As I type this, everyone in Richmond is traveling from grocery store to grocery store, looking for bottled water and batteries in preparation for Hurricane Florence. And me? I’m prioritizing my girl’s 10-month update, because my neighbor told me that the last time a storm this big came through, our neighborhood lost power for TWELVE DAYS. That’s a half a month! If we lost power and Internet for 12 days, I wouldn’t be able to publish this until Anna was 10.5 months old and WHAT THEN?
I’ll fill the bathtub with water later. For now I’m going to tell you about my adorable, bald, 10-month old baby girl.
Anna has seven teeth, is starting to cruise and occasionally tries to stand up independently (she always immediately plops to the ground) and weighs 24 pounds.
Each month I think, “This is it, this is the most adorable baby stage.” And then each month she proves me wrong. But this, this MUST be the most adorable baby stage. Anna is sweet, adorable, chubby, and now she has tricks.
This month Anna taught herself to clap. It’s a clumsy, enthusiastic effort, and every time she does it everyone in the vicinity stops and cheers. And when they do, Anna stops clapping and looks around, wondering what all the fuss is about.
This month she also learned “ARMS UP!” — which is a trick Mary Virginia actually invented when she was 11 months old, and Anna has learned just in time for football season.
Anna is learning to wave, a flappy, baby wave, and she also recently started a habit of opening her mouth as wide as she can and throwing her head back. My description doesn’t sound very cute, but let me assure you, a baby crawling around with her head tilted back and her jaw unhinged as if scoops of ice cream are falling from the sky is adorable.
Anna’s also starting to show signs of verbal development. She has started to form little baby words, like when we say “HIIIII!” She mimics us, “IIIII.” And when I put her down for her nap, she stands up, bangs on the crib, and becomes fluent in calling for me, “MA! MA! MA! MA! MA! MA! MA!”
Anna is starting to grow sweet little curls at the nape of her neck. They are the first evidence that we might have another curly girly in our family. Or, as Mary Virginia announced when she discovered them, “MOMMY! LOOK! This is a good sign!”
This was actually a really busy month, and it felt like a long month. It started with a cold and an ear infection, family vacation, her first ever stomach bug, the start of school, then another cold, and if the forecast is right this month will round out with baby’s first hurricane.
This month we also moved Anna out of our room and started a little sleep training. Everyone has an opinion on sleep training. There are some people whose eyes grew wide because YOU’RE ONLY JUST NOW STARTING AT 10 MONTHS!?!?! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME!?
And there are other people on the other end of the spectrum, who thing sleep training is never a good idea.
Me? I fall somewhere in the middle. But while we were on vacation, Anna’s 5-week old cousin slept longer stretches than she did, which bought her a first-class ticket to big-girl sleep school.
Before you get excited for a story about how Anna is now sleeping through the night, you should know that sleep school lasted about a week. She started to make progress, but then we all got sick. Sleep school cancelled until further notice. Her sleep patterns aren’t great, but they’re just one more detail we’re working around this month as school has started and schedules are picking up. We’re busy, tired, and a little bit late, but we’re making do, all of us shuffling and sacrificing a little here and there because that’s what’s required to keep a big family on the tracks.
What I’m saying is, I’d like it if Anna would sleep through the night. I’d also like it if I could get all my laundry done and on a good routine of meal planning. But we’re all being patient with each other as we figure it out. Maybe next month? Maybe then we’ll have it all sorted out. I’ll let you know.
One day this month, your daddy held you up and said, “Look at her! I wish she would just stay this way for a while!”
It would be nice if we could just freeze time for a bit and enjoy this stage a bit longer. You are just so wonderfully cute and happy. You are the baby everyone imagines when they think of a baby. You smile easily, you say gah-gah, and when people play peek-a-boo with you, your entire being responds with delight.
But of course you will grow up. You will grow, and I know from experience that watching you and your siblings grow is one of the greatest joys I’ve known. You will grow, and as you leave behind your sweet chubby arms and darling bald head, what we truly want to remain is all of those things that make you inextricably you — your joy, your brilliant smile, the way a room fills with light when you enter it.
That’s what want to stay.
I think it will.