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Happy Lucky 13 Months, Miss Maddie!

March 20th, 2009

Time for another monthly installment of letters to Maddie. Enjoy.

Dear Madeline,

It’s been fun telling people that you just turned one this past month, but now I suppose I’m back to saying how many months you are. Today you are 13 months old, wow! As always, it has been quite an eventful month. It’s never a dull moment in our household with you in our lives!

You had a few birthday celebrations after your first birthday. Your birthday was on a Friday and Mommy spent the day with you, as I described in my last letter. The following Monday, we had a party in your daycare. The teachers, you, and the twins from the classroom next door enjoyed tasty muffins. Your teachers were very sweet and gave you some little gifts. I was happy to get a nice photo of you with your teachers. Speaking of your teachers, Miss Jenny just had her baby boy this week! We are happy for her family, but a little sad that she will miss your last days in her classroom. You have a move up date of April 6th, and we are excited that you’ll be in the same toddler classroom as your buddy Keira! Keira is eagerly awaiting your arrival and still asks about you often.

We had your birthday party the following weekend with family and friends. The weather was horrible, and we learned about some of the troubles of winter birthdays. Your North Carolina grandparents weren’t able to come to your party due to the weather. Snow and ice blanketed the state and started in their area on the morning of your party. We didn’t really get to enjoy the snow this time as your parents had to work on Monday, and it was VERY cold for several days. Catherine and her family were able to make it, and Catherine took photos of your party. It was great to be able to focus on you and our party guests and not worry about taking photos for once! Your Kentucky grandma flew down just to see you and attend your party. Fortunately, everyone made it home safely on Sunday night and Monday morning, despite the winter weather.

I prepared all kinds of foods for your party the night before and made several preparations such as the frozen punch ring that was supposed to go into the punch bowl. As I was showing your grandma all of my fancy party foods, we discovered that nothing in the freezer was actually frozen. The punch ring had not frozen, even though it had been in the freezer for more than 12 hours. The ice bin was dripping, and foods were mushy instead of frozen solid. We declared the fridge dead and all the foods spoiled at about 12:30pm. Your party was at 3pm, so Catherine and I scrambled to buy new party foods. Everything turned out just fine, but it was quite stressful for your Mommy! I usually like to plan such things for weeks or at least days, not hours. Maybe I should take this as a lesson and not stress so much about future parties.

Several of your little friends were able to attend the party. We had little gift bags for each of the one-year-olds containing some type of hat and a book about animals. Your party was jungle themed, so we felt like books about animals would be good favors. You gave Aiden a bigger book about animals. All of the party guests received TASTY and cute cookies from Whimsical Cookies. Our friend Kara made your cake, and she did an awesome job with it. You had the cutest little “smash” cake, and you dug into the icing after we sang, “Happy Birthday” to you. Overall, it was a great party. At one point, you were so excited about all of your party guests that you were squealing with joy. It was quite cute. I was worried that you would be a little shy around so many people, but you really thrived in the spotlight. I guess you might take after your Mommy a bit.

This month, you have been walking like crazy. There’s no doubt about it now, you are definitely a toddler. You rarely crawl now. It’s so much fun to watch you walk, and you are getting more and more steady on your feet every day. Only a week after our extremely cold temperatures, we had some unseasonably warm days. We took advantage of this and spent a good bit of time outdoors. You love being outside! You seem to enjoy walking around barefoot in the grass. You walk quite a bit on your own, but you love to hold our hand and walk, too. You’re a very sweet little girl!

You have started pointing at everything. You will point at things when you want them, and you’ll point at things when you want for us to identify them. We spend a lot of our day saying things like “balloon, balloon, balloon” and “yes, that’s dada!” You have been obsessed with balloons. We see them every time we go to the grocery store. You’ll point at one, and I’ll bring it down to where you can see it, and then you’ll point at a different one. I’ll show you the other one, and you’ll point to the original balloon. Repeat until the cashier finishes checking out our groceries. When we were visiting your great grandparents this past weekend, we celebrated both of their birthdays. You picked out two helium balloons for them in the grocery store, and you loved them so much that we brought them home with us. They are still helium-filled, and every time we walk into the living room, you point at them. You seem to try to say balloon sometimes, too.

As for talking, you have a lot to say, but not all of it makes much sense to us quite yet. You are clearly trying to say some words, and you seem to have a handle on a few. We are pretty convinced that you are trying to say “dog” when you point at one and say, “da!” You also seem to correctly identify Daddy by looking at him and saying, “dada!” or sometimes something that sounds like, “hi, dada!” You have repeated words that we have said, such as “tiger.” I have a feeling that your vocabulary is going to greatly increase in the next few months. You have an increasing understanding of the things that we say, and you often follow simple instructions such as “can you put the ball in the box?” or “can I have that bear?” You still enjoy putting things into containers and dumping them out again, and you LOVE your Little People playsets. You can amuse yourself for quite a while with your Little People bus. You stuff everyone in the bus, open and close the doors, and then try to walk with the bus. It’s a bumpy ride for your Little People, but you seem to have fun with it.

As I mentioned, we visited with your great grandparents. We took a quick trip down to Atlanta last weekend. You were a pretty good traveler, though you did get a little tired of being in that carseat at times. I don’t blame you. You’ve got a good view of the back windshield in your rear facing seat. That has to be pretty boring most of the time! You didn’t sleep in the car as much as you have in the past, but you were happy for the most part. You amused us for 20 minutes by blowing raspberries. I guess you didn’t like our musical selections?

Your great grandparents were so excited to see you. They just loved to watch you walk and were even amused to watch you eat. When you took a big gulp from your sippy cup, you would exhale a big “aahhhhh” as if it was the most refreshing thing you’ve ever experienced. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa thought that was hilarious. Everyone couldn’t believe how well you are walking. I went to see John Thomas perform as part of the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, and you hung out with Daddy and your great grandparents while Mommy was gone. I hear that you were the perfect baby in my absence. You impressed your great grandparents, and they love you so very much.

On the way back from Atlanta, we stopped and visited with your North Carolina grandparents. They gave you a wagon for your birthday, and Grandpa wheeled you around the house for a while. You absolutely loved it! It was very cute to see you so excited about your new toy. I know we will get a lot of use out of it over the years.

We had a few big milestones this month. First of all, you FINALLY cut your first tooth! It broke through the gums earlier this month, but it is taking a while to fully emerge. It looks like you may be getting your second tooth any day now. Both of these teeth are on the bottom. You can really see them now when your mouth is open wide, but you don’t like for us to try to see it ourselves. I haven’t been able to get a good photo of it. You also got your first haircut! They didn’t cut very much of your hair, but I was surprised at how much of a difference it made. You were so cute as they were preparing to cut your hair. About halfway through the haircut, you decided that you had had enough of the police car seat. You made it through the appointment, but you were much less happy at the end. Afterwards, we took you to play at a local park near our house. We had a wonderful day together as a family.

Last Friday, we had another big milestone together. For the past few months, I have been coming over to the daycare each day at 12:30pm to nurse. This is after your lunch and before your naptime. Most of the time, you are eager to nurse. On Friday, you had just visited the toddler classroom and were a wild child. You were so busy and distracted that you didn’t ask to nurse. Lately, you are very clear when you want to nurse and come over to me and lift up my shirt. Since you weren’t interested in nursing, I just let you play while I visited. You did just fine with your nap and the rest of your day. I was a little sad, but I am happy that you are leading the process of weaning from your lunchtime feeding. I had been considering whether or not to nurse you when you move up to your next classroom, and it will be easier in a lot of ways to drop that feeding. When you are at home, you still nurse whenever you want and do not seem to be weaning overall. We were on vacation on Monday, and on Tuesday you had a fabulous lunch and did not seem to want to nurse. I almost cried as I didn’t come to your classroom at all during lunch. On Wednesday, I visited your classroom but you didn’t show any signs of wanting to nurse. I didn’t visit on Thursday, and you did great. I still intend to visit you during the day, but I’m a little sad that our lunchtime nursings seem to be over. Fortunately, neither of us are ready to give up nursing at home. You still nurse at night, mostly for comfort.

We had your one year old check up shortly after your birthday. You had lost some weight while you were sick, and you weighed only 18 pounds at your appointment. You were 29 inches long. I guess pretty soon, they will be referring to that measurement as “height.” Your weight is in the 7th percentile, and your length is in the 48th percentile. I love your little size, and your doctors are not concerned about your weight. It does mean that you will need to stay in the rear facing carseat a bit longer. We can’t turn you around until you are over 20 pounds.

You are eating much better! Not every meal is a struggle, though you still have days where you hardly want to eat anything. You eat a variety of things. You’re not a big fan of vegetables, but sometimes you’ll eat those like a champ. You do seem to love cheese, and you’ve started drinking cow’s milk. You usually will eat your yogurt and applesauce. You tend to like fruit. You are always up for eating “junk” food like crackers or your parents’ potato chips. You sometimes love lasagna and other pasta with sauce. I’d have to say your favorite food is probably cheese. You only rarely will refuse cheese.

As for sleep, it’s about the same as always. Daddy has been putting you in your crib for naps and the first part of the night. He has been patting you to sleep lately, which seems to be working. Previously, he had been rocking you to sleep each time. The patting method will come in handy on vacations when we don’t have a good rocking chair. He even managed to pat you to sleep in the pack-n-play while we were in the hotel room in Atlanta. You typically sleep about 3-4 hours at night, and then you wake up and want to join us in the bed. Sometimes Daddy is able to pat you back to sleep for another hour or so. You are so snuggly. I am not going to complain if you want to sleep through the night someday, but I know I will be a little sad and miss your cuddly little body. Daddy might not miss your feet in his face, ha! Cuddling with you is very sweet, but your parents could use a little more sleep.

I finished your Maddie-a-Day photobook shortly after your birthday. I was very pleased with how it turned out! Within the past few weeks, we have been taking a little break from our photo taking. We are still taking photos, of course, but we aren’t taking them every day. It was great to do the every day thing for the first year, but it is a bit of a relief that we made it past your birthday! I think you’re probably one of the most photographed babies in the world at this point.

You are so fun to watch as you continue to learn more about the world around you. You make us smile every day! We have some exciting things ahead of us in the next few months, and we are looking forward to experiencing them with you! We love you big bunches.


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