Feb 27, 2012

Dear Daughter: Month 11

Dear Vivienne,

It's now less than a month to your first birthday. To me it feels like only yesterday that you were born. However, looking at pictures of your early days serves to remind me of just how far you have come. This month, you have been particularly busy in your progress.

You are now a professional finger food eater! Realistically, you were ready to try finger foods months ago, you were able to grasp things between your thumb and index finger, you showed interest (grabbed at) our foods, etc. The only issue was that your Mum is a Nervous Nelly, and I was terrified of something choking you. As soon as I let you try to feed yourself you got it straight away. Last month, we started on puffs and rice rusks, which you adore. This month, we tried more exciting things like cheese, avocado, banana, pasta. You demolish any avocado I put in front of you, and as for cheese, it disappears as soon as I put it in front of you. You love feeding yourself so much that it has become increasingly difficult to feed you cereal and pureed vegetables at dinner time. Unfortunately, you can't quite spoon-feed yourself yet, so I have to chase you around trying to feed you your cereal.

This month, we had our first Parent-Teacher conference at your daycare. When I was a child, your Nana used to dread going to PTA meetings because she was usually confronted with a laundry list of my misbehaving. While I knew I wasn't going to hear anything like that, I have to admit I was a little nervous going in! However, I was told only wonderful things about you. You are up-to-date with, or ahead on all the milestones for a baby your age. In fact, you were graduated to the toddler's room at your daycare this month (normally babies are 1 year old before leaving the infant room). You love being around the bigger children, and you are learning so much since you got there. I particularly love the different activities you do in the toddler room. You have brought home art projects which I adore, and I am going to keep for you. You also get a lot of outdoor time, and you particularly love the sandbox.

You have learned a lot of new things this month. You went from being able to stand, to cruising (walking around using furniture to hold yourself up). Later in the month you got even closer to walking. You are able to take steps while holding our hands. Your favourite walking activity is using your Winnie the Pooh car to run around. We have taken a few videos of you doing so, and emailed them to all your relatives. Everyone is so proud of how advanced you are. You love your new motility and you are using your new skills to explore the house, and point out what a poor job we've been doing on the baby-proofing front! You are also getting very fast. One day I was changing you and looked away for a second. When I turned back, you had a piece of poop in your hand, which you were holding right by your mouth. You did not look pleased at all. As you are so active now, diaper changing has become quite tricky. We have a very limited time to get you cleaned, and re-diapered before you roll over and crawl away. If we make the mistake of not having wipes, or diaper cream ready ahead of time, we will invariably have to retrieve you from clear across the room. Luckily, we can distract you by making sure you have a toy or a book to read, but this doesn't always work.

This month you meet a few new characters. Early in the month, we went to the Yankee Candle store with your Grandma. We had gone with her in December in an attempt to see Santa, but the queue was 2 hours long, so we went home. That was the day I got your tummy bug! Your Grandma really wanted a good picture of you with Santa, so we returned, this time with your Dad. I should point out that you are a very personable little girl, and you love meeting new friends, so it came as quite a surprise to us all that you immediately burst into tears as soon as we handed you to Santa. You and I went for a walk, and you were happy as usual quite quickly. The other new friend you met was a huge golden retriever. We were at Sean's (one of the Little Peeps) house to meet up with everyone. His Daddy took their dog out while we were there, because she is large and excitable. However, we stayed longer than expected and were still there when the dog arrived home. One of the other babies who is older than you was very afraid of the dog, so I was concerned that you would be too. You really wanted to see the dog, so I held you and slowly brought you to her. She licked your hands, and you screamed laughing. Once I was happy that you weren't frightened, I let you crawl up to her on your own, which you did with glee. She licked your face, and you thought it was hilarious. I was so proud of what a brave and fun-loving daughter I have! I warned your father that you will most likely want a dog when you get older.

Your playtime has progressed quite a bit this month. The cutest thing you learned how to do is playing "where's baby?" You pick up blankets and hold them in front of your face. Then you quickly drop it to reveal your face. While you are doing this, I ask "where's baby", and when you reveal yourself, I say "there she is!" You laugh, as do I , and we play the game again. It's the most fun game I have ever played. We discovered this game one evening when you were doing your other new activity. You love playing with clothes. When I leave you in your room to get your bath ready, I generally come back to an emptied changing table, and you sitting in a pile of clothes, diapers, and blankets. One evening, I took a blanket, and put it on my own head and asked "where's Mummy?" You pulled it off my head, and decided to return the amusement! You have also become suddenly interested in playing independently. In previous months, you generally wanted to sit on my lap while you played. This month you are quite content to play on your own. The sweetest thing you do is to "read" yourself books. You are a chatty little girl, but when you are reading, you make this specific "tukka, tukka, tukka" sound. It's adorable. I love that you are turning into such a bookworm! As you were getting a little bored with the books we had, I decided to buy you some more at the Salvation Army store. We managed to find a number of children's books, and best of all, we found a few that have little flaps to open. You have gotten really good at opening flaps, and you are really good about not ripping them.

For the past two months or so, you have had four upper teeth that looked like they were going to come in any day. In fact, I think I may have predicted their imminent arrival in a previous letter. However, as of the end of this month, there is still no sign of them. (This letter was written after the 20th of the month, so I can tell you that next month's letter will have a more exciting dental update!). While there may not be any new teeth in your mouth, there may be some new words there! One Saturday this month, you looked at your Dad and said "Dada". You haven't done it since, but it sent your father and I into a frenzy of saying "there's Dada" and "I'm Mama" over and over to see if you will say it again. You have said "Mama" a number of times. You definitely know that we love hearing you say "Dada" and "Mama", but I'm not sure you are using them as monikers for us (the biggest clue here is that the number of syllables can vary quite a bit).

This month started out with you sleeping very well. You were sleeping all the way from 7pm until at least 6am. However, you developed a nasty cold this month, which -needless to say- spread to me, and then on to your father, though he got a much milder bout. You and I had quite a few long nights of coughing so much that we woke up. You also developed an ear infection and conjunctivitis as a result of the cold. As usual, you were a real trooper, and you weren't bothered at all by any of your afflictions. Unfortunately, your lack of suffering meant you were completely opposed to our attempts to give you antibiotics and eyedrops, and it was a long 10 days of trying to administer them to you. Thankfully, we are all now back to great health, and we've had some great fun playing together in the last week or so.

This month has been such a pleasure, and it really seems like each month is better than the last. You are the very best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am so lucky to be your mother. Thank you for another month of cuddles and smiles. I love you with all my heart.

I love you Mung Bean,

Mum xxx

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