My sweet, sweet girl. How have eight months passed so quickly? Your first year is more than half over, and I don't know where its gone!
You are on the cusp of SO much these days. You're almost crawling, but you'd prefer to learn how to walk. Feeding you a bottle has become an athletic event -- trying to keep the nipple in your mouth as your head swivels this way and that. You are overwhelmed by curiosity. Diaper-changing and dressing you have similarly become feats of physical endurance, as you flip, roll, and reach for everything around you.
You are an absolute delight in every way. You make everyone around you smile, because you're so quick to smile first. Whether its in the wee hours of the night or in bright morning light, it seems you are always ready to grin and flap your arms in your customary greeting, your way of saying, "HELLOOOOO!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU!!!!"
You love to play with the other babies at daycare, getting into their toys, pulling their socks off, patting their hair. And you love, love, love to play with your brother. I often sit you on the floor in the den a few feet away from him so that you each have room to play with your own toys. But before I know it, you have inched and wriggled your way over to him so that you can wreck the blocks he's built, grab his hair or his shirt or whatever you can get your chubby little mitts on, and generally fulfill your duty as Chief Interferer With Any And Everything. The other night, you stole the pliers out of his tool box, and when he tried to take them back, you tucked them under one arm and successfully blocked him with your other arm while twisting away a la Emmitt Smith -- it was a very impressive maneuver for someone who's defensive moves are limited to pivoting on her bottom.
You've had an explosive growth spurt recently. Suddenly you seem so long, so much closer to a toddler than a baby. We've noticed all your clothes creeping up, exposing chubby little belly and calves to the winter weather. Time to change out your drawers and get rid of the 9- and 12-month clothes (yes, 12-month) you've been wearing.
You have a good set of lungs on you, too. You've got this one move you do when you feel like being really loud -- you put a fist or a toy up to your mouth, wiggle it back and forth, and bellow. You seem to especially enjoy doing this while Daddy and I are talking, and also at the dinner table. We figure we'll get to have a normal conversation in about 18 years. You are conversant in "bla," "ma" and "da." To wit:
As far as baby sleep habits go, you're pretty easy on us. At 7:00 pm, you start slumping in your seat, rubbing your eyes, yawning, and otherwise letting us know its time to go. If we're not in the bath or in jammies by 7:15, you simply break down. You may be short on patience, but you are quick to forgive. Provided a bottle and a warm set of PJs, you settle instantly, and you're generally asleep within 15 minutes. This is a world of difference from the cajoling your brother needed in order to fall asleep --- and I thank you for it! You were fairly easy to transition from our bed to playpen to your own crib. You still wake up in the wee hours, but you fall back to sleep with a little snuggling, so you almost always wake up for the day in my bed (smiling, arms flapping).
You LOVE bath time. As soon as I turn on the faucet, you start clawing at my shirt and scrambling to stand up and climb into the tub. Seriously. You are almost frantic with anticipation. Then we get you in to the water, and you set to work soaking me with a HULK SMASH!, chewing on toys, and scooting around on your bottom having a grand old time.
Speaking of chewing -- you finally have teeth!!!! It seems you've been cutting teeth since you were 4 months old -- chewing on everything in sight and drooling everywhere. I first felt your two bottom teeth coming through the gum about a month ago, and in the past week we've finally been able to see them! They are adorable, just like every other inch of you.
Recently, Daddy and I have been taking you and your brother for separate playtime on the weekends. Nico and I go to swimming lessons while Daddy brings you to the farmer's market and the coffee shop. Other times Daddy and Nico go to the park and you come shopping with me. You love to be out and about, people-watching and site-seeing. Everywhere we go, people are drawn to your smile and your eyes. I know I am biased because I'm your mother, but you have such beautiful eyes, with their dark outer ring and pale inner ring. I know those eyes will mesmerize others for the rest of your life.
In a few short months, you'll be walking and saying your first words. Sailing off into toddlerhood without a look behind you or a moment's hesitation. I can see it. And so I am snuggling and nibbling and kissing and chomping up every inch of your soft chubby baby-ness while I can. You are a sweet dream, my sweetpea. I love you with every infinitesimal piece of me.
Love and love and more love,
* Sure enough, the day after I wrote this post, you crawled backward and forward successfully!!