Month Ten

Dear Miss AG –

Yesterday you, me and your new nanny were all in the playroom crawling around when all of a sudden you yelled out “MA MA!” and looked at me and scurried on over my way, crawling at full speed, right up into my lap and yapped once more, “MA MA!”

Oh my heart. My poor, fragile, messy heart. If I hadn’t been in the presence of someone I was just getting to know I might have busted apart at the seams right there, with only my will to pick myself up and get back together.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that you were just babbling, that you hadn’t made a connection, but I’m going to count it as a win in The Mom column and mark December 27, 2011 as the first in a – God willing – long succession of days wherein you march your little precocious butt up to me and attempt to give me the what for. I know that there will be many times in the subsequent days and months and years where you carrying on with the “Mom Mom Mom” business will wear my nerves, but December 27, 2011? Oh that is one for the record books.

You’re 10 Months Old today. Things are happening at rapid-fire pace! You’re eating more and more “real” foods, and have little-to-no patience for the pureed nonsense we swing your way, unless you and I can squeeze the pouch together, straight into your mouth. And for real? I could care less. If that’s what it takes to finish a meal, so be it. I’m buying less of the pouches since there seems to be no point to those things anymore. You’ve got four teeth and two more making their way in, and they seem to handle raspberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, blackberries, toast, cottage cheese, cheese, black beans and puffs just fine.

Your favorite, by far, is kefir. You go NUTS for this stuff. You see a packet of it and lose your little mind. Today you went through almost entire pouch. It’s hysterical to watch, but mostly it warms my heart a bit. I truly enjoy watching you be so joyful in the face of so much healthy food. Eventually you’ll discover chocolate and tortilla chips but for now, thanks for loving the good stuff.

Our other big development is that you’re standing up unassisted. All on your own, there you are, standing, in the middle of any given room. It started two days before Christmas and little by little, every day, you found yourself standing all over the place. You can already walk with ease using your little push cart, so I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before you’re walking unassisted, too. All of this independence! You are so, so joyful because of it. I have never met anyone so pleased with herself and her accomplishments more. You take such joy out of each thing you master! It’s a sight to behold.

Do your Mother a favor: Let your light shine! You will be met your whole life with people who want you to apologize just for being in the room, for being powerful, for being self-satisfied. They will try to cut you down, put you in your place, demand that you hide your light under a bushel…

“You are the light of the world.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:14-16

Considering that it’s my favorite passage in the Bible, and has been since I was a teenager, I’m amazed by how often I’ve let my own gifts and talents be hidden, instead of being proud of who I am and what I can do. It’s easier to apologize for existing than it is to stand up and be counted. It takes courage and strength to be elated with the gifts you’ve been given. I hope someday, when someone tries to cut you down, to attempt to “make you humble,” that you respond to him or her with kindness and peace, but remember that YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE WORTHY.

That person, actually, can go eff himself, but I’m your mother. I’m allowed to have that kind of response toward someone who would make my daughter feel small so that person can feel bigger.

It has been a rough month. Your nanny, Agnes, quit unexpectedly, staying in Poland to adopt a sweet little boy and fulfill a dream of her and her family. We were sad to lose her, but it gave you the chance to spend loads of extra time with all of your grandparents and aunts. Does anyone have a better family than you? I’m thinking no. For five weeks straight, our families pitched in and watched you so that Mom and Dad could work and find you a new nanny. Your schedule was never disrupted, and you were lucky enough to get to know all of these people just a little bit better than you normally would have. We were of course reminded that no one does this alone.

Your first Christmas happened on the tail-end of all of this and what an awesome time it was. And what a trooper you were! Everyone was amazed by how well you behaved, how good-natured your temperament, especially in the light of FOUR parties to attend to in 48 hours and all of the hoopla that accompanies it. You were an absolute treat. A wonder. You didn’t have a single meltdown or tantrum. I would have in your shoes, but not you. Truth be told, December 23rd, I did have a meltdown. I got over it, and as I watched you in the subsequent two days, I realized what a fine example you were in how to embrace the chaos of the holidays. Some day, sooner than we ever realize, people will be gone, things will change, and here and now we are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives who want us all to be a part of the celebrating. You took it all in stride and happiness, content to flirt and giggle and stand and play as much as possible, lack of solid afternoon naps be damned.

That’s you, AG. Always living in the present, enjoying what’s in front of you.

You’re still sleeping through the night, still taking two, two-hour naps, every day, and it is a thing of wonder. You are scheduled, it’s true, but as your Aunt Kate said to me the other day, despite her poking fun of me and all of my Type A tendencies, the schedule we’ve got you on has made you one even-keeled, pleasant baby to be around. One who, she pointed out, despite the revolving door of (loving) caretakers this month, took it in stride and was as easy as could be.

Dear God. I never would have thought this. I’m not kidding. I think back to those early days, and the frowny faces, and the crying and screaming that never seemed to end, I would have never thought you’d be considered “easy” in any way. And you have to know: I DIDN’T CARE. I didn’t. It was hard, and I prayed for relief quite a bit, but I promise you that I embraced the little firecracker that was you at six weeks as much as I embrace your smiles and freely-doled-out giggles today.

All of it, all of you, is a gift. And I’m honored to receive it daily.

We still have our nightly rituals of bath, bottle and snuggles, though you’re not even close to sleeping once you’re done with the bottle. So there we sit together, singing songs, you happily sitting up and grabbing my face, babbling and cooing, tilting your head from side to side, resting your head into the crook of my arms, looking up at me with a light in your eyes that could power a town.

Your light, you have to know, gives power to my own.



*Yes I know she’s touching an electrical outlet in that picture. They were immediately child-proofed after this. She’d just never crawled in this direction before. At least before she’d realized there were empty dog bowls with which to adorn her noggin.