Today you are 8 months old! When I finished writing last month’s letter, I thought about how different this month’s would be and now that I’m sitting down to write it, I have to confess that it’s going to be a little redundant.
You have been sick almost this entire month. There was a 3 day stretch, beautifully revolving around Christmas, where you were healthy and maybe a few others days at the beginning of the month after you got over the ear infection, but otherwise, you have been sick almost constantly for the past 6 weeks. You woke up on December 20th at 1am with a fever of 101, proceeded to throw up all over me (and the carpet. And the bathtub.) and then rallied briefly, before being the sickest and saddest I ever imagined a baby could be. You had a sore throat and every time you swallowed you would cry and cry. I have to admit, I actually hoped you had an infection of some sort, so we could treat it and you would bounce back, but alas, it was viral and all we could do was try to keep you comfortable.
Thankfully you were back to your old self within about 2 days (just in time to catch something different!) and we didn’t miss Christmas as I had feared, but I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that experience. You and I both did a lot of crying. I’ll tell you this now even though you won’t understand it until you’re much older, but there is nothing in the world as awful as having your child be in pain, especially when there’s nothing more you can do to fix it.
Lest you think it was all gloom, there were some very good points mixed in this month, too. You finished up Chanukah and then celebrated your very first Christmas in my hometown with your gigantic family. You got some great gifts, enjoyed some time with your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and came home with a brand new virus that is now a sinus infection. We could’ve done without that last gift, but the rest of it was fantastic.
For the third month in a row, you are dangerously close to crawling. If we’re being technical, you are crawling, you are just only going backwards. You’ve gotten to be really good at going from sitting to your tummy or your hands and knees. You can wiggle forward if something is close, but for the most part, you get on your hands and knees and push so hard with your arms that you go backwards. It would be adorable if you didn’t get so frustrated and we didn’t have to rescue you from underneath all the objects in the living room 100 times an hour.
You are seriously obsessed with stuffed animals now and if you see one you squeal, pull it to your face and fold in half, laughing the whole time. It is almost as cute as the fact that you now give kisses (big open mouth ones) to your dad and me when we ask. We make sure you don’t see when we wipe off all the slobber.
You are very much a daddy’s boy this month. He walks in the door from work and you just about wiggle out of your skin waiting for him to set his stuff down and grab you. He was absolutely invaluable through these sicknesses, because though you prefer to sleep on mom when sick, dad is the best distraction. You love to sit and play computer games with him, right until he refuses to let you push buttons. He’s so mean.
Your newest, and most adorable, trick is head nodding and we’ve realized that you only do it when you’re tired. Being the mature adults we are, we like to ask you questions when you’re in your nodding mode. Someday you’ll find it as hilarious as we do.
This has been a surprisingly good month for sleep, despite all the illness. You now take 2 solid naps a day, in your room, not in a swing. It was as if you just suddenly got it over Christmas. You seemed to realize that you could put yourself to sleep and stay asleep and it was no big deal. And then last Saturday you slept through the night for the very first time. 9pm to 6:45am and Eli, this was my very favorite of all the milestones. Even though you woke up twice the next night and haven’t repeated the sleeping feat again since that first time, knowing you’re capable and that I haven’t ruined your sleeping abilities for forever was pretty great.
Your likes this month include: the cats, your monkey, baths, pulling glasses off faces, biting, pureed apple, pureed pear, Sesame Street, your pacifier, sweet potato puffs, Dad, Mom, Aunt Claire, Aunt Emily, all the grandparents, your babysitter and being let out of your carseat.
Your dislikes this month include: having your nose wiped, Tylenol, Advil, Amoxicillin, any food that is green, yogurt, any chunks of food that are not crackers or puffs, diaper changes and being put in your carseat.
4 days after you were born, your dad looked at me and said he wanted to have more kids right that minute and I was feeling similarly. As you’ve gotten older, we’ve both put the brakes on that idea a bit. Let me be clear, it’s not because you’re not the awesomest baby ever- it’s because you are. It’s because I am having the time of my life watching you, playing with you, loving you. And I don’t want to divide my attention between you and another baby anytime soon. Someday we will have other kids and I hope they’re just like you. If someone could promise that all our kids would be as sweet and as lovely as you, I’d have a million.
Your dad was telling me just yesterday that one of his coworkers is going to be adopting a baby in the next few days and he told her that being a parent was hard, but that it was the greatest thing he’s ever done. I say the same thing to soon-to-be parents all the time. I can’t tell you enough times or in enough ways that being your parents has changed us in the most wonderful ways. It has enriched our lives, made us happier, given our lives more meaning. We smile and laugh more than ever and I think it has helped us realize how important our marriage is, too.
Each month I read the previous month’s letter so I can remember what was this month and what was last month and I’m struck by how much you’ve changed since last month. You’re not much bigger (you’d have to actually eat in order to get bigger), but your face has changed so much. You’re less and less a baby each passing day, more and more a little boy. You no longer look just like your dad, and you’ve never looked much like me, but you look like you. Periodically I get this little flash and I can see what you’ll look like a year or two from now. The little boy you’ll be, the man you’ll become, and it’s both so cool and sad. Your babyhood is already disappearing and toddlerhood is coming at us, full speed ahead. I wish I could slow down time and savor these last few months before you reach the independence I know is coming.
This month has been one of germs and sickness, but it has been one of love as well. You have become more loving towards everyone and everything around you, happily giving hugs and kisses and smiles. And we have huddled together, loving you, to get through the sad and hard days, as if love might be the antidote to the germs. Even if it hasn’t made you physically better, I hope it has made the days a little more bearable than they would otherwise be.
Happy 8 months, Eli. We love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.