Today, you are ten months old. Double digits. I did the math, and this is your 306th day. Plus, my subject line rhymes. You are officially on the downhill slope towards your first birthday - and things are looking up!
Most of the time, you are a fiercely happy little girl, as the picture above shows. You are bold and curious and love to explore and figure out how things work. For example, you have recently figured out how to open our closet doors. You also continue to be very social, and are happiest when there are lots of babies, children, and adults around for you to interact with.
Every month when I sit down to write this letter I look over the previous month's letter first, to remind myself where we were at and see if there's anything in particular I need to update. Last month, I talked a lot about sleep - or, more accurately, the lack of it. I think the amount a blogger (or any parent, really) talks about sleep is inversely proportional to how much sleep they are getting. This is corroborated by the well-known fact that as soon as you talk about your kid sleeping through the night, he or she will stop.
I will now simply draw your attention to the fact that I haven't made a post about sleep here in nearly three weeks. And that is all I am going to say. Draw your own conclusions.
So, you are a busy girl. You are determined to explore every inch of your environment, and nothing draws your attention faster than an adult trying to inconspicuously tuck a dangerous or fragile item out of sight. This has been the month of Nothing is Safe. It's getting pretty frustrating, to be honest, as your physical abilities have far outgrown your cognitive ones, and thus you have no idea why I keep barking "NO" whenever you try to stick a toy into the VCR, strangle yourself in the power cords, pull to standing on that shaky floor lamp, and so on. You just look at me for a moment as if puzzling over the strange noises, then go back to your willfull destruction of self and property. In order to keep anything away from you, we have to remove it altogether from the ground floor of our home. Our upper story is getting mighty crowded, my girl.
This month I had to go donate blood, something I used to do every few months before I got pregnant but haven't done since then. Your dad and your grandma were both unavailable, so for the first time I left you with a non-family-member for a couple of hours: my friend Amanda and her daughter Evangeline, who is just a couple months older than you, came over to play and keep you company. I was very anxious about this but of course I needn't have been. From what Amanda tells me, you were far less concerned about your mommy being gone, than Evangeline was about sharing her mommy with you!
It's so hard to believe that your first birthday is just around the corner. I'm doing a lot of preparation for my return to work and the resulting huge shift in your daily routine. I'm thrilled to say we have lined up a daycare for you to attend 3 days a week, and you'll be with your dad and I and sometimes your Grandma the rest of the time. I can't wait to see how the environment of daycare with its numerous toys, childproofed space, and older playmates affects you.
You have started trying to communicate with us this month, both with gestures and with sounds. You can (but don't always choose to) sign both "all done" and "more", and I think I've seen you sign "milk" a couple of times, though I'm not convinced you are connecting the motion with the meaning quite yet. You have mastered the word "bye-bye" which in your world is pronounced "buh-buh" and is uttered, accompanied by enthusiastic waving, whenever anyone moves even slightly towards our front door. You are also working on "hello" - though many of your little friends can already say "hi", in our house we tend to say "hello", so you're stuck learning a much more difficult word. It currently sounds kind of like "hrrlrr", way back in your throat.
You are also starting to understand context really well. For example, when someone says "yaaaay!" you start to clap, because you know those two things go together. It's so impressive to watch you making those connections, which after all is evidence of some pretty complex learning.
Your mobility is getting better. You can balance unassisted for as long as 10 seconds, and there has been one unconfirmed sighting of you taking some steps. We have only four days left until my predicted timeline of you walking, and I'm starting to think I might be wrong. But even so, I'm sure this milestone is just around the corner, as you are eager to get moving. In the meantime, I'm just pleased that your attempts to stand unassisted end now in controlled bending-and-squatting, rather than a complete toppling over complete with your head crashing into the floor.
You are loving your food these days, and especially love to feed yourself. I'm happy to let you do this, but the price is that I have to wash your face, and heavens, the screaming that takes place when I dare to do so! As revenge, I take pictures of your adorably messy face to post on my blog.
Gwen, we love you so much that we end every night by talking about you: the adorable and clever things you did that day, our hopes for your future, our guesses as to your personality development and which skills you will grasp next. It's already impossible to imagine our lives without you. We are so glad to be your parents, and we will always love you.
But we're still not going to let you put that power cord in your mouth.