Seven months old, and already time is accelerating. It feels like I was just writing to you yesterday to celebrate your half birthday.
This was a rather eventful month, though. You had your first Christmas, and even though I know you won’t remember it, I think some part of you will remember how it felt. Because you loved it — the paper, the ribbon, the boxes, the things inside the boxes, all of it.
It took us all day to open your gifts — in part because you had so many of them (daddy and granny spoiled you terribly) — but the biggest hit, unsurprisingly, was your new jumperoo. That jumperoo, in all of its Fisher-Price glory in the middle of my living room, is a testament to my love for you.
And what would a first Christmas be without a visit to Santa? You experienced the full gamut of feelings about Santa — surprise, fascination, distress, delight. Daddy was hoping for a true Christmas Story experience, and I wanted you to be happy and full of smiles, so everyone got what they wanted.
You also helped me celebrate my 30th birthday this month — and then we had our first nights apart while you stayed with granny and your daddy and I went to Manzanita. As we drove along the sand dunes, it wasn’t hard to imagine a time, not long from now, when you’ll be running across those dunes to play in the ocean.
There are some months when you learn new skills and other months when you carefully hone the skills you already have. This was a honing month. You only want to sit and stand now — laying down is only for sleeping and rarely acceptable otherwise — and you’ve started wildly rocking to and fro, getting ready to crawl and pull yourself up and goodness knows what else. You love flying through the air, going upside down, somersaulting from one lap to another. We still call you the little muffin, but granny has decided that crazy monkey is a much more appropriate moniker.
You officially moved into the big bath this month — still in your little tub, so that you can do your wild kicking without falling over — and decided that bath toys are pretty fun. It’s hard to even remember that little baby who had to be wrapped in a towel at bath time and stared at me the entire time. You have much more pressing matters to attend to in the bath now. Like splashing and babbling and throwing little pig, cow, chicken, and sheep all around the big bathtub — and then trying to crawl out of your little tub to retrieve them.
You’ve also gotten quite good at eating grown-up food in the last couple of weeks. The enjoyment factor has remained a constant, and you make much less of a mess these days. Your morning yogurt and mid-day fruits and veggies are both a hit, but they pale in comparison to your favorite: meat. Sausage at a holiday party, prime rib on Christmas, chicken off the bone, carnitas from the slow-cooker. Our little omnivore baby, sitting at the table and eating pieces of meat, avocado, and cheese off our plates.
It’s hard to explain, but it feels like we’ve settled into a new phase this month — and it feels different than the other phases. It feels bigger. You’re sleeping without your swaddle (usually), your bedtime has suddenly moved much later, and our days are defined by so much more freedom and flexibility.
There are countless reasons for this shift, but I know that part of it is that I’m getting better and better at rejecting everyone’s expectations and expertise and trusting solely in my intuition and observation. I’m responding to you as a person, abandoning any kind of schedule and creating more space for enjoyment. It is a profound shift not only in my life but in my person, and it’s all because of you.
Whether eating or playing, practicing or exploring, in the bath or on the floor or out and about, we just have so much fun together. Truly, it’s more fun with each passing day. All of that fun sure makes it hard to take a non-blurry photo, or to keep a sticker on you for even 5 seconds. But I think we’ll manage.
Happy seven month birthday, sweet baby girl.