Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Letter to (Thirteen Month Old) Sarah Lamar

Dear Sarah Lamar,

Well, this letter is FULL, Sister because it includes two months of happenings since Papa writes your yearly one but I didn't want to miss out on sharing anything with you. Of course, I'm two months behind, just like I get with your brother and sister, but by the time you read these, it won't matter.

Let's see-- what are you up to?

Some people have told me that "three kids in one bedroom will not work". Well guess what? it's working!!!

On a friend date awhile back, Miss Carrie was like "look, nobody is saying you need to full out stop nursing Sallie anytime soon and nobody is saying you gotta CIO but maybe just TRY night weaning her?" I talked Papa and Minnie and they both acted like it was ENTIRELY NORMAL that you were almost a year and waking up every four hours. I guess because I trained them to think this and they've only ever known you doing this and it's been five years since the last baby. I mean I told the pediatrician you were rotten and he was like "I can tell you how to fix that" I was like "eh, nope, like her that way". Annnnyway, back to the friend date- it was a good word from a good friend. The month before it had been TOUGH. It was totally fine until it wasn't. And somehow it got really hard. I still contend that the first nine-ish months, you seemed equally pleasant when she slept terribly and slept well. And I handled it okay. But then one day I realized my delightful little person had become so cranky and I was floundering myself. And Papa, who had been totally chill about it all was suddenly REAL READY to have some couple space in our room (FYI, cosleeping/roomsharing doesn't have to hinder...romance, but it does complicate things just a bit). And I was getting there myself.

Papa started getting up with you some and not giving you to me to nurse until a certain time. The first night was tough and then you transitioned to waking up to nurse around five or six and then sleeping until eight thirty. And then you got to where you pretty consistently woke up just once in the night (which is FINE by me). AND, we got you taking two (way too short, but whatever) naps or one decent one and IT WAS EVERY KIND OF AMAZING.

I told Miss Carrie she was knocking it out of the park between this and helping me pick your name and she said we were basically co-parenting at this point. I'll take it. I need all the help I can get. It takes a village.

When we transitioned you into the room with the big kids getting you to sleep in the crib wasn't super easy (partly because I'm so short- I have no idea how I did it with Annie and Graves. Papa did  it a lot after I would nurse you the last time each night and that was tough for me. One night awhile back, I used some of his tips (standing up and holding you while swaying, patting you once we lay you down- in some ways you are super low maintenance; in some ways you are rotten). I did that for awhile and after a bit, after I thought you were totally asleep, you stood fully up. Girl. I gave you a hug and told you I loved you and walked out and you didn't cry once. I was astounded. You've also adjusted  well and we can turn on a lamp, whisper, or snap a picture of her just like the other two Herrington babies. Those things are key, FYI, if you're bunking three to a room.

You have four teeth now. You started cutting the bottom two in New York and the top two came in this past month. You are even more of a voracious eater these days.

You love veggies. You've tried squash, zucchini, and broccoli  loved it all. Actually, I'm not sure you have met a food hat you don't love. Sweet potatoes are your absolute favorite, though. 

You love eating blueberries straight off the backyard bushes and you love playing with the toads Bud and Annie catch. Bud also introduced you to roly polies and you thought they were so fun! 

I feel like you spend about eighty percent of your waking hours eating or nursing. I also feel like you've gotten SO BIG. I tell Papa every morning that you look bigger than when I put you to bed. And I feel like you just keep getting cuter and more charming, also by the day.

Annie decided that she was unafraid of baby drool enough to actually be willing to feed you her extra refried beans herself but you thought you were to grown to be spoon fed and attempted to fight her on it.

Awhile back I had to go scavenging for your supper at Mickey and Minnie's and it lead you to your first ever vanilla wafer. The Summer of Abundant Blessings continues on for you and you are totes living her best life now. Since bananas and Nila wafers are pretty much your favorite foods, Mickey decided to make you a banana pudding in lieu of a first birthday cake. I think you were as big of a fan as your momma is! 

You also drank cows' milk for the first time! I really hadn't even thought about it (you still nurse about five times a day- I only know that because a friend asked me recently and I tallied it up) but Minnie wanted to put tea with caffeine in your sippy

You mostly have two baths a day- one after lunch and one after supper (I try to feed things you that aren't messy at breakfast because three baths seems excessive). You take after your sister and sweat like a pig. You can get stinky from it (SO crazy that a baby can have body odor?!?) and between that and being a messy eater, the copious baths are inevitable. I just inhale your right when you get out and use baby lotion in between. There's something so sweet about a fresh, clean baby and I'm willing to invest some time in having one (and also willing to admit that you're going to get way dirtier way earlier than my big kids). It is funny that I don't remember them getting stinky and gross this early but I think it has to do with your eating and how active you are and how much you are outside. Annie was just a total lardass (as Mickey eloquently describes lazy people) and didn't walk until she was seventeen months and I told her Dr. Denney was going to send her to physical therapy if she didn't do it and Graves was a comparatively busy baby but he's not near as hot natured as you and Annie. They neither one seemed to love the outdoors quite as early or quite as much as you do and neither ate like you do.

You've been wearing bubbles to church which is something I NEVER did with Annie and honestly, ismuch more casual than what Graves wore when he was a baby. I had all these rigid rules- no bright colors or playful motifs and only dresses for Annie. Not all smocking is created equal and I broke another one of my rules and bought stuff that just wasn't even cute (to me) just because it fit what I was trying to do. I talked to a friend awhile back to troubleshoot it and she was like "yeah, putting Sallie in those dresses doesn't really fit your model of 'Sallie only wears what SD loves' *and* she would fit better with the big kids' vibe in more casual stuff. Whew. Praise God for friends who analyze meaningless stuff with me. So...I got rid of all that and just put you in what I want to.You aren't wearing  footies to church, but there's now a huge continuum with tatted dresses on one end and seersucker bubbles on the other (okay, that *feels* like a huge spectrum to me). 

I got you  three bonnets this year, fingers crossed our beloved Briarwood would live to see another year, and we'd be able to make good use of them. It did and we have (already). All Etsy purchases, hand made and without the price tag of some of the fancy brands, it was a perfect little splurge on our sweet sunshine girl, the tag along baby who spends quite many of her days among the elements.
(Aside regarding the bonnet splurge of 2017: part of me said "be pragmatic and get her a white (or heavens, at least a solid) one". The other part said "mint polka dots/pink gingham, Kelly green seersucker/reversible rosebuds and pink, and red polka dots are indescribably more charming". Clearly, the latter part won and I haven't wished for that white bonnet once.)

We haven't gone for your one year check up yet, but I'll be interested to see where you are growth wise. You are wearing nearly all of Annie's stuff from when she was one very comfortably so I'm thinking, despite looking much rounder, you may now be on the tiny person trajectory with your sister and brother.  

I hate admitting this, but last month was the first time I really got mad at you. I've been stressed before but I always felt like that was on me; I just wasn't being patient with you. But recently I felt about you ike I do about the big kids. It was such a "toddler" moment and it kind of tore me apart. You had a runny nose and had been screaming and you needed me as much as you did when you were a newborn. I closed my eyes and nursed and cuddled you and my feelings changed in just a few minutes but it was a tough moment.  

 You are such a fun girl! Papa said awhile back that he thinks you might be his AT hiking partner because you are a nature chick like Annie but are high energy like Bud. You gotta love nature on the AT and you can't be lazy on the AT. 

And you're such a sweet girl.  You love to lay your little head on mine and Papa's legs when we're sitting on the couch or right in my lap if I'm on the floor playing with you. I'm pretty sure you initially did it when you were sleepy, but I squealed about it so much, I think you just do it now to be sweet. 

Minnie recently said that she think you are "Bump made over". Bump, of course, was my beloved grandmother and one of my best friends, and is the Sarah that you is named for. She was spunky but also very, very laid back and knew how to "go with the flow" better than anyone I've ever known. I told Minnie that's exactly the vibe I need around my house. 

You've spent a ton of time at the pool this summer and you just adore it. Every time we are there, I keep thinking about doing this same thing last summer and those last few weeks with you on the inside. I've been reminiscing alot about it lately. I'm really thankful, deep down, that it's something I'll never do again, but a tiny part of me misses it. That said,  sure did enjoy the first part of the summer more than I did last year when I was pregnant! As an aside, I'm pretty sure I heard you say "Lila" fairly clearly the other day. You know you've been spending a lot of time at the pool if one of your baby's first ten words is the name of the swimteam coach.

We spent ALL day at the pool on the Fourth- we got there before nine that morning and got home around six that night. You  literally had ONE meltdown at the very end and I don't think you cried or fussed otherwise. Best baby ever. Who also has the best village ever. I was thinking that I'm not sure how much of this is nature and how much is nurture. I remember posting something one year on the Fourth about how it was weird to me how parents complained about fireworks but then I realized they probably thought it was weird we took our kids to Coney Island for fireworks every Friday and got home at one in the morning and had a great discussion with some friends about how their kids probably couldn't tolerate that. Honestly, we pay for this stuff with Annie, but the trade off is usually worth it. Graves rolls with the punches mostly and has for the longest time. But you are a whole nother level of flexible and continueto blow my mind with your easy going nature. I initially set the PnP up in the back of the concession stand (perks of being on the board and always being one to help Save the Briarwood Pool and mostly being friends with the manager and the lifeguards) but Papa thought it was a little inconsiderate and you really didn't want me to leave you in there and honestly it wasn't super convenient to have to either sit in there or go check on you a bunch. So I set it up in the shade and you just used it as a playpen two different times for about twenty minutes and then Lila got you to sleep and our friend Callie held you for probably an hour and then transfered her exhausted self. I nursed you four times and you got in the pool on three different occasions and were so happy to enjoy being carried around on various hips. Nine hours is a long day at the pool at any age but for sure at twelve months old and you were such a champ!

You are such an angel. I took you and Annie and Graves to the pool while Papa had a meeting awhile back and you were so content to hang out on a lounge chair and snack and watch her brother and sister swim while P had a board meeting at the pool. Cheerios, sunshine, and momma snuggles are all you need.

Your siblings are so smitten with you. We went to a birthday party at Pump it up a couple of months ago. Graves played for awhile and then kept asking me to let you play on this riding toy. You were totally content in your stroller, but I finally relented.You got your foot stuck under it and cried a bit and before the party you got a busted lip at the hands of an overly excited brother who was jumping in your crib with you in it. You're as tough as nails, though, and cried less than a minute both times.

At the pool one day, Graves smacked Annie hard. Totally inexcusable but when I asked him why I found out he was upset because she had pushed the stroller "near the pool". We were all probably thirty feet from the water's edge but he said "Sallie's my baby sister and I do not want her to die". One of my greatest comforts in you growing up (something that's been even harder than usual as you got close to a year) is that you and Graves seem love each other more by the day. Y'alls precious relationship is one of the purest loves I've ever seen.

One rainy morning swim practice was cancelled, so Bud strolled you around inside the house. He took you on a tour of it-- "not sure you remember this room. It's where you sleep now. Pretty big mess in here.") You two are so high energy. At this point y'all both drain my reserves pretty quickly, but on my darkest days, you two are some of the brightest rays of sunshine I could imagine.

After overhearing me telling Papa that I thought you were fussy because you were on the brink of another milestone, he told me "I think she's probably thinking 'Wah...y'all guys can walk and I can't'".

I put you in some Baby Gap banana jams Graves wore at one the other night. He thought you were SO CUTE in them and asked me please not to change you right away in the morning so he could play with you  in them. After you went to be that night he said "I wish I could have a baby just like Sallie- a girl baby would be great- that looked just like Sallie and acted just like Sallie and was named Sallie and had one those banana pjs". Bless his heart, he apparently loves these things. He also told me that you were even "sweeter and kinder" when you wear them them. I think he means "cuter and softer".

And Annie takes such good care of you. I was in the bathroom and Graves had what Annie referred to as a "gumball explosion" in the den (they spilled everywhere). Fearing a choking hazard, Annie picked you up, brought you to their room, moved this stool across the room using her feet while still holding you, and hoisted you  into her crib. Not bad for someone who doesn't even really like to touch drooly babies.  I asked Annie to demonstrate (as I always do with things like this) and she said "I'm sorry you've got to go through this experience again, Sallie". She really did a great job and seemed completely in control of the situation.

Graves and Annie have been coming up with several new nicknames for you- he calls you"Cheeks" (which seems very appropriate given your big grinny round face) and "Banana" (I think it's a reference to those jammies he loves and I also find it special because we used to call Annnie "the little banana"). He and Annie also call you "Comet" when they play Star Wars. I asked them recently how they came up with it and Annie said because it was a "space name". 

Just over a year ago I was chuckling, thinking about how the Sister Baby we had yet to name would fit in with our crazy crew. And lately I'm laughing even harder, thinking about how our Sallie Baby could not have been a more perfect addition. I'm grateful for so many things about them, but close to the top of the list is the laughter you and your brother and sister bring to my life.
It's really really fun for me to see the ways you are similar to both of them (like how Papa said you may be his hiking buddy because you're a nature girl like Annie but have Bud's energy) and ways in which you are like neither of them.  

I know this is unsurprising and I know I say it all the time, but you seem so much older at one than they did.. You mind really well (I'm sure that will be short lived) and are really communicative and seem to understand so much (like I told you the other day that you couldn't go in a room with the big kids and you started fussing).

I love how you've started interacting so much and are clearly really cognizant of your surroundings. If Papa has worked a few days straight, you seem to really crave *his* attention. And one morning you were fussing and then you heard Graves's voice and started laughing and clapping. 

You say a handful of words but you don't really say any of them super consistently. My favorite recent edition is when you call Graves "Bubba" because I refer to him as "Bud Bud" to you a lot.

I also still can't get over how fun it is to have a Cousin Baby and a Sister Baby three weeks apart. You and Evan are both messes and are both perfect tag along, easy natured, third babies who are already trying to keep up with the big kids. Y'all love to pat each other and play together and be silly.

I treasure my days with you, Sal. During City Meet, Papa had Annie and Graves with him, and I brought you home so you could nap. I was so hungry and kind of desperate for some time to myself and had a list of things I needed to do but you so rarely falls asleep nursing these days. Time moves like a freight train these days so I had to just hold my girl for a bit.

When you turned one, my heart didn't break as much as I thought it would be. But my mind was effectively blown. It went really fast but I think I soaked it up as much as a human being is capable of.
This year has been such a delight. I wanted another baby so badly and for so long, but in my best and brightest dreams I couldn't have imagined the joy you would bring me. We adore you, Sarah Lamar.
I speak often of motherhood being full of undignified honors and NOWHERE has that been more true than in your entrance into the world. It's no secret that I struggled with disappointment because your birth was not what I expected, but along with many other lasts I've gotten to fully immerse myself in this year, doing the hard and holy work of bringing you earthside was one of the great accomplishments of my life and I will be forever grateful I got the chance to experience the beauty of birth again. It was my privilege to serve you this way and it has been my privilege to serve you- and your brother and sister- every day since.

We love you, Little Sallie Sunshine

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your pjs are 12-18 mo.!


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