There are no words. I sit here nearly unable to write down what I feel as we near your first birthday...to tell you how much I love you and how much better my life is because you are in it...I can hardly express it, it is so powerful and wonderful. Words do not do it justice.
Today, you turned 11 months old! And today I wondered both how this could be true already, and how it is that it was only slightly less than a year ago that my life was turned upside - in the best way possible! - by you and that beautiful, strong cry you let out as you entered this world. I will never forget that cry. It made me so happy to hear it, it makes me cry (happy tears) just thinking about it. That cry meant you were strong and healthy and alive - and finally here!
I want to tell you how very deeply I love you and how completely whole I feel when I rock you in my arms after you've fallen asleep every night. I want you to know that I love you so much that it hurts to think of life any other way.
It is scary, too. I now know what people mean when they say that having children means to live with a piece of your heart outside your body: vulnerable, exposed... leaving you forever unable to protect it every single second of every single day, when that is what every fiber of your being is desperately screaming at you to do.
So. On to the good stuff :)
- You, my dear, are one amazing, silly, beautiful, smart, SMART - no really, I mean scarysmart girl! You blow us away every single day with what you know. Today, we think you said "Duck". Seriously! You pointed to... well, you actually pointed to a goose, but whatever, details... and you said "du...ck".
- You are a master crawler now! You are so fast and agile on your hands and knees. And you're starting to cruise on the furniture, too. This is how you ended up with quite the tongue gash this month. You hit your chin against the coffee table as you were standing up next to it. But, you are just fine now, and still as fearless as ever. Mama is afraid to let you stand by yourself, but I'm trying not to hover too much - you need to learn to do it on your own, and mama knows how important that is.
- Eliza, you have a will of steel. You tell us when you don't like something, and you make sure we hear you! You screech in protest and arch your back. It's dramatic and can be very persuasive, though we as your parents can't bend to your will every time. That's our job, you know. And besides, that's what grandparents are for.
- You love your kitties! Have I mentioned this before? I think so, but it is just so cute I have to say it again. You hug the kitties - even more than you hug us! You put your head down on their backs. It is soooo incredibly sweet. You are such a sweet, sweet girl.
- You love music. I will sing to you in the car or while I'm changing your diaper and it helps to calm you down (the car and having your diaper changed are two things you HATE, by the way!). Every night before bed, daddy plays guitar and I sing along and you love it. You want to get to daddy's guitar, though, you loooove strumming the strings. I think we know what we are going to get you for your birthday!
- You love to laugh. When people around you laugh, you laugh too! You are a happy girl.
- You dance! You shake your little butt back and forth when you hear music - we call it "butt dancing". Haha!
- We started ECFE this month and you LOVE IT. The classroom fascinates you, and you especially like the other babies. You explore every little corner and play with every toy - you also have a tendency to steal the other babies' toys away from them...! And when the parents go off to our parent meeting and the babies stay behind with the teachers, you don't get upset at all. Mama says goodbye and you just play with the other babies and the toys. The teachers always comment on how cool tempered and relaxed you are when I leave.
- You are usually pretty fearless... but you really dislike loud noises. You get scared easily when you hear something too loud, like when that little boy at the zoo yelled at the fish, or when mama screamed in excitement at some good news we got from close friends (oh, mama felt so bad! but the news was so exciting!).
- Nighttime sleeping is still not your strong suit - you like to "check in" with mama about every 3-4 hours ;). But, that's just fine. I'll be here for you at night as long as you need me to be.
- You are still nursing, and I don't see any signs of slowing down on that front anytime soon! That makes me soooo happy, too. We're lucky that we've never had any issues with nursing strikes or mama's supply dropping, or you losing interest.
- Back to the smartypants-ness: you know where your ears are, your mouth, your nose (and daddy's nose!), your feet, your shoes (and you know that your shoes (or mamas or daddy's) go on your feet), you look down at to your belly when we say "where's Eliza's tummy?", and you use signs to tell us "all done", "more" and "milk". You still say "dada" to refer to both pictures of yourself, and to your dada :). You can stack the blocks on the stacker toy that Anna got you, and you are an olympic peek-a-boo player.
I love you, Eliza. Even when I'm away from you for even one or two hours, I miss you and can't wait to see you again. You brighten every single one of my days. I can't wait to see you grow and change and become a little girl. You are already on your way, and I am so proud to be your mama.
ps - okay, so there are a few words :)