This post's title isn't wholly accurate. You're actually closer to 10 1/2 months than you are to 10. (although in all honesty this post has been sitting on the docket for nearly 2 weeks now. things just take awhile to get done lately.) And you know what that means; practically 11 months old. Eleven! Which is just a tiny baby hiccup away from twelve. One year. Everyone (and I mean everyone) said that the second baby's babyhood goes by much faster than the first and I have to say that the general consensus...is right. I don't know if I can throw excuses around like a cross-country move and endless house hunting in there, but it's been so bittersweet to realize my little sleepy bundle of curled-up baby is now a standing, almost-cruising, nap-resisting, much bigger baby. I won't say the T word that rhymes with doddler but you're sadly past the newborn stage. In between it all. Chubby feet, stubby toes (like her Papa's), four of the most adorable teeth I've ever seen gleaming in your mouth every time you smile, which is a lot. Even when tired you can usually still eek out a smile.
Ten months means you do a lot of pulling up to stand, exploring everything there is to explore (and with a Mila around there is never a shortage of that). Crawling a little, pulling up on whatever, and doing it all over again. And every so often we'll hear in your sweet whisper voice a-ba-ba-ba-BAAAAA which I swear is my favorite of the baby babble clusters. It was with Wugs as well. When I a-ba-ba-ba-BAAAAA back to you you'll get this huge smile on your face (there's those teeth again!) and start happily crawling towards me. You're so happy it's almost more like a prance than a crawl, every hand and knee hitting the floor with cheery intent. To me! You're coming to me and that big smile is for me. I'm always so honored and thankful to be yours, as long as you want.
Dani, you are sunshine. When you hear music, you start dancing from your perch on the floor. And when you dance, you dance from her gut. Really. It's like a gravity-assisted sit-up as you push that soft belly of yours forward and backward, and lately when you really get excited (again, often) you'll flap her arms and clap. I think you're trying to become airborne and this is what's going to get you off the ground. Straight to flying, my little bird.
I call you Nai lately. Papa's called you Scrubby from day one (actually I think he announced it on day two) because he said you looked like a teeny scrub monkey. All squinty-eyed, wrinkly and burrowing into whomever's arm crook you happened to be happily sleeping in. I never got on board with the Scrubby or Scrubs though. When you're overtired and upset you make this ninga-ninga-ninga sound and I started cooing it back to you in sympathy. And then Nai somehow sprang up from Ninga. I know, we're crazy silly around here. I think you'll fit right in. We've already seen some glimpses of your humor--spitting water back out at your Papa for dramatic effect, blowing raspberries at the funniest moments, open-mouth kisses while trying to eat our noses while we egg you on. You're gonna do just fine.
Your favorite things: the B. toys interactive symphony toy...actually, any and all kind of music but your legs kick most wildly the second I turn on the 'solid gold oldies' music channel on tv. You're still crazy about Papa's guitar playing and he even calls it his milk (poor substitute but hey. He tries.) Your favorite corners of this home are the cabinet where diapers are kept (you love undoing all my nice folding) and the tub. Gosh do you make a beeline for that tub, just to pull up to stand there and see what there is to see there. It's your version of the Gold Rush.
You're in that tough 'tweener stage where you're starting to drop one of your naps, yet you still desperately need the rest. Ah. I think I remember this with Wugs. Mila's sleep patterns are all a little hazy and I imagine I'll be saying the same about you come a few years' time. I'll miss being able to curl up so perfectly around you and nap in our warm little cocoon. I'll miss scooping you up out of your crib at 1 am and us drifting off to sleep together for the rest of the night. And I need a few months' distance from it right now but I'm sure eventually I'll miss those nights where you're wide awake at 3 am and ready to party. Me rocking you sleepily in the living room and dreaming of sleep.
Oh Dani Lu. I think back to my pregnancy with you, fraught with anxiety and worry, feeling like I was cheating on Mila for bringing another child into her world, wondering how I could possibly be as lovestruck crazy for another child like I was (am!) with Wugs. I got amazing advice and reassurance from close friends. Underneath it all they just seemed to know something I didn't, something inexplicable. There was a quiet confidence and conviction to their words when they talked about growing their family, adding to it--taking away individualized attention yes, but gaining so much more.
I get it now. I get it although words fail me too. I just know that I am deeply in love with you. All that anxiety fell by the wayside the second they placed you, still with umbilical cord attached, onto my chest. In its place came this fierce, protective love. You were there all along, Daniela Lu.
I've loved getting to know you these last 10 months. I can't imagine the joy that is to come. Thank you for coming to our family.
*And also unrelated but it reminds me in the tiniest bit of one of our favorite songs, it's hilarious, go see.