11 Month Letter (plus mash up video)

I’m back! Well, for now… you know how life is! I seem to not have as much in front of the computer time as I used to, but I have kept my promise to write Margo a letter every month on her birthday (or very close to it…) I did a 10 month letter, but didn’t get around to publishing it. Then I figured, who even reads my blog when I publish like once a month? Sorry. Things are happening, I should post more though!

You Tube Video of Margo’s skills

Dear Margo,

Holy 11 months – almost a year! Spending time with you is getting more fun by the day.

You are walking all around these days, which is just too cute. Tonight you made it the whole way from the laundry room to our bedroom to the sliding door. I’m loving your little zombie walk, and sometimes you put your hands close to your body on your chest and that’s also ridiculous. You’re getting stronger and stronger and more brave with your walking, and your Dad and I are still not used to seeing you just get up and walk across the playroom. Often I’ll be putting laundry from the washer to the dryer and leave you to play in the playroom. You almost always would crawl over and make your presence known (with a “uuuh! uhh!” announcement). Yesterday, for the first time, I looked up and you had walked to the doorway. Could this be your preferred means of transportation? I’m thinking you might have decided it is, just over the course of the past two days.

This month you also learned some signs! We’ve been doing a few signs with you and you now sign Eat, Daddy, More (sometimes…), Milk, and what looks like the beginnings of Bath. (So, you can say Mama, and sign Daddy. Now everyone’s happy 🙂 )Again, we’re blown away. Maybe we were just unprepared for how quickly babies learn stuff, but I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed my 11 month old would tell me when she was hungry by signing! It’s awesome! You’re still a chatty little child too, and getting quite good at entertaining yourself. Sometimes you’ll just sit with a bunch of books and turn the pages and babble. I love that you’ve started to mock the inflections that we do for you. Along those lines, when asked “What does Santa say?”, you say “uhh, uh, huuuh” with the same intonation as we do.

Speaking of Santa… yeah, that didn’t go well. Sorry for the emotional trauma, you’ll love him when you see what he brings you in a few days!
Didn't even get to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.
Your favorite book is now “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” and you read it no less than 10  times today. And as of today, you’re also pretty into Eric Carle’s “Does a Kagaroo have a Mother, Too?” It’s kind of fun that it’s not involving photographs (like that annoying dog book with the moving parts that show a dog peeing! Seriously…) or Elmo. I love that you let us read to you now and really seem to delight in it. We had a little dry spell there, in between when I could read you our entire Dr. Seuss collection in one sitting at 2 months and then nothing for most of the summer.

It’s already been a cold winter, way too cold to do stuff outside. We’ve been stuck inside a lot, no more running in the stroller for the time being. We go to Gymboree several times a week, which you truly seem to love, even more so now that you are all sturdy with your walking. You’re still a remarkably happy child (meaning, several other mothers have remarked about your good nature to me over the past few months), and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love that about you. We know if you’re complaining, something’s wrong. And if you’re just bored or unhappy, you just deal with it and make the best of it. A truly awesome personality trait, my love!

We’re so excited to share your first Christmas with you this month, and I’m still coming to terms with my next monthly letter being to a 1-year-old. Too fast! You’re growing too fast!! But we’re so proud and in love with you.

Love, Momma

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9 Month Letter (a day early!)

Dear Margo,
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9 months! You’ve officially been out in the world longer than you were inside of me! (Well… in 8 days or so we’ll hit that landmark. Cause, you know, you were late. I’m not mad, just want to be honest in our calculations.) While both 9 month periods seemed to fly by, the past 9 months WITH you were way more enjoyable for me.

It feels like so much has happened this month. You’re CRAWLING! Last week you just said, you know what, this rolling business, it’s not working out for me anymore. We were so sure you were the kid who would skip crawling altogether so we were extra surprised. You’re also cruising now. The fun trick associated with this is cruising down the length of our bathtub to turn on the water. It makes you laugh, and I’d be fine with it if you’d turn on the cold water once in a while. The hot water is expensive, and you always seem to go there first. You started cruising around the Leap Frog table and quickly expanded to the couches and anything Margo-height.  I suppose the next logical progression is climbing, and you’ve mastered (and become fixated on) the 2 steps between the living room and kitchen. It’s adorable and a little scary to watch, since you sometimes sit back on the first stair and just seem to think it’s normal and you can lean back. We call this the Margo Trust Fall.

You took a few steps with your walking toy too, which impressed us since before you’d always kind of face planted or pulled it back on top of you. Your balance is, evidently, improving! A few nights ago you stood, on your own with out leaning or holding my hands, for 13 seconds (I counted at a normal clip, not super fast. Promise) I felt so proud, I’m just so excited to see you walk. I know my heart will explode with pride. And I imagine that feeling will continue until you’re elected President of the United States, since you can do anything!!

In the food-world, you’re now self feeding! It was such an amazing development to watch. The first day I gave you a bunch of puffs you went nuts probably thinking these were some new toys, maybe accidentally got one in your mouth and the majority on the floor or in the high chair. And with every day, your aim has improved and the floor clean up has gotten less and less. You look like a big kid when you pick up your own food, it’s so fun to watch.

And, how dare I forget to mention… you’re getting a TOOTH! (Finally) It’s been a difficult thing as a parent, never knowing when the first little guy is going to poke through and therefore attributing random cries to “maybe she’s teething.” Well, we feel it now and I’m just waiting for it to come out & play. We had a few nights where you just weren’t yourself (meaning you woke up several times & were inconsolable), which worried us. THEN we felt the tooth and it all made sense. The fears that our perfect sleeper had decided to change her nightly routine passed & we all celebrated with a good night’s sleep.

It feels like everything gets more joyful and exciting by the day lately with you! Filling up your bathtub, helping us turn the pages in your baby’s first word book, staring out the window in your carseat… all of these things induce delighted shrieks and make me smile too. All I know is I can say this month what I feel like I say every month. It was the best yet! I can’t wait to see what you’ll surprise and amaze us with next month!
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Love,
Momma

8 Month Letter

Dear Margo,

If I had to describe the past month of your life in one word it’d be: MOTION. You’re a mobile child now, and our grace period where we could sit you on the floor and expect you to be in the same place a minute later is simply over. You are still flirting with crawling – you get up on all fours and rock, push yourself backward, go into a half downward dog yoga move (which is hilarious), and we’ve seen a few army crawls, but still waiting for you to get the normal crawl down pat. You’re a big roller, and we marvel at it because you see something you want across the room, you pivot so you’re parallel to it and then roll to get it. You can now go from laying to sitting, do guided steps when we hold your hands, and your standing is really sturdy. You just hold on to us for balance instead of leaning on us for support. You’re FAST, I look away and the next second you’ve got your hands under the entertainment center playing with wires or trying to pull drawers open.

Here’s Exhibit A – the 8-month shot outtakes (I used to think the blocks were a great idea, now it’s an enormous pain!!! You’re like “TOYS!”):

This month we’ve been spending a lot of time together, which as made it fly by for me (don’t know about you). I’ve started training for a race in November, so I’ve been taking you out in the jogging stroller often and you seem to love it! It’s so funny, you see someone coming in the distance on the greenway and you start humming and get all excited when we pass them. And if they have a dog, forget it. Even more fun.

You are learning new sounds, which is very funny. You say (often repeatedly) “mmamma”, “ba ba ba ba” now, and sometimes Daddy will try to get you to say “da da”, to which you always respond with a giggle. We interpret it to mean “Pshaw… like THAT’S a word!”

We love to go to the park with you to swing now! The weather is slowly becoming more bearable and you’re a great age for swings. Sometimes you giggle, presumably because I’m close, then far, then close, etc, and sometimes you lounge back and chew on your lips and hold on and kind of look like an old lady.  You also love it when we are parading upstairs to give you a bath and Daddy’s holding you and I’m coming up the stairs behind. I’m not sure why this gets you so worked up, but you kick your feet and giggle and squeal. Then we have to play peekaboo for a little and you’re all riled up.

You’re still eating pretty well, though you’ve all the sudden decide you want to make decisions on your own, which is annoying. You won’t take the bottle anymore, a revelation which is a little scary since I’m leaving town for 3 days next weekend. Not sure what’s fueling this, but we’re hoping a little hunger will give you the motivation to try it again. I’m sure you will be, but please be a good girl for daddy and take the bottle!!!

Every month I think *this* is the best month so far. I hope we’re not upsetting our friends & family because we truly are so happy and smitten with you. You do poop, and cry (sometimes) and do weird, inexplicable things but we are just not really ruffled by that. You’ve given us so much joy and entertainment and warmth, so much more than we could have imagined a year ago when you were just a growing bump. Your personality emerges daily, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. You’re fun, and we have fun with you.

Love you!
Momma

7 Months!

Dear Margo,

Where to start… it seems like you have changed so much in the past week or so.

You’re still a very social child. Yesterday we were at a triathlon I took part in (on a relay) and you were trying to say “hi” to everyone we passed or that you saw in the distance (which was kind of a lot of people…) It’s so cute, it’s as if you see someone and you think “Why aren’t they looking at me?” and say in your breathy and excited baby-voice “Hiii”. It’s not a fully enunciated word, but it seems like you kind of understand the meaning & when to say it! The screaming & babbling haven’t subsided at all, and you often “talk” more when you’re gnawing on a toy. Another change we noticed this month is it seems you really “became a girl” (to quote your Daddy). Meaning, you discovered whining and figured out how to use it to get your way. You realized if you scrunch up your face & whine/fake cry we’ll pick you up. There’s been a lot of whining… because your life is really hard.

But there’s also been a lot of laughing. A LOT! It’s truly the most heartwarming and surprising thing you do these days. We have to work for it, but the most random things elicit this beautiful noise. This evening, I was hiding behind the fridge and playfully running at you and you were in stitches. And so was I!

You’re also a determined kid, and this month even more so. When I’m holding you, you notice everything I’m holding and must. have. it. And if I move it further away, you puff air out of your pursed lips and reach further. It’s really hard to describe this little quirk, but it’s oh so cute. Like you’re taking a step back and doing a deep yoga breath and psyching yourself up for one last push where you’re going to get that thing you want.

Perhaps the biggest milestone this month was you pulled up for the first time. It knocked our socks off, but you looove standing up. You’ve been spending a lot of time propped up at your Leap Frog table this month, getting excited about the annoying songs you can make play by pressing buttons and moving knobs. You seem to have also discovered this month that you can roll over, and then roll over again, and again and again until you’re in a different place! You look up at us in between and smile like “check me out!” and just keep going. It’s pretty funny for us to watch, and remember a few short months ago when we waited and cheered you on to roll just once for the camera or to show a family member. Now, it’s no sweat at all. NOW, we’re on crawl watch.
You’re a strong kid and a big kid by all accounts, and everyone keeps threatening us that you’re going to be an early walker. Which is good and bad… but we’re trying to enjoy where you are right now. You’re just so much fun to be around.

This month we’ve done a lot. You took your first trip to the beach with me, and you handled the different environment like a true champion. You LOVED the beach (at low tide) and I’m so excited to go back sometime soon! Another change occured today – I’m not your stay at home mommy! I ended my summer job Friday, and starting today, I’m home all day, every day. Let the fun begin!

Every month as I wrap up your letter I try to think what you might be doing next month at this time, and you just continue to surprise me. So I might stop trying to predict your next big thing and just see what you come up with on your own! We love you, cutie pie!
Momma

6 Month Letter (3 Days Late)

Dear Margo,

I can’t believe we’re now officially in the second half of your first year! You’ve now had a half-birthday, something it seems like only my family really notices. But lucky you, you’re in my family so observe away!

Everyday seems like more fun than the day before right now. I hope I look back and remember how FUN you are right now. You sit so well & you’re so interactive. And (this is the best part), you don’t go anywhere!  You’re still pretty generous with your smiles & giggles, though if you get in a tired mood you are what we call Stone Cold Margo. No smiles for anyone, just a surly down-turned mouth. But even that’s cute.  With your sturdy sitting, you’re exploring your boundaries in reaching and grabbing objects. Oh, and just this week you stepped up your raspberry game. Now it involves a lot more slobber and sound. It’s really funny, especially since you seem to have a knack for timing. This morning you were laying on your back and I said to you “Oh, you’re such a beautiful little girl.” Your response: “Phhhhtt.” I died.  Your sleep is still awesome, a solid 11 hours at night and a 1.5 hour nap in the morning and in the afternoon, give or take a half hour. And we think you might have started waving hi this week as well. It’s more like a Nazi hile, but it comes across like a casual “Wassup.”

You’re still a larger than average child, and we’ve crossed over the threshold where we now get more comments on your thighs than your hair. I guess seeing a 6 month old with this much hair is no longer odd, but those thighs are dimpled, broad and a sight to behold.  And since you’re hot all the time (and it’s hot outside all the time), they’re pretty exposed. I love them, truly I do. And I honestly think it’s the reason you were such an early sitter – you’ve got a broad base (haha). I wouldn’t trade your rolls for anything (though people love to comfort me that it’ll all go away when you start crawling). You’re just the cutest, roly-poly-est child and I could just eat you up. Another huge milestone this month was beginning solids. We were aiming to reach the 6 month mark, but you had other ideas. Incessant fixation on food isn’t a specified criteria for when to begin solids, but somehow (maybe parental intuition?) we just knew you were ready. And so far, you seem to be enjoying it. You haven’t yet rejected anything & are on board with rice cereal, sweet potatoes and bananas! One can only hope you remain a non-picky eater your whole life. Of course, we’re still primarily breastfeeding you (er, *I* am) and intend to do that for your first year. So far so good! You love it, and it’s not so bad for me either.

We just got back from a week-long trip back home Pennsylvania where you got to spend some quality time with your McQuiggan grandparents. We are just continually impressed with how unruffled you are in new situations. Besides the thighs comments, I’d say this is the other thing we hear from others the most, how calm and easy going you are. I wish we could take credit for this, and I hope you remain this way too. It’s an excellent quality to have!
Happy 6 months baby girl! We love you more than you can imagine.

Love,
Momma

5 Month Letter

Dear Margo,

Happy 5 month birthday, love! You continue to get bigger and stronger and knock our socks off with how quickly you’re doing all of the above. We’re perhaps the proudest parents you can find. We just took a quick trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for a wedding and took 250 pictures, mostly all of you. You’re just too inspiring, I guess 🙂

This past month’s major milestone was sitting up unassisted at 4 1/2 months. Every day you’re getting better at it, and it’s just so cute.  You’re a lot less discriminating with your smiles now. Whenever we’re out and about, whether it is a formal affair like this weekend’s wedding or a quick trip to the grocery store, you’re quick to smile at strangers. I remember a particular trip to Target when I was carrying you in the Bjorn, every person we walked past you got a huge smile and a scream. It was positively adorable, and a tad on the obnoxious side. We’ve been swimming a lot, and after a few trips, you finally decided you LOOOOVE it. For the first few, I’d describe you as “nonplussed”… it didn’t upset you or please you, it just happened. Now you giggle and splash, it’s so much fun. And we have a long summer ahead of us, so that’s a good thing indeed.

Another big step (not quite sure it’s a milestone per se) is your infatuation with Smarty. I think you might have just realized last week that we have a cat living with us, and you LOOOOVE her. The minute you see her face, you’re glued to her and trying to get her attention. You often freak her out by squealing or moving too quickly (I’m trying to teach you how to play it cool and not come on too strong…) but she does let you pet her sometimes. And the occasional ear grab aside, you’re pretty gentle. I think she realizes you have to take it where you can get it these days. We think soon you’ll become BFF’s.

This was the first month where I was working and not with you 24/7. I think you’re loving the extra 20 hours/week with Grammy, and I think she’s loving it too!  Although there’s that part of me that wants to be my child’s one and only caregiver, it makes me so proud that you are unruffled by the fact I have to leave you. And it’s a healthy set up for both of us, I think.

Being your mommy is the most amazing experience. Waking up early to your smiling face isn’t that hard, and coming home from work to your smiling face is ten times more fun than coming home ever was before. You really are a joy to us, and we’re having a blast!

Love you, little one!

Momma

Letter to my 4 month old

Dear Margo,

Well, you’ve certainly entered a new phase this past month, and we’re LOVING IT!  When I’m writing these letters to you, I always try to think, what am I going to forget that I don’t want to forget. Things I’ve written in letters only one or two months ago seem like so long ago. This was the month of my first official Mothers’ Day (you got me a garnet ring – good job!) It was also our last month of me staying home with you exclusively. I start working tomorrow, a fact that at once makes me happy and sad.  Like with most things, I have no doubt that you’ll adjust quickly and make it easy!

So let’s see, what “milestones” did you hit this month? You’re totally into your surroundings. When we take you upstairs holding you upright, you contort your body so you can see what’s coming. You’re rolling over more frequently now from your belly to back, and even snuck in a back to belly (though I’m not sure how good your form was, if I may critique you, and don’t know if we’ll see that move again soon.) You’re loving the Exersaucer, and getting more confident each time we use it. You reach for things constantly, and have developed a good grip. You’re loving my hair, which isn’t the cutest hobby you have.   You giggle, one of the cutest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. You make the “bbbbb” sound (while drooling) quite often and seem to do it to make us do it back. It’s one of the MANY times I’m thankful every moment of our lives isn’t video taped, because looking like idiots to make you smile has become kind of a hobby for your father and I! You’re still all about jamming your hands in your mouth. Often it’s your thumb, but you don’t seem to discriminate or show a preference just yet. Sometimes it’s a finger, sometimes a palm… as long as it’s something you’re a happy girl. (Sidenote: this month required a lot more tries to get a good shot with the blocks. The dress kept going in the mouth.) The screams have continued to develop. It’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning to happy squeals and screams coming from your crib. It seems you really like the sound of your voice (that’s okay, so do we.)

One thing I hope I never forget is the way your little clammy hands feel when you’re playing with my face. This month, you started reaching for things and one of your favorite things to touch is our faces. And, maybe it’s weird or bad, but I totally let you just stick your fingers wherever they’ll go on my face… it’s funny to me. And to you. And as I type this you’re beginning what will (hopefully) be a long night’s sleep and I can still feel your little fingers on my shoulders where I was carrying you and on my face where I was letting you explore.

You’re a wonderful little girl, and you continue to grow and amaze us with how quickly you’re doing it all.
Till next month,
Momma