Eleven Months, One Day
Normally, I would use this space to list all of your accomplishments over the last month and lament the swift passage of time. But I have to start off with a small, teensy tiny, itsy-bitsy compaint. Right now, at this moment, I am completely exhausted. Why? you ask. I will tell you. The last several nights have been possibly the worst since you were a newborn. I feel like I have tried everything – I’m probably beating a dead horse saying this again – but I don’t know what to do about your sleep habits. It starts out very well: you have a good bedtime routine (bath, moisturizer/massage, book, nursing) and then will (usually) fall right asleep. That’s been great and please don’t think this is me asking you to change that behavior; however, generally between 3 to 4 hours after you go to sleep you wake up SCREAMING. Not just crying. Not just cute little talkative noises. This is wake the dead screaming and it hurts.
I love you, baby girl. I would do anything to make you feel better but it has become increasingly difficult to figure out what it is you really need at night. You aren’t wet (not wet enough to warrant changing a nighttime super-absorbent twelve-hour diaper 2-3 times a night). You aren’t really hungry. Sure, you’ll nurse but it seems like you aren’t eating much of anything, just comforting yourself with the familiarity of mommy and I don’t want this to become a habit. Rubbing your back and giving you back your pacifier while leaving you in your crib doesn’t seem to work. Letting you cry and try to comfort yourself doesn’t work just makes you more upset and harder to quiet down later. It is very frustrating. And what makes it harder and more stressful for me is that we have neighbors and I’m so self-conscious about what they must think when they hear you screaming like that. Do they think we’re neglecting you? I hate looking them in the eye when we pass each other on the stairs because I feel so embarrassed.
I know it could be worse, but I’m tired of giving in and just nursing you so you’ll go to sleep. Doing so is not going to help either of us in the long run. Your father tries to put you back to sleep without my help but he can’t seem to manage it. He tries, he does. I get frustrated with him sometimes because it doesn’t feel like he’s trying that hard but I think we both know that, in the middle of the night, it’s really your mother that you want. I will one day wish that I was the only one who could make you feel better or that you even wanted me to make you feel better; so I’m trying not to complain about it too much. I’m holding out hope that this is just a small phase – a tiny little bit of sleep regression – that will pass as soon as that other top front tooth comes in.
Yes. You are working on your fourth tooth. And, frankly, it needs to come in soon because you look like a gap-toothed yokel. I kind of miss your toothless grin, but I’m getting to love your ridiculous looking toothy smile.
And with that, we will transition out of your mother’s (seemingly) endless whining.
You and I have begun our first tentative steps into the world of playdates and classes. Because you seem to love story time so much, your father decided we should sign you up for a “crawler’s class” at the local parks and recreation. It sounds like a really silly idea I’m sure. Why does a baby who can’t even walk yet need to go to a gym class? Well, because you get to be around other babies who give mommy the plague and make new friends. Playmates who are not your mother. As much as you love me, I’m sure you get tired of it just being the two of us all the time.
I get treated to the pure joy of watching you chase a ball around an entire basketball court. You giggle madly and crawl with great determination towards this rubber ball that seems always just out of reach. I swear that I don’t help it get away from you, it must be a combination of you pushing it slightly whenever you touch it and the smooth floor of the gym. Despite the fact that you never catch it, it makes you so happy just to chase it.
You are the only one in the class not walking. I should say “yet” (we’ll get to that in a minute). But that doesn’t seem to bother you. You are perfectly content to play with your ball and attempt to steal other babies binkies and knock over the other mothers’ water bottles. Your mother is also getting over her handicap, her anxiety at meeting new people. It is a slow process but each day I try to talk a little more to the other mommies. Fortunately, it seems that they are all equally new and nervous about the whole parenthood thing as well. They seem much more open to beginning friendships than the mothers at storytime and so far we have walked out to the car with Maggie* and her mother Bree.* She’s the closest in age to you, having just turned one, and her mother seems to be of the “it’s okay to wear yoga pants out in public but that doesn’t mean I always look sloppy” crowd (my kind of people). I’m feeling hopeful.
Last night, you had your first sort of “play date.” Some friends of your mommy and daddy had a son in March and, since your parents needed a date night to celebrate their anniversary, they offered to babysit you for the evening. There was some hair pulling (apparently) and since he is not yet mobil like you there probably was not much playing together, but you were well behaved. Your daddy spent much of our date worried that he was going to get a panicked phone call – much to my annoyance – but we never did. This is good.
Now, we have reached the most exciting part of this entire letter. You have taken steps! Multiple ones! In a row! On purpose! In the general direction that you wanted to go! So far, this has happened three times. Once earlier this week and twice today. It is scary to think that soon you won’t just be walking but you’ll be running.
One more month left in your first year. When did that happen?
Your (Occasionally Whiny and Exhausted) Mother
One Year Ago
Now my little girl is almost one year old!