7 months old

Dear Anya,

You were busy this month, girl. You were all into the skills, figuring out how to sit up, crawl, get a couple of teeth, try solid foods, pull yourself up to stand (!) and win hearts all over the place. You have become so much more than a baby in these last couple of weeks, developing a sense of humor and finding your voice. You love to touch my face, pinch my lips, pull out my hair or slide a finger up my nose. While exploring my freckles you’ll babble and blow bubbles, telling me all about what you find in my gaze (and in my nose). It’s like you know all about me and are trying to explain it to me slowly, in words only I can understand. We are learning each other, discovering every inch of love we share and I am constantly amazed at how you mirror me, making me love you all the more and showing me how to better love myself through your adoring coos and touches. And oh how you make me laugh! You are a comic through and through and have amazing timing. Just the other day you looked up at me through a blanket Lily had draped across your head and when I offered you the opportunity to nurse, did a perfect double take, the beats timed like a pro and sending me into gales of laughter.

silly baby

You have also become a shepard of grief, finding ways to push through our loss this year and heal hurt hearts. My mom was telling me that while at the farmer’s market last week she noticed someone selling Pink Lady apples. She turned to her friend and said, “Oh, I have to get some of those for my mom, they’re her favorite!” and then, just before she picked up and apple she added, “but I don’t have a mom anymore.” Her heart broke again and she told me that she felt like an orphan, so lost with the passing of her mother.

But when I see her take you into her arms, that empty orphan part of her fills just a little. The grief around her eyes slowly turns to laugh lines and while caring for you or your sister her heart doesn’t seem so heavy. I know she’ll always feel the loss but I’d like to think that with the help of my beautiful daughters she won’t always feel so alone.

Grandma and Anya

This month you also enjoyed your first drum circle (out of the womb, anyway) and I delighted in watching you grip the beater, smacking that drum with the rhythm you wouldn’t expect from one so tiny. You got to meet tons of family at the big shin-dig full of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and second-cousins-twice-removed. Not to mention the overflow of blinky lights and wrapping paper thrust in your general direction. I can’t tell you how many times I had to scoop paper out of your furiously working little mouth.

poke the baby wonder Eat it

And let us not forget your foray into the eating world. THAT was a mess. But the dog has never been more excited, fearing she’d never see the high chair again when we put it away from Lily’s use. Once more she stands at attention through every meal, just waiting for an errant scrap or her chance to clean out the seat at the end.

Where'd it all go?

Today we took you to the beach and I plopped you down in the sand, trusting you wouldn’t try to eat the whole beach. You squished your hands in the wet sand and rubbed them together, relishing the rough grit and the way it fell through your fingers. Your sister was always so clean, not wanting to get dirty and crying bitterly when she did. You seem to dive into mess, embracing your environment to the nth degree. I used to get all stressed out and try to fix it immediately but now, with over two years of parenting under my belt, I let it be and simply laugh, whipping out the camera to document your antics.

Sandy hands

This month has been hard on me for so many reasons. But you are not one of them. I am constantly reminded how very good I have it and have you and your sister to thank for that. Keep on rocking on.

I love you,