Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 7

[I am following in the footsteps of many other bloggers with this series, most notably those of Dooce, one of my all-time favorite bloggers. Heather writes a letter to her daughter each month. I love her series and hope I can stay on track for as long as she has. I think Heather is up to 60 months so far.]

Dear Hadley:

For the past seven months, I have documented your existence in detailed emails I wrote and sent to our family and friends. I have persisted with these updates, despite the fact that I was bordering on the obnoxious, for several reasons. One being that I wanted our long-distance family and friends to feel like they were right here with us. But more importantly, I wanted to document each special month for you, so that you could look back one day and read about all of the little things that made us smile, all of the developmental milestones that made us proud, and all of the special things that made our hearts melt. Now that I have a blog, I've decided (and this idea is by no means original) to start writing and posting letters to you telling you about all the fun we are having and all of the new things you are doing. There are so many little things you are doing right now that I just want to bottle and keep with me forever. These letters are hopefully the next best thing. I love the idea of documenting your life for you to read later and hopefully, you will enjoy these letters as much as I enjoy writing them.

This has been a big month, sweet pea. You learned to crawl, you started babbling, you actually started eating green vegetables, you started drinking from a sippy cup, and you learned your first game. I can't get enough of how active you are and how busy you stay. You have so much to do and squeeze into each day that there isn't a spare second for you to waste. You are always talking, bouncing, playing, crawling, and reaching for something, sometimes even in your sleep. It is not uncommon for Daddy and I to check on you at night and find you crawling around in your crib. Kinda funny when it isn't 3:00 a.m. in the morning! You definitely keep us busy, kiddo.

Learning to crawl has by far been your biggest accomplishment to date. From the moment you started rolling from your back to your tummy, you have been determined to crawl. You practice constantly and you are doing it! You finally have a technique that works for you. Your crawl really is more like creeping, where you pull and drag yourself along on your belly with your hands, arms, and sometimes, your forehead. I admit, it's pretty entertaining to watch, but you are super fast and so determined to get around that you usually squeal with delight when you reach your destination.

You also surprised me by learning to babble this month. Out of the clear blue, you started saying "dada," "bla bla," and "ba ba" one night and you have been going on and on ever since. And you love to laugh and squeal. As soon as you see one of us, you squeal with delight. You especially do this when Daddy gets home from work. Your happiness at seeing Daddy after a long day is palpable. It's as if you are saying, "You're home, you're home, you're home!!" You then bounce and wave your arms until he picks you up. I love seeing you two together. Your Daddy loves when you say "dada" to him and you make sure to say it A LOT. I'm hoping if I stop trying to feed you the dreaded green peas so much, you might start throwing in a "mama" or two.

And, your laughter. If I could somehow freeze time so that you always laugh and giggle the way you do now, I would in a heartbeat. You are so free with your laughs, and we try to get them out of you as much as possible. Sometimes, just smiling and laughing at you will grant us a big giggle. Other times, the most random things will make you laugh. A few nights ago, Daddy was singing "Shake it Up, Baby" to you at the dinner table and on each "AAAHHHHH," "AAAHHHHH," you would laugh hysterically. Daddy and I were both laughing so hard that we were crying. We have also learned where you are ticklish, and tickles will normally elicit great laughs from you. It's hard not to constantly tickle you just to hear that adorable laugh. We try, though. Really, we do.

There are so many small things I want to remember about this month, too. There are the big, gummy smiles you give me when I smile at you. You have done this since you were a tiny baby and I never want to forget them. I'll need those memories when you are a temperamental teen! There are the weekend mornings when we let you sleep in our bed on a pillow between us. Those mornings are so sweet and lazy, I just want to hold on to them forever. And, watching you play with your toys, I am always amazed at how great you are at working those little hands. You can pick up the smallest things and enjoy trying to see how many things you can hold at once. I loved watching you read a book with your Maggie this month, too. You were so intent on turning the pages and talking that it was hard to tell who was reading the book. You now hold your arms up to me when you want me to hold you and sometimes, when I am holding you, I am lucky enough to get a big neck hug. This month, I taught you your first interactive game. You hide your head on my shoulder until I say, "Where's Hadley? Where's the baby??" You then pop your head up with a big grin and look around for your audience. I love that we have that game.

Lately, when you are sleepy, you put your little fists behind your head, one fist behind each ear. You usually fall asleep like this and then at some point during the night, you roll over and sleep on your face. You prop your face up with your little hands and snooze away. Your Daddy and I worry when you sleep like that, but you love it. Also, when we are feeding you your bottle before bed, you rub your head and play with your hair. Your Daddy does the same thing when he is falling asleep. It's amazing how alike you and your Daddy are already.

I realize each month as you become more and more independent how far we've come since we brought you home on that sunny, Sunday afternoon in September. In just seven short months, you have morphed from a tiny, swaddled baby who quietly chirped and slept all day to a laughing, squealing, playful, busy, little girl, who has completely stolen our hearts. I miss that little bundle that you were, but I'm also loving the fun, active baby you have become. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us.

I love you, sweet pea.


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