Monday, October 01, 2012

Letter to Greta: 11 Months

Dear Littlest One,

You get cuter by the day. Really. Sometimes when I go to get you from your crib in the morning, where you’re standing at one end waiting for me, sleep sack askew, your pacifier in your mouth upside-down, I’m amazed that you’ve managed to get still cuter than you’d been the day before. You are cute to look at, to be sure, with your two-front-teeth smile (soon to be gone forever—two more teeth have just poked through), fat cheeks, and baby-soft hair. But you also do countless cute things.

For example, your wave is progressing. You’ve been waving goodbye for about a month now, with your entire arm. But now, sometimes, you open and shut the fingers of both hands when you want to wave. The movement is so subtle as to be pretty much invisible to whomever you’re waving to, and I find myself announcing it—“Greta is waving to you. She’s waving.”—to ensure that your action is recognized (and adored).

You’ve decided that eating is hilarious, and you laugh uproariously throughout your meals, your own best audience to private baby jokes. You stuff food into your mouth and then just laugh and laugh. It is a sight to see. And it’s catching—sometimes Lucia will watch you and start giggling too.

You love music. You love playing instruments—like maracas or egg shakers or a drum—and we’ve had some lovely moments where you and your sister are both playing an instrument while I sing songs. Whenever you hear music, even if it’s just from a passing car, you dance and clap your hands. So, so cute.

Your cuteness threatens to distract from one crucial fact: You are becoming a handful. You crawl lightening-fast, usually toward something forbidden, like the steps—when you get there, you look over your shoulder and grin as we race toward you. You put anything and everything in your mouth, so sneakily that you manage to put things in even if I think I’m watching you like a hawk. (Both your daddy and I, on separate occasions, caught you chewing on something and found a Squinkie in your mouth. We’re working on making sure Lucia puts her tiny toys in high places.) And you are feisty, which is another way of saying you’re already throwing tantrums. You don’t take slights lightly—you shriek with rage if/when Lucia grabs a toy from you; you shriek with rage if I put you down and you want to be held; you shriek and stamp your feet whenever the world prevents a Desire of Greta, such as chewing on stickers or playing with a wire. In music class this week, you threw a fit when it was time to put away the instruments, screaming and stamping so loudly that the teacher gave you back a maraca. During the Goodbye Song, she added a goodbye shout-out just for you: Miss Cranky.

You want to be big. I can see this in how you want to play with Lucia’s toys and do all the things she gets to do and eat all the things she gets to eat. It’s hard for me to have to say no to you so often, even when it’s for your own safety (like no playing with Squinkies). When someone treats you like a bigger kid, you are thrilled—like the cashier at Trader Joe’s who gave you a strip of stickers along with Lucia. You were just beaming, thrilled beyond thrilled. But then you figured out how to peel the stickers off, and you were eating them on the way home, and I had to take them away. I love you as a baby; but it will be nice when you don’t have to get left out of some of the fun stuff.

Despite your desire to keep up with your sister, you seem to fully embrace your babyness during naptime and bedtime, when you nurse peacefully, your little eyes closed, and then snuggle close with your pacifier as I carry you to your crib, clutching your sleep sack in your tiny fists.

You are still eating shocking quantities of food. You are not yet walking, which surprises me, though you love pushing around the lion walker and another push-toy we have, and cruising around the furniture. You are sort of saying Mama. You are still getting up twice a night, but I can’t bring myself to do anything about it just yet. You’ll be a year old next month, little baby. There’s time enough to bring the baby things to an end.

Favorite books: Snuggle Puppy, Moo Baa Lalala, Bunny’s Noisy Book

Favorite activities: playing instruments, chewing on things, standing at the easel and chewing on markers, digging in sand, getting into the recycling bag, knocking over block stacks, searching for Cheerios on the ground and eating them

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