yesterday, you turned 9 months old. just. wow. really? how did that happen? i’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that you have now been outside as long as you were inside me, but i’m failing miserably. because weren’t you just born? weird.
here’s something else that is weird. you were born on a wednesday. your nine month birthday also fell on a wednesday. and here’s tmi for when you’re a sullen sixteen year old, reading these letters ironically while simultaneously making fun of me: my period came back yesterday. ewwww, i know, right? and the cramps, little girl, reminded me so very much of that amazing night of your arrival. as i lay in bed, curled up in a fetal ball last night, your mama h comforted me just like she did when i was in labor with you. i was momentarily flooded with a visceral memory of your birth. and i was once again blindsided by the reality that you are no longer my tiny baby: you are my little girl.
you are my little girl who loves to clap and bounce to music–and, hilariously, the rhythmic stylings of my breast pump. you now point at things that interest you, and mostly you’re interested in cups of steaming hot coffee, overhead lights and/or fans, and kitties. you play a thoroughly entertaining game with sal cat called “ribbon”, wherein you hold a ribbon, and sal obsessively bats at it, until securing and ultimately storing it under our bed, along with various ponytail holders, burp cloths, and qtips. sal is so gentle when he plays with you, in that he keeps your interactions teeth and claw-free. and you’re gentle with him in return; you very rarely pull his fur or whiskers.
you continue to be danger baby. your crawling is now efficient and done with confidence. you can freestand for frighteningly long seconds at a time, and you’re full-on cruising anymore. nothing in the house is sacred. last week you ate a business card. without remorse.
i must thank you for taking the time to read last month’s letter, jude; for understanding my needs, and meeting them. because, guess what? you’re sleeping through the night now.
i must also thank one of his moms, who sent me a sanity-preserving outline of just how to maybe possibly somehow someday get you to fall asleep on your own. and holy shit: it worked! most nights now, we have bath time, followed by tooth-brushing time (you have a deep, loving relationship with your toothbrush). then i nurse you for a few minutes and lay you down in your crib. and then you sleep for a few hours, before waking up for a midnight snack. and then you’re back to sleep again until six-ish, at which point we bring you into bed with us for a long, sleepy breakfast.
what a dream.
thank you for ending the angry bedtime tantrums. that was hard. the first few nights of our new routine, you were royally pissed. you yelled and flailed and thrashed until you were hoarse. and then you wailed silently, and it was heartbreaking to watch you fight sleep so vehemently. for the record, we did not simply let you cry it out. we stood sentinel by your bedside, silently or humming lullabies, willing our presence to be enough for you to relax and fall asleep. soon enough, it was. i am so proud of all of us.
the downside to your improved sleep situation is that my milk supply is quickly diminishing. i know this is a normal reality: you’re a big girl now. you eat food. you drink water. my milk is more comfort than sustenance anymore. and yet, i grieve this loss. there is so much mama gratification when i pump a big bag o milk for you, even more when you are milk drunk and at peace with the world, snuggled up to me, belly to belly. my milk is our original, primal bond. i promise to be mindful of the apron strings when you’re older, my love, but right now? i crave every constant connection to you.
when this nursing season is over, i hope you still snuggle so close to me.
i love you, danger baby.
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