May 19th, 2005

Dear Brianna,

I said I was going to try to write a letter to you every month, to help remember those milestones you’ve hit. Especially since you’re hitting them so quickly now! So I guess I’d better get on April’s letter since May is almost over.

This was such an incredible month for you. Maybe I’ll say that every month, but you did so much! In April, you started crawling. On Sunday, April 10th you crawled! Your dad had been telling me all weekend that you were going to crawl before the weekend was over and you proved him right (darn it). We took the cutest video of you crawling- you were completely motivated by the newspaper in the corner of the living room. When I say crawling, I don’t mean the traditional crawl as people think of it, but a commando type crawling, where you drug your lower body with your arms and only the slight help of one leg/knee pushing along. You look like a little soldier bellying your way under a chicken wire! And once you started crawling, there was no stopping you- it was a skill you practiced even in your sleep- which made for many sleepless nights for both of us as you woke yourself up and had to be soothed back to sleep.

Also this month, we re-started solid foods. Again, you were pretty uninterested but we knew we had to keep trying. You would only take a few bites every time but at least you were learning. You still preferred to breastfeed rather than do anything else, and it kept me tied to you since you also continued to refuse bottle or sippy cup. You were pretty much with me at all times. Of course, along with re-starting the solids came the change in pooping habits (if you’re reading this when you’re a teenager, you’re thinking “Mooo-om, Gross!” but trust me, when you have a baby of your own, you’ll understand the importance of poop). You stopped pooping several times a day and instead would poop only every 7 or so days! I was convinced I’d done something wrong. But when I asked the pediatrician, he explained that this is normal, especially for breastfed babies because your system has become more efficient at processing things. Okay, I decided to enjoy the lack of dirty diapers (although, instead you were incredibly gassy and when you did poop- whooey!) and stained clothes.

In April month we also started baby signing with you. I had heard so many great things about baby’s who could sign- how it helps with the frustration and temper tantrums when you’re old enough to know what you want but not quite old enough to say it. Of course, we started with the important signs- mommy, daddy, kitty. Oh- and eat 😉 I told your dad that the one sign you’d learn would be kitty- the most useless but the one we used the most.

I mentioned above that we had some bad nights of sleeping because of you crawling in your sleep, but I think, of all the months to date, April was the worst as far as sleep patterns. There were nights I thought I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed one more time. I wondered if I was ever going to feel rested again (actually, I’m still wondering that). You were waking up every hour, sometimes staying awake in the middle of the night. It was a very frustrating time for me, feeling kind of helpless and wondering what I was doing wrong.

One of the two big things that we did in April was house hunt. Your dad and I were looking for our first house to buy. You came with, of course, charming the realtors and looking at everything in that curious, nosy, busybody way of yours. We finally found a house in mid-April with a big, fenced backyard and the perfect tree to hang a baby swing from!

The second big thing we did was attend the Romantic Times Book Convention in St. Louis, Missouri at the end of April. You had your first plane ride and were an absolute angel. You either nursed, slept, or played the entire flight(s) and actually looked out the window during landing. Such a curious little monkey 😉 Of course, you were a big hit at the convention and got held by more people than I cared to count (we won’t discuss the complete strangers who wanted to touch you, hold you, and watch you for me. Um, no!). You loved the attention and ate it up. My little diva-in-training. There were authors there that remembered you from Celebrate Romance (Eloisa James, Laura Moore, Judi McCoy to name a few) and carrying you around made me easily recognizable to anyone looking for me. I never needed a name tag! It was a great time and once again, you were so well behaved even after being dragged here and there (including a tour to the Anheuser Busch factory and a peek at their Clydesdales!) And what was truly amazing to me about how good you were; You were teething. During our time in St. Louis you grew in not one, but two bottom teeth. Slightly crooked but oh-so adorable!

This month you had your six-month check up. I couldn’t believe (and still can’t) that it was already time for that. You got your shots and weighed in at 17lbs 6 oz and were 27 ½ inches long. My God, I can still remember the first time I held you. How can you be that big already? You were pronounced healthy at that check-up, with a slight case of thrush. The doc said that you were quite advanced in your motor skills considering that you were crawling at 5 ½ months and could sit up for a minute or two on your own as well as manipulate toys with both hands and from hand to hand.

As always, I find every day to be a miracle of exploration and discovery with you. There are days I doubt my ability to be a good mommy and to be able to keep up with the demands of such an active, stubborn, curious baby. And there are days when I am frustrated and tired and aching for a break. But then you look at me and smile that precious baby grin with the nearly toothless gums and the dimple on one side, I see the way your face lights up when I walk into your line of sight and you see me to the exclusion of all else, and I cuddle you all fresh and warm after your daddy gives you a bath, and hold you at night, in the quiet dark when it’s just you and I and the sounds of your nursing and the slight squeak of the rocking chair, those are the times I know I can do anything and be what you need me to be, as long as I can have that moment, the memories of the ones before it, and the anticipation of the next to come. I am happy and proud to be Brianna’s Mommy. I love you, baby girl, and bless the day that God decided to change my life plan and send you to me.

Love,

Your Mommy

Your favorite foods this month: carrots, applesauce
Your favorite toys: cardboard beer coasters, empty kleenex box, empty Mountain Dew bottle, Fisher Price Roll-a-Rounds, Link-a-Doos, teething rings, and any paper or magazine you could get your hands on

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