Friday, October 5, 2012

To Etta, at 9 months

Dear Etta,
Happy Nine Month birthday!  I can't help but think of pregnancy when I hear that length of time- my mommy brain automatically relates anything to gestational duration as a frame of reference, I guess.  While I am amazed that you, my baby, are already nine months old, I have such a difficult time remembering life before your birth that I have a hard time believing you've been here only nine months.  My pregnancy with you flew by in just a few blinks of an eye, but these first nine months with you out here have been so full that they feel like an even longer period of time. You're a part of our family, but also a part of us as individuals- you've shaped each of us to the extent that I wouldn't recognize myself, or Tye or Daddy, without you.

You are very aware of your surroundings these days.  As we walk down the street, you in the carrier on my chest facing me, you love to lean as far to the side as you possibly can so you can see more of the world, especially when we see dogs or people.  When we attend our weekly Music Together classes, you watch the teacher and other participants with a very serious expression on your tiny face.  You recognize people we see often, like Tye's friends' and their younger siblings, but you are also deep in the throes of stranger and separation anxiety.

In fact, I think your separation anxiety has encouraged you to pick up your crawling pace.  You can cross a room quickly now, especially if it is to reach one of us.  Your crawl is an adorable hand-hand-knee-foot, with your left leg raised to propel you as quickly as you can.  You're still doing a lot of cruising, though, and you will pull yourself up to standing on any item possible- a parent's pant legs, the decorative fireplace cover, Mico's body.  You're certainly motivated to move.

You've begun talking much more over the past month, babbling with a new range of consonants.  You babble so much that it's hard for us to know when you're intentionally speaking versus just exploring your sounds.  So far, we know we've heard Mama, and you once said "HiTye" (merged as one word) three times in a row, looking right at Tye as you stood up and saw her over the coffee table.  We know you understand what we're saying to you, because when we say certain words- like people's names- you'll look right at the subject.  Knowing you're participating in the conversations makes them that much more fun.

Nine months.  You've forever changed our lives in such a relatively short amount of time.  The emotional portion of your nine month birthday, for me, is knowing you've grown been outside of me as long as you grew inside of me.  No matter where you're growing, Etta, you'll always be my baby.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.



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