eight months. easily my favorite age so far. she just keeps getting more and more fun, and each day is something new to look forward to. she's suddenly blossomed into a little girl. her brain must be working a mile a minute right now, because each day she surprises me with something new she's learned.
i love when she wakes from her nap and i can hear her babbling to herself in her crib. i miss her when she gets a good, long nap, so when she finally wakes, i restrain myself from going into her room and interrupting her playtime in her crib. when i finally walk in, i see her little round head just over the top of the crib, and her two little eyes light up when she sees me. and then she claps her hands and i tell her to stop being so cute, because it isn't fair to me, because i can't keep loving her so much or i'll explode. and then i pick her up and she squeals and immediately turns to look for the cats.
and in the morning, she has started to wake too early. little miss is not a morning person, so she's ready for her first nap after being awake for less than an hour. i tell her she should have just slept a little longer. so we read books in my bed, and stay calm, and she snuggles up next to me and stares at each picture with the happiest little eyes. and my favorite is that she pulls up the blanket next to her chest and clutches it with her tiny, chubby hands. her little piece of comfort, playing with her blanket.
she is constantly moving her feet, when she's laying down, and when she's eating, and it's just like me and just like my grandma wuth, and i love seeing those little similarities.
oh, and boundaries. she's starting to test them. she knows she's not allowed to play on the bricks near the wood stove, but she always goes there anyway, and when i sharply say her name and raise my eyebrows in warning, she turns and gives me this smile.
(and notice her utter disrespect for the protective cushion we've wrapped around the bricks? she pulls it off.)
i know she's trying to use her cuteness to get her way, and i know this because it's what i do with her dad, and it makes me think sam and i are really in trouble. because she is cute - crazy cute - and if i'm not careful i'll be a bad parent and never say no to her, because how do you say no to such a sweetheart? but i will, and it will be hard. i'm not just her playmate and caretaker anymore, and it's no longer my job to find out what she wants and give it to her right away. now i have to start teaching her, setting limits, and saying no when she tries to play with the remote or my phone or sam's tennis shoe.
she has started to wail, "mama" and "da-ee" when she cries. i don't think she knows what she's saying, but we must subconsciously respond a little more quickly when she does it, because she seems to understand that it gets our attention. she's standing up all over the house, which means she's getting more bumps and bruises. i must restrain myself from keeping her from falling, and remind myself that it's good for her to practice, and fall, and that a little bump is okay. but it just reminds me that she's getting bigger, and that i'm already starting to train her not to need me. isn't that the hardest thing about being a parent? that, if you do your job right, your child will become independent and self-sufficient? maybe it means i have my own issues of needing to be needed, but it breaks my heart to think that i'm beginning to teach her not to need me anymore. already she's eating more real food, which means she doesn't need to nurse as much, and it's hard for me to admit that. maybe it's normal, and maybe it's just because she's my first little one. but i hope i can remember that it's a good thing for her to learn and grow and become confident in herself and her own competence.
she plays well on her own, especially at her little activity table. but she turns every so often to make sure i'm still there, and sometimes wants me to stand next to her so she can stop and give me little hugs. and that's my favorite. and maybe that's what i hope for - that she becomes her own person, able to stand on her own, and sure of herself. but every now and then, she'll still need her mama, even if it's just for a reassuring hug.