Nov 24, 2011

Dear Daughter: Month 9

Dear Vivienne,

You are now three quarters of a year old, and you are at such a fun age. You are full of smiles, kisses, and giggles. You are now more infatuated than ever with your father; no one gets the same smiles out of you like he does. When ever he walks across a room, you stare at him, and crane your neck to see where he's gone when he leaves the room. The other morning, you leaned over to him, slapped his face to wake him up, and said what sounded to both of us like "Hi Dad". We don't know that you were actually taking, so we haven't put it in the baby book as your first recorded word, but your father was thrilled.

This month hasn't been entirely happy for you. You had your first cough this month. You had a few coughing fits, and you sounded a little hoarse, but for the most part it didn't bother you. However, as is often the case, it led to you developing an ear infection. I arrived to pick you up from daycare just as one of your minders was trying to call me to let me know that you had a fever. As it was the evening, I had to take you to the doctor's office after normal hours. When we arrived to the doctor's office, you were smiling and shouting "dadadadada" gleefully, when I was trying to convince them you were sick enough to make them stay late at work! Once they took your temperature, they were convinced that you were in fact unwell. One course of antibiotics later, your ears were totally fine. I will mention that you did not care for the antibiotics, and you were not afraid to show your displeasure.

Not to belabour the topic of illness, but later in the month I got a call from your daycare to come collect you on a Thursday afternoon because you had vomited. You got sick a couple of times after we got home, but once we figured out how to nurse you with only small amounts, you started to hold everything down. As of dinnertime you had stopped getting sick entirely, but as your daycare has a strict rule that babies can't come back until they have gone a full 24 hours without vomiting, you and I had to stay home the next day, which essentially meant we had a nice three day weekend together. The next weekend I got the same stomach virus, and felt like I was going to die! Unfortunately, we had already planned to take you to see Santa with your Grandma, and she was on the road from New Hampshire when I started feeling ill, so I felt I couldn't cancel. However, it really cheered me up when we put you in the elf suit she bought you. Everyone commented on how cute you looked. One person even asked to take a picture of you! Having the stomach virus myself showed me what a trooper you are, because you never complained once, and in fact you were happy and smiling all through your bout with it.

When I had the stomach bug, your father was at a wedding in Kansas, so it was just us girls fending for ourselves. I just about made it through the day looking after you, longing to get to bed as soon as I got you down. However, it was not to be. You started making a very scary gasping noise when you cried, and I was convinced that you had managed to choke on something. So instead of going to bed, we took a trip to the emergency room. It turned out that you had a mild case of croup. By the next day we were both much better, and your Dad arrived home once we didn't need any help. What great timing! I only tell you all this drab sickness news, because through everything, I was so impressed by how happy and unperturbed you were by these various afflictions, especially the ones that knocked me out for the count.

We had been working on sleep training with you, as per the No Cry Sleep Solution, prior to your bouts of illness. However, it seemed pointless to try and teach you to fall asleep on your own in your crib while you were getting sick every hour, so we put in on hiatus until you got better. However, when we returned to getting you to sleep once you were well, you were on to us, having been introduced previously to all our tricks. Much to my chagrin, we had to resort to an intermediate between “crying it out” and the “no cry” approaches, whereby we come to soothe you every five minutes so you know that we are there and that you are loved, but we do not take you out of your crib. Much to my relief, you figured it out pretty quickly, although in an effort to not have to fall asleep in your crib, you have been falling asleep in record time while I nurse you before I put you to bed.

This month you figured out how to crawl! You’ve definitely known what crawling is for a few months, which means you got extremely frustrated by your inability to do it. You had all the different parts of crawling figured out, but just weren’t putting them together in the correct order. This lead to you ending up in funny downward-facing-dog-like positions when you moved your legs but not your arms. We joked that this was because I did prenatal yoga. In keeping with the yogic quality to your crawling, your first crawling movements involved you keeping one leg crossed in front of you, as if you were crossing your legs, and moving the other three limbs around it. We called in portable pigeon pose. You have since started a more regular crawling pattern.

Your milestones have come fast and furious since you learned how to crawl. The crawling felt like it took a few months to happen, but since then you have learned how to pull yourself to standing, clap your hands, and throw temper tantrums when I won’t let you play with dangerous objects like power cords, remote controls, etc. As I have said before, you are not a fussy baby at all. The exception to this is when you are angered by having something taken away. You not only cry, but you sometimes fling yourself backwards in protest. I am dreading the terrible twos! Speaking of lunging, you have reached the age where you now launch yourself like a projectile at things that catch your interest. We have to make sure we have a good hold on you! We are currently working on waving hello/goodbye and how to put shapes into their corresponding holes in your shape sorter toy. In other development news, you are so close to getting your front top teeth. I can see them under the gum, but they haven’t broken through yet. So far, they haven’t bothered you. I bet they will be here next month.

As you are half American, this month marked your first every Thanksgiving. Your Grandpa arrived to spend the day with your father, and after we spent some time with them, we went to our friend Sara’s house. You wore a little pink dress, the poofy cardigan I knitted you and tight with ruffles on the butt. You were definitely the hit of the party. I barely saw you because everyone wanted to spend time with you, and the whole time we were there I was told how beautiful you were, and what a wonderful little personality you had. Everyone was very impressed how personable you were, and how you didn’t fuss or get scared by all the new people. In particular, people noted that at the end of the day, you were exhausted, but were smiling and interacting without fussing. I was told that you were so beautiful that you could make people believe in God, star in films or advertising, or just be stared at all day long. You definitely loved all the attention!

I am again sorry that this letter is being written later than it should have been. Not only have I had my hands full with such a bright and lively little girl, but we also had a lot of packing and travelling to do. Three days before you turned 9 months old, we got on a plane and headed to England to spend Christmas with your Nana. So the first half of this letter was written while we were on vacation. I’ll write about the trip next month as the bulk of the visit happened during your tenth month.

I say it every month, but I am so in love with my darling little daughter. Your smiles and happiness have brought the truest type of joy to my life. I am so fascinated to watch your development. You are simply the best thing that's every happened to me, and I treasure every fun moment I have with you.

I love you Peek-a-boo,

Mum xxx

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