Dear Paisley: Month 7

December 21st, 2010

Dear Paisley,

Just yesterday you turned seven-months old, and it occurs to me that you are now closer to turning one than you are to your birth date. It’s going so fast and I don’t know how to make it stop, or even pause. This week was Thanksgiving, your first. You had pumpkin, sweet potatoes and cranberries with apple. All homemade purees, of course! I’ve cried more in the past few days than I have in a long time because I’m so overwhelmed by how thankful I am for you. Back in the old days, when we still celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, we used to one by one go around the table each year and say what we were thankful for. If we’d done that this year, I would have named you. I’m so at a loss for words lately trying to summarize how I feel about you, what you mean to me and how deeply your presence has changed me. I marvel at your every movement and sound, and could get so lost in your deep blue eyes that I might not ever find my way back. This is what “they” were always talking about. This is what I longed for for so long.

This month, once again, I had to leave for a week for work. This time to New York and Grandma Lori stayed with you. I think the two of you got along just fine, and I know she enjoyed having you all to herself for an entire week! Each time I return home from a trip you have something to show off, and this time, you and daddy together had something to show off together. He spent his free time with you during my absence teaching you how to stand. Maybe not teaching, more like encouraging. You’ve been insistent on standing since you came home from the hospital, and here recently it’s all you want to do. You yell at us if you aren’t standing, and squeal with pure unadulterated delight when you’re doing it. You beam with a smile so large it’s hard to harness the pride you feel for yourself. Deservedly so, I say. Just before hitting your seventh month you stand. You can pull yourself up, you LOVE holding our hands and walking around, and you cruise along the furniture. You even transfer from one object to another, like from the coffee table to the sofa. It’s unbelievable. Your little legs just go! go! go! And you damn the man who tries to get in your way. When we visited Dr. H last week (following three days of fever that turned out to be nothing… and weighing a whopping 16 pounds!), we showed you standing, completely unassisted, and he was impressed, asking if you were nine months yet, and we replied that no, you weren’t quite seven months yet. Nice work, kiddo!

All of this to say that you show no interest in crawling. That action couldn’t be further from your plan of getting from A to Z. When we lie you on your belly, or you end up there from rolling around, it doesn’t take long for you to become completely annoyed with the situation and demand we flip you over. Sometimes it’s like watching a turtle flipped on its shell… and I giggle. Once I caught you lifted up on all fours and I about died! It was after a bath and I just kept screaming until you finally collapsed. And once again, you beamed with pride! You’ll roll around to get where you need to go sometimes, and you’ll spin in 360-degree circles grabbing different toys; but you always go back to standing.

You’re mobile and it’s exhausting. I feel like I can’t keep up with you… and you’re not actually walking on your own. I’m already daydreaming about the barricades I’m going to have to create to keep you contained. Although, I have a feeling, metaphorically speaking, that there won’t ever be a barricade strong enough to hold you in it.

Not only are your legs moving, but your mouth is moving. Lord help us! You are so full of ba-ba-ba, da-da-da, shrieks, screams, grunts, growls and other Paisley-isms that I have no doubt you’ll be a very verbal little girl. From these sounds it’s so easy to pick out your mood, opinion, demands or concerns. You’ve still yet to really figure out how to laugh. Once in a great while we’ll get a giggle or two out of you, but the rest of the time you express joy by growling. When you wake up, or are simply content, you have this teeny tiny sing-song voice that you just la-la-la yourself with. Your daddy and I agree that it’s hands down the best sound we’ve ever heard.

We hear these sounds when you call to us at 2am, or when you’re yelling at us 9pm. Why? Because suddenly you don’t want to sleep! What gives? We want to sleep. We love sleeping. You’ve always been on the same wavelength. And now? I can’t deal with this. I’ve always said bring on the poop-bomb diapers, the weird eating habits, the crying and the screaming but for the love of all things holy just let us all sleep! I keep telling myself it’s a brief phase, likely due to the recent time change, possible start of a new round of teething, or maybe a growth spurt. Whatever it is, I hope we’re able to move past it without anyone being harmed.

You spend most of your days hanging out with cousin Ellie. I can’t tell you how much I adore watching the two of you play together. The two of you love each other in a way I didn’t know was possible. You both ooze with excitement when you see each other and play so very well together. When Ellie walks in the house, you growl and start flapping your arms, while Ellie runs straight to you to hug you and kiss you. She has started calling you “joo-joon”. (Over Thanksgiving we spent time in OKC and cousin Emilee has started calling you “Fifi”.)

For as close as the two of you are though, Ellie did try to kill you. You were watching Jungle Book together one afternoon while I was working. Ellie had a plate of little apples to snack on and, being the generous sharer that she is, gave you one. Well, I thought it was only one. I watched her try to place it in your mouth and snatched it up, telling her we can’t feed you. Then I looked at you to see your mouth wide open and heard the struggling sound of your breathing, and my heart froze cold. You were choking. I could feel the apple sitting in your throat and tried to fish it out with my finger, but I couldn’t get to it. Panic-stricken I dialed 911 and began screaming “SHE’S CHOKING!” over and over. I can’t tell you how sick I felt inside, my skin cold and clammy and my muscles like Jell-O. Definitevely the worst moment of my life. I managed to gag you and make you throw up, no apple, but you were crying. At that point I just started yelling “IF SHE’S SCREAMING SHE’S BREATHING, RIGHT?!” And you were. By the time the three-person fire team arrived, followed by the three-person paramedic team, you were sitting on my lap smiling. I was shaking like a tree, crying and trying to collect myself. They checked you out and you were, of course, fine.

You continue to grow and amaze us in so many ways. You like to blow raspberries while I’m feeding you and shower us with pureed food. You like most things we’ve fed you, and for those you don’t, we simply add some mashed bananas and you’re good to go. You grow to be more beautiful by the day and I marvel at the fact that we made you. In a dish. In a lab. And then you grew inside of me. It’s quite bizarre when you think about it. Maybe this is why you’re so strong.

Jury is still out on whether or not your hair will be curly or red. I’m leaning toward auburn and straight. Only time will tell, and if it keeps growing at this rate, we should know soon!

I’m looking forward to finishing 2010 with you more than you know. And celebrating your next big milestone, no matter what it might be.

I love you, my buggy!