Let Love Grow

Dear Penny,

People have told us that with each new stage of a child’s development comes more fun and joy as well as more challenges. When I held you in my arms as a new born baby, taking in your scent and marveling at the size of your teensy fingers wrapped around my thumb, I thought, I could never love anything as much as I love you. But I was wrong, of course, because I loved the 3 month old you, smiling and looking into my eyes, even more. And the 6 month old you, laughing uncontrollably at daddy’s goofiness, made me love you even more. It seems impossible at the time, but somehow, with each new day, I find more love in me than I ever knew I had before. My heart swells and swells to almost bursting, and still, there is room for more.

As you grow into yourself, revealing more of your personality, your individual quirks that make you you, I am forced to squeeze in a bit more love. And at 9 months old, you are more you than ever before, and I adore you more than ever before as a result. At 9 months, you…

…are laughing at anything that surprises you. Pretending to give you a toy and then pulling it away at the last minute makes you crack up. Daddy ducking behind a piece of furniture then popping up and shouting “Boo!” leaves you gasping for breath. Of course, if we try to do the same thing the next day, you stare at us blanky, telling us it’s time for some new material.

…flap your arms, kick your legs, and pant in short rapid breaths when you get excited. Seeing your best friend Forest, being presented with a yummy snack, daddy coming home from work…all reasons to celebrate.

…are a champion food eater. All we have to do is fill your tray with food, and you go to town. Your favorites are bananas, cottage cheese, sweet potato, carrots, fish cakes, mangoes, peaches, peas, and pancakes, but you will eat almost anything. The other day, as we were taking a break from helping the Rileys move to have a picnic lunch in the middle of their new living room floor, we looked up to find you gnawing on daddy’s huge pizza crust, which you had taken the liberty of snatching from his plate. (He wasn’t done by the way). When I tried to take it away from you, you scrunched up your eyes, protruded your lower lip, and tears started streaming down your face. It was pretty sad, and hilarious.

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…love to talk and make silly sounds. Your favorites are baba, dada, wawa, blowing raspberries and clicking your tongue. (Still waiting for some mamas… feel free to start those at any time!)

…sleep 10 or 11 hours a night, surrounded by 6 pacifiers and your floppy-eared bunny, which daddy has decided we should call Roger. you hardly need us at all in the middle of the night anymore, and we are all resting better as a result. You also take two naps, and both last an hour and a half, like clock work.

…haven’t started crawling yet, but somehow manage to end up several feet from where we put you by sitting and scooting along to reach for various objects of interest. Sometimes you lean so far over that you fall on your face, which causes you to burst into frightened tears, but recently you have managed to put your hands out in front of you in order to break your fall.

…have started swim lessons, and love being in the water. You are the youngest one in your class, but mommy and daddy are determined that you will not be afraid of the water like we were when we were kids. You were born in the water, after all!

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…raise your arms up toward me when I lean over to pick you up. Makes my heart melt every time.

…love anything with strings or ties or tags on it. 

…love to dance with us. According to you we have some pretty good moves. You will change your opinion later in life, so for now, we’ll take it.

…love being outside. It almost always relaxes you. 

…have recently discovered that swings are pretty fun. So is playing with the silly baby in the mirror.

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…are so much fun to take places. You are at that perfect stage where you love to be out and about, looking at new things, but are not yet capable of being mobile on your own and therefore frustrated when you can’t get to things you want. Plus, people love your cheeks! We are reveling in this fleeting moment while we can.

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…love your family. Whenever one of us (Mommy, Daddy, Charlie, Toby, Clara, Nana, Papa…) walk into the room, whether gone for hours or minutes, your face lights up and you flash the sweetest toothless smile. (That’s right, still no teeth!)

I know I will refer back to this list and sigh, because maybe one day you will go through a stage where you are a picky eater. Or not so easy to take places. Or embarrassed by your parents’ dance moves. But coupled with those challenges will be so much more of you to love. And I can’t wait.

Love, 

Mommy

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