Thursday, April 11, 2013

Emerson: Nine Months

April 1, 2013

  • You are still wearing 9-month clothes, and a few 12-month sleepers. The winter-weather-that-won't-quit is keeping you in your smaller outfits for a bit longer...and I don't mind that. It seems impossible that you can be ready for such big girl clothes already....
  • You are going to bed quite consistently between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. You start to meltdown like clockwork around 7:00 p.m., and we start your nighttime routine: play with Daddy and read a book while Mommy changes clothes, eat, brush teeth, bath, bedtime.
  • About two weeks ago, we stopped nursing you to sleep, and you've been falling asleep in your crib all by yourself. It's been a challenging and strange process for all of us...hard for you to understand a new (and lonely) routine, and hard for Mommy and Daddy to hear your cries. We have made such progress, though. You are so brave, and you're getting it. You still cry for a few minutes after we lay you down, but that time has gotten shorter and shorter...slowly, but surely. It's the right thing to do, we think. You'll just have to trust us on this one.
  • You still wake up once or twice a night, usually between 4:00-5:00 a.m., and then you're ready to start the day between 7:00-7:30 a.m. You usually take a brief morning nap, an afternoon nap around 1:00 p.m., and then a quick snooze before Daddy comes home. You've slept by yourself a couple of times, but usually when you sleep during the day, you're on Mommy's chest, or in the carseat after we've run errands.
  • You love our iPhones and will reach for and grab them when they're close-by. You've even started raising it to your ear to "talk", just like Mommy and Daddy do. "Hello?" You're so grown-up.
  • Because sucking on the iPhone could cause trouble (Daddy's phone had some drool-related permanent damage done), and because we don't want you to feed Royal on purpose, we're using the word "no" regularly. You usually stop what you're doing momentarily...and then smile at our fun "game". 
  • You're becoming more comfortable staying by yourself in a room for short periods of time. Whether you're playing on the floor or eating in your highchair, you're allowing Mommy to leave the room to throw in a load of laundry, understanding that I always come back. Good ol' object permanence.
  • When we read together, your favorite part is turning the pages. When we say "turn the page", you're happy to do so, and you definitely understand what we're saying.
  • You're discovering your own voice, and all of the things that that beautiful voice can do. Sometimes loud, sometimes soft, sometimes deep...always precious. You have so much to say, and I love listening. Your babbles often seem like sentences you're constructing, trying to communicate an important message. You whisper "buh" occasionally when we're looking for birds at the window, and "ma-ma" is definitely part of your vocabulary. 
  • You understand "where's Mommy? Daddy? Grandma? Grandpa? Royal?" and usually look at the appropriate party. How fun (for all of us!) to be communicating with and understanding each other!
  • You love to clap! When you see others clapping, you're happy to join in, and you initiate it yourself now when something pleases you or you're proud of yourself. "If You're Happy and You Know It" gets you going, too.
  • You frequently hold your arms out to each side, raised in the air as if you're balancing. You daintily hold them in that position, usually when you're observing a situation or overwhelmed with an emotion. It's kind of your thing.
  • We suspect you may be left-handed like Mommy.
  • "How big is Emerson?" You raise your arms up high. "Soooo big!"
  • You have now discovered all of your body parts. (And I do mean all.) Your interest in certain parts has seemed to fade somewhat, though it made for some interesting diaper changes and bath times...if you know what I'm saying. You are fearfully and wonderfully made!
  • You love to eat! Daddy's'll eat just about anything that's put in front of you these days as long you get to do it yourself. You are great at feeding yourself, and that is your preference. You have added Cheerios, chicken, asparagus, white potatoes, broccoli, beef, mango, cantaloupe, egg yolk, white beans, pineapple, and chickpeas to your repertoire...all bite-sized, chewable pieces, and no more purees. You still enjoy applesauce and oatmeal mixes, but otherwise, you want to be picking up your food. Chicken and egg yolk have been your latest favorites, and you still get excited when you see bananas on the counter, or the yellow box of Cheerios coming out of the cabinet.
  • In the morning when you wake up, we open the curtain in your room right away to let in the sunlight and welcome the day. You smile at the world and I'm reminded what a gift each fresh day is.
  • You go with Daddy or I to let Royal inside each morning, and when we say "let's go get Royal!", you smile with excitement as we head to the laundry room and open the door.
  • Being held by Daddy and chasing Royal around the living room brings big smiles!
  • You're still fascinated with Royal and try to grab his tail and nose and paws. But, you've also seemed to learn how much bigger than you he really is, and often, when he's barking or rushing around the room, you'll start to clamor over toward me for protection. I love that you feel safe with me. Your overall impression of dogs seems to be good, though, because whenever we see a "pup-py!" on t.v., you grin and point and laugh.
  • You enjoy posting up on our legs or standing up against the couch. You are so strong and don't require much support at all. You like being vertical!
  • You aren't crawling quite yet, but you aren't staying still, either. You shift from your tummy to sitting to crawling position very easily, and do lots of "pivoting" these days to get where you want to go. You end up going backwards frequently, but as soon as you get those knees to go back and forth, you'll have serious forward motion. You're getting there, and you're pleased to be headed toward greater mobility, I think. Any day now!

What a big month this has been! New experiences, new memories. 
We are having so much fun with you, Emerson. I truly cannot wait to see what you do next. 
This world is yours to discover!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roadblocks to Maturity: Comparison and Discontent

One of my favorite Pinterest finds is the following quote:

(original source unknown)
I can certainly relate.

And, given this quote's popularity online, I suspect I may not be alone. 
But, enough about you and your issues...this is about ME! 
Oh, look! Another "Roadblock to Maturity" topic just presented itself. What do you know?

I love our house. It suits us, and I'm incredibly happy here...until I see the new homes friends are building or buying. Then, I think about our home being too small or too old...and I'm not content.

I'm pleased enough with my wardrobe...until I walk through the mall and see the latest styles and fashion trends. Then, I realize how sorely my own closet is lacking...and I'm not content.

There's the thing. Did you catch that? It isn't until I see what else is available that I decide that what I have isn't good enough by comparison.

 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 
Genesis 3:6-7

Comparison, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, when it begins to foster an attitude of discontentment, it becomes dangerous.

I can't entirely remove the temptation to desire what others have. But, I can limit my exposure to those situations that I know leave me discontented, and make deliberate efforts to recognize just how wonderful I do have comparison.

We may move to another house someday. (Although how Bobby will ever be able to drag me out of this one is beyond me.) But, if we do, I want it to be because we've outgrown our space or because a bigger house becomes a dream of ours...not because we're trying to keep up with the Joneses'.

When I compare elements of my life to those of someone else's, and decide that what I have isn't good enough, I'm displaying an incredible lack of gratitude for the blessings God has given me.

That's not okay with me.
And, I'm working on it.

Check out this related article from Relevant magazine. It discusses the dangerous tendency to compare our lives to those of others, via the "perfect" images we're presented with through social media. Another area of comparison that I certainly struggle with....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roadblocks to Maturity

Chalk it up to the change-of-perspective that motherhood brings. Or, maybe the result of too much time on my hands for pondering "life". Or, perhaps it's the result of this entering-my-late-twenties season.

In any case, I've been reflecting recently on some personal aspects of my psyche & my personality that are, by my personal assessment, less than ideal. Elements of myself that are what I'm considering to be "roadblocks to maturity" in my own life.

When I say "maturity", I'm not suggesting that it is somehow a finite goal that can be eventually reached. I don't expect to wake-up one day and declare myself "mature". I think it's a lifelong effort, similar (and related) to gaining wisdom.

To reflect on my shortcomings is challenging. A step towards greater maturity, perhaps? (And sharing them publicly, no less!) My hope in writing about these self-described shortcomings (occasionally, as I feel inclined) is that I'll be motivated to face and acknowledge these issues head-on, learning more about myself...who I am, and who I hope I am becoming.

Stay tuned.

Monday, April 1, 2013

One of Those Moments

While I was pregnant, Bobby's brother introduced him to the song "Dance, Baby, Dance" by Chris Cagle. Of course, upon hearing it myself, I thought of Bobby and our soon-to-be-born daughter. And, in my emotional state of pregnancy, I was immediately hooked on the song, deeming it right then and there as "theirs". Each time I hear it now, I still think back to those months before Emerson was born, picturing then the love that I knew my daughter and her daddy would share.

When our friends John and Natalie visited a few weekends ago, Bobby played that song, as well as Craig Campbell's "When She Grows Up"  (his favorite song to listen to with Emerson) while we put away dishes from dinner. And for whatever reason, I found myself strangely emotional yet again as we listened to the music. (No, I'm not pregnant.) I was loading the dishwasher, looked over at Bobby holding our daughter, and tears filled my eyes.

(Were we to have been around other friends instead of our dear Piatts, this could have been embarrassing. But, upon seeing my tears, Natalie started crying a bit, too. Because that's just the kind of friend she is.)

As I looked at Bobby and Emerson, I was overcome with a sense of how quickly she's growing. She may as well have been a bride tomorrow for how I was sensing the years flying by, imagining the two of them dancing (perhaps to that very song) at her wedding one day. That day seemed all too close as we stood in the kitchen.

The beautiful melody...her precious smile...Bobby's knowing glance back at me....

It was one of those moments.

And then, as if Emerson knew how much my heartstrings were already being tugged...she raised her arms as the powerful lyrics of the chorus began. "Soooo...big!", I responded, with a lump in my throat. How perfectly appropriate.

I melted.

I'm looking forward to that special day down the road when I'll get to watch those two dance to "their" song...whatever that becomes. 

I suspect that as I watch them together in those precious minutes, I'll find myself looking back to beautiful moments such as this.