Oct 25, 2011

Dear Daughter: Month 8

Dear Vivienne,

Today you are 8 months old and *ahem* a couple of days. It's getting harder and harder to get to these letters because you are so busy theses days, and I need to show you all the things you want to see. You are still as sweet as ever. This month has been filled with lots of smiles and giggles.

I've always wanted to expose you to books, and start you on the right path of learning. Since you were born, I've sat down with you to read a book or two whenever I get the chance. However, when you were younger, you didn't care for this activity too much so I had to make sure you were in a good mood before attempting to sit you down for reading time, and you would invariably start fussing after one or two books. This month, your opinion of this pastime has completely changed. Now you love reading time. In fact, when you start getting fussy in the evening I know it's time to sit down to read, which cheers you up. You also sit on my lap for long stretches of time; we usually read 11 or 12 of your books each evening. Then we read a little bath-time book, and we have two bedtime books to finish the day. I forgot to mention in previous letters that you have known what "turn the page" means for a few months now, and you do so when I ask you to. The most interesting thing for me is that you have books you love (Mr. Brown Can Moo; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See; The "That's Not My Monster/Tractor/Puppy" series; Dinosaur's Binkit), but also that you have books you do not care for (The Napping House, We're Going on a Bear Hunt).

You also have music you like to hear. Shake the Sillies Out and The Wheels on the Bus bring an instant smile to your face. We sing these songs on the car ride home each evening, to distract you long enough from the fact that you are getting hungry for oatmeal so that I can get home and make you some (you are not the most patient child I have ever met). We have improvised a few new verses for The Wheels on the Bus. By far, your favorite is "The farts on the bus go...". I'll let you figure out how that verse continues. I sang Dream a Little Dream to you when I was pregnant and as a newborn, and of all songs, this one definitely has the greatest calming effect on you.

The funniest thing that you did this month was laughing hysterically at a ball I was bouncing. I was trying to show you that a ball I had bought for you that day lit up when it was hit hard enough. However, after I few bounces, I realized that you were cracking up laughing each time I bounced the ball. It had nothing to do with the lights in that ball; I switched to another ball that doesn't light up, and you found it equally amusing. I managed to get a video of it, but when I played it back, there was a very loud hissing noise (I had radio playing in the background). Thankfully, I was able to fix it with software, and I have watched it about a thousand times since. I sent it to your father, grandparents, and great-grandmother, all of whom agree that it is adorable. Your laugh is truly the greatest sound I have ever heard.

You have eaten lots of different fruits, vegetables and cereals this month. You really love solids, and try to help me feed you. Alas, that invariably results in you flinging entire bowls of food all over the room. So far you have coated me, yourself, the sofa, my laptop, and my desk at work in Oatmeal or vegetables. I've been making all your foods myself from organic vegetables, because we realized Gerber "organic" bananas contained things like tuna oil, gelatin and several chemicals I can't pronounce (thankfully you won't eat Gerber foods). However, we discovered Earth's Best foods which don't have strange additives, and you like the Sweet Potato with Cinnamon a lot, so I have been experimenting with cinnamon in the foods I make for you. In other food news, we went with the Little Peeps to an apple-picking farm. You and Riley had a great time sitting in your strollers. Unfortunately, the organic apple farm wasn't open for picking, so instead we went to a different farm. That meant you couldn't try any of the apples we bought, so I used them to make your father some apple sauce. I did get you some apples at Atkins Farm, and made you a veggie mix with them.

The biggest event this month was a huge, and unexpected snow storm at the end of October. You were in bed, and your father and I were watching a movie together when the lights started to flicker. Then they were out. We left you in your room as it was nice and toasty, periodically checking your thermometer. However, the electricity didn't come on after a few hours, and the house was starting to get cold, so we lit a fire and camped out as a family in the sitting room. Your father and I were quite uncomfortable, but you thought the fire was fascinating and loved that we were all together. The next day we found out that there was no chance we were getting power back any time soon, so we headed to your Grandmother's house in New Hampshire. We spent two nights there, and she was so happy to get to spend time with you that she sent your father and I out to have a meal by ourselves so that you girls could get some quality time. We had your first Hallowe'en at your Grandmother's house, and you dressed like a little lamb in a costume that I knit for you. Of course you were adorable. The night itself was so low-key, you wouldn't know it was Hallowe'en. We didn't have any other costumes or decorations, and Grandma's house was too remotely located to get any Trick-or-Treaters. However, in the areas affected by the snow, Hallowe'en was cancelled altogether!

You now have two teeth! You weren't very fussy before your teeth came in, just a little restless the night before they arrived. Since then, we keep thinking that you have more teeth on the way. The biggest clue is the fact that you butt-scoot over to furniture so that you can gnaw on them like an otter. I say butt-scoot, because you haven't quite mastered crawling yet. You have all the components, but you're not putting them together in the right order. And, a little like your mother, when you don't get it right the first time you try, you go straight to being totally frustrated. At this point, I usually intervene and carry you to whatever you were trying to get to. I am trying to get better at letting you be frustrated in order to learn from it.

One thing that is not causing you any frustration is learning how to talk. You love chatting away, and I often wake up to the sound of you telling yourself stories over the monitor. Your favourite sound is "dadadadada", which your father has decided means you know how to say his name. Between you and me, I have seen you call your foot, a book, the cat, and bubbles in the bathtub "dada", so if you are communicating that word, you have serious paternal identification issues. Whether or not you know his name, you are the apple of his eye. He asked me to capture you saying "dada" with my iPod, and when I sent him the video, he watched it over and over. You adore him too, you gaze at him as he walks across the room, and whenever he looks at you, your face lights up with the biggest smile I've ever seen you make. Don't worry, I know you love me too.

Thank you for another perfect month,

I love you, sweetie,

Mum xxx

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