Six months

December 13, 2014

Dear Eva,

Everyone told me that six months was a dramatic turning point. And they were right. You’re like an all-new baby, and every day, I get to see a little more of the person you’re becoming.

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You had your third and fourth rides in an airplane this month, as we all trekked down to California for Rice Family Thanksgiving. While we were there, you got to sit in an outdoor swing for the first time (which you thought was pretty great and a million times better than an indoor infant swing), and you got to meet most of your little McMillan cousins. By this time next year, there will be at least two more, making 10 cousins on that side of the family alone.

While we were there, you and Bodie traded skills (or, probably more accurately since he’s older, he taught you new skills and you inspired him to reprise skills that he hasn’t used lately). The first day, you couldn’t quite grasp his egg shaker — but by the time we left, you had it in a tight grip, shaking away. You also decided that standing is quite fun after watching him stand all week (although daddy has been encouraging you to stand for quite sometime already). And I hear that Bodie has adopted one of your favorite things from your sixth month of life: blowing raspberries.

You’re still the adventure baby, happiest when you’re learning or experiencing something new. We went to your first Christmas lights this week — which also happens to be our last time seeing the Lights in the Park in Brookings — and even though it was way past your bedtime and chilly outside, you were delighted throughout.

When we were in Brookings, we also discovered that you’re perfectly capable of rolling over — on your terms, when you want something (particularly something you aren’t supposed to have). This should come as no surprise. Most of the time, apparently, you simply don’t see much use for rolling. But if there’s a plastic bag just out of reach, you’ll roll to it like you mastered that skill long ago.

What you prefer to rolling is sitting, which you’ve always enjoyed — but then all of a sudden, you started sitting by yourself. I’m sure you built up the strength and coordination over a few weeks, but it felt like we just woke up one day and you were sitting up. If you have something particularly wonderful in your hands — say, a toy with a tag or a label — you can sit enthralled for half an hour. You usually tip over reaching for something (always reaching for something new), or you’ll throw your head back and smile and squeal as you collapse into my arms or against a pillow.

Both of your bottom front teeth are all the way in, and now you’re focusing on the tops, which seem to be even more work than the bottoms. Absolutely everything that you can get in your hands goes into your mouth — well, except for food. When I put a chicken bone or pieces of fruit or even puffs on your tray, you poke them, push them around, throw them on the floor — but when I give you a plastic measuring cup or a spatula, it goes into your mouth immediately. That isn’t to say you don’t love eating, though. You still know your little green spoon and you still get so excited when I mash up fruits and vegetables for you.

The highlight of your day, every day, is when daddy gets home from work. He picks you up and kisses your cheek and all is right with the world (even if it was very, very wrong five minutes before). One of the best things, if not THE best thing, about this month and all the ones before is witnessing all of the sweet moments between the two of you. You like being upside down or flying through the air or being held up high by me — but you love it with daddy. Your eyes light up, and it’s written across your face that this is where you feel safe and secure and protected. There’s already something between daddy and daughter that I’ll never be a part of, and it’s amazing and tender and beautiful.

Every once in awhile, I’ll lean down to kiss your head and you’ll smell distinctly like cinnamon — like a snickerdoodle. I don’t know what that’s about but I never want to forget it.

Your cheeks have reached new levels of puffiness — and as everyone notes, they’re not squishy as one would expect but firm instead (another thing I can’t quite explain) — but as we learned at your six-month appointment, you’ve settled into your percentiles. Except for your head, which has gone from 70th percentile to 81st percentile. You’re now 28 inches long and over 17.5 pounds, and it’s already hard to remember the little seven-pound baby who came home with us in June.

With half a year behind us, I can only imagine all that you will learn and become in the six months to follow. Happy half-birthday, baby girl.

Thanks to Allie Rae Photography and Mr. & Mrs. Miller Photography for some of this month’s shots!

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