When people read the title of this post, I imagine them doing the same thing I did, “Seven months? That can’t be right.”
Then holding up their fingers to count off the months, “November, December, January, February…” Sure enough, seven months with sweet Anna Leigh.
But it can’t be seven months…
(By the time I finally hit publish, it’ll be closer to 7.5.)
This month has been huge for Anna. HUGE. She started eating solids, cut two teeth, and I describe her as “basically crawling.”
She isn’t fast, but she gets where she needs to go with a combination of crawling, dragging, and rolling. She spent all month practicing, even at night. It’s remarkable how much less interesting development is when it happens at 2 a.m.
She started this month with a strict plank regimen, and four weeks later she’s mobile. Basically Anna’s new motto is, “Thirty days from now you’ll be glad you started today.”
Now she never stays where I put her, and the only two things I do are 1) sweep the floor for choke-ables 2) stress eat.
Nothing is more terrifying than a crawling baby. NOTHING. They’re just not mature enough to handle the responsibility of mobility. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way when they start driving, or worse, using social media. They shouldn’t crawl till they’re eight. Drive till their 30. Social media never.
I can tell I’ve done a terrible, terrible job of preparing the big kids for this milestone, because they’re EXCITED. I keep telling them, “You HAVE to pick up your things, ANNA IS GOING TO DESTROY EVERYTHING!” And yet they cheer her on.
They don’t believe me. They’re fooled by that big smile and her chubby cheeks.
Her teeth happened like I imagine a lot of her milestones will. We were walking back from the bus stop and I happened to look in her mouth and noticed two teeth, completely erupted.
I had no idea she was teething. No idea. There were no teething rings, doses of Tylenol, or Amber necklaces. I never gave her special toys to help soothe sore gums. And it wasn’t because she didn’t fuss or wake up extra. I’m sure she DID fuss, it’s just that there’s already so much fussing in my house it all blends together. And extra wake ups? WHO CAN KEEP TRACK.
To be my fourth child is a blessing and a curse. I’m not fretting and hovering, but she could also calculate the next digit of Pi and I would have no idea because I’m Googling “how to clean syrup off a cat.”
We started solids right around the six-month mark, and by now Anna seems to have taken to solids better than her siblings at the same age. As with most everything, I’m sure the difference is me. I’m less hesitant to let her try things, more easy-going about how much she eats or if she eats at all.
She loves almost everything, especially meats, especially fish.
I’ve done Baby Led Weaning with four babies and I just now learned the trick of peeling a banana half-way.
My big kids are horrified by the whole process. They don’t like the mess and they definitely don’t like what she’s eating. BROCCOLI!? SWEET POTATO? FOOD WITH ACTUAL NUTRITION!? YUCK!
When she makes a face they start lobbying to rescue her. “Mommy, she doesn’t like that! Take it away!”
I explain that her pucker face with full-body shiver isn’t because she doesn’t like something, but because she’s having a new experience. They sort of believe me, until I go on to explain that when they were babies they also ate things like butternut squash and zucchini and tomatoes. AND THEY LIKED IT.
That’s when they smack me with a lawsuit for slander.
Anna’s smiles are biggest and best when she wakes up from her naps. She is elated; imagine a pageant winner who CANNOT believe she was chosen, except she’s positively verklempt because we came to get her! Just like we always do! When we hear her stirring, Tom and I rush to get to her first, because we both want to be the recipient of that smile, to be the one to lift her out of bed and hug her as she wiggles with exuberance.
The sentiment is exaggerated when she wakes up, but it’s how she always is. Happy to be hang by the pool when her siblings are playing, happy to ride in the stroller to the bus stop, happy to be ignored, happy to have toys snatched away, happy to watch, learn, play. Happy is her starting place.
You are so delightful. It’s a fact I can’t overstate — you are happy, easy-going, and beautiful. Your siblings love to hold you, give you toys, and in the mornings they clamor to say good morning to you and see your big, open-mouthed smile. You are everyone’s favorite. Even Thomas loves you, and that’s saying a lot because three-year olds don’t like much of anything.
I’m so grateful to be your mom. Every bit of it, the feel of your skin, kissing your cheek, your generous smile. Even the long nights rocking you to sleep. I’m grateful for it all.
I’ve told this story a million times, and I’ll keep telling it — when I found out I was pregnant with you, your daddy and I felt completely overwhelmed. Taking care of three kids left us scrambling and exhausted, how would there ever be room for four? Daddy and I sat on the stairs and tried to make sense of what was in front of us. He said, “We’ll be fine, because this was God’s plan.”
It’s true, and it’s a truth I’ll keep coming back to, re-telling you and myself.
Sometimes I think about the uncertainty I felt back then, sitting with your Daddy on the stairs, and then I look at you, the fruition of God’s plan. I’m so grateful.