Monday, April 18, 2005

10 months

Dearest Vivian,

Today you are 10 months old. 10 months! That is just 2 months shy of 1 year! You are practically a toddler! Apologies for the exclamation points, but your mother is having difficulty grasping the concept.

This month you have been sick. Pretty much all month. First a cold with an ear infection, then a cold, then another cold, then the barfing flu. Fun times, all around. I'm not sure where you are picking up all the germs, since I don't have you in daycare, and of course that's where all the germs live. At least, that's what people will tell you if you mention you might put your baby in daycare and go back to work.

I could blame your brother, since he is in pre-school, but the truth is he has only been there a week or so, and that's the only week this month you haven't been sick. So you must be getting sick from the germs I have not cleaned sufficiently off the floor. Sorry, sweetheart, but your mama is not the best house-cleaner. Especially floors. How I hate to do floors! I can't wait until you're older, then that can be your chore. What should we have Isaac do? How 'bout the toilets? Sounds like a plan to me!

Throughout all your ailments, sweet daughter, you have continued to smile and bring joy, fussing only marginally, even when you are so congested it hurts me to hear you breathe. In fact, you don't really fuss much at all, sick or not. You are pretty much the most contented, mellow baby I've ever known.

Now we all know that your brother was the world's best infant. And I'm sorry, he's definitely got you beat there. As an infant, you were a little more demanding. But now that you are out of the newborn stage and approaching the toddler stage, you have really come into your own. You can spend hours examining the ficus leaves that fall incessantly to the ground in the family room. Or you'll crawl over to the book case and pull book after book to the floor, flipping through them like I flip through magazines at the doctor's office. It astounds me how easily you entertain yourself, at such a young age. Isaac has only recently been able to play by himself for periods of time. But you, my independent little munchkin, you enjoy the time to yourself.

Maybe it's because you are the second child, and already you've had to fend for yourself so much more than Isaac ever did. Or maybe it's because you take after me, and prefer the ruminations of your own brain than that of others. Maybe it's because you spend so much time with your hyper brother, and sometimes, you just like some peace. Whatever the reason, I think it's fabulous. And though you might think I'm ignoring you when I leave you to yourself and run off to the computer room to blog, you should know that I peek out at you often, and watch you as you explore your way around the room, picking up and discarding an old toy, ripping open a magazine with delight, or chewing on Elmo's fingers greedily.

Speaking of chewing, two things: First, you have no teeth. That is correct, at 10 months old you have yet to sprout a tooth, nor do you show any signs of doing so any time soon. This is fine with me, as I like nothing better than your toothless, gummy grin. Teeth change your face so much, turn you from sweet baby to infuriating toddler faster than learning to walk. The only drawback to this is that we haven't tried any finger foods with you yet. I'm too paranoid that you will choke. So no Cheerios for you, my love!

Second, you are not very oral. You love to explore your world, pick things up in your hands, but you don't put them in your mouth very often. So I don't worry so much when you pick up the ficus leaves, or whatever other dirt is on the floors, because it doesn't usually end up in your mouth. This weekend we went to the beach, and just like your brother, you loved picking up the smooth rocks the waves washed in. But unlike him, you just passed them from hand to hand, never dreaming to put them in your mouth. This is a good thing, because everyone knows the Santa Monica Bay is polluted, and in fact, when your brother was your age, he did just that, and ended up with diarrhea for 10 days. Yes, this is a good life motto for you: do not put anything foreign in your mouth unless Mommy okays it.

One thing that has started this month which is just like your brother: the diaper olympics. For some reason babies your age hate having their diapers changed. Or maybe it's just they hate being on their backs. Whatever it is, changing your diaper has become a real struggle. As soon as I lay you down, you grab the railing of the changing table with one hand and whip your whole body over onto its stomach. This makes for a really cute view of your teensy tiny bottom. Unless of course I haven't managed to wipe it clean yet. Then, not so cute.

Something else about diapers: you are still really small, so you wear size 2 diapers. These are diapers for babies that are 3-6 months old. We all know that you are 10 months old now. No problem, except for the fact that while you only fit into diapers for a 3-6 month old, you definitely pee enough for a 10 month old. So at nighttime, you often wet yourself. They don't make overnight diapers for babies' your size. Which means yours truly is changing your sheets ALL THE TIME. Please, little lady, either grow enough to fit in size three or stop peeing so much!

Vivan, this is the month that we stopped breastfeeding. This was a terrible time for your mom, because I felt like my body had failed you. But you took it completely in stride. You don't mind bottles one bit. You probably like them better, since it's easier for you to get what you need out of them. When I am feeding you, you fidget. You wave your hand in the air, or kick your legs. Sometimes you clap your little feet together as you drink. No joke.

Speaking of clapping, we have taught you how to do that. With your hands, I mean. You're getting really good at it, I'm proud to report. We've also showed you how to give a high five. Really, it's amazing the things you can do.

Oh, and guess what? Yesterday I think we officially heard your first word. "Hi" you said, and waved your little hand. I've heard you say it twice more, at semi-appropriate times, so I'm counting it. I have heard the same sound when you are babbling to yourself and obviously not saying hi--but then again, who am I to say what you are babbling about? Perhaps you are simply re-introducing yourself to yourself.

I need your help in one area, however. Your sleeping habits still leave a bit to be desired. You are 10 months old, dear wonderful child, and you still do not sleep through the night regularly. You much prefer waking up once for a bottle and then for the day at 5:30 am. This does not work for me. I need you to go to sleep happily at 7:30pm, sleep all night with no sound until 7am. Can't you please work on that?

Oh, and naps. Let's talk about naps for a minute. For the longest time, your morning nap has been 45 minutes long. But ever since your brother started going to pre-school, you have extended this nap by over an hour. This means that when you wake up it is almost 11. By the time I have you dressed and fed, it's time to pick up Isaac. So I don't have time to go to the grocery store. This was the whole point of pre-school, Vivian. Please revert back to your old morning nap habits. I would be happy to allow you to nap 2 or more hours in the afternoon, okay? This is my only request.

Really, my sweet little peanut, you do nothing but enrich my life, and I could not ask for a better or different child. Before you arrived, your father and brother and I all had each other. We loved each other very much. But somehow we were not quite a family. We were 3 entities, whereas now, with you in the bunch, we have become a unit.

I love you, cuddle-monkey.

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