If there was such a thing as the prime of your baby-ness…this would be it. You are in this incredibly fun, interactive, scootinâ€™ and crawlinâ€™ and pullinâ€™ up stage, but not yet waddlinâ€™ around the house. You are curious and observant and content as long as there is something or someone to play with. This month you learned how to take naps while in your stroller and you stopped crying whenever we put you in the carseat, and…drum roll please…you started sleeping in your CRIB at night! And going to SLEEP all by yourself! (can I getta hallelujah?!)
Itâ€™s been a big month for you, Elena.
Sometimes I worry that I am going to forget how sweet these days are with you. I take bzillions of pictures and try to send videos to our family back in the states, but there are things that pictures and video canâ€™t capture.
They canâ€™t capture…
the way you burry your head in my neck right after I swoop you up from the bath and wrap your turquoise towel around you.
or the way you grin and wrinkle your nose when Daddy walks in the room.
How even when your eyes are asleep, your little lips keep rooting and looking for something to latch on to.
Or how donâ€™t sit still. You are always moving or looking, or pulling or grabbing.
Or how you squeal with delight, and maybe a little fear, every time I push you on the swing.
Before you grow up and start walking and talking and becoming a big girl, I want to remember you as my baby.
I want to remember:
-your sweet chunky thighs and the way your belly hangs over your diaper. And the wrist rolls. Oh, the wrist rolls.
-how you make kankles look so good.
-how you stare. If there was a contest for a staring game, you would win. hands down. When we take you to a new place you can lock eyes with someone from across the room and just stare them down. Itâ€™s unnerving and intense and just what you do.
-how your favorite toys are not really toys. You will search under a pillow or stand up against the couch just to find the remote or Mamaâ€™s iphone. You love Daddyâ€™s sunglasses and cardboard paper towel rolls and straws. And you could pick grass all day long if I let you.
- how you like books, but mainly just to chew on. The truth is you are drawn to screens. TV screens, iphone screens, etc, etc. Last week you even figured out how to turn on the TV?!
-how we took you with us to the community where we work. And amidst the heat and humidity and shade of a mango tree you were the happiest Iâ€™ve seen you. Swinging back and forth in a hammock, your little bare feet poking out, watching the kids play and your Daddy work. It was one of my favorite days this month.
-how you stick out your tongue and close your eyes, when I try to sneak some guicoy into your mouth. So far weâ€™ve learned that youâ€™re a happier eater when you feed yourself. Which means you make a mess, but thereâ€™s not extra cooking, puree-ing, or spooning. So Mamaâ€™s just fine with that. You love apples and sweet potatoes, youâ€™ll eat carrots and avocado and could care less about zucchini and guicoy.
-you donâ€™t cry when you get your shots. Your abuela said your Daddy was like that, too. You most certainly donâ€™t get it from me. I flinch just at the thought of needles. However, I think it also might have something to do with the fact that I breastfeed you while Dr. Sandra gives you the shot. I thought this was “normal” but when I asked some of our friends in the US they looked at me funny. So Elena, lucky you, we live in Guatemala, where I pull out the boob for you when you get your shots and everyone is happy.
-Some afternoons around 4pm when Mama is tired and itâ€™s not quite bath-time, but too late to drive into town, we take a walk. Sometimes we look for the big kids who are playing soccer or running around. We stop to watch. You sit memorized in the stroller for 20 minutes, content as can be! So I pull out my phone and do emails, also content as can be Win for both of us. When there are no big kids playing we go hunting for water. You love watching our neighbors water their lawn and itâ€™s a great day when we find a sprinkler going. In fact you seem to just really like water in general. You like washing your hands and playing in the bath and after youâ€™re done eating, I bring a wet washcloth over to wipe off your mouth and you like that too.
Mija, you have always tried to be bigger than you are. When you learned to roll over, you wanted to be able to sit. When you learned how to sit, you wanted to crawl. And now that youâ€™ve learned how to crawl you, you want to be up, standing and walking. Sometimes I want to say, slow down. Stay little. Youâ€™re still my baby.
For about 3 months now I have been trying so hard to figure out how to get you to nap in your crib, but this month I just accepted that for now you, you nap best in mamaâ€™s arms. So instead of viewing naps as “my time” to get stuff done, I now view naps as “our time” together. Peaceful, sweet and restful. This morning you napped in my arms, nestled against my chest, your sweaty head resting in the fold of my arm, and I just looked at you and marveled. My love for you is deep and wide and like nothing Iâ€™ve ever known before. Sometimes it still surprises me, just how much I love you.
All My Love,