Dear Elsa: a letter at seven months


elsa-standingYou are seven months old, my dear, seven! And you have been busy making your little self known. You are definitely not “the quiet one” you seemed to be. Our days are filled with your squawks and squeaks, and more and more, it seems like you’re trying to communicate. You look right at us and grin, laugh, groan. You catch our eyes and make this breathy little dragon sound – lips turned in, and I think you know you’re being funny. You drop your toy, your breadstick, and you immediately break into a whiny cry, your lips out andpouting. You are ever trying out new squeaks, new raspberry sounds, seeing what your voice can do.

Your favorite thing to do is sit, unassisted, on the floor, surrounded by toys. You can play quietly by yourself for like 20 minutes, only tipping over when you’re really stretching towards a certain toy; often I find that you’ve gone from sitting to a crawling position. You’re not crawling yet, but you turn yourself on your belly from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position with ease, rolling (both ways now!) and stretching to get where you want, to get what you want. You also do an armless backstrock of sorts, on your back, knees bent, torso up – and then you push off with your legs, scooting about 4 inches at a time. You can cover a surprising amount of ground this way.

You are also completley obsessed with standing. You love nothing more than to hold onto our hands and stand, or lean against an ottoman, or the side of your crib. Your “sturdy” legs, or “wide base” as your dad calls it, is really strong, and you just delight in holding yourself upright. The other day, you were sitting on the changing table. I was standing right next to you but turned my head for a second to address Owen, and before I knew it, you were nearly pulling yourself to standing, holding onto the dresser. What?! For as much as you love standing, you’re not so into the doorway swing, despite Owen’s attempts to rocket launch you from the kitchen to the dining room with his underdogs.

This past month, we started giving you solid foods, and thusfar, you are not a fan. You gag every three bites. You turn your head away. You cry. I’ve tried all the gentle foods, and you’re just not that into it. We have had relatively more success if we give you a breadstick or piece of fruit to hold and gnaw on while we sneak bites of pureed fruits and veggies in when you’re not looking. But at this point, I’d say you don’t really relish food. You sort of put up with it and look at us as if to say: Really? This is what we’re doing now?

You’re certainly getting enough to eat, though, Elsa Girl. At a doctor’s appointment last week, you weighed in at 20 lbs., 5 oz. – hovering somewhere around the 94th percentile. Your rolls are impressive, and your round cheeks just beg to be kissed all day. I know you’re going to crawl soon, and all those rolls will slowly melt away, so I’m trying to squeeze your thighs (or your “inner knees”) at least six times a day. I will miss your rolls terribly when they’re gone.

We’ve sort of lost our nights this past month. You and Owen are in the same room, and ever since the switch to your crib, you have been getting up at least once a night. You cry, and your dad and I race down the hall to get you before you wake Owen up. I take you back to the couch or our bed, nurse you until you fart or burp, when you immediately fall back to sleep on my shoulder. Having you asleep on my shoulder is everything – the heavy weight of your body, warm against mine, your breath slow and steady on my shoulder – these moments in the dark are sleepy, but I hold you for an extra minute or two, squeezing all the baby out of you that I can.

Now that you and Owen are in the same room, we do bedtime a bit differently. The four of us pile onto our bed. Your dad reads stories in his funny voices and accents, while Owen drinks milk and rubs his hair before squirming around the bed like a small otter. Meanwhile, I nurse you, being careful to keep your feet from touching Owen for fear of his foot-touched rage. You burp, usually giggle, refuse your pacifier. I try to relax you, sometimes giving you Tylenol for your slow and stubborn growing teeth, which you also refuse, believing it to be poison. Eventually we turn the light out and sing a song or two…I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, You are My Sunshine, Jesus Loves the Little Children, The Trains are Asleep…and we pray together. It’s one of my favorite times of the day, all of us together. Your dad carries Owen with his six stuffed animals, and I carry you, your head heavy on my shoulder. I lay you in your crib, tucking your bunny in with you, and you roll onto your left side, knees tucked up. I don’t know why all of this feels so weighty, so significant, but I don’t want to forget it.

And so I write.
You are a JOY, Elsa, and I’m so glad you’re mine.


Things You Love: sleeping in our bed, burping / farting, breadsticks, sitting up, toys (especially plastic keys, the tickle bug, and anything that makes a crinkly, plastic sound), bath time, being naked, the Ergo, when your dad bounces and dances with you, music, dancing, chewing on anything, Owen

Things You Hate: getting out of the bath (you cry bitter, bitter tears), getting dressed, your pacifier :(, when Owen takes toys from you, being fed with a spoon, most solid foods, tylenol

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