Month Six

Dear Abigail –

Not long ago, I held a two-week-old baby. She was roughly the same size you were when you were born, exactly half a year ago.

She felt so delicate, so tiny. So baby-like. It of course immediately occurred to me that there was no way around that you were once that small, really and truly, though I never felt as though you were ever so small. From the moment you arrived, you were larger than life to me, a presence bigger than a  city block, a force so powerful I wondered how we’d ever contain you.

I still wonder that, you know.

This has been a huge month for you. I mean, just look at that picture of you to the left. WHO ARE YOU? Who is this little kid who sits upright, unassisted, and plays with her stuffed animals? Who slams her mighty fists repeatedly onto her toy piano, giving it the what for?

More importantly, who is this kid who smiles so much?! I heard through the grapevine that some have quietly wondered, and subsequently asked aloud, if you were actually a happy kid. You really frown that much. Mostly I just think you’re The World’s Most Serious Baby, and you don’t have the patience for all of this nonsense we fling in your direction. After all, you giggle and smile for me, when I work at it, but …so now?

Holy Moses.

It’s as though you resigned yourself to the fact that a better option was unlikely to come along anytime soon, so you might as well just make the best of it with me and your Dad until you head off to college.

Thanks, kid.

Truth be told, you’re your Dad’s daughter. You both seem to be in constant contemplation on the world around you, and the seriousness in which you take on a task cannot be underestimated. You’re curious, but you’re cautious.

And, of course, because you’re also my kid, once you decide to go forth and take something on, you’re a bull on steroids in a china shop the size of a kiddie pool. I honestly think it will be a hoot to watch you navigate these diametrically opposing sides to your personality because, well, I’m Mother of The Year. I hate to see you struggle, but I take such awesome pride in watching you figure out, to see that deep inside of you is the courage and strength to take chances.

Also? It’s really funny to watch a baby face plant onto her stuffed animals.

See? Mother of The Year over here.

You had a massive growth spurt this month. It has, frankly, been slightly reminiscent of what you were like in your first eight weeks, what with all of the whining and complaining and irritation with the quality of service at his establishment.  No joke – you were kind of a handful. This is all pretty normal stuff for a kid your age, so we of course took it in stride. Some days, though? Sweet Lord you were the Killer of Joy with how unhappy you were. As heartbreaking as it was to watch you so unhappy, so clearly filled with aches and general sadness, it was really exciting, too. When you turn into Big Angry Baby it’s a sure sign something big is on the horizon.

So far? You can sit up all by yourself, and it’s how you prefer to be at most times. All signs point you to figuring out how to pull yourself up to your feet, you’re babbling a lot of “ma ma,” “ba ba” and “da da” and there was all of that smiling and giggling. We were driving back from your second cousin’s baptism on Sunday and you started to giggle. Your dad and I stared at each other with puzzlement and whipped our heads around to the back to see what that noise was. We’d honestly never heard you extemporaneously giggle.

Again – WHO ARE YOU?

Without a doubt, you are the love of my life. I never understood how people could say that about their kids until I met you, but I get it now. What’s clear to me now is that never once, ever, do I feel myself questioning or wondering or wavering in my love for you, no matter how hard it is some days. The juxtaposition of this much work and how easy it is to love you is a strange concept for someone like me.

But there you are.

And in the six months its been since you arrived, I am dumbstruck by how much I adore you. I wonder if my heart will be able to contain it all when you’re my age because I can’t imagine for the life of me that this feeling won’t regenerate with each passing day. You give me so many reasons to be grateful, to see how big and awesome and inspiring the world can be and why it’s important to be present for all of it.

Thank you for giving me that gift.

Other big events of the month include your first taste of solid food. In this case, organic brown rice and organic prunes. Yes. You’re eating organic foods. You have those parents. I don’t know what to tell you. And once you’re eating more solids, I’m making your food. For now, you’re in love with the Ella’s Kitchen purees, and despite your Aunt Kate’s protestations, you are a fan of broccoli, peas and pears; spinach, apples and rutabagas. This will all go out the window, I imagine once you’re eating it in the non-pureed form, but for now? You’re getting some veggies.

I was probably irrationally excited to have you try solid foods. I made your Dad work from home the day we tried it out so we could all be there with you when you had your first bite – me, you, your nanny, Dad and Glinny. It was quite an exciting ten minutes. You’d think you were graduating college with all of the fanfare I put on but whatever. I’m a Shea, and we enjoy eating, and on top of that I am the most sentimental creature you’ll ever know – I still have the friendship bracelets I made in junior high in a box downstairs.

Anyway, you loved it, and every day you get a Tablespoon of veggies and a Tablespoon of the brown rice cereal and some days you’re a fan, and other days you’re not. As your doula says, “Before one, it’s just for fun.” Oh and you’re having such fun.

Tonight, as we have almost every night since you were born, I sang you your bedtime songs, gave you a bath, fed you your bottle and rocked you to sleep – though these days we put you to bed even if you’re not passed out since you usually fall asleep all on your own now that you’re officially a tummy sleeper. Anyway, you looked up at me with your big blue eyes, sighed and settled in for some snuggling. You take my finger into your hand, your other hand reaching for my face. It’s mind-boggling to realize it was six months ago when you made your entrance; like I said, you’ve always been larger than life to me. I can’t believe the world spun on before you were here.

And here we are, with our routines and our rhythm, and I know some day soon that’ll change, too, but it’s been the absolute best six months of my life, and when you look at me with that smile, and sign with contentment, I have to believe that I am doing something right.

I’m so happy you’re our kid. I love you, Baby Girl.