One Fish, Two Fish

Anna, Month Nine November 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Nine,Photo — leighnut @ 10:08 pm

Dear Anna,

What a month it’s been! You’re marching along toward toddlerhood, what with all the new skills you’re practicing. In fact, on Monday, you were video-chatting with your uncle Pete and Unca-Doo and showed off a brand new skill — standing alone. All of a sudden, you were standing next to me, saying, “ba ba ba” like it was no big deal. But it was a big deal, Anna. I was so excited, I nearly dropped the phone!

You’re also cruising the furniture. You like to stand at your musical activity table, then move to the couch, then go back to the table. Moving while upright is quite fascinating for you. You have really mastered walking while holding onto our hands, too. I know the day where you take off on your own is fast approaching.

The funny thing is, you still won’t crawl. You army crawl with great speed, especially if it’s toward the forbidden fruits that are Sam’s toys, but just won’t get up on your hands. I know you can do it — I’ve seen you! — but I think it’s more important to you to get to Point B quickly. Let’s face it: you get about 2.7 seconds with Sam’s Buzz Lightyear before he snatches it away from you, only to replace it with a boring stuffed giraffe or rattle. I mean, that rattle doesn’t have wings that shoot out or a laser on its arm or anything! Poor Anna.

You’ve also decided this month that you do, indeed, like to have a pacifier for bedtime. Most of the time, you want to share your pacifier with me, offering it up with a “luh,” as if to say, “Mommy, you can have a turn. I think you’ll like it.” Thanks, Anna. I pretend to have a turn, then give it back to you. You’re satisfied with that for a few seconds, then really want to share again. You’re such a nice girl! I think Daddy’s favorite part about this is that you will also drink from a bottle. He’s been waiting and waiting your whole life to get to feed you! Thanks for giving him that chance before you’re too big for bottles. He loves you so, so much.

Speaking of eating, you are a hungry bird! You still want to eat your food all by yourself, and will only tolerate cereal or other pureed baby food if we can sneak it in between bites of steamed veggies or fruit. You must be growing right now, because this week you ate a whole avocado, some chicken pot pie, and a half cup of baby oatmeal in one meal! I was astounded. I think chicken pot pie is your favorite food right now. You cannot get it into your mouth fast enough. You will sometimes say, “Mmmmmm” when you eat, and you can sign “more” and “all done” to let us know how you’re feeling. Oh, and if we’re not paying attention to your “all done” sign, you bat the spoon full of baby food out of the way, flinging cereal all over yourself and the highchair. It’s great fun.

Your language has really changed this month, too. You’re still practicing one syllable at a time, but also have a few “words” in your repertoire. This week, your syllable of choice is “luh.” Everything is “luh.” Show me a toy. “Luh.” Wave hello from your crib after a nap. “Luh.” But when I ask you, “Anna, what does the horse say?” you whinny a high-pitched, “Lllllllll!” If I ask you to sing, you’ll say “aahhhhh” in a high sing-song voice. And you perform great, loud monologues of “Ba ba ba ba ba ba.” But my favorite thing, by far, is that you said mama. I was holding you, ba-ba-ba-ing with you, when I asked,”Anna, can you say Mama?” And you looked right at me and very quietly said, “Mama.” I will never forget the look on your little face as you said my name for the very first time.

You are so affectionate, Anna. You want nothing more than to be with us and snuggle. If I ask, “Anna, can I have a hug?” you will lean in and snuggle your face into my neck. Sam especially loves your hugs. He is so happy that you understand him and respond with affection. He is so proud to be your big brother, and you very obviously love him to pieces. There is no greater joy for me than to watch you and Sam play together, giggle together, and become friends. You are the best little sister to the best big brother. I am so incredibly proud and grateful to witness your friendship as siblings grow, knowing that you will always have each other to love and lean on. You have made our family complete, Anna, and we are so grateful to share this life with you.



Anna, Month Eight October 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Eight,Photo — leighnut @ 10:16 pm

Dear Anna,

The word of the month is teeth. In the space of ten days, you sprouted six new teeth. Six! (Actually, the last of the six hasn’t quite popped through yet, but we’re counting it since they all were moving at the same time.) When you want new teeth, you don’t mess around. This mouth full of teeth really solidifies for me just how quickly you are growing up. If you could just slow down this quick-step to toddlerhood, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

With those five hundred new teeth, you’ve decided that baby food is for the birds. I steamed a diced sweet potato for you last week to see what you would do with it. You took one look at those chunks on the tray and reached right out with your tiny pincer grasp and shoved one in your mouth. Then another and another — until the tray was empty. Feeding yourself is fun! You’ve had avocado and banana chunks, too — all winners, as long as you can do it by yourself.

You’ve added a number of sounds to your repertoire this month. You love to blow raspberries and spent much of a week’s worth of your waking hours practicing. Oh, the gallons of dribbled drool! You will also say “kheeeeee, kheeeee,” a sort of hissing-out-of-the-sides-of-your-mouth sound. We’ve had lots of “kheeeee kheeeee” conversations this month. You’ve also mastered the long a vowel. You like to clap and say “Ayyyy” on a high-pitched sing-song tone, as if to say, “yay for me!” You will also answer questions. I’ll ask you something and you’ll look at me very seriously and say, “Uh.” Being the word nerd that I am, I love to see your language develop. It’s a fascinating process.

You are so fun, Anna. You love to play games with us — especially Sam. He likes to play peek-a-boo with you. He hides his face, says, “Where’s the baby?” Then flips his hands open and shouts, “There it is!” You never laugh harder than when Sam plays with you; he is still your favorite form of entertainment. This month you’ve also learned “So big” and love throw your arms in the air with great gusto. You will wave, too, but only when you feel like it.

Perhaps the biggest change is that you are now decidedly mobile! You can army crawl everywhere. You’ve gotten up onto your hands and knees, too, but still prefer to be low to the ground to get around. What I find most amazing is that you can get from your belly to a sitting position! You get up on your knees, then sit back onto your bottom. You use this skill to move from point A to B, too. Onto your belly, then up to a sit, then you turn and go onto your belly, again. Over and over until you reach your destination.

We’ve started going to music class together every Tuesday and you love it! The first time we went, I plopped you down on the floor in front of me and you were silent, just staring at all the babies in the room. (We happen to have a very young class this time.) I don’t think you knew so many babies existed in the world! You wiggle with happiness when you see the egg shakers come out and beeline for the instruments as fast as your army crawl can take you. It is so fun to share that time with you, listening to you sing and watching you dance from your spot on the floor.

It is such fun to see your personality bloom as you get older, Anna. You love to be with people, in the middle of the action, and already participate in conversations with your baby babble. You love to click toys together and “sing.” I think you feel proud of your accomplishment, because you beam up at me and shake the toys, as if to say, “Did you hear that, Mommy? I made that sound!” You are a happy, happy baby girl. I am so excited to hear your first words, see your first steps, and marvel at the little-girl-you that you are so quickly becoming. How lucky I am to be your mother! How lucky I am to be there for every little moment, every little milestone, cheering you along your way.



Anna, Month Seven September 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Seven,Photo — leighnut @ 8:32 pm

Dear Anna,

I can’t believe how quickly you are growing! Every time I turn around, you are doing something new, saying some new syllable, surprising me at every turn. I am amazed by your discoveries and so proud of your inquisitive nature.

You have a new dance move this month. We call it “Rock, rock, rock!” You sit in your high chair, or on the floor, or standing in someone’s lap and rock — back and forth, back and forth — while grinning. When there’s music on, your new dance moves always make an appearance. I don’t know where you got your moves, because Daddy and I, uh, we don’t dance, but we love it!

You are definitely scooting all over the place and have quite an interesting way of doing it. You reeeaaaach for your target, then roll onto the side that’s stretched out. Then you pull your feet up underneath your body and lurch forward toward your reaching hand. After rolling back onto your stomach, you reaaaach with the other hand, then repeat the process on the opposite side. It’s a slow process, but you always reach your goal — unless, of course, Sam snatches the toy away from you before you get there. He often remembers to make a trade for one of your toys, but sometimes he leaves you high and dry. All that work and no reward. Poor baby. Somehow, you press on, finding another more suitable object of desire and slowly make your way to it.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but you have a lot to say. You make so many noises. Daddy and I are always impressed by the repertoire of sounds you make. You can say la, ga, na, ba, ah, ee, oh, and uh. And, this month, you’ve started smacking your lips. Smack, smack, smack, all the time! Every single time we put you in your high chair, you start smacking your lips and reciting the day’s monologue: Da da da da la na na na… DA DA DA da na na na! It’s very cute.

You still spend lots of time on your tummy. You play airplane, where your arms and legs are floating off the ground. And now, you pound your hands on the ground, or on the table, or your body. We say, “pound, pound, pound!” and you bang whatever surface is in front of you. You are very proud about this new skill. Grinning ensues.

You are trying new foods all the time. Your favorites are peaches, oatmeal, and a blend of spinach, peas, and pear. It looks awful, but you open your mouth like a little bird for more bites! I think you’re finally starting to look forward to meals. You’ve even tried a couple of sweet potato mango puffs. You like to push them around the tray and pick them up. They often get lost in your fist or stuck on your face as you try to get them in your mouth.

Anna, you continue to be such a happy, loving baby. You often check in with me as you play, reaching up as if to say hi, before diving back into the pile of toys you’ve gathered around yourself. There is nothing sweeter than your smiling blue eyes and drooly grin. Each slimy kiss from you just makes my day. You are my best girl, Anna. I love you.



Anna, Month Six August 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Six,Photo — leighnut @ 9:49 pm

Dear Anna,

How can we be here already? Here at the six-month mark, half a year since the miraculous day of your birth. Everyone said, “When your second child is born, your heart grows and makes more room for love.” What they didn’t say is that my heart nearly bursts every time I see your little face brighten with a smile. You are simply delightful, Anna, and I am grateful every day for the gift of being your mommy.

You’re growing up entirely too quickly, baby girl. You have two teeth. Two! They sprouted at almost the same time, just one day apart. If your demeanor during that process is any indication, you are going to be a very happy teether. There was one night that you just wouldn’t sleep. Daddy even took you on a car ride at two in the morning to try to get you to fall asleep. He brought you back into the house and said, “Maybe she’s getting a tooth. She’s drooling and chomping on everything!” So I gave you some Tylenol, and — voila! — you fell asleep in less than an hour. The funniest thing is, we should have known a tooth was coming, because that day, you started doing the stridorous gasping sound that Sam used to make when he was teething! How funny!

The other big-girl activity you’ve mastered is sitting on your own. Oh, how you love to sit on your quilt and reach for toys. You fold yourself in half in order to reach the farthest ones and then sit right back up. It’s amazing how flexible you are. Sometimes you get so excited about something (usually it’s Sam!), you flail your arms over your head and fling yourself backwards. It’s a surprise, but more often than not, you’ll just flip over and play on your tummy.

We spent much of the last month away from home. You are a happy traveler, Anna. You don’t mind your car seat and are happy to squeal in the back seat and gnaw on Sophie the giraffe. However, if it gets dark while you’re asleep and you wake to that darkness, you FLIP out! Yes Anna, you are afraid of the dark. We’ve learned this the hard way and now turn on the light over your seat so you can wake to the light. I’m sorry we were slow learners, Banana.

You are growing and changing before my very eyes, sweet girl. I am so excited to watch you learn to propel yourself forward into the world of locomotion and take off into the wide world. Until that time, I will steal an extra snuggle in the morning and rock you for a few extra minutes at night, tucking away some memories with you, my bestest baby Anna Leigh.



Anna, Month Five July 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Five,Photo — leighnut @ 9:56 pm

Dear Anna,

I want to apologize for the great injustice that has befallen you this month. I know your feelings for solid food are less than positive. In fact, I don’t know if there’s a word strong enough to convey your intense dislike of rice cereal. The thing is, I thought you were ready to enter the world of solid food. I really did. While we were at the cabin, you started following our forks with your eyes. And that was it — the telltale, “May I please try that?” sign of solid food readiness! Perhaps you didn’t realize that’s what you were telling me when you so innocently began staring at our food. Now, you have to endure a feeding every evening. With a spoon and everything. Oh, how you hate it! You don’t cry or fuss, but I swear you glare at me as I try to shove the spoon into your mouth, above the tongue you so vigorously push out. I promise someday you will like solid food. Maybe when you’re six months old…

Let us talk instead about your whale spout! Your hair can finally fit into a tiny ponytail on top of your head. This is huge news for Aunt Christine, who tried to make one while we were at the cabin. It was so close, but just wouldn’t stay in. But now, now, it’s official. You have a dark brown whale spout surrounded by a sea of blond hair. You can definitely pull off the two-tone look.

You love your exersaucer, Anna. I think it’s fun for you to “stand” and look at the world from a different angle. After just a few times playing in it, you figured out how to do a complete 360-degree turn. Your favorite toys are the smiling sun and the mirror. You just love looking at yourself in the mirror and shrieking at the sun.

Speaking of shrieking, you are officially the loudest baby I’ve ever met. This month, you’ve learned how to grunt and growl, as well as shriek at a glass-shattering decibel. There is no doubt that you are a soprano, given the notes you hit. You are positively gleeful when you hear the sound of your own voice! There are many times that I try to talk to Daddy or Sam, but have to wait until you’re done with your monologue, so there’s a chance that they’ll hear me. You make yourself heard, Baby Girl, there’s no doubt about that.

You are so friendly, Anna. You never fail to charm people with your huge smiles. Everywhere you go, strangers comment on how darling you are. I want to tell them that not only are you cute, you’re smart! You already love to read books, especially books with faces. Your eyes get really wide, you wave your hands in the air, and talk to the baby on the page as if you’re having a conversation. If the book is especially wonderful, you eat it. This is one of the many reasons why board books are so great — you can read it and chew on it!

I am amazed at how much you’ve grown in your first five months of life, Anna. You love to be with people, in the middle of the action. Your favorite toy is us — our hands, our faces, our attention and interaction. There is nothing I’d rather do than hold you in my lap and make faces with you to hear your laugh and see a smile begin in your eyes. I will always remember the imprint of your baby hands pressed to my cheeks, as if to say, “I know you. I love you.” What more is there than that? I know you, Anna. I love you. For all of my days.



Anna, Month Four June 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Four,Photo — leighnut @ 1:26 pm

Dear Anna,

This is the month of belly laughs, little one. You are such a happy, squealing little baby! I think you have a good sense of humor, because you crack up easily at little things. Your eyes smile, first, then your mouth, then out pour big belly laughs. Sam is your entertainment of choice. He is your favorite accidental comedian.

This month, you went to the cabin for the first time. I was wondering how it was going to work, juggling you and water time for Sam, but it’s been great! You love to be down at the water and you adore boat rides. This is wonderful news! In fact, you love it so much, it’s your favorite place to fall asleep, with the wind in your hair, the hum of the motor, and the call of the loon. As hard as it was, we kept you out of the water for a while, because there were late-season duck mites. Itchies and babies do not a good pair make! Finally, we dipped you in and — surprise, surprise! — you love the water! At first it was chilly and you tucked your feet up under your body, but finally your feet came down and you kicked. Every time I would dip your tummy in a little bit, you’d gasp at the cold sensation of the water. But you smiled the whole time, my little water baby!

Tummy time is finally fun. You can keep your head up high enough and long enough to play with toys. One of your favorite toys is your crinkle paper. I’m pretty sure it’s your mission in life to see how far you can stuff it into your mouth. You also rolled onto your tummy this month! You were irritated with me that I wasn’t feeding you immediately, and rolled to your side, then flipped up onto your tummy. How surprised you were at the new vantage point!

Your hair is getting blonder by the day, Anna. You have some very nice two-tone hair right now. It’s getting longer and longer, too, with some ringlets starting to curl. Strangers still comment at how beautiful you are and how amazing your crazy hair is. You love to have me run my fingers through it when you’re falling asleep.

Anna, you are so smart and inquisitive, wanting to be at the center of everything. You love to look at faces and stare into people’s eyes. More than once, someone has commented at how intently you watch people. I believe your wise blue eyes are a portend of more wonders to come. You are my greatest joy and my bestest girl. I am so grateful for you, my little Anna-Anna.



Anna, Month Three May 17, 2011

Filed under: Anna,Letters,Month Three,Photo — leighnut @ 8:43 pm

Dear Anna,

I ask myself every day, “How did I get so lucky to have two mellow, happy babies?” Since Sam was such an easy-going baby, I was convinced that you were going to be some sort of dragon baby, all demanding and crabby. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Anna. You are delightful! Smiling is your favorite activity, next to staring at your hands. That’s right. You’ve found your hands. You spend a good chunk of your wakeful hours moving your hands and fingers in front of your face. You talk to your hands as if to say, “Look at this! Look at these things that wiggle. And I have two of them. Two! I’m so lucky.” I love this first stage of discovery.

And what a talker you are! In the last two weeks, you have found your voice. You are a champion cooer. It never gets old to listen to you “talk.” Your repertoire of sounds is growing every day: ah, oh, ooh, la, lo, da, ma, ga, goo, er. You’re still too young to connect these sounds and vocalize them with purpose, but you love to practice them! You also mimic me, saying “ah” or “oh” back to me. I have a feeling you will be an early talker.

Your neck is getting so strong, Anna. You tolerate tummy time, but get frustrated because you can’t see much from down there. Your favorite place to be is in someone’s arms, so you can look around. The other day, I had you strapped to my body in the Baby Bjorn while I vacuumed. I don’t know if it was the repetitive forward and backward movements or the sound of the vacuum or what, but you were giggling hysterically. Big belly laughs as we moved around the room. I was laughing so hard listening to you crack up!

You love the sound of Sam’s voice. He doesn’t have the patience to sit and talk to you for long periods of time right now, but he does love to snuggle you and say silly things. Hearing his voice makes you stop what you’re doing, whether you’re crying or wiggling, and pay attention. Sam made up a little song for you. It goes like this: Anna Banana, apples in my tum. He sometimes whisper-sings it to you. I have a feeling that when you’re up and walking steadily, you will follow Sam wherever he goes.

Anna, you are blossoming into a very fun baby girl. We love to listen to you coo and laugh, love to watch you wiggle and wave your arms excitedly, and love to memorize your baby face while you sleep. Someday, when you’re all grown up, I will watch you staring in wonder at the face of your own baby and see glimpses of the baby girl that I marveled at so long ago. Until then, sweet girl, I will soak up your baby smiles and squish those baby cheeks and tell you every day how much I love you.