Dear Addison: 7 Months

Dear Addison,
Today you turn seven months old!

Food. Mushy, orange and yellow, sticky food. That’s the messy milestone we’ve been working on this month. Around lunchtime, after I find you rolling around in your crib throwing mischievous smiles at me through the slats, you get stripped down (the one time attempting this ritual with clothes was enough) and propped up in the Bumbo.

The first few times we played this game…your faces. Wow. You are your mother’s daughter. Eyebrows flinging all over the place, nose crinkled up, confusion and curiosity splashed across your pupils. I’m pretty sure your internal conversation was something like I think this is a good thing but I’m not positive this feels normal squishing around my mouth but if I just push my tongue out like this I can get it out of my mouth and then oh! that’s fun when it splats on my hands. Look! If I beat my hands on the tray it’s like a carrot fireworks show okay I’m convinced this is totally AWESOME.

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If there was one area where your father’s “Me Can Do It” attitude has appeared, it is eating. As soon as the spoon is within reach, your little arm zeroes in on it and before I know it, your fingers have wrapped around the stem and yanked that sucker into (or at least near) your mouth. And then, if you’re not satisfied with that result, you slide your chubby fingers down into your mouth to assist your tongue in scooping the vegetable mush into your cheeks.

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The more we practice, the less mess we make. I’m torn between wanting you to explore your independence and have fun with eating on one hand, or having to invest in a power washer for daily hose downs on the other. Mama don’t have two hours to clean up mashed sweet potatoes from the baseboards.

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Your great grandmother said you are “as strong as a boar.” And while that’s not the most flattering description of a beautiful baby girl, it‘s undeniably accurate. When you don’t like or don’t want something, you’re a fighter. Christina Aguilera-meets-Mike Tyson-style combat. This typically appears when it’s nose-clearing time. Come within two football fields of your snot-draining, miniature nostrils and your neck thrashes with near demonic power. We usually just give up. I think it’s a pretty realistic life lesson to reward you with success by way of simply outlasting your opponent. After all, we do watch “Survivor.”

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The squeals have remained. In new pitches and frequencies. In the aisles at Target. Out of gratitude for a colorful, talking toy. Because there are people in the room who are not giving you undivided attention. During prayer at church.

I should probably be better about removing you from situations that are not complementary to baby excitement, but, well, I’m not. I like hearing you squeal. It hasn’t gotten old to me, and every time, your Dad and I look at each other like “Why is her timing so terrible?” with baffled, embarrassed expressions because we know that’s what people expect. But really we’re thinking, “How cute is our kid?! Like, the cutest EVER! Let it out, girlfriend.”

This month you’ve also come to understand what it means when I am in the room and I am not holding you. You’re not a fan. I have literally crouched behind objects to avoid catching your eye when your Daddy is holding you. Sorry baby girl, but you are not a slight child and Mama’s biceps need a rest.

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Even in those times when a break is very, very welcome, it’s still surreal to think that you—this vibrant, hilarious, smart little person—would want me, a messy tomboy who slinks away from public affection and refuses to call you a princess. Me, who cried over failing at raising a girl because I couldn’t relate to her. Me, who can’t cook or make hair bows or sew you frilly dresses.

Your eyes softening and brightening when I come in a room, your head whipping around when you hear my voice–how humbling that in these seven months I have become the person you search for, the person who can dry your tears and turn a scrunched up lip into a smile. I don’t deserve to be this for you, Addison. You are too good for me in every way. But oh, how I will try to be the person you imagine me to be at this stage, this comedic superhero with magical kisses. I want to be her because you do deserve that.

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I know it’s going to sound so hokey by the time you read these, but Valentine’s Day was yesterday. And the word “love” is so entirely insufficient, just a rain drop in the ocean of what I feel for you. I love ice cream and a good workout and new shoes. You, my dear, are simply a category of emotion all your own. There is no separate file or label to organize it; being your Mama consumes me. Tumbles up out of my heart like a crashing wave and spills over into the rest of my life, altering every perspective I once had. From now until the end of time, I will see the world through an Addie lens. And nothing has ever looked so beautiful.

From My Whole Heart,
Mama

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vday2

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