Sunday, December 10, 2006

Seven months old

Dear Ess,

You are getting to be such a big kid! This month you've taken to solid foods with a vengeance. You love everything we've presented you with -- rice cereal, sweet potatoes, bananas, prunes, avocados, butternut squash -- and when we don't have those prepared quickly enough for you, you bang on the high chair and grunt at us as if to say, "Feed me!" We're really enjoying preparing your food and watching you gobble it down.

In just the last several days, you've become a very proficient sitter. You especially like to sit on the couch and play with your toys... or sink your hands into Rocky's fur. She tolerates it for now, but we suspect that once you become mobile she may be spending a lot more time upstairs. You've also begun shrieking at the dogs, who don't know quite what to make of this high-pitched noise coming unpredictably from such a small creature.

You're much stronger this month, spending lots of time on your tummy reaching for toys, shaking them and sticking them straight in your mouth. Your dexterity is impressive, as is the fuzz that's starting to appear on your head.

This month has been an adventure for all of us when it comes to sleep. You'd gotten quite frustrating, little girl, wanting only to sleep in our arms at night and not in your crib. So after trying every sleep-training method known to man (or at least available on the Internet), we decided to see what happened if we let you cry. Perhaps unwisely, we began this method the night of the surprise party for your father's 35th birthday. And it was hard to listen to you cry. Very, very hard. But you know what? It worked. You learned that you can fall asleep without us, and that nighttime is not time for playing. You've been sleeping much better these days, usually waking up around 1 or 2 and then again around 5. Your parents can now function a little better, which is a big relief, and you seem quite happy in the morning, which is also a relief.

In other sleep news, you've begun taking long, luxurious naps most days -- yesterday, for example, your morning nap lasted from 9:30 until noon! The only problem is that, just when we begin to count on a lengthy nap, you go back to a day of 40-minute snoozes. Oh well.

This month, you hosted your first party (with Mom's help); although you're starting to get a little wary around new people... or even favorite and beloved people who don't happen to be Mom and Dad... you really enjoyed watching the kids play when we celebrated Dad's birthday. You've also been out to dinner a few times, and you've gone grocery shopping nearly every week. You go into a sort of trance at the grocery store, where you gaze at the shelves full of products and spend the shopping trip being very quiet.

You celebrated your first Thanksgiving a few weeks back, and last night you came along as we bought your first Christmas tree. We're not sure a visit to Santa is in order this year given your nervousness around strangers... we'll have to see. Although the holidays are largely lost on you, we've been surprised to see that you actually almost enjoy the cold weather. You get bundled up in one of your fleece suits and go out for a walk almost every day; the cold air shocks you into a stunned silence, but after a while you start looking around and smiling (especially if Rocky's along).

You've gotten to see quite a bit of your Maine grandparents this month, which seems to make you awfully happy. And yesterday you got to see your New Jersey grandparents via webcam for the first time. It took a lot of work (and muttering under the breath) on your mother's part to get the camera set up, but it was a lot of fun once we got it working. Like the rest of us, they were amazed at how big you've gotten, and how interested in the world you are.

It's hard to capture in words how amazing you are, and how very much we love you. But you are, and we do. It may sound a little sappy, but we've already gotten the very best Christmas gift we could imagine. We love you like crazy, Boo Boo.

Mom and Dad