As I write this, you are 8 1/2 months old. You've now been out of me longer than you were in me.
You have five teeth at various stages of coming in. You love avocados, hummus, cheese, yogurt, and yams. You love to dance, and you and your father are the only people in the entire world who like the sound of my singing. "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Dora the Explorer" get you excited, and you lick the TV screen to show your appreciation of the characters you like best. When you take a bath in the evenings you love to play with your pink rubber duck. Always as we are finishing your bath, we say goodbye to Duckie and he quacks and "kisses" you on the cheeks and nose and your smile gets so huge. Sometimes you murmur "mama" in your sleep and it does something in my chest that I can't quite describe.
Some of my favorite moments of the day come when you wake up. You sit up with blanket marks on your face and sleepily rub your eyes. You'll play quietly with your animals for a few minutes: touching them, patting them, biting them, burying your face in them. When you notice me watching you, you break into a grin and eagerly stand up in your crib to reach for me. I hug and nuzzle you and take in your baby smell. I could pick you out of hundreds of babies just by smelling you.
You are--many times over--the most beautiful thing in my world. I can barely believe that I am lucky enough to have such a beautiful, sweet, playful, inquisitive little girl to love. The responsibility of guiding you into becoming a confident, courageous, compassionate young woman is a daunting one, but one that I take very seriously.
I can't look at newborn pictures of you without weeping, because every day takes you further away from being my tiny baby. It is bittersweet to be leaving your babyhood behind, but it is amazing to watch you learn and grow and change. You are my greatest joy.