Letter to Bella, month ten

Dear Bella,

I rolled over the other morning and realized OMG THAT BABY WILL BE ONE SOON! I simultaneously missed your scrunchy swollen newborn face and couldn't wait to see you toddle away with a full head of hair. I'm trying to remember this feeling because though you will be my last little one, it's this feeling that makes people want babies!

In the past month you've earned a few nicknames thanks to your endearing personality and voracious appetite. Of course you are forever my monkey and if I say "Monkey!," you'll turn to me as if to say "What's up?" But, your daddy has correctly termed you the Green-Eyed Monster because heaven forbid there's someone in sight distance with a morsel of food and they don't offer to share.

You'll catapult your body across the room after anything - and you know food by instinct, whether it's an unpeeled banana I've hidden behind my back or a cup of yogurt tucked in my palm. You KNOW it's there and you will have some of it. This month you've chowed on grits, apples, peaches, pears, green beans, lima beans, macaroni & cheese, oatmeal, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese quesadillas, tortilla chips, crackers, shredded chicken, potatoes, peas, ham, cranberries, cheese, carrots, oranges, grapefruit and the list goes on.

But all these foods haven't packed on the pounds. At your 10-month wellbaby check up you clocked in at only 18.5 lbs and 28.5 in. That puts you at 50th percentile weight and height. So where is all the food going? I'm guessing to your head - which measured a whopping 18" circumference. That's 95th percentile! Sweet monkey, I'm sorry to say you inherited your noggin from your daddy.

You love food, but you're so busy that I guess you burn up all the calories you consume. From the moment you wake up in the morning until you fall asleep at night, you are a bundle of energy. You chase the dog and cat, dig around in your toy bin, rock out on the keyboard, attack mama's laptop, cruise around the room and often try to climb the furniture.

The coolest part is you've realized that those little chubby legs are good for more than standing on. You've been able to stand on your own and get into and out of a standing position since early this month ... but now you can get into standing without the help of an object. And, if one object is close to another object - you'll even take a step!!!

Your daddy swears he saw you take three full steps along the side of the loveseat, but I can't vouch for that. What I can testify to is that you try so hard to use those legs the way you know you can. You'll stand up in the room and concentrate so hard on moving forward. Usually you wind up just sitting back down so you can crawl, but I imagine my this time next month you'll be toddling over to me like a big girl.

Every day we learn something new about you and get a better idea of the person you will become. I know you are a mixture of me and your daddy but you are so uniquely your own person. For example, you have daddy's dark green eyes and my button nose, but you are such an optimist. Your smile is infectious - and often we both wind up giggling uncontrollably because you just can't stop laughing and I can't stop laughing at you.

I pray that this optimism sees you through life, that your smile never falters and that you always find someone and something that makes you giggle with such abandon. I wonder if either your dad or I was as happy as a baby, but I don't have an answer. I only know that it's our job as parents to protect your spirit. And that's exactly what we plan to do.

Love, Mama


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