This. Is. Crazy.
Nine months have gone by. Nine months of growth and progression and changes and surprises and joy and fear and yawns and giggles and tears and everything. The only things I can say for sure, when I try to really break down the last nine months, is that I have no idea how this has happened and I’ve never been happier about the unknown.
So let me think about the big stuff.
There’s her teeth. I don’t know why I’m starting with her teeth, but they’re just so damn cute and I love them. The bottom front teeth have been hanging out for what seems like forever. They were the shining standouts every time she smiled or laughed. One of her top teeth showed up a little ways back and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Her mouth seems to perpetually swell as if new teeth are on the way (she handles it like a champ. Get’s fussy sometimes, but it’s nothing a little stern discipline and liquor can’t take care of). Before long I’m sure we’re going to have the best Bugs Bunny mouth in the world.
The crawling was delightfully hilarious. She struggled for so long up on her hands and knees just rocking back and forth. Most of the time she shot backward only to start all over again, but every once in a while she lunged forward and was so proud of herself. She was already getting into anything and everything. If she saw it and she wanted it she would roll, tuck, bounce, whatever it took until she had it. She has her Momma's determination. The first couple of days, once the real crawls started, were also really funny. She didn’t quite have it and sometimes forgot to use her legs, forgot to use her arms, or just couldn’t put more than two or three “steps” together. Right away though, she loved getting around and working her way up or onto whatever was close. It could have been weeks, I really don’t know, but once she had it down she was gone. Everywhere! We walked out of a room for a second, there were Mabel’s little crawl grunts following us. She loved the bouncer, more than anything it seemed, until the crawling took over. No more bouncer. No more walker. She was going to crawl there, pull herself up, smile, fall, do it again. She learned quickly to fall on her butt and we haven’t had many disasters. She does forget to let go every once in a while which sends her spinning whatever direction away from where she still has a death grip. I think she thinks it is fun. It’s hard to tell, she genuinely seems to think most things are fun.
The sleeping. Granted it has always been better for me, but now that her sleep routine is the same basically every single night, it’s hard to remember what it was like waking up in the night, even for a few minutes at a time, three times a night. Jenna was the one who sacrificed the most sleep and I know she's thrilled to finally be getting some real zzz's at night. The napping is still day by day, sometimes 25 minutes and sometimes two and a half hours but we've got a routine established and the consistency seems to be key. She freakin’ loves the dogs.. I don’t quite think the feeling is entirely mutual; though Maizy throws her a kiss every once in a while before resuming her mandatory two foot Mabel radius (Mabius?). I know that’s a strange transition, but the dogs are always there at bedtime and she gets excited to see them when she wakes up, so I made the connection
That’s something else too. She learns and changes so quickly. For a little while she was pointing to noses and mouths on command; she loved giving huge wet awkward kisses that melted every part of your heart. The bouncing went away. These learned skills and adorable things came and left. As soon as she mastered them, she was on to the next thing. She’ll still hit you up every once in a while, but for the most part I think she’s really just expressing her independence. I don’t mind. I’m already so enthralled by her little personality and what she’s going to become that I’m happy to just be along for the ride. Clapping is her new thing and if the last two nights have been any indication, so is peeing on her parents during nakey/bath time.
I’d say her favorite food is chicken. Jenna is still primarily nursing her and Mabel realllly loves milk, but she really does eat (or at least try) anything we put in front of her. Some things she will pick up and try to share with us and that's her way of telling us that it's not really her favorite. The stuff she really likes, she is focused and set on getting it down. She gets this determination from her dada. Our goal was always to have her eat whatever we ate and we vowed we would try our damnedest not to fall into the habit of making a "kid meal" and an "adult meal" every night. Rice cereal didn’t sit well with her so we moved to the babyfood grinder and puffs. That went well for a very short while but the grinding got old quick and Mabel wasn't a huge fan of mush or being fed. We jumped right to "real" food and since we’ve been giving her portions of whatever we have (properly cooled and cut into baby size, of course) she has just done her thing at dinner time. Dinner time growing up was always one of my favorite times. The whole family at the table eating together is important to both Jenna and me and we are able to do it almost every night. More often than not Mabel makes a damn mess of herself, which is always adorable and the dogs like that too.
I feel like I’m going on and on, but even though I live with it every day it’s amazing to think about and reminisce. I’m trying to skip over some of the sentimentality and sap because I’ve shared all of that before, but I really can’t tell you enough how it just keeps growing. Jenna and I are so busy. She is back in school full time, working full time and has Mabel all day long. I’ve been working on some big projects at work so I’ve also been insanely busy. We don’t always get as much time together as we’d like, but every second we get is just amazing. The remnants of “remember when we used to…” are gone. It’s Mabel and it’s amazing. Happy hour is fun. Happy hour with the baby is better. Football Sundays are amazing, since it’s the only TV she ever watches, Mabel is particularly fond of them as well. We still do our best to make time with our friends and family, but it definitely isn’t easy. We’re delightfully needy and I don’t mind asking people to come to us. We’re good hosts and Mabel’s smile is worth any number of miles. If you’re out of town, consider this an open invitation.
I really don’t know what to say, but you have to see this girl. She’ll brighten up your world like she does for us every single day. The smiles aren’t fall off. The giggles are just behind. She’s cuddly in the morning, but it’s even more fun to watch her explore. No drawer or cupboard is safe and her million and 8 books probably aren’t going to last all that long. We’re still trying to teach her how to be gentle. She’ll get it. She’ll get everything. I’m in awe of her. I’m in awe of who she is and everything she does and how much she loves people and new places and trying new things. Everything is so much more exciting in life. Watching someone soak it up and breathe it in is revitalizing. Have you heard children’s music lately? Shit’s awesome. Life, life in general is just amazing. We really do our best to be open and loving parents, but Mabel, probably unknowingly, has given us so much more than we could ever give back. It’s scary to think about and it’s so hard to understand, but the future is going to offer us so much. It won’t all be good, we know, but it’ll all be worth it to watch our little bean get bigger and bigger and learn more and more. It’s heart-stoppingly beautiful and I’ve never been luckier or happier in my entire life.