Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eight Months

Baby girl, baby girl... can we even call you "baby" girl anymore? It seems like this month you have left the last remnants of true babyhood behind you, and have entered the world of "child". Many things happened in the mobility department, but what's truly astounding is how you have now started to GIVE BACK. You are no more like an impassive sponge that is soaking in every bit of love and affection you are receiving, but are now responding in the most adorable and heart-melting ways, not just with us, but with other babies as well!

For instants: Liz is no longer a threat to you. Since you can hold yourself in a sitting position, you can withstand her attempts at playing with you much better. She has recently entered a snuggly and kissy phase with you: whenever she sees you she bends down to kiss your cheek - and I almost fell over laughing when I saw you interrupting your play to actually move your head a bit towards her, and holding this position until she was done loving on you. You have also started to lean towards people with outstretched arms, when you want to be held by them rather than by whoever is holding you at the moment. One of the first true demonstrations of your own will, and as you can imagine, whoever you do it to is reduced to a puddle on the floor instantly. I have yet really only seen you do it to your Daddy, your grandparents, and of course me. You clearly differentiate between "your pack" and everybody else now. That is not to say that you have already entered that stage of crying whenever you see a stranger - you are still friendly and always sociable, but with strangers you don't go to very great lengths to show them any extra affection. You really know how to make "your peeps" feel special now!

And boy, how you are making ME feel special! You give kisses now, more like big wet baby slobbers that leave me bathed in your saliva, but I love them so very much! You hug and kiss me whenever you can, you snuggle into me every chance you get. It's so awesome, to feel you now returning all that affection that you are receiving from us in your cute little uncoordinated and over-enthusiastic baby-way. You melt my heart.

You have also started to be vocal in a very deliberate way. Your "word" of the month has been "Ba!", which you threw at everything and everybody. Not so unusual, but the cool part was when I started saying it to you, and you would smile and say it back at me, then waiting for me to respond, so you could respond again, and so on, and so forth. So, for the first time, we were having a "conversation" together - quite mono-syllabic and a bit repetitive as it may have been. Git and I were almost falling over with laughter as you threw a casual "Ba!" at Liz the other day, only for her to pick it up and exactly mimick you in tone and pronounciation, and then listen to the two of you going Ba! Ba! Ba! Ba! Ba! at each other, one after the other, each of you awaiting the other one's turn, before answering back, for almost a minute straight! It's the same with your ear-piercing shriek. It's a real hoot for you if I join in your shrieking, if I match your volume you will get louder and louder, turning this into a little shrieking competition, all the while with a big delighted smile on your face. Not so nice for the neighbors, maybe, but absolutely adorable - especially when you seem to try to get me to shriek with you by looking at me, smiling, and then going at it, waiting for my reaction and response.

Also, this month you opened a very great and exciting door for yourself into this world - you are now fully mobile! What's so astounding about this is the speed with which many very important changes happened in a VERY short amount of time:

From your last month's discovery of holding yourself in a sitting position and putting yourself up onto all fours you suddenly went into a developmental frenzy. First you crossed the living room "caterpillar style": going up on all fours - sliding your hands forward until you were laying flat again - push yourself up onto all fours again - repeat until destination is reached. You never quite did the "army style crawl", you were just kind of "caterpillaring" away. Then, all of a sudden, you figured out how to sit up all by yourself, and out of all positions. And how to kneel. So now you were able to "caterpillar" over to your toy box, kneel in front of it, and reach inside to fish for the toys that you like. What a great new take on the world! But you didn't stop there, oh no. Thankfully I had the video camera close by, when all of a sudden you decided to CRAWL through the living room. With a lot of complaining and straining and voicing your utter discomfort, you FINALLY put one hand in front of the other, let your rear follow, and thus crawled across the room to your Daddy in quite an unstable and wiggly way, before collapsing on the floor on your tummy for the exhaustion of it all. Alas! It only took you a couple of days from then on to perfect your newly acquired skill, and now I daresay you are a master of the crawling arts! And daring you are, too! You sometimes you even leave the safety of my immediate proximity, and venture out on your own to the other end of the apartment and into your own room, where you play for a little while before coming back out into the living room, all smiles.

However, this new mobility of yours hasn't only brought joyous moments. Firstly, the era of "NO!" has now officially kicked off. Seeing as you find the button on the TV extremely fascinating, as well as those electricity outlets on the walls, I am now constantly on my toes to keep you from getting into things you are not supposed to. And as if that wasn't enough, your favorite time to practice your sitting-up now is sleepy time. Heck, you even sit up while you are fast asleep - and then cry because you can't lay down on your own anymore. Putting you to bed has become quite a task now, as it is now "putting you to bed" quite literally - and quite a fight of wills, sometimes, too. I don't much like holding your legs as I put you to sleep in order to keep you from automatically sitting up, but it is the only way to get you to eventually fall asleep these days.

But this mobility has also shown another thing: your complete and utter infatuation with your Daddy. You are on his heels constantly, you cry when he walks past you and you are not fast enough to keep up with him, you cry if he ignores you hugging his leg in an attempt to make it clear to him that you want to be up in his arms. You wiggle and giggle when he comes home from work, you are all huge smiles when he picks you up out of bed in the morning to change your diaper. Me? I guess I got a bit boring to you after all these months with mostly me. But you know, it doesn't matter. In all actuality, I am very happy that you are taking to your Daddy so well and intensely - I know more babies that don't much care for their dads than I do the other way round. And you really know how to put a huge and happy smile onto your Daddy's lips, and seeing this always makes me extremely happy, too. :)

Naturally, the baby proofing of our place has happened this month now, too. And quite in a hurry, I must say. I guess neither your Daddy nor me were prepared for the suddenness with which you started to move about the place all on your own.

Oh, and the next huge milestone of the month? Yes, indeed... your first tooth. And then the second one, within the week. And those two really snuck up on us, seeing as they were giving you no obvious trouble whatsoever. In retrospect I could say that in the few days leading up to the first tooth cutting through you were eating a bit less than usual, but other than that - suddenly, there they were. And damn, you look cute with them! Even though I have to say that I will miss your toothless gummy smile...

And so it goes... you have started to wave, aimlessly and pointlessly but ever so cutely. At the wall, at your toys, in all random directions. But never when we try to encourage you to, of course. You no longer need your baby seat in the bathtub - we have simply bought a rubber mat for you to sit on, and you enjoy this newly gained freedom a lot. Bathey time is now much more exciting than it ever was before, now that you have your hands free to play with your toys and a whole bathtub for you to crawl around in. And you are so much fun to watch, I can tell you that. You have closely observed me blowing onto your food when I made it a tad too hot, and promptly copied me when I was about to put a spoon into your mouth - with the result that the table and I were covered in goo all over. And I couldn't stop laughing. You don't much like the sippy cup, in fact, you don't like it at all, so your fluid intake is a bit questionable. It is on my to do list to find a solution to this problem ASAP. Your foot has finally found your mouth - and finally we have taken on a new nursing position with you sitting on my lap, facing me, instead of laying sideways across my lap.

So many developments in just one paragraph. I am sorry that I am not too detailed, but with all these things happening this month, this entry would be endless.

But before I end this with my proclamations of my eternal undying immense love for you, I certainly cannot forget to mention your "life celebration", which has taken place this month:

It was set on the 14th of June, in the beautiful setting of the "life tree circle" on a hill high above the city of Vienna. Quite a spiritual place, if you are sensitive to such things. Each tree in the circle stands for a birthday, much like the Signs of the Zodiac. Your life tree happens to be the walnut tree, so naturally we chose that one to celebrate around. We were quite afraid that the weather wouldn't hold. The week leading up to your ceremony was cold and rainy - and we seriously considered postponing your party. And tell over 20 people to come a week later! Impossible! Naturally, I was under a lot of stress, which ended with me calling the central weather station and have a weatherman guarantee me on the phone that it wasn't going to rain during your celebration!

All my worries were unnecessary, however. It turned out to be a beautiful day: not too hot, not too cold. And certainly no rain. You were dressed in a beautiful beige dress with a white blouse, which I had purchased on eBay for a riduculously small price. I had put a white bow into your hair, and you were wearing your first ever set of shoes, a pair of white sandals, for the first time, too. In other words: you were impossibly adorable as usual.

The ceremony was very beautiful! Antonio, the spiritual ceremony master, has done a really outstanding job. We were all gathered around your "life tree", the walnut, seated on the lower benches of the amphitheatre. Your Tio#E and Git were making the music, him playing the guitar and her singing along. A bit off-key at times, but heck! I wholeheartedly admire her guts to sing in front of everybody to no end! Your Tio#E even wrote a song just for you, a text with a melody, more like it. Your Daddy and I were reading the text in both Spanish and German while your Tio#E was playing along a tune... very touching. I managed to get through about two thirds of it before choking up. You Daddy did a lot better job than me, I can tell you that!

Your Godmother Auntie#K held a little speech, and gave you a wooden box as a gift: to be filled with memories of you and her together as your life unfolds. Beautiful! Your Tia#R made your candle for you, designed it and executed it all by herself. I didn't realize it, but apparently there has been a little accident involving too much heat in the car and the candle, which reduced her to tears when she saw it before the ceremony, poor girl! She put so much effort into it, but thankfully no real damage has been done. I can't wait to light it on your first birthday - which suddenly isn't very far away anymore at all!

And everybody participated in your ceremony: I had given a piece of paper, cut in the shape of a walnut, to every guest a couple of weeks before your big day and asked them to write down a life-wish for you on it. Meanwhile your Daddy did a great job cutting the shape of a tree from a wooden plate, and an amount of walnuts, onto which your guests' paper nuts were to be glued. I glued colored paper all over your tree and the nuts to finish it, and we had the whole thing tied to the real walnut tree during your ceremony. And then everybody went ahead, stood in front of us, read their wish out loud and then glued their nut onto your tree. It was very touching, very personal, and the centerpiece of your ceremony. Your tree will be fixed onto the wall in room sometime soon, a permanent reminder of this day and all the loving family and friends that you have.

And then - imagine! It was a LOT of work, a LOT of stressing over, but we made EVERYBODY fit into our apartment! I didn't think it was at all possible - but we borrowed all chairs and a couple of tables from Git and Bo, along with nearly ALL of their dishes - and we made it happen! It was a crazy mess, but comfortable! I couldn't believe how many people - almost 30! - found room in our apartment. Of course, if it would have rained and we wouldn't have been able to place two of the tables outside onto the balcony, it would have been impossible. But we were so lucky! Everything about this day was great - and it all happened because of YOU, little girl. Everybody came to see YOU, and love on you. You made it all possible.

With you, EVERYTHING seems possible.

Love,
Mama.

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