Our little girl turned 9 months on February 26th, so for the majority of the month she was 8 months old. The month started on a Monday, and we have our week-day routine down. Shortly after we get home, I feed her food and a bottle, before our walk. We always walk 3 miles, which takes us about an hour because we're slow, and have our little side-kick Trevi. Sometimes we walk through the neighborhood, and other times we walk to the grocery store, Starbucks, Dollar Tree or for ice cream. When we get back, there's always play time and about every third day or so, playtime in the bath. She has graduated from the sink to the bathtub, but I still use her blooming flower which I place in a laundry basket so that she, and her toys, don't float away. Then, it's time for another feeding around 7pm and by 7:30, she's asleep in my arms. I transfer her to her crib, where she sleeps until our morning feeding and cuddle time.
The first weekend of February was low-key. The only thing we had planned was a birthday party for the now 15 year-old boy we briefly fostered. He is thriving with his foster family, my co-worker and his wife and it was good to see him doing so well.
I continued our lunch-time visits and am very proud to say that I haven't missed one day! Since the weather has been nice, between 70 and 80 degrees, I have started taking her outside for our visits. She loves to sit in the grass and pick at leaves, slowly crumbling them with her tiny fingers. When a plane or bird flies overhead, she looks. She watches the leaves blow with the breeze. Because I'm there at lunch time, sometimes workers from her class are coming or going for their break, and she always has a huge smile when she sees them. Then, I take her to the big kids area and hold her while she goes down the slide on the count of three, and cover her in more kisses than she would probably like as I carry her back to the room. I make sure to wave bye, not sneak out, and she usually flaashes a smile. She may enjoy those 30 minutes, but they make my entire day.
Baby A was quite the charmer at Mass on Ash Wednesday. She looks around, trying to make eye-contact with anyone she can, and as soon as she does, her whole face lights up with a smile. While we are trying to listen and appear focused, its not unusual for someone to say hello to her, laugh, or exclaim 'She's so cute!' She alternated between wanting to be held by me, and being held by Daddy. Her new favorite thing to do is touch his nose, eyes, or take off his glasses. I love watching them interact, and how he doesn't mind her little finger prints all over his lenses.
She started to become a more competent crawler, and really picked up speed. It's not unusual for her to crawl from her nursery, down the hall and through the kitchen or the living room. She loves going over to the sliding glass door, which I usually then open for her, and she crawls out on to our patio and sometimes, into the grass.
On Valentine's Day I had another IUI and we went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in Old Town and brought our little girl. As always, she was as good as gold, and had fun dropping toys from her high chair over and over. Nathan gave me Coco Madomosielle by Chanel, which I plan to wear...forever. Mom's signature scent was Chanel No. 5 and I like that mine is in the same family.
We had the next week off, called "ski week" for our district. We usually travel during this time, but it was so nice being home with Bean. We did a lot of planting, and started a project outside her nursery doors. There was a planter there that was hard as a rock, and overgrown with crabgrass. I softened and turned the dirt, weeded it, leveled an area to add some stepping stones, and filled the areas around them in with Irish moss. Then she helped me plant a lot of seeds.
She loves playing in the water and in the mud. And I love letting her get dirty, even though she usually requires a bath afterward. She's standing up on almost everything, and I know it's just a matter of months until she is toddling around. Spending more time outside, we bought her a Little Tikes swing/slide and also a really cute playhouse that also has a dollhouse section. I am proud of the fact that I found both these items on Craigslist for 1/3rd the cost. Finding a play house that looked Victorian and also had a dollhouse was so exciting for me. Yes, I just may be living vicariously through her. I had fun making a stepping stone path to it, and finding a tiny white picket fence.
On Saturday the 20th we started the first of 5 weeks of classes through the city of Tustin called "Babies love music" and went to her neighbor-friend's first birthday. As we sat outdoors in the warm February weather, and my thoughts drifted to the future I thought of the girls growing up together and becoming friends.
The last week of the month started with her first dental appointment and 3 skin biopsies for me at what we thought were routine procedures. Nathan thought it was funny that I was taking her to the dentist with only two teeth, but my book said that the first visit should be by her first birthday, or her first tooth. We left with a tiny pink toothbrush a prize she picked out, a purple caterpillar. A few days later, her third tooth came in, top right,
And then I got the call from my doctor's office, telling me I had to come in for the results. You know that is never good. I Have Cancer I thought, and felt, in the pit of my stomach. I still went to work and we still attended the baby music class the next morning but I felt like I was now an observer. Someone pretending to be a happy suburban Mom, with a little free time and money looking for enrichment activities for her college bound baby. Not someone possibly dying. The big "Hi! How are ya?" pleasantries are the hardest to respond to because no one really ants to know right then and there, from someone they hardly know. I seem to be able to built up to a certain level of acting normal and then loose it, usually in the car ride home. We went through the motions of two birthday parties and were sure to go to Mass. We had skipped the previous week for some plans that ended up falling through and I told my husband, I need to go. Every weekend. I was tired from our walk and sad, but felt better leaving, as always.
Moving forward, I will continue my monthly updates of my girl's first year, and will keep all the yucky other stuff in separate posts. Because cancer may have already invaded my world, but only to the extent I let it. And it has no business taking up space in what belongs to her.