Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday To You: 6 Months Old

Dear Anabella,

Today you turned 6 months old and maybe it's the rain or maybe it's hormones or maybe it's just because I'm so in love with little tiny you, but when I think about it I can't control the tears.

This month you have become the most incredible little person. I simply can not get over how in such a short amount of time you have changed from being just a little breathing, crying bundle of flesh into this amazing, funny, intelligent, beautiful little girl. And you are becoming more and more person-like every day.

Some of my favourite developments this month have been your new sounds: b-b-b-b-b-BA, and the quiet pah-pah-pah-pah that you make with your lips. I love how excited you get when I make those sounds along with you. Your eyes just light up as if to say, "You understand me!" And I know, I know little girl that you want to communicate so badly. Don't worry Baby, I do understand. Finally I understand almost everything about you and MY LORD how much easier that has made things. How much more interesting, if no less challenging.

You love it when I sing. OH MY GOD I have created someone who loves it when I sing! How could The Universe be so kind?! When Daddy leaves for work and you and I dance around the living room and sing along to all the cheesy songs that he makes fun of on my iPod my heart is HUGE with happiness. You squeal and babble along with me, your sparkling eyes saying, "More Mommy, sing some more!" We do this until your eyes start to roll back in your head and your tiny fists start to rub at them and then I understand. And off you go to nap.

That's right, I said NAP. You are doing it! Three times a day and almost regularly now. I have gotten so used to you not napping that now when you sleep for more than an hour I start to miss you and look forward to when you will wake up so we can play some more. Anabella you are such a joy.

We went to the doctor this week and you weigh 15 lbs, 10 oz. You are 26.5 inches long. You are not a huge baby by any means but you are very strong and sturdy. You love to Stand! Up! All! The! Time! You can roll over front to back and vice versa, but you almost never do it. You are content stay still, playing with your feet and hands for long periods. You are so fascinated with those tiny feet and hands. You are still not crazy about being on your tummy, but you'll tolerate it now, especially if Moet is around. You will wriggle and push your self in circles to try to follow him and grab him. This month you have fallen in love with Moet. I knew you would.

This month you have also fallen madly in love with Daddy. As soon as you hear his voice you start looking for him and when you see him the smile that takes over your face is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You think he is the funniest and he doesn't have to work nearly as hard as the rest of us to make you laugh. You look so much like him, especially when it comes to your expressions and I think that you are going to be like him in many ways. I hope that you will have his creative and artistic talents and his passion for music. I already know that you are bright and quick and funny like he is.

I'm pretty sure that you have inherited my caution towards life, especially when it comes to meeting new people. You always grow very serious around a new face and require several minutes of staring and sizing them up before you make your decision to like them or not. I don't think this is necessarily a bad trait, as long as you learn to at least give everyone a fair chance at first. Don't be too quick to judge but definitely always follow your instincts. If they are in fact like mine, they will usually be right. And Baby? Please don't let your need to play it safe hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Sometimes you'll need to take chances. I know first-hand how hard it can be. But sometimes the risks are worth it and without them your life will not be a full as it should.

This month you started sleeping in your own room and while you still don't make it all the way through the night, every now and then you will sleep straight though. I wake up anyway and miss you. But I am so proud of you. You are independent, you are confident, you are trusting and you are secure. It's everything that I want for you and already, in just six months, you have it.

Last but not least. THE BEST part of this month has been starting you on solid food. Because you are part me and part Dad I never doubted that you would LOVE to eat. From your very first mouth full you took to eating like a little champion. You get very serious about it and sit quietly, mouth open, waiting for the next spoon full. If I take to long, you tell me about it with a grunt or by banging your fists on the tray. You probably get this behaviour from your father. Heh.

You love brown rice cereal, carrots, apples and pears. Avocado? Not so much (see photo). I love feeding you. I. Love. It. I have even made all your food myself. And anyone who knows me will understand that this is nothing less than a small miracle. But after feeding you with my body for all these months, somehow it seems wrong to all of a sudden turn the task over to little glass jars picked up off the supermarket shelf. Don't get me wrong, we will be using jars now and then, probably as soon as next week when we are at the cottage, but I promise to try to give you the healthiest, best start possible and for us that means breast milk and homemade food as often as we can.

I should note that you are now drinking formula at dinner time and you love it. I love that you love it, not because I don't enjoy nursing you (I do, so much more than I ever thought I would) but because I want you to be flexible. That will allow our whole family to be more flexible. And that will make for a happier, more relaxed life for all of us. Besides, that which I am unable to speak of without panic and pain (my return to work) is coming up much faster than I can believe. By then you must be fully weaned and while the thought of that breaks a sliver off of my heart, I want to do what's best for you and for me. And so it's best that we start now.

Although half of my mat leave is over, I'm trying very hard to see the glass as still half full. We have some amazing months ahead of us Bella. Let's make the most of it together. I don't know how I'm going to leave you, I really don't. But we'll save that discussion for another day because today is a celebration.

Half a year already. My baby, my love, my beautiful girl. Happy half-birthday.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Birthday To You: 5 Months Old

So this is a little late, considering that she's going to be 6 months old in a couple of days, but to make up for my tardiness, I'm giving you her "5 month" photo in video format. This way you can see what really happens when I try to take the monthly photographs. Notice the ample coaxing involved, in this case by multiple people. Notice also that the first thing she does is shove the card into her mouth, even though it has just being lying on the dog-hair covered floor of the cottage for a few days. Finally, notice that when she's holding the card up it is always covering her face and when she is holding it down it's always so that you can't see what's on it. It really is quite an ordeal but I'm loving the results regardless of how hard they are to come by. Thanks again Auntie Scarb for passing along this awesome tradition to us!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Greatest Love Of All

Today is a big day.

Approximately once a month (okay maybe twice a month) since I gave birth I have reached into the depths of my closet and pulled out my favourite pair of Seven for All Man Kind jeans. And every month since I gave birth, this event has ended with me throwing said jeans across the room and falling in a crumpled ball of tears and agony onto my bedroom floor and then moping around the house for the rest of the day, until in utter frustration and dismay I finally reach into the freezer and polish off the tub of Chapman's Dutch Chocolate frozen yogurt that is always there "in case of emergency."

That is until today! Today I decided to try them out again and this time, not only did they not get stuck half way up my thighs as per usual, but they slid right on and zipped up with ease! And I'm talking WITHOUT the help of my Spanx. They are on RIGHT NOW and I'm never taking them off ever ever ever again. They are snug, don't get me wrong. They make my ass look like a Mack Truck. But they are on and I love them and it is the second greatest day of my entire life.

The first greatest day? Of course it was the day that my daughter was born. Mostly because it meant I wasn't pregnant any more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hungry Eyes

I know I'm over-compensating for my lack of writing with videos. I am aware. But it's just so HARD to find the time, and the brain power, to write anything that comes anywhere close to being as cute or as funny or as entertaining as this:

It's Bella's first "real" food meal. If you can call organic brown rice cereal watered down with a heavy helping of formula "real food." Incidentally, also her first taste of formula. She's been kept alive by 100% boob until this morning. Isn't that amazing? She ate her first meal like a champ - didn't even get very messy. What can I say? It's in her genes (the appetite and the cleanliness). I happen to think a lot of our success had to do with the pink spoon, but maybe that's just me?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

If You are Happy and You Know It: V2

Bella laughing at Mommy and Sophie the Giraffe; a.k.a., the sweetest sound on earth.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Since You've Been Gone

Yeah, okay, it's me whose been gone. This song title crap I've gotten myself into means I need to take a little poetic license now and then. Bare with me.

Bella and I just returned from two weeks at the cottage. While we were gone my baby turned five months old. I do not think that it's over-dramatizing things by saying that these past two weeks have been like a dream come true for me. For many years now I have longed for the summer that I am living right now. At home with my beautiful baby, all the time in the world to make the most of hot lazy days. And these past two weeks did not disappoint. It was the perfect blend of family time, visits with friends and alone time for me and Bella.

I think that my daughter and I learned a lot about each other these past couple weeks. Without the distractions of city life and daily household chores. Without the hurried evenings of trying to juggle the gym, dinner, phone calls, visits from people, etc., Bella and I were able to just be. Just be together. It was precious and I did not take a single moment of it for granted.

You see, this past month my sweet babe has really discovered her independence. She has started to push me away just a little bit instead of always snuggling in close. Her feedings have become a little more of a struggle, as she now realizes that there is more to the world than just Mommy. Instead of simply settling in and only having eyes for me as she eats, she cranes her head around at random voices and sounds. She loses patience and pulls away from me as if to say, "I'm hungry, yes, but this whole 'facing in' business is really becoming a drag."

Rather than wanting to be in my arms at all times, she often prefers to be left alone. Even at bedtime. She strains and writhes in my arms, fussing and crying until I give in and lay her down alone, with only her blankie and her Blabla, her new security items, which have replaced my own arms and heartbeat as her favourite way to be soothed.

While I know that this independence is something to be very proud of, it means that my daughter is secure and well adjusted and that her father and I are doing a good job, I can't help but let it tear away at my heartstrings. It is just going by so fast and, as Crown said to me last night, "Before you know it she'll be off to college." Gulp.

Another sign of her new-found independence (or maybe I should say mine?) is that since we returned to the city Bella has been sleeping in her own room. I know that for many people, five months is rather late to make this transition, but for me it's come up much too fast. I know that she has been ready for some time now and that it's me who wasn't ready. And you know what? I'm still not. But I do think that it's the right decision and she has taken to it like nobody's business. Sunday was the first night since the day she was born that I slept in a room without her. It was hard and I hated it but at the same time I am just so proud of my little person.

There are a million other "firsts" that have happened this past month, below are some photos to hold you over until I get around to posting her "five month" photo and update:

The art of toe sucking:

The art of sun-bathing:

The art of sharing a narrow lounger with another squirming infant (in this case, her BFF Livvie):

And last but not least, her very first swim (yes, I was a little more into it than she was):