Dear Elsa: a letter at nine months


And with that, you are mobile.

On October 9 (around 8 and 1/2 months old), I came down the stairs to see you crawling towards the saucer. It was almost as if you didn’t want me to see, but I did. It surprised me because you have never been one to roll from one end of the room to the other…and you never army crawled. But for the last month, you’ve been up on all fours, rocking back and forth, and growling with frustration. But once you started, you had it down. And ever since, you have been on. the. go. You crawl…not extraordinarily fast, but deliberately – towards the singing Leap Frog table, towards Owen and anything he is playing with, sometimes even traversing the entire length of the living room and dining room to find me in the kitchen. You light up, panting in a happy way, when we crawl towards each other on the living room rug. And what’s more, you want to walk. You will pull yourself up on anything – the fire gate, the toilet, our legs, and you’re beginning to take tiny baby side-steps as you hold onto your crib edge, the ottoman, and I think no…this can’t be right. You’re nine months old, but you think you’re a one year old.

And Belsa, you have become what we like to call a Silly Bones. You squawk constantly, letting out these piercing seagull noises, on purpose, and then crack yourself up. You use your dragon voice, telling us bamamamabababab and lielielielielie and you laugh. I think you know you’re being funny. You laugh at a lot of things, but you are partial to anything Owen says or does in your general direction, and when anyone anywhere puts on glasses or sunglasses. You still appreciate when we puppet master you into busting a move to a little bluegrass or classics from Destiny’s Child circa 1999. I also have to mention your “wind face” – anytime a stiff breeze blows, you open your mouth, in happy surELSA-BWprise, and keep it open – like you’re trying to swallow it. You’ll do it in front of fans or if we blow on you. It’s so quirky, and I love it.

While you finally, finally defeated your could and neverendingchestcough, you cut 4 teeth in less than a month and are still at it, which is to say, we don’t sleep at night anymore. You cry at night, Owen responds with his out-of-control falcon cry, and your dad and I race down the hall to try to get you both calmed down. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of coffee in our lives lately.

But the days, Elsa, the days are so sweet with you. You seem like you’re trying to wave hello, a while-armed circular motion. Right around the time you started crawling, you legitimately made Owen laugh for the first time. He and I were squawking like birds at each other – you know, standard snack time protocol – when I looked at you and told you to squawk. And you did! Other than the time he heard you fart on my leg, he has never laughed so hard at you. It fills me to see you two interact in ways that are fun and loving. I long to create more of a space for that in these days.

This is also the month that you discovered animals. We visited your Grandma Karen and Grandpa Ron, who were catsitting Mayberry, who you watched with fascination…awe…adoration. You would sit so still and just follow the cat with your eyes before panting in excitement and moving as fast as you could towards the cat. When you finally touched Mayberry, you squealed. A few days later, I heard you happily squealing over and over, and when I came into the living room to see what was up, you had found a giant cat picture on the cover of a magazine. You were so happy. Your animal love extends to dogs too, and you almost hyperventilate when you were able to pet Sol or Coda this past month, those patient dogs who put up with you touching their feet, their tails, licking your face even as you tug their ears.

You are eating little meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner now – while still nursing, and I’m sad to say that you just are not the budding foodie we’d all hoped you’d be. You put up with food. Occasionally eating all of something, but more often than not, just nibbling a few bites before becoming disinterested, pushing away the spoon heading towards your face. You do better when you have a large item to gnaw on – cold cucumber chunks are your fave, but carrots or pretzel rods will do too. And you seem to prefer pieces of food to purees. We’re working on it.

You are most definitely a mama’s girl at this point, and I can calm you down like no one else. Your dad tries, and you consent, but look at him periodically as if to say, “Oh? It’s still you?” I know you’ll grow out of it. You love him now for the way he swings you around our living room and is ever helping you in your quest to learn how to walk. But it’s me you look to for solace, rest, comfort. You nestle your face into my body, snarfying my neck and shoulder, and eventually your little body relaxes. I hope I can always be that for you: a place of rest.

I love you, Baby Girl.

Your Mom

Things You Love: music, dancing (when you dance or watch anyone else dance), glasses, the part when we sing “And the giant came tumbling down” – gets you every time, baths, being naked, standing on anything, chewing on anything, wind, Owen, your Leapfrog table, when your dad plays guitar, chewing on carrot sticks, cold apples, or cucumbers, pretzel rods, sometimes your pacifier, nursing, burping, animals in real life or in pictures (especially dogs or cats), tv or videos or really screens of any kind, faces (especially babies) in books, when you see other kids (over the church pews), when your dad comes home, “slow” dancing with your dad as he swings you around like a maniac, wrestling with Owen and your dad, when I crawl towards you, when I come to pick you up from a nap, sleeping in our bed

Things You Hate: getting out of a bath, getting dressed, being spoonfed, when Owen takes a toy away from you, the slightest fall or faceplant, when I come near you but don’t pick you up, being put down in your crib at night, your pacifier at night, when I won’t nurse you in the middle of the night, when we won’t let you chew on paper

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