Yesterday as your Dad and I were driving home on Halloween night, we were remembering the annual Halloween Ball in Langfang, China one year ago. It was on that day that I took the test that confirmed we were pregnant, and on that night that we told our team in China that we were expecting. I can’t believe how much has happened since then! This past week you were 16 weeks old: a whole 4 months! It’s so hard to believe how fast you are growing, or to remember what our lives were like without you.
My favorite part of my day is going to get you when you wake up in the morning. You are such a sound sleeper, usually sleeping 10-12 hours a night. Sometimes when I come in to get you, you are laying perpendicular, or even completely backwards from how I laid you in the bed. When you wake up in the morning, you entertain yourself with your voice. Sometimes you lay there for an hour cooing, laughing, squealing, and razzing at various volumes. When I go in to get you, you grin and “talk” to me, your big blue eyes wide and luminous. If you’re not ready to get up yet, you rub your little soft hands over your eyes and squint at me, wondering why I’ve disturbed you so early. When I change your diaper you lift your legs out of the way, or kick them hard with excitement. When I tease you about the mess you’ve made, you grin mischievously.
I love to watch you sleep! You usually fall asleep in my arms at night as we watch a downloaded movie or TV show. Your head falls back, your mouth is partially open, and your arms hang limp over your head. Two weeks ago you fell asleep like this in the school cafeteria during lunch, and amused more than a few teachers and students. You’ll sleep anywhere, through any noise. Last week you fell asleep on a high schooler in the cafeteria, and two nights ago you fell asleep on me during the Open Gym Night at the Evangelical Free church. You curled up in a ball against my chest, sucking your thumb, and slept, while the other moms envied me. You sleep through loud football games at the Dinnerbel, committee meetings, and early mornings at the Northwoods Roasterie. In the Pack ‘N’ Play, you always roll to your left side to sleep, your left thumb in your mouth, while your right arm covers your face.
You love to nurse, and I haven’t had any problems with you nursing. For the first month it hurt a lot, and I bled a lot, but you never gave up trying. Now I am amused by your affection for my breasts. You stroke them with your free hand, yank my shirt around with your little fist, and even occasionally talk to them! Lately you’ve been more distracted by the noises around you. Your Dad’s voice is especially interesting to you. This makes for a funny little drama as you suckle and then spin your head around to look at him, then suckle, then spin, suckle, spin, suckle, spin. You’ll give him a huge toothless grin, content to be eating with your two favorite people nearby. If I speak to you or smile while you’re nursing, you’ll let go long enough to give me a great big grin, and then shove your head back under my shirt again.
You are developing so fast! In the swing you practice your baby sounds at the top of your lungs while I make dinner and Daddy does the laundry. Recently I took you to Walmart, and you drew the attention of everyone in the store with your vocal calisthenics. You “sing” with Daddy when he plays the guitar, and your favorite toy to stuff in your mouth is a little pink blanket with a silky underside. In the car seat you now sleep soundly, even though it used to make you scream. When I play with you, you chuckle or laugh out loud, and when I stand you in front of the mirror you stomp your feet and yell happily at your reflection. You can’t roll over on your own yet, but when I roll you to your stomach, you lift yourself up on your arms to look around. You love to be naked, and when I undress you for your bath, you grin madly, shrieking and stomping your feet as you look around. You love to kick your feet in the bathtub, getting me soaked in the process. You’ve loved to stand up (assisted of course) since you were five weeks old, and you love to bounce on Daddy’s knees until you fall asleep there (even in the middle of a rowdy Chisago Lakes football game!)
Your Dad and I still have a lot of doubts about our parenting abilities, but we love you very very much. More than a few times I’ve rushed into your bedroom in the middle of the night, afraid that you’d stopped breathing, or worrying that you were too cold. We have fallen in love with you, and at times it seems our hearts will burst with the immensity of this love. Who would have thought we’d have room for so much love in our hearts? You are our beautiful little girl, perfect in every way. You have brought so much joy and laughter to our lives. You have given us the freedom to be children at heart again. Thank you for the blessing it is to be your parents.