This month has been a great start to the year. You are eating more, moving around more, and basically becoming more grown up and independent in different ways every day.
Although you were very sick for the first 2 weeks of this month, at least it was just a nasty cold (or, as our pediatrician called it: bronchiolitis). Yes, you came down with your virus a few days after the New Year. You had a constantly running nose and a deep cough. We weren’t as concerned about this as we were about your fever last month because this cold hardly slowed you down. You weren’t clingy or lethargic like you were with the fever. I think the coughing woke you up a little bit at night, but you didn’t lose much sleep over it. I probably lost more sleep listening to your congested breathing, and making sure your nose was clear enough for you to be comfortable. If you seemed too congested, I would come in and wash the snot out with some saline and a bulb syringe. We both enjoyed those times, let me tell you!
In the two weeks since your cough has gone, we have worked a lot on your night sleep. Of course, this is a silly statement because really, when have we not worked on you sleep? Ever since you were born, your sleep patterns have been a complex dance between what you want, what you need and what Daddy and I want. Daddy and I have learned a lot over the months about helping you to sleep better at night, but every time you have a major change in your life, your sleep habits change too. For instance, you have recently learned how to stand up against your crib rails, and because of that, you have a hard time falling back asleep. Also, after your illnesses, we had all gotten used to getting up more frequently at night. That’s OK, because it is part of a learning process for all of us: Mommy and Daddy are learning how to be consistent, work together to tend you in the wee hours, and teach you how to fall asleep, and you are hopefully learning that you are safe, Mommy and Daddy will always be here when you need them, and how to fall asleep when you are tired. After two weeks of hard work, you actually started sleeping ALL NIGHT! I know definitions of “sleeping through the night” vary according to who you talk to, but this is different. This is sleeping from when we put you down at 7PM till the morning around 5-7AM. Crazy, huh? We are all thrilled at this new development, and needless to say, there are many smiles in the morning when we come in and pick you up. You cuddle close for a minute, then lift your head suddenly, take a deep breath, and quietly say something important like: “Da-da-da-da” or “Ba-ba-ba”. You used to also wave energetically at Christmas bear at the top of your wardrobe as soon as we picked you up, but you have stopped that lately. Your sweet little habits seem to change more quickly than I can capture them on paper or film.
Your sense of humor has developed a lot this month, too. You have learned how to play hide ‘n seek by crouching down behind whatever you are using to stand against. Daddy and I ask, “Where’d she go?”, wait for you to reappear, and then exclaim, “There she is!”. At first, this game would have you laughing out loud, but now we only get smiles and squeals. I think the reason you love that game so much is that you get to decide the comedic timing of when you will reappear. Another thing you like to control is when Mommy and Daddy say, “So big!”. You have trained us to say this when you throw your hands up in the air. We have, in turn, trained you to throw your hands up when we say, “How big is Dahlia?”. Another thing you just learned a few days ago is how to clap. This is so exciting! You will clap your little hands together and squeal with happiness. You have learned to clap when we sing, ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. You will also “bop” to music if you like the beat, or if we say, “Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy”. It is freakin’ adorable when you rock out. If you are standing, you usually tap one foot like you are dancing. So much fun in one little baby package!
Daddy and I have both agreed that you are much more fun in the evenings at this age. It used to be your melt down time, but now you just seem to get more and more fun as the evening goes on! You have become almost obsessed with stuffed animals this month, which is nice, because I was actually wondering if all those toys would ever be of any use except to collect dust. You love to be rocked to sleep with a stuffed bear in your arms, or drag one across the floor as you explore the room. Grandma bought you a stuffed Elmo last week, and I must say that you have spent literally hours gazing adoringly at his big plastic eyes and squealing your love to him. I can’t wait until we can channel that love into useful things, like learning from the video, ‘Elmo’s Potty Time’.
While you aren’t quite walking on your own yet, I know it will be soon. You are better at standing on your own, and you are cruising like crazy. You can walk if you are supported by our hands. You also love to push things like boxes, chairs, and baby walker toys across the floor and walk behind them. You are becoming braver every day in what you try to do and where you explore. Daddy and I have had to start adding fun things around the house like toilet bowl lid protectors and cabinet locks.
Your vocalizations are much more interesting and complex this month. You can sit on the floor and jabber to yourself about the book you are “reading”. It is really cute. You love your touch and feel books, where you can poke at a little patch of wool or fuzz or velvet on each page. I have to say, though, my absolute favorite thing about this month has been that you learned to say “Mama”. This absolutely melts my heart every time you say it. Usually, it is when you are the most miserable and sleepy or hungry. You crawl over, pull up on my leg, rest your head against my thigh and say miserably, “Mama, mama”. Sometimes, when you are tired, you head straight over to a dog bed instead, and lay down on that. How many times in this letter have I said how cute you are? It is hard to resist you, little one. I am glad I get to hang out with you every day. I could seriously go on and on about you and your new abilities. We haven’t even touched on food yet! I think these letters get longer each month, though, so I will work on being a bit more concise. While the letters grow a little bit each month, our love for you grows lots! I didn’t think it possible, but we love you more each day. It is kind of like how I feel about being married to Daddy-it gets better and better each day. Yeah. Kind of like that 🙂