Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ten Months Old!

tenmonths

Dear Valerie,

You are ten months old now! This month seems to have completely flown by. Maybe it's because it was such a busy, eventful month. Or maybe it's just because I took so long writing last month's birthday letter.

Unlike last month, this month was full of milestones. You cut your third tooth (May 16) and your fourth tooth (May 29). It's funny, because you have four teeth now, but none of them meet in the middle. Tooth number three came in on top, but off to one side, and tooth number four came in on the bottom, but off to the other side. It's not funny in a bad way, though. It's funny in a really unique, adorable way.

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You learned how to clap this month (May 26), and you take absolute delight in the attention you get when we clap for you, and you clap back to us. You've gotten quite efficient at crawling on your belly, and you'll even rock up onto your hands and knees and almost crawl a few times before dropping back to your belly and settling into the method you know works, for now. You've also learned to transition from a sitting position to a crawling position, and the combination of these things made it extremely difficult for me to get a birthday picture I was happy with this month. I would sit you up, with no toys nearby to detract from the photograph, and you would immediately drop to your belly and crawl away to a more interesting place. In order to distract you from crawling away, I would clap, and you would get excited enough about clapping to not crawl away, but then I couldn't get you to stop clapping and just smile for the camera. Oh well, I can't complain too much, when my photography problems are of such an adorable nature.

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You learned to sign this month, which is not only fun, but also opens up a whole new world of communication for us. You first did the sign for "milk" on May 16, and you have since also signed "all done" and "more". You bang on the table when you're thirsty, but I'm not willing to call that a "sign" even though I know what you mean, because I would much rather you find a way to communicate that particular need more gently. As soon as you started signing, I realized that I didn't know enough signs myself, and I felt bad for not introducing you to more signs before. We're trying to do more signs for you now, but you seem to have become impatient with us, and have started to make up your own signs. Once you figured out that you could talk with your hands, you started to "babble" with your fingers, wiggling them deliberately as if to say, "Is this a word? How about this?" One day, when you wanted me to turn on your mobile, you pointed at it, then made a little circle with your fingers, which I thought was pretty clever, especially since I had never signed "mobile" or "turn it on" to you before.

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You're also becoming increasingly verbal. You've been saying "dadadada" for a while, but you never seemed to directly associate the sounds with any particular person, it was just your newest sound to make for a while. But gradually, you started to use a string of da's to refer to your parents, and then, once you added "ma" to your vocabulary, you started to distinguish between the two, and use a string of da's for daddy, and a string of ma's for mommy. It's not exactly words yet, but person-specific sounds are pretty word-like in my books. Within the last week or so, you have also added "na" to your vocabulary, and just today, you distinctly said "Nana" when your Nana walked into the room. But that's technically a spoiler for next month's birthday letter, because you turned ten months old yesterday. Oops.

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This month was very full on the external events front as well. We had our first Mother's Day together, and your gift to me was that you let me take a very, very long nap. And honestly, I don't think I could have appreciated any other gift as much as that. We took our first trip to the shore together, but it was too windy to do much on the actual beach, other than run our fingers through the sand for a few minutes before heading back indoors. We'll take more trips to the shore, though, I promise. Jeremy's cousin got married this month, and you loved dancing with me in the sling at the reception, and you didn't complain too much when we didn't get home until after midnight. We have a pool membership for the summer at the pool where Nana and PopPop and the great-cousins all go, and we took our first trip to the pool this month, as well. It was incredibly warm on Memorial Day weekend, and once I figured out that I had to let you get wet really, really gradually, you ended up absolutely loving the pool, and staying in the water with me for over an hour.

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We went on our first family camping trip, to a forest in Virginia where we stayed in a cabin and Mommy and Daddy played role-playing games all weekend. You had a great time at Camp Nerdly. You were surprisingly content to hang out and play with your toys while I played games with my friends, and you managed to win over many gamers who had been wary of the prospect of having a baby on the camping trip. And just this past week, we had two sets of houseguests, and you absolutely loved all the attention. You especially loved having a temporary big sister and little brother. You and Leo, who is seven months old, would sit on the floor together, and hold hands, or trade toys, or roll over on top of each other, and just generally show friendship in a way that only babies can. It was a great visit, and I was sad to see our friends leave. At least you'll get to see my Uncle Keith and Aunt Sharon again in a few weeks when then stop back in on their way home.

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Honestly, though, I think the thing that changed the most this month was me. I finally went shopping and bought clothes that fit me, the way my body is right now, rather than how it used to be, or how it might hopefully be again someday. I love being your mommy, but I haven't loved every change that has happened to me over the past 18 months or so, and it was a big step for me to finally say, okay, this is who I am right now, and I am going to be content in this skin. One day this month, I was sorting laundry, and as I was making piles to put away, I noticed that I was thinking, "Okay, this is Valerie's pile, and this is Mummy's pile, and this is Daddy's pile." And it dawned on me that I was thinking of myself, in my own head, in the third person, as "Mummy". (Or Mommy, or Mama. On this occasion, however, my Canadian childhood was definitely poking through with "Mummy." It sounds better when I say it than when I type it, though.) They say that you are truly bilingual when you start to count in your head in your second language, and I think the same logic applies here. My life changed completely the day I had you, but now my identity has followed suit as well. I haven't stopped being Jule Ann, but I am now wholeheartedly "Mummy".

Love,
Mummy

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2 comments:

EarthenForge said...

Valerie has been super-fun this month! Her increasing understanding and participation is a pleasure to be a part of. Love the pics as usual - the one of her holding hands with Leo cracks me up!

-Rachel.

YOUR Mummy said...

I love that you love being "Mummy". My "Mum" was always "Mummy" to me, too. Not really Canadian....your Austrailan roots are coming through!!!
Your blog was great, as usual. It's good you're putting dates in, as this appears to be your "baby book"!!
Valerie looks like a very content baby, and I'm glad her Mummy is content, too.
July can't come soon enough!!!!