My Dear Beatrice,
How you are growing and angelically charming us all. A little bit about you as you race towards your first half birthday:
If I hold you in my hands and raise you up straight above me with straight elbows, you can’t help but smile and laugh and drop some serious slobber bombs. Sometimes when you’re unhappy or upset, I just raise you up and sing a little song or make fun flying noises and you’re instantly engaged. It melts my heart. You love to fly.
As you grow you’re constantly outdoing yourself, you’re doing x more and faster and with more awareness. So I’m sure you’ve always known me, but not it feels as though we’re almost beginning to communicate. You recognize me immediately, and I just. can’t. get. enough. kisses. I want to kiss your soft, pudgy cheeks over and over again. I hug you close and breathe you in my amazing girl, because the love I have for you seems to be ever growing and evolving. My love for you often overcomes me out of nowhere and surprises me as it consumes my heart and squeezes and tugs at my soul. I am now often that mom I’ve seen so often before, fighting to not let the tears slip out the corners of her eyes as she stares lovingly at her child while the child is just being.
You celebrated your first Tet Nguyen Dan (lunar new year) surrounded by so many family. It was a little loud (over 100 people) and a little late (past your bedtime) for you. You may have cried most of the night, but you were participating in an important family tradition, receiving your very first red envelopes (we’ve saved them for you, don’t worry), and I felt so proud and grateful to introduce you to your many cousins and to hug you close on the first of many happy new year celebrations.
You’re getting heavy. Which is totally awesome (Yay! You’re growing!) and totally bizarre given how tiny you were in the beginning. You’re morphing from newborn to baby right before our eyes.
You have so much hair. It’s now thick enough that I can run my fingers through it just a bit and smooth it down when it gets wackadoodle. In the evenings as you nurse and fight the heavy dreams settling on your eyelids, I often stroke your hair, trying to input it soft sweetness to memory.
You’re getting very strong and flexible. You roll as a mode of transportation now and can do several in a row to get from one end of the carpet to another. You sometimes wake yourself up crying when you’ve rolled over and face planted, but you’re getting the hang of it.
You sleep with your little mouse now. The one I clung to desperately while I was in labor- breathing and picturing that if I could get you into this world safely, some day you would love that little mouse. That day has arrived.
You are starting to eat solid food. You tried avocado for the first time this week. You didn’t hate it or love it. This feels huge to me. Real food!
We’ve got your bedtime ritual down. Dinner often turns into a snack and snooze for you. Then I gently wake you so Papa and I can give you a bath. I sing to you each of your body parts as we scrub them (toes, toes, we’re let’s clean those toes). You get excited and pump your arms and legs in your own little tub dance party (I’ve heard that bath-time calms some babies down, but not you my love). Then we put you in your pjs, and I sing a made up song (Calm down, Calm down, it’s time to get ready to sleep. . . ). Your papa or I snuggles you into our laps and reads you a book. Although when you were smaller I read you the same book over and over again (Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You), but now we’ve branched out to all the books that were gifted to us when you were a baby. I don’t know many of them, and it’s such a touching and special experience for me to get to read them to you. The people we love chose them well. I love reading to you so much. I should have known, but didn’t, how much this small ritual would mean to me.
We watch you now physically, actively learning how to be a human. . . how to roll how to stand how to grab and see and express. And I realize that the physicality of becoming a human may only take you a few years, but the emotional/spiritual/intellectual learning it takes to be a human will take you whole lifetime.
Which often makes me think about what I want you to know most. . . > and that makes me think of the book and the movie, The Help, and that I want you to know:
You are smart. You are kind. You are important. Even now, these are so true (except maybe the kind part. that might be a bit too abstract still), but that is how I always hope you feel. Like those values represent the core of who you are and you never have to doubt them.
You have taught me the meaning of true gratitude. I now stop and sip my tea in the mornings, and think, man, I love tea. Man, I love having these few quiet moments to read (I’m in book three of the His Dark Materials trilogy. You must read it one day). Man, I love that special tone your Papa’s voice has when he talks with you. I am grateful for this precious life. I am grateful for this moment and this day and this year, and I hope that looking at you always keeps me so.
You are so loved, my Beanshine, always,