They say that the last child is forgotten in photos, that their life as a child is not documented as the older children’s are. For you, this is certainly not true. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t snap a photo of you. I’m not sure whether to blame it on my increased love of photography or the fact that my iphone’s camera makes it so easy to pick up and snap those everyday moments, but I do know I treasure each and every photo.
Where I do feel I have failed you, my third (and last) child, is documenting your life in words. While I will never truly consider myself a writer, the most precious words I have ever written are those documenting the lives of my children. Sadly, I find it difficult to find the time to sit down and type the words out that I want to say so often. As you pass each new milestone, I try to reach back into my memory to compare you to when your brother and sister passed the same milestones and my memory fails me. To find my memories, I go back to the words I have written, and only then do I remember the details that are growing fuzzy. This is why I am so sad that I have not recorded the same memories for you.
You are seven months old, quickly coming up on eight, and you are the happiest baby I have ever had the opportunity to know. You flash your beautiful smile around to everyone you meet and almost always receive a smile in return. It is so rare to see you unhappy, that when you cry I know something must really be wrong. The last couple of weeks have been a little rough as you have been working on cutting some teeth, and then got a nasty cold on top of that. The last couple of days have seen great improvement though, and your joyful personality has been shining back through.
Developmentally, you are right on track. I have to watch your hands as you will grab anything within your reach. You can sit up on your own now, which makes it much easier to play with all of the toys we still have around from when Zach and Evie were babies. You have the fastest army crawl I think I’ve ever seen and are on the verge of full-on crawling (as soon as you figure out how to not tip forward). I keep thinking you are going to take off on your knees any day, but you are taking your time. That’s okay though, you move fast enough as it is. I already have to remind myself that I can’t leave you sleeping on the bed when I take my showers anymore. I may have to invest in a pack ‘n’ play for every room of the house to keep you contained.
You have started saying a few sounds that resemble words. The first clear repetitive sound was “da-da” (even though I’ll try to keep denying it). I’ve caught a “mama” a few times, and potentially an “ee-ee” here and there. Other sounds are still pretty random, but I have no doubt that you’ll be spouting off all kinds of stuff soon.
You have cut four teeth now, two on bottom and two on top. I’m glad they are coming in because you LOVE to eat. You seem to be quite bored with the mushy baby food though and would really like to eat what the rest of the family is eating most of the time. You love to feed yourself, so I’ve been trying to find soft veggies and fruits that you can pick up on your own. In the last week or so you’ve started fighting for the spoon too, but I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that mess yet!
The one thing you are doing slower than your siblings is using a sippy cup. It isn’t that you can’t or don’t want to use the cup, its that you don’t seem to keep down any liquid other than milk so I’m not sure what to put in the cup. You are still breastfeeding like a champ, but I can barely seem to pump enough milk for your bottles at day care so there isn’t any extra to try in the cup. I’m hoping this issue resolves itself as your reflux lessens, but for now, water and/or juice are not really an option.
I think your absolute favorite time of day is bath time. You seem to know what is coming when I undress you and as soon as I start walking toward the bathroom you start squealing and laughing. Your brother and sister fight nearly every night over who gets to take a bath with you. I think they secretly just enjoy getting to have you all to themselves for a few minutes. You love to splash in the water and play with the bath toys. I think you also love the slippery surface. You flip yourself back and forth from back to tummy, no matter how many times I try to keep you from doing it. You have no fear of the water and love to put your head and/or hands under the stream when the tub is filling.
As infectious as your smiles are, your laughter is even more so. You seem to have a great sense of humor already, and laugh often at the silliest things. You tease your daddy and giggle as you sit in his lap. Your brother and sister can crack you up in an instant. You absolutely love all of our animals and laugh as you put them through your very own brand of torture. (Fortunately, they don’t seem to mind losing clumps of fur too much.) My favorite though, is when I get you right on your best tickle spot – just under your neck, along the collar bone. It was a little tickle there that resulted in your first belly laugh, and I’ll never forget it.
My sweet baby, you are so surrounded by love. Your brother and sister absolutely adore you. Your cousins just cannot get enough of you. Your grandparents, aunts, and uncles love you so much. You have so many extended family members thinking of you, praying for you, and loving you from afar. As for your dad and I? Words can not possibly describe how much love we have for you. My hope is that you always feel that love as you grow and depend on it when things get hard and you need an extra little push in life.
These letters to you may be few and far between. I may not be able to keep up with every milestone or every birthday. Even if I never write another one, I wanted to at least get this down, to remember this time in our fast-paced lives. I hope that somehow, somewhere, this letter survives and that you have the chance to read it someday. When you do read it, I want you to know what an unexpected blessing you are in our lives. I can’t imagine a world without you in it.