Elle at Ten Months
My dearest Elle Belle,
You are getting to be such a big girl! I can’t believe you are ten months already, though I simultaneously can barely remember life without you. You are my world and the light of my life.
As I sit here writing this monthly letter to you, reflecting on ten months together, it’s my 41st birthday. Yeah yeah, I’m writing this on April 15th, not April 12th.
With my 41st birthday in mind, here are 41 things I love about you and our life together right now, in no particular order.
1 – Your smile: Your smile is infectious. It lights up the room and dare I say the world. You smile at those around you, and they can’t help but smile back.
2 – Your toothy grin: Sticking with the smile theme, I love seeing your teeth when you smile these days. An eighth tooth is breaking through on bottom, giving you four on top and four on bottom. That grin with those teeth melts my heart.
3 – Your full belly laugh: You’ve developed this wonderful, wholehearted, full body belly laugh. Now, you only let it out when you feel like with a select few people, but oh how wonderfully, heartwarming it is.
4 – How “talkative” you are: You have lots to say! Sometimes you get on a roll and chatter non stop! Your voice is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.
5 – Your words: On that note, you are trying so hard to talk! Your “talking” is transforming into syllabic sounds, which sometimes sound very similar to words! Some of your favorites are ba-ba (for your bottle), ma-ma, da-da, pa-pa (for Pablo the pooch), and bye bye.
6 – The way you wake up happy: Your happiness generally carries throughout the day. But during the morning time, you are particularly happy. In fact, when you wake up, you don’t cry. You just start babbling and crawling and walking around your crib. When I do finally enter your room, I’m greeted with the biggest smile! It’s practically impossible to start my day on the wrong foot with you around!
7 – Your aggressive crawling style: You are a crawling pro at this point! What I find particularly endearing is your crawling style. You have such a powerful crawl. It seems as if you are a girl on a mission! No aimless wandering with you. You know exactly what you want, and you are going to get it!
8 – Your determination to walk: Speaking of knowing what you want, you know you want to walk! Though my back hurts because of it, I am thrilled to spend hours holding your hands as we practice your walking up and down the sidewalk. You are not content to sit these days. You want to practice, practice, practice your walking. It won’t be long now before you are fully mobile!
9 – The hint of hair you have: My bald baby is finally getting some hair! In fact, there is quite a bit of hair in the back! I keep telling people, “Look how long her hair is getting!” While that statement is somewhat laughable, it is indeed growing. There’s not quite enough to tell the color definitively, but it’s looking blonde.
10 – Your beautiful eye color: Your eye color has changed somewhat. It’s not a pure blue, but rather a grayish blue. Very mysterious. They draw me in.
11 – Your perfect skin: It’s ridiculously soft. I touch it as much as possible.
12 – Your sweet spirit: As I mentioned, this list is in no particular order, but if I had to put these in order, this would be at or near the top. I am amazed daily by how sweet you are. I often ask you, “How did I get so lucky to get the sweetest baby ever?”
13 – The joy you have in being around people: You love people! All people. Any people. The more people the better.
14 – How social you are: On that note, you don’t mind crowds, you don’t mind noises, you don’t mind new settings. You just want to be part of the action.
15 – How much you love “swimming”: You take such delight in the water! Whether it’s your bath time or taking a dip in the pool with Mommy and Daddy, you get so excited about being in the water and splashing around.
16 – How well you sleep: You have been an awesome sleeper since very early in your life. And yes, I’m grateful that you rest well and sleep soundly. But I’m also grateful from a selfish standpoint. Thanks, sweet girl, for letting Mommy get her rest.
17 – What a great traveler you are: I’m astounded at how well you do on planes. You handle it so well. We have fun on our adventures together.
18 – Your skills at climbing the stairs: I was shocked when you showed me that you know how to climb all the way up the stairs at home safely!
19 – Your love for the outdoors: This is another example of your love for adventure. You love climbing and swinging and playing and exploring.
20 – How cute your chubby legs are: Seriously. I cannot get enough of your leg rolls. Specifically, your knees. I never knew that knees could have rolls! They are the cutest things ever.
21 – How cute your feet are: Okay – continuing the love fest for your little body, I’ll move on to your feet. They too are chubby and oh so cute!
22 – Our night time ritual: taking a bath, putting on pajamas, having a bottle, reading from our Bible story book, and saying our prayers while I hold you in the rocking chair… these are some of the moments I cherish most.
23 – How you sleep: Not only do you sleep long hours (about twelve hours a night), you do it in such a cute manner! You are a stomach sleeper and always have been (since you were old enough that it was safe, of course). You fall asleep on your tummy with your bottom in the air with your right cheek on the bed and your left thumb in your mouth.
24 – When you suck your thumb: You know, I wasn’t okay with you sucking your thumb at first. But you only do it when you are really tired. So, it’s actually a good signal to me. Plus, you’ve never been interested in a pacifier at all. So the occasional thumb sucking is yet another endearing habit of yours.
25 – How much you love playing: Whether with other kids, with adults, by yourself, you love to play. Right now, your favorite toys are ones that make noise and music.
26 – How you wave bye bye: You know how to wave and say bye bye, and it’s adorably cute.
27 – How you clap your hands: Clapping is a fun new skill. You typically hold one hand stationary and move the other hand back and forth to the stationary one. You usually do this when you are really excited!
28 – Watching you give Daddy high fives: Another skill you’ve recently mastered like a super star!
29 – Getting besos (aka kisses) from you: There is pretty much nothing I love more in the world than getting kisses on demand from you. You get the best open mouth, slobbery kisses.
30 – What a good eater you are! We have yet to find anything you don’t like. From fish to deviled eggs to pizza bread and everything else in between, you are game to try it all! You want to eat whatever we are eating.
31 – The way you go with the flow: You have such an easygoing personality, and I really appreciate that.
32 – Your energetic ways: Though you sleep well, when you are awake, you are non-stop on the go!
33 – How determined you are: You know what you want, and you go after it!
34 – How well you play by yourself: It’s such a thrill for me to step back and watch you play by yourself. I love seeing how your brain works.
35 – The way you react to color: You love color as much as your mommy does! Whether it’s my colorfully striped bath robe, the bright hues of nail polish, or anything else that’s vibrant, you are drawn to it.
36 – How you smell: Why can’t we bottle up the baby smell? It’s the best smell.
37 – The way you are forming relationships with family members: Though your family is relatively small on both sides, and most of your family is far away, you are very much loved. It’s so important to me that you form familial relationships, so it’s gratifying to me when I see that happening.
38 – How much fun it is to dress you: I know, I know – this is a little bit frivolous to include on the list. But it’s true! Dressing you in all the cute, pink, colorful, frilly things is so fun. Thanks for indulging me.
39 – How resilient you are: When you attempt to walk and inevitably fall down, you just get right back up again and try again. And there is such a life lesson in that.
40 – Your contagious joy: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… You, my dear, are joy personified.
41 – You are my sunshine: These are more than just lyrics to a song we sing. With that stunning smile of yours and sweet spirit, you light up and warm up my life.
On this, my first birthday being a Mommy, I say thank you, Elle… Thank you for making me a mommy. Thank you for being such an amazing person. Thank you for being you. I am blessed beyond measure by you. And I can only hope to be such a blessing to you as your mother.
I love you, sweet girl. Forever and always.