Letter to Evelyn: Eleven Months

Dear Evelyn,

I suppose that I should start to say “almost one” when someone asks your age. But how is that possible? Weren’t you just a tiny baby, sleeping in my lap, while I sat cross-legged at the pool, watching the big kids dump buckets of water onto each other’s heads? Yet here we are — just a few short weeks away from your first birthday.

I love to watch you explore the world. You pull dandelions from the grass and try to buckle the straps on your stroller. You pretend to drink from a plastic tea cup and eat with a spoon. You can put wooden puzzle pieces into place and slide coins into the pink piggy bank. And while you have figured out how to remove the caps from markers, I know you are not to blame for the artwork that I discovered on our basement walls.

I love that you imitate everything that your siblings do (except, at least for now, drawing on the basement walls). You line up action figures on the ottoman, put princesses into the dollhouse, and push cars down the race track.

You are still a very fast, efficient, and content crawler. I’ve caught you standing on your own at least three times, but you show no interest in walking. Of course, I’m also not encouraging it. I haven’t even pulled out the walker toys from the storage closet. #thirdchild

You can follow simple directions like “bring the block to Mommy” or “put the ball in the basket.” You brush your hair and try to put shoes on your feet and hats on your head. You play peek-a-boo with dish towels, and I’ve caught you with Lucy’s bone in your mouth more than once.

You definitely understand the word, “no,” but that doesn’t stop you from doing the thing that I’m asking you not to do — like splashing in Lucy’s water bowl or crawling up the stairs. In fact, it only makes you giggle and go faster.

You have learned the signs for “more,” “milk,” and “all done.” Though it’s also just as effective to bang your tray when you want more, or throw food onto the floor when you’re finished. You also have no problem letting Lucy eat directly from your hands.

Favorite foods are still mostly the same: bananas, berries, melon, carrots, sweet potatoes, grilled cheese, spaghetti and meatballs. You love to pull things off the pantry shelves: jars of peanut butter, cans of diced tomatoes. And you race to the refrigerator when I open it, usually to steal a juice box before I can close the door.

We had a few rough nights of sleep, thanks to a runny nose and sore gums. But I still barely see four little teeth ready to break through up top. And now, unfortunately, we have regressed into the habit of waking up between 3am and 4am for a snack and snuggle with Mommy. Afterwards, I lay you in the pack’n’play in our bedroom, and you sleep soundly until the big kids bound into the room around 7am. Yes, you have trained me well.

Sam and Nora often climb into the pack’n’play with you before I’m able to rescue you. But you really don’t seem to mind. In fact, the three of you squeal and giggle, especially when the big kids take turns tickling Mommy and Daddy under the sheets of our bed.

Including the nighttime feeding, you nurse four times per day, and I really don’t see that decreasing anytime soon. The older two kids were down to just twice per day at this age, and easily weaned right around their first birthday. But I suspect that things will be different with you. You are more of a comfort nurser than they were. If I’ve been away for a few hours (usually running errands), you are quick to find your way into my arms when I return and aren’t satisfied until I nurse you. I can’t say that I mind, though. You are my last little one, after all, and I’m going to hang onto these moments as long as I possibly can.

Evie, I love your swirl of hair and the tag on your right ear and the birthmark below your left arm — traits that are uniquely you. I love how you wrap your whole body around my legs and demand that I pick you up and how you could snuggle beside me all night if I allowed it. You are truly our little love bug. Please stop growing up so fast, sweetheart.

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