Jan 27, 2012

Dear Daughter: Month 10

Dear Vivienne,

Happy New Year to my 10 month old little girl! You and I have had a fun month full of travel, friends, family, and adventures. Again, we've been so busy that I didn't get this month's letter written on time!

This month started out in England. We had arrived to Nana Mary and Grandpa Nick's house three days before you hit the big ONE-OH! Your Nana was delighted to see you. She missed you so much after she left from taking care of you when you were little. You delighted everyone with your sweet nature, and Nana Mary really enjoyed showing you to her friends. She also enjoyed taking care of you, which allowed your Dad and I to spend the day sightseeing in London. Don't worry, we didn't dump you off with Nana for the entire trip. We traveled with Nana Mary to Bognor Regis and Chichester, and you rode your first bus. You really enjoyed the trips we took on the bus. We also took nice walks out to the beach near Nana's house. You really enjoyed seeing the sea.

Your first Christmas ever was spent in Nana's house. Like every night we were in Europe, you were terribly jetlagged. Although you were very tired by bedtime, some part of you felt like it was 2pm! Needless to say you weren't very happy about being put to bed. As a result, large amounts of my evenings were spent nursing you in a dark room while everyone else was downstairs playing games or watching TV. It sounds tedious, but I really love every minute I get to spend with you, and our night time cuddles and nursing are the most perfect times.

In case you were worried, Santa knew you had relocated for Christmas, so brought your presents to the correct address. He got you a finger puppet glove with a book attached. All the fingers were different animals, and the book was "Old McDonald". Santa also brought you some reading books (he obviously knows what a great reader you are).

You got many other gifts, which somehow we managed to get home. Your favorite was a copy of Bambi that Uncle Ben gave you. We watched it together on Christmas evening, and you really enjoyed it. I loved seeing you giggle when you saw one of the animals jump and burrow into the ground (the scene is early in the movie in case you want to find it).

On boxing day, we flew with Uncle Ben to visit Grandad and Mo-mo in Dublin. You were great on the plane as usual. Grandad and Mo-mo were thrilled to see you, as was your Uncle Sam. They couldn't get over how much you had grown and how alert you had become. We were all very impressed when we put you down to play in Grandad's living room. There were two steps leading into the dining room, and despite having never had access to steps, you climbed up them like an old pro! Your Grandad is an avid photographer, and took some lovely pictures of us. Grandad and Mo-mo were happy to spend time with you, and that allowed your Dad and I to travel to the Dublin's city centre to get some shopping done. We also went out for a lovely meal with your Uncle Ben.

We all spent New Year's Eve at home with Grandad and Mo-mo's house (except for Uncle Ben who was out with friends). You went to bed before midnight as you were getting acclimated to the timezone by that point. Your Uncle Sam, Grandad and I were all in the kitchen getting a snack and goofing around when it struck midnight, so we missed the countdown! I gave you a New Year's kiss on your cheek when I went up to check on you.

The next day we headed back to the US. You were perfect on the flight in the sense that you didn't scream crying like other children. However, you did do something a little bit naughty. You had ripped a page out of the Sky Mall magazine and I was letting you play with it. However, you started to eat it, and I didn't want you to ingest the ink, so I took it away from you. You opened your mouth and landed it on my cheek as if you were going to give me a kiss. However, instead of making the "mwah" sound that you usually do, you dig your two little teeth into my face. You then pulled away and gave me a look that said "that was a warning!" You have bitten me once or twice since then, but I have been sure to tell you "no", and you haven't done it more recently.

Don't worry, you are still as sweet as ever. Nighttime has become a real joy. You are now sleeping through the night. You are also the best sleeper in the house. When I put you into your crib, you look around a little. Then you raise your arm to your head, cradle your head into your elbow, and you are fast asleep. As someone who does not go asleep very easily, I find it very impressive. Before you go asleep, we generally read your nighttime books (Dinosaur's Binkit, Time for Bed, and How Do I Love You?). I hold all three up and let you choose which one to read first. No matter the order I present them, you always choose Dinosaur's Binkit first (you like all the flaps in it), then Time for Bed, and finally How Do I Love You, which is your least favourite. I love that you have preferences, and are learning how to express them. We read How Do I Love You because it's my favourite; I always cry at the final verse (I love all that you will be and everything you are) because it describes perfectly how I feel about you.

You are also enjoying your crib while you are awake. I put you in it when I am getting your bath ready each night. Recently, you have discovered that you can stand up, hold the rails and bounce up and down. It is so sweet to see you smiling as you bounce. We also play peekaboo as you are in your crib and I am getting the bath ready. Speaking of your bath, the other night after we got out of the bath, we were wrapped up in towels and dancing in front of the mirror (as we often do). I was singing the Hanson song, Mmm-Bop to you. Suddenly, you started singing "bop, bop, bop" back to me. It was such fun.

You have really started learning how to imitate other people. Your daycare principal, Lilly, told me that she came into the baby room and said "hi" to you. She was really impressed that you said "hi" right back to her. We have heard you say "hi" too. One of the sweetest things you do is say hi to the babies in Where is Baby's Belly Button? when we pull down the flaps. What's really interesting is that you only say hi when the baby's face had been hidden by the flap. On the pages where the baby's feet or hands had been hidden, but we could see the faces the whole time, you don't say hi.

This month, you started developing fears. We were in the bath at Nana's house, and I was about to wash my hair with the hand-held shower attachment. As soon as I turned the water on, you looked terrified and clung to my neck. I turned it off straight away, and submerged my hair into the bath water to rinse the shampoo out. Luckily, you thought my hair sloshing about in the bath water was hilarious. Another thing you have become afraid of is the vacuum cleaner. You never had a problem with it before, but now you don't like it. You are okay with it if you are being held by the person who is doing the vacuuming, but when your Dad was vacuuming one day, you shouted and clung to me. I don't like you being scared, but I love that you turn to me when you are. I promise that I will always be there for you, and that you will always be safe with me.

This month, we switched from having you at daycare all 5 days of the week to having you there only 3 days a week, because your Dad was able to stay home with you two days a week. I miss you terribly when I am at work, and I am so jealous that I don't get that time with you. However, I love that you two are spending time together and developing a great bond. It really warms my heart when I come home to find you on your Dad's lap reading a book, or sitting together eating dinner.

Thank you for being such a perfect little daughter,

I love you Monkey!

Mum xxx

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Here's how long I have left:

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