It seems that I have written the longest letter to Maddie yet. I don’t expect that many of you are reading all of this! Oh well, at least I have posted some new photos! Hopefully, Maddie will enjoy reading the letters someday.
I’m happy to report that you have been very healthy this month with no sniffles, ear infections, or stomach bugs. We hope that will continue through the end of the year. We have had another exciting month. Every time I sit down to write these monthly letters, I’m amazed at how much happens each month! Today you’ve hit the double digits…10 months, that is. Your teachers are starting to say that you’re looking more and more like a toddler every day. Mommy is not ready for you to graduate from your babyhood just yet. You are growing up way too fast.
You are getting to be quite the little traveler. We had two major road trips this month. We visited your Kentucky grandparents and other family for Thanksgiving and made an early Christmas trip to Atlanta to visit with your great grandparents. We had originally planned to stop halfway overnight in both directions for the trip to Kentucky. Since snow and ice was forecast for West Virginia, we ended up leaving earlier and driving the whole distance to Lexington at once. Aside from a detour to Kohl’s about two hours from Lexington, the trip went very smoothly. You slept for the majority of the trip, and we made stops to nurse, eat, and shop to give you a break from your carseat. Daddy and I just keep driving until you’re awake and start complaining about being strapped into the carseat. This has been working very well, and we feel you are getting used to the trips. You don’t complain too much, especially when Daddy rides in the back and feeds you Cheerios or entertains you with toys. We were worried about the long ride to Kentucky, but you surprised us by being pretty easy going about it. We decided to make the entire trip on the way home at once, and then the trip back from Atlanta, too. We have gained in confidence when it comes to traveling with you!
On the way to Kentucky, you saw your first snow on the ground. Of course, your Mommy made you sit in it for photos. Your Kentucky grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were excited to see you at Thanksgiving. You are a very loved baby. You were a little tentative at first, but then started exploring Grandma and Grandpa’s house and chasing after Annie, the cat. You LOVE animals, especially the ones that are about your size. Your face lights up, and you contemplate petting them (though keep your distance a little, too). Sometimes you get so excited when you see cats or dogs that you squeal with delight. Everyone thinks we should get you a puppy in the future, but we’re not so sure about that!
We went to Atlanta again to visit with your great grandparents and other relatives. We also saw your North Carolina grandparents on the way and stayed overnight with them (where you squealed a bit at their dog Abby). The traveling went very smoothly for all legs of the trip. Everyone was very happy to see you, as usual. You get a ton of attention everywhere you go. You’re always getting compliments from strangers in restaurants. What can we say, you’re a super cute baby!
While we were in Atlanta, we celebrated Christmas with your great grandparents and (Great) Aunt Frances, (Great) Uncle Bill, and cousins John Thomas and Joseph. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa gave you a rocking chair that was your Grandpa’s chair when he was about your age. I think that you will enjoy it! You were already a pro at getting out of the chair all by yourself, and you started to figure out how to get into it yourself. You opened your very first presents. You seemed to love your new baby doll and glow worm toys and wanted to eat your new board book. You had fun ripping the paper (though we had to keep you from eating it). We are looking forward to seeing what you will do on Christmas. I’m sure you will have many more presents to open!
While we were in Atlanta, you learned a new game. Grandma gave you a measuring cup, and you had so much fun playing with it. Then you discovered that if you drop it, then someone will bring it back to you…so you can drop it again. You would hold the measuring cup in midair, look at one of us, and say “uh oh” as you released the cup onto the floor. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa were quite amused! You got a kick out of it yourself. Now not only do you take off your shoes and socks in the car, but you drop them out of your carseat. Sometimes you throw shoes and toys out of the carseat and say “uh oh!” We are amused when we get ready to get you out of your carseat and you have a sock in each hand and look at us as if you are quite proud of yourself.
This month, your daycare teachers started working with you to get you to hold your own cup. You have been drinking juice and water out of a cup for months. You’re getting pretty decent at holding it yourself, though you need a little assistance to tip it back so you can drink from it. I’ll offer you the cup, and then say “both hands” and you’ll hold it and bring it to your mouth. Your great grandparents were impressed (Mommy and Daddy are impressed as well!). We’re constantly amazed at your capacity to learn new things.
Speaking of learning new things, you have a “bridge” in daycare that has little steps. It’s intended to encourage walking and climbing skills. You have been using the bridge for a while, but you have not shown too much interest in the stairs at home. This weekend, you climbed the entire staircase all by yourself! Mommy encouraged you from the top, while Daddy supervised you to ensure that you didn’t tumble. You climbed them with ease as if you had been doing it your whole life. And you’re super fast. We’re in so much trouble! Your daycare teachers tell us that you’ve been climbing the bookshelves at school. You’re just a little monkey!
You have been continuing to squat and stand occasionally in the middle of the room without the support of people or furniture. You haven’t taken any steps on your own yet, but you will walk pretty easily when someone is holding your hands. You know exactly what to do. I think you’re just waiting until you’re steady enough on your feet to run. You have been stable enough in the bathtub to sit by yourself, which certainly makes it easier to give you a bath!
You have so much to say lately. Your babbling has evolved into what sounds more like a conversation in a foreign baby language. I wish I could understand what you are trying to say sometimes as you are happily chattering! You say “uh oh” quite a bit, though you have shortened it to a very cute, “oh.” You seem to say it at appropriate times. You have a variety of sounds, and your favorite is still “dada.” I’m not sure if you have any context to it yet. You have said “mama” at times, too, but you aren’t addressing us as “mama” and “dada” quite yet. You have been blowing a lot of raspberries, often at humorous times. “Maddie what do you think of Kentucky basketball this year?” “Pbbbbtttt!!!!”
We had a conference with your daycare teacher this week to discuss your transition into the next class. I can’t believe it is already time to discuss your toddler classroom! You seem to be in pretty good shape when it comes to readiness at this point. You still have at least two more months to prepare, and I’m sure you’ll be completely ready for the next class by then. Your Mommy will not be ready for it! Did I mention that you’re growing up too fast? In the conference, we talked about toddler foods. It’s time for us to start sending in more table foods and less baby foods. By the time you move up to the toddler room, you will be using your cup by yourself and feed yourself with your hands, forks, and spoons. I’m amazed with all the things you will be learning in the next few months!
We are working on introducing various table foods to you. You have certainly mastered feeding yourself small, dry, crunchy snacks or bits of bread or waffle. You have little to no interest in picking up slimy fruits or vegetables! You are great at mushing up the foods in your mouth to eat them, but I guess you don’t want to get your fingers all messy or something? But I know that must not be the issue because you like to put your fingers in the baby food puree and smear it around your tray. Perhaps you will do better with these foods when you can use your own spoons and forks. Until then, we’re encouraging you to pick them up yourself and using the spoon and our own fingers to feed you. You continue to enjoy bananas and bread and have developed a taste for cheese. We are still waiting for your teeth. Considering that you are still nursing, your Mommy is in no hurry for you to get them. Promise me that you’ll be nice to your Mommy when you do?
So all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth? Or maybe any of your teeth would do this year! We have been getting ready for Christmas. We decided to break the rules and put up our tree the weekend before Thanksgiving. I liked it so much that I think we might just do that every year! Since we were going to be out of town for Thanksgiving and again to go to Atlanta, we didn’t want to wait. You are somewhat curious about the tree and especially the packages under the tree. Your North Carolina grandparents bought you a Lionel train to go under the tree, and you’re not so sure about that! When the train starts coming towards you, you shake your hands and reach for the nearest parent. You watch the train from the safety of our arms, but you are keeping your distance. Hopefully you will grow to love it in future years.
You made your first visit to Santa. We decided at the last minute to go out to the mall to do a little shopping and get your photo taken. We got there after they had already closed the line for Santa and Mrs. Claus’s lunch break. We did some shopping and went out to lunch, and then returned to wait in line to see Santa. We had to wait around 30 minutes, and you managed to take a nap while we were in line. You were a little groggy and maybe a little scared when it was your turn, but we got a few smiles out of you. At one point, you looked behind you to see who was holding you and checked out the bearded stranger. It was a pretty sweet moment, but we opted for the photo of you smiling in his lap. We decided it would be cute for you to wear one of your Christmas sleepers since that is what you’ll probably be wearing on Christmas morning. You have quite a few little Christmas outfits that you have been wearing throughout the month! You’ve definitely been in the Christmas spirit.
One of your Christmas onesies says “All Mommy Wants for Christmas is a Silent Night.” We have a nice little nighttime routine, but you continue to wake up frequently throughout the night. Daddy rocks you to sleep every night. You spend anywhere between 1 and 3 hours in your crib at the beginning of the night, and then typically you will join us in our big bed for the remainder of the night. Every once in a while, Daddy can get you to go back to sleep for another hour or so in the crib. We have received a good bit of advice and some criticism for our methods, but the co-sleeping is actually working pretty well for us. We feel like it is the best solution for our family. I love snuggling next to you throughout the night and waking up to your sweet baby smiles. I think it’s the best thing for you, and everyone sleeps better this way! I dream about having 8 hours of uninterrupted, continuous sleep, but I feel like we get plenty of sleep most of the time. Besides, when did we ever really get 8 hours of sleep every night?
We finished up your swimming lessons this month, and you earned your certificate of completion. I’m not sure that you mastered all of the skills, but you did seem more comfortable in the water by the end of the class. We had fun seeing your buddy Caroline and her Mommy and Daddy throughout the class. You had another play date with Caroline while the Mommies went Christmas shopping! You also had a play date with your boyfriend Paolo. None of us can believe how fast you kiddos are growing up.
You are such an amazing baby. You’re curious and always on the move. You are generally happy unless you’re tired or hungry or getting sick. You don’t like to sit still too often, but you will allow us to cuddle you when you’re tired. At night, you prefer to be as close as possible to Mommy which is very sweet. Sometimes you’ll snuggle with Daddy, too. Most of the time you notice when Mommy leaves the bed, but sometimes you’ll continue to snooze with Daddy as Mommy gets ready for the day.
We love you more than you can possibly imagine. More than we ever imagined we could. We are looking forward to your first Christmas in just a few days!
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