Monday, June 12, 2017

Letter to (Eleven Month Old) Sarah Lamar

 Dear Sarah Lamar,

Tomorrow is your first birthday and I realized that I had never written your eleven month post. So here it is!

So what are you up to?
You say "ma ma" and "da da" some and sometimes gives me hugs when I ask you to (I have SO MUCH FUN practicing this with you).
You finally like baths. Until recently you hated them. It was about the only time I could count on you not being cheerful and you screamed the whole time. Which was weird because you love the pool.

Well, baths were the only non cheerful time except bedtime. That's gotten better too but you went through a phase where you hated sleep more than ever. You hated going to sleep and she hated staying asleep. In Brooklyn, we had quite a few times where I just had to let you cry. It wasn't an hours long pre-meditated training session (I'm not judging that; I just still don't think I can go there; Papa totally thought we should) and was more just specific times when I had to do it for my sanity. But you were full on screaming. It was definitely different from Graves (I don't think I'm just telling myself that either), though, who made himself throw up once and I never did it again. I think he was scared; you're just mad as a hornet. I'm so glad I can tell that difference but you're still my tiny baby and it still just about kills me. It's definitely been the hardest thing I've had to do with you since your birth. You do like a lot of attention but she's such a happy girl, so this was tough.
 
You love to eat and you eat a lot. YOuwent from snacking on Cheerios to eating pretty big table food meals. Which, I do understand is the normal progression at this age. But it was a big, sudden jump. The other day at lunch you and Annie and Graves ate a cantaloupe in its entirety. Y'all pretty much split it evenly and you basically ate a third!!! The other thing that's nice for me is that you're content in your high chair for a LONG time. Your brother and your sister are both slow eaters so I feel like they spend quite a lot of the day all sitting at the kitchen table. It's precious in it's own right and it allows me to actually accomplish things. It's hysterical that I TRULY think you average more daytime hours in that chair than you do in bed.

Speaking of your siblings, Annie has warmed up to you a lot.  She told us that she has started to like you more, partly because you are more fun to play with now and partly because your hands aren't so drooly. I guess now that you've cut two teeth the five months or so of "teething" is done for a bit.

Graves has a new game he plays with you called "magic horse ride". He basically just gallops around the house holding you and sort of chanting "MAGIC HORSE RIDE". You seem to enjoy it thoroughly.

I don't think there's much in the way of "events" to report besides that we concluded our New York trip and came home and got back on a normal schedule.

One really special thine about the trip was how comfortable I got nursing you anywhere and everywhere.  I've nursed you in so many places, many of which I never have before- probably at least six times on an airplane, in multiple airports, sitting on the sidewalk, on playground benches, while riding the train, and in a church service. One weekend, I figured out how to nurse you in the Tula and Papa thought she was sleeping when he came out of a store. Another day, I nursed you in a crowded train and had to unzip my dress and pull it off one shoulder to do it. You had literally thrown her paci onto the tracks and were screaming so hard and Papasuggested getting the little applesauce squeeze thing out of the bottom of your backpack which was full of the big kids' Easter eggs. Yeah, no. You were exhausted and hungry and there was a much easier way to take care of that. And one that I knew you'd find a lot more comforting than an applesauce pouch. You needed me and it didn't matter much that I hadn't worn the most accommodating dress or that the train was pretty full. Papa told me later how proud he was of me. When he says that, it always means the world go me. I certainly don't have it all figured out and here with my third baby, I'm more cognizant of that than ever. But it's nice to feel confident about a few things and to be comfortable enough to do things in a way that's easy, and to be honest, very natural; instead of nursing her on a toilet. It's such a joy to be able to serve you this way. And I'm so grateful I get to do it this last time. 

-As we get closer to celebrating a year with you, I've been thinking about how different your nfancy has been from your siblings'. I've mentioned it before- how much of the responsibility I took on myself. P said to me "you know you basically raised this baby yourself up until now". That's a gift itself but the bonus gift is that it has released me from a lot of "what ifs" and hypothetical regrets that I know I'm prone to. When I am tempted to say "gosh, I wish I had been more present during her babyhood" I can face myself in the mirror and say, with great sincerity, "well damn, if you had been any more present you'd have well been present at a mental health facility somewhere". I know that I could not have (healthily) given more of myself to you or to this season and that's an incredible feeling. That said, you and Papa have really bonded. He can get you to sleep now and he's even been getting up with you at night to give me a break. I know I shouldn't be anything but happy, but it hurts a bit. I'd been waiting for him to fall in love with her but I'm not sure I wanted you to fall in love with him. Selfish.

Also, awhile back , I very nearly had a mild heart attack. I brought you some books to look through and I realized I couldn't remember if I've EVER read to you. It was such a huge component of Annie's infancy- it was one of THE only things I did consistently, I was so paralyzed by so much. I didn't do as well with Graves, but I prioritized it. Annie reads to you a good bit, but....part of me felt like I was being way too dramatic but part of me was devastated. I know it sounds absurd but it was one of those "I can't believe this is me" moments. I realized I had read to you some when I've read to the big kids while bouncing you in my lap or nursing you. But never really for your own sake. In many ways I feel like I've given much more of myself with you than with them, but in others I know the opposite is true. I've taken much better care of myself physically this time- getting enough sleep and eating much better- but with homeschooling and just the incessant, often deep, dialogue that comes with school age children, I'm much more mentally drained than I was when I had an infant and a toddler. I thought about it and I don't sing to you nearly as much as I did to them, either. When I hold you I mostly want to snuggle you, not read you a book and I mostly want the silence when I can have it.

I whisper over and over that "I love you, Sarah Lamar. You're such a special girl, Sallie." I trace your features and I stroke your soft, thin baby hair and I make little circles in your palm with my thumb and she you still often drift off to sleep with us holding hands. That's enough. That's more than enough. You will know that you're loved. I'm sure of it.

We love you Little Sallie Sunshine,
Love, Momma (and Papa)

P.S. I think your dress is a 12 mo. but the tag has been cut out. 

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