You are eleven months old today!!
You were thrilled when I introduced snacks to our photo shoot. But one thing is true about you - it really doesn't take much to please you. You are such a pleasant little girl - and have been from day one!
This month you have changed the most, in my eyes. You're laughing a lot more and even playing games! One of your favorite things to do happens when we're both on the floor playing. You pull yourself up to stand holding onto me and then start walking around behind me while I say, "Where did Hope go?" You make your way around to my other side and then lean your face into mine which is when I excitedly say, "There she is!!!" And you laugh and laugh and fall in to hug me...and repeat.
You're also starting to identify things. You have people down - you can identify all the people in your little family, granny and your aunts. I've always been pointing out things around the house and naming them - "there's the fan" "there's your crib" "there are the books" - and now you're pointing them out, too! I'm so proud of you!
The two of us are still breastfeeding, which I'm so happy about. You eat three meals a day of solids, but I always nurse you before bed and when you wake up... and before your two naps. You will sometimes let me know that you want to nurse other times during the day - and I am happy to oblige. I'm so grateful that we've been able to do this for this long. The two of us are together 99% of the time, so nursing you has never been a problem! And in 11 months you've had only a handful of bottles - which, thankfully, you took without any complaint!
This month you were sick with Croup for a week. It was such a bummer!! During the day you were all smiles. You ate well and were very playful! But nighttime was rough. You were uncomfortable, coughing and had painful reflux symptoms. You've been very clingy to me - even now that you're better. All day long you're either pulling on my leg or in my arms. You won't hear me complain. Well, unless I have to go to the bathroom...then it gets tricky. Your sleeping pattern has been interrupted as well. Lately you've been getting up 2-3 times between your 7pm bedtime and morning. I really never mind when you wake up in the middle of the night. I feel the same way I did when I wrote THIS post when you were just a little over a month old.
You are SO close to walking. All you want to do all day is cruise... and I've caught you standing independently many times! It's always by accident that you find yourself standing and not holding onto anything - and when you realize what's happening you look up at me with a very shocked look on your face as if almost to say... "how in the world am I doing this?!?" You also love to try everything - climb the book display, climb under the coffee table, climb into the air looking for something to put your foot on... you get the idea. The most recent bruise on your head has been carefully edited out of your 11 month photos. But you can't edit real life...
I'm in shock that we're a month away from you turning one. I'm pretty confident that this was the fastest year of my life!! I've been trying to figure out what to do for your big day. I'll probably settle on a small family party, which is just what I did for Gavin and Brian's first birthdays. Just your Granny, Aunts, Uncles and cousins. We'll see. We certainly do have a lot to celebrate.
Hope, I want you to know something. It is very hard for me to tell the story of your birth... your existence, actually!... without mentioning Gavin's death. Just as it's hard for me to talk about Gavin's death without mentioning the miraculous gift of you!! I want to be sensitive - and I would never want you to feel that you were overshadowed in any way by your brother's life... or death. You two are so intertwined - it's hard to separate your stories. I hope that you always feel him around you, because I am sure that he is - watching, protecting, comforting.
We often will say that you were sent here to heal our broken hearts. And it's true - you have been doing that just by being here! But you were also sent here on your own journey... to teach us new lessons. We are your students.
Every day we get to know you more... and every day you teach us something new - about yourself, about ourselves and about slowing down and enjoying the time we have with each other.
I can't wait to see what this next month - the last "baby" month! - brings. I'm sure you have a few surprises up your sleeve!!
Happy 11 months!
I love you, Hopi Doo! Yes, I do do do.