Unlike last month's letter which was 2 weeks late, this one is being typed early since I actually have time to do it. Right now you are napping in your crib and you are becoming a pro at sleeping - just like me! Seriously, you have become a fabulous sleeper in the past few weeks and I for one could not be happier about this. The crying-it-out that the doctor recommended was a huge success and you are now able to go to sleep all by yourself, in your bed, without crying or fussing at all. It only took 4 nights for you to get with the program; the first night you cried for 25 minutes, then 15 minutes the second night, and only 5 minutes on the third and fourth nights. And no crying since then (well, there have been a few whimpers here and there). You sleep straight through the night for ten to twelve hours, plus you take two naps every day! Hallelujah!
Since you are sleeping more regularly now, I am finally able to put you on a schedule, which I think helps you sleep better too since you know what to expect at all times of the day. We have routines at nap time and bedtime which help you to settle down and get ready for bed, and most of the time you are actually reaching for the crib before I ever lay you down. Every night before bed we do the same exact things, in the same exact order.
First, you get a bath, then we put on your pajamas, I nurse you, and then you eat oatmeal or cereal. Then I brush your teeth and we tell Daddy goodnight. We go in your room and turn on the lamp, and I pick out a few books to read. We sit in the rocking chair and I read to you, and then I turn off the light, turn on your lullabies, and I hold you in my arms as we slow dance to the first song. You put your head on my shoulder and I rub your back and run my fingers through your hair. Then as the song goes off, your head pops up and you begin reaching for the bed, making it a struggle for me to get the last few kisses of the night. This is my absolute favorite part of the day, when I hold you so close and you are so sleepy and so still. It only lasts for a few minutes but it is so sweet that I almost cry. I hope that I never forget these moments.
This month has been a month of milestones for you. Of course, the sleeping is my favorite, since I actually get to sleep now too. But you have finally also learned how to feed yourself. I didn't mention it in last month's letter, but until a few weeks ago you would NOT put any food into your mouth. If you found a piece of trash on the floor, straight into your mouth it would go. But if you were given food to eat, you would just play with it and you never even attempted to put in in your mouth. Dr. Z had never heard of this and we don't know how you knew the difference, but I think you were just being difficult on purpose. You wanted to put things in your mouth that weren't supposed to be there to make me crazy, and you didn't want to feed yourself so that I would have to do it for you. You little stinker - you are so smart!
It all started on December 13th when Daddy gave you a rib bone to gnaw on while we were at Granny's house for lunch.
Then the next day I gave you a graham cracker and you ate it! Ever since then you have been feeding yourself a little bit more every day, and two days ago you ate your goldfish crackers all by yourself for the first time! You still only have those two bottom teeth but somehow you manage to chew everything up.
You are becoming very brave and very excited about standing up without holding on and walking. You try every day to stand up without pulling up on something, and you've done it a few times already. The first time was on the 19th, and ever since then you have managed to do it once or twice a day. You also are getting very good at keeping your balance and you will let go and stand by yourself for a very long time. You took your first step on the 13th and you have taken a lot of steps since then, but never more than one or two at a time. Most of the time either Daddy or I will hold your hands while you stand up and then let go and try to get you to walk. But yesterday was when you really wanted to walk by yourself for the first time. All day long you would stand up, let go of the furniture, and try to take a step. You did it over and over and over again and you took a lot of steps, but you fell down a lot too. One time, you took 8 steps in a row!I have a feeling that by this time next month, you will be walking!
You are beginning to recognize a lot of words in addition to the words that you already can say. You know what I mean when I say diaper, bath, mama, daddy, no-no, uh-oh, dog, hungry, thirsty, cup, juice, kiss, Emily, and bye-bye. When someone tells you hey you now wave hello and when you have something that you shouldn't, I can say "thank you" and reach out my hand and you will hand it to me. You will look around when we ask you "where" something is and if I ask if you want boobies, you will pull on my shirt to try to get to them. You are such a smart girl!
You learned how to clap on the 30th and you are so proud of yourself for doing it! When you see me or Daddy clapping you will clap too, and if someone on tv claps you will clap along with them. You've also learned to associate the word "yay" with clapping. Sometimes you get so excited when you are clapping that you start flapping your arms and you fall down!
Some of your favorite things this month are books, "big girl" baths, pushing things across the floor, and taking things out of drawers. You will crawl into your room and pull your books off of the shelf and look at the pages and point at the pictures. You love books and I hope that one day you will love to read them.
You graduated from the baby bathtub this month and you love taking a bath more now than you did before. You play with your toys until the water is cold and your fingers and toes are all shriveled up. Most of the pictures that I took of you this month were taken in the bathtub or in the highchair because those are the only times that you are still and can't crawl away! Usually when I try to take pictures of you, you climb on me and try to take the camera, but I have learned that if I have a diaper in my hand you will crawl away and let me take a few pictures. You hate having your diaper changed, but I think that is only because you are a busy girl and you hate to be still!
You have a few toys with wheels on them that are made to push, but it really doesn't matter to you. If you find something that will move, you will push it all over the house. Whether it is a shoe, a remote control, or a toy, this keeps you entertained for a long time.
You have learned how to open drawers and cabinet doors and if I don't stop you, you will take everything out and throw it on the floor. We are definitely going to have to put some locks on so that you won't get into anything that can hurt you (or that you can hurt).
You accidentally learned how to drink out of a regular cup when you got my cup off of the table. You held the cup just right and you didn't make a mess at all!
One of your favorite people (besides Mommy and Daddy) is your Aunt Makayla. I think it is because she is a big girl and she is closer to you in size than the rest of us. When you see her your face lights up and you love to play with her. You will follow her everywhere she goes when she is here or when you are at her house.
You also love dogs and you got to pet your Nannie and Pa's dog Lucy when we were at their house a few weeks ago. Then we saw Hershey at the Fordham Christmas and you loved on her a bunch too. I wish that we could get an inside dog for you but Daddy says no to that, but sometimes we let Magnum inside so that you can play with him.
December was also the month of your First Christmas! You met Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus on December 6th at a local antique store.
Then we started celebrating on the 12th at your Nannie and Pa's house with Nannie's family. The next celebration was on the 19th with your Granny Hulsey's family at your Great-Granny Jane and Great-Papa Fordham's house.We went to look at Christmas lights with Granny and Pop on Christmas Eve and we actually got out of the car and got an up-close look at the lights - you loved them! Christmas Day was the busiest day ever, and we had four Christmases that day (more on that later). Then we wrapped up Christmas at your Great-Grandmama's house on the day after Christmas. You were great at opening presents but I think you actually got tired of it. You got so many toys and a lot of it is still in the original boxes, hidden in your closet for you to play with later.
We ended the month by also ending the year. It was your first New Years' Eve and I am so proud to say that you were awake and celebrating with us at midnight! We held you off on your evening nap as long as we could so that you would stay up later on New Years Eve night. But unfortunately for Daddy and I, you didn't sleep any later than usual on New Years' Day.
We had quite a month and I must say, it was one of the best we have had together so far.I am so proud of you and all of your latest accomplishments and I love you very, very much!