|I couldn't pick one for five months, so I chose three.|
The last nine months have been nothing like I thought they were going to be. Sleeping was easy. Breastfeeding was not. And the postpartum anxiety and depression were highly unexpected. But here we are, nine months later. And we're all okay. And in one piece. We're good and we're learning and we're enjoying it.
Ella has been a good sleeper since 6 weeks old. Maybe it was pure luck or maybe it was the fact that she got on a feeding schedule pretty quickly, we haven't complained. She's never been a cuddly baby. If I found a onesie that said "Miss Independent" I'd buy it and she'd live in it. She's likes to be put in bed with the light off to get her beauty rest. And that is fine by me. The three words we've heard most often from people to describe her have been "alert", "calm", and "curious". And that couldn't be more true (unless when handed off to a strange face than she has a total breakdown).
She started crawling at seven months, started standing at seven and a half. She's more interested in remotes, tissue boxes, and DVD cases than she is any of the toys that have been gifted to her. She loves bouncing, standing, waving. Oh, and screaming. Oh how she loves to scream... in church, in restaurants. It's important to note these screams are happy screams, which bodes well among all the strangers around her.
One of my favorite things about her is she lights up and smiles every time we look in her closet. It gets me hopeful one day I'll have a younger shopping buddy to ensure I stay cool and hip. She knows to smile when the camera's pointed at her, which makes taking selfies with her especially fun. She makes me laugh when I laugh at something Tim says and then she starts to laugh 'cause we're laughing. It turns into one, big, ridiculous laughing fest.
She wins for cutest laugh.
She freaks me out most when she stands up and opens a cupboard in the kitchen. Or heads for the electrical outlet, arm extended. It's time to baby proof. Like yesterday.
She warms my heart most when she greets me with a big and bright smile when I see her in the morning. (She's the only happy morning person in this joint.) And when she puts her head on my shoulder when she's getting ready to go down for a nap. Like I said, cuddling is rare, so when it happens it's special.
She makes me feel like a good mom when she laughs at my attempts to be funny and silly. We can dance and sing and I can attempt to do ridiculous accents and there's no judgy eyes or glaring looks. Just us. And it's wonderful.
I have learned the cliche "they grow up so fast" to be true. As little as a new mom wants to hear those five words, it's said for a reason. So we've been trying to soak up and enjoy our time with her as a chunky-cheeked, smiley, sweet, screaming baby girl.
I've changed since having Ella. I've become more of a feminist, which sounds strange when used in the context of a stay-at-home mom. I now get a little too heated when out looking for girls clothing. (Only boys are geniuses, apparently.) I appreciate and respect all moms ever in the history of the world. We all know it's a feat, to be a mom. But until you have a screaming child grabbing her own poop can you really understand. One of my new favorite past times is jamming out with Ella on her Fisher Price xylophone and dancing for her every time she takes the little yellow drumming tool. I've learned to care a little less about others opinions of me. I've been too busy in my own corner getting my own stuff together so I can be the best for my daughter and husband. I've learned as long as you have a cute baby in your arms, you won't have a problem with small talk and going to the bathroom now sometimes feels like a mini-vacation. I've also been surprised by how I never grow tired of kissing her chunkster cheeks and how I miss her when she goes to sleep.
I've learned that having a kid is funny, and fun, and always surprising. And that though these past nine months have been hard at points, I wouldn't have traded them for anything.
Happy nine months, sweet girl. You're still an absolute joy.