib

    *7 months*
    • flying up high
    • being outside
    • being held by daddy
    • watching mom dance
    • every food you've tried
    • scooting on the ground
    • real crawling (around 7.5 months)
    • Ergo, facing in
    • purees - only finger foods since the beginning
    • teething - first 2 popped in on March 21
    *8 months*
    • pulling up to stand
    • patting your hands on your thighs
    • waving
    • climbing over things
    • babbling!
    • food: apple, peppers, pasta, pancakes, blueberries are your favorites
    • diaper changes
    • being tired
    • loud noises

    *9 months*
    • growling
    • practicing standing
    • blowing bubbles
    • dancing
    • crawling up to new people
    • saying "mama"
    • the shower (you threw up for the first time in your bed and had to take a shower) :(
    • getting in your carseat
    • teething - the top 2 are coming in!

    I hope you enjoy looking back on these someday.

    With love,
    your mom