When I was at an event for my company yesterday evening, one of my co-workers, who works in headquarters and whom I haven't seen since last fall, saddled up to me and exclaimed, "I haven't seen you since last year and you were at the end of your pregnancy!" And Annie, that's when I realized you are 10 whole months today. This is startling to me: you're going to be tottering across the kitchen floor soon enough, and probably rolling your eyes at me not long after that.
But for now I'll cherish these months: you have grown into a spirited little girl who loves squeezing my nose and laughing at Penny. You adore the view from shopping carts, and love when we push you higher in your swing. Recently your father taught you his sign for dog (and pretty much the furthest thing from the official baby sign for dog) by sticking his tongue out and panting. Now you do it, too. So there you both are, tongues displayed, panting up a storm, and you think the whole thing is a riot.
You were born with a crook in your neck: a tightened muscle due to the tight nook you snuggled into for the last two months of pregnancy that causes your head to tilt to the left. This is called torticollis and you have a milder case, but we have just started taking you to physical therapy. You've only had three appointments, but I swear, the whole thing is empowering you. You have hated "tummy time" from the get-go, and I've learned it's related to the strain in your neck, but tonight you played and pivoted on your stomach for over ten minutes. For many babies, this is elementary and they are crawling. For you, this is simply marvelous. You have always been a champion sitter, but watching you make circles on your stomach was one of those special parent "firsts" for us. We're learning new stretches and exercises to give you, and while you hate them, you always forgive us afterwards with the sweetest grin (or controlled grimace).
In so many ways you have been very easy on your two clueless parents. When you're sick, we hardly know. You get quiet. Maybe tired. But you hardly ever make a fuss. Last week all three of us were as sick as dogs - your dad even stayed home from work for a couple days - but we would hardly know you were sick except the little coughs we heard coming from your room late into the night. The baby monitor would come alive with your little chest bursts, and we'd stop breathing - wondering if you were going to wake up - but you just dozed off again. You were always a fabulous sleeper.
You only have two teeth at this point (the bottom middle two), and love to gum wet wash clothes. You still like most food, but are a bit more fussy when it comes to our lumpier concoctions (I suppose it doesn't sound appetizing when you put it that way). We puree your foods with brown rice now, or throw in a bit of pasta, and we've realized you just don't enjoy chewing, lazy bones! You love your baby "puffs" (those Cheerio-like things that are marketed to tots) and we had to bring some in to daycare when Fran and Dana said you've been stealing from the other babies! You even got into a bit of trouble last week: you put so many puffs into your mouth your dad had to throw you over his knee and get you to spit them out. About 12 sticky puffs came shooting to the kitchen floor. Of course, one minute later you were back in your high chair getting your little fingers on all the stray puffs in sight. Your dad applauded this effort, saying you "gotta get back on the horse". I just rolled my eyes and put the damn things back in the pantry.
For the past month you've been almost completely weened - I would have nursed longer but you just had other plans. Our nursing sessions got shorter and shorter because there was just so much to see and do: your dad would walk into the room and you'd quickly turn your heard to see what was happening. Or Penny would shake her head and you'd turn to see what that pup was up to. Being stuck to a boob was obviously not one of your top priorities. So, we nurse quickly in the morning but that's all, and two months ago I stopped pumping at work. (Which, honestly, is mind-blowingly liberating!) With my work trips and struggles to get down to the lactation room, I was struggling to keep up my supply regardless. We even tried fenugreek and Mother's Milk tea (atrocious), which both promise to up a mother's supply, but the whole thing was futile and I found myself crying in the lactation room over only collecting a measly ounce. That night, when I said I just couldn't do it any longer, I knew it was the right decision. I'm saddened that the sun is setting on our nursing sessions, but, little girl, you haven't missed a beat and I was completely wrong when I instructed your dad that "we need to introduce formula slowly to her." I shouldn't have underestimated you (and your appetite). Girl, you gobbled that bottle right up and never looked back!
And lastly, today you started waving. You waved goodbye to your therapist, Heidi, to your daycare provider, and lastly, when dad brought you home, you waved to greet me in our driveway. And I knew I was home.
Happy 10 months, kiddo.