Eleanor has been ten months for a bit now, but we just finally got around to snapping a few photos this weekend.
I feel like a broken record, but this child really makes life so joyful! She is constantly heralded as the "happiest baby ever" and people just really love her! Alex and I really, really love her. She is getting so big and is now interacting with us on a new level, almost as if we can carry on a conversation. Sometimes Eleanor will give me these "moments" where I really feel like we are communicating and I can feel her love for me. We already have such a special bond. I never want this to change!
Eleanor is such a good baby. At ten months we are still getting great sleep. She takes two naps a day, and a full ten or eleven hours at night. It is easier and easier to put her down to sleep and I would say most times she doesn't cry at all or fusses very little.
Eleanor is so independent and is happy to play all day on her own. I know she is hungry or tired because she will suddenly become needy. I try to get down on the floor and play with her but she really is just content on her own. I know Miss Jenny, her new babysitter, gets down and does lots of play with Eleanor. You can tell how much Eleanor loves her for it. Some days I feel really bad that I am always doing work or housework while she plays independently, but other days I count my lucky stars that she is so great on her own.
This baby loves other babies. And other kids. She sees children and starts cooing and reaching out for them. She loves to play, albeit a bit rough, and is just so interested. When other children are more shy than her and won't play with Eleanor, it already breaks my heart. You can see the sadness in her eyes. She doesn't understand why they don't love her as much as she loves them.
She keeps us on our toes. She hasn't attempted to stand on her own or walk yet, but she certainly is mobile. She hates to be in one place for long and moves from room to room to room. The bathrooms are some of her favorite spots. There is just so much to get into in the bathrooms!
Eleanor loves to play with her toys. She loves all her blocks, plastic, wooden and cloth. She loves toys that make noise and she can shake. And when I say "shake, shake, shake" she will play along. She always grabs a toy for each hand and carries them throughout the house. She will crawl with each hand full, then stop and sit up and start clapping the toys together. Then start moving again. She pulls up on everything, tables, chairs and even flat walls. But always with a toy in each hand.
Talk, talk, talk. She is quite the babbler, and she has many new "words." The newest is Mama and I couldn't be happier. At times it seems like she even uses it in context. She also says Dada, and Gaga, and she will use 'Ls' and 'Ns'. I'm pretty impressed by her growing vocabulary. I don't think we are too far off from forming words and really using them in context.
Eleanor still loves to blow raspberries or zerberts and will get going and not stop for several minutes. Drool will form all around her mouth and drip down her chin. She is so funny! When she puts her mouth on our knees or arms to blow zerberts she usually winds up biting us instead now. Those teeth get in the way. She has been biting us a lot lately and it has been hard to teach her not to bite. We firmly tell her no, but she'll just laugh. Right now we still find that funny and it's hard not to crack a smile.
My favorite thing about Eleanor right now are the hugs and kisses. When we pick her up she will squeeze her arms around our necks. Nothing makes my heart melt more! In the morning when we are hanging out in bed she will reach over and smack a big open-mouth kiss on my face. She gets confused sometimes and bites me, but I don't think she really means to. Most of the time she'll just leave a big pile of drool on my face and reach back and smile. She doesn't like to be in our arms much, but she can be sweet when she wants to be!
This month we took two small adventures. The first was to visit friends in Highlands, NC where Eleanor got to meet her "birthday twin" George. We went for a hike with our two families and enjoyed the cool mountain air.
We also took Eleanor to New York with us this month for Alex's Dad's wedding. We spent a long weekend celebrating the bride and groom and ended the mini-vacay with a trip to Niagara Falls. We rode the Maid of the Mist and were drenched and strolled through the park enjoying the great views. Before heading home we drove into Canada so this baby can technically say she has left the country now!
Today (Sunday) is the official first day of Fall and we couldn't be more excited. Fall has always been my favorite season and now I get to share this time of the year with Eleanor. I'm anxious to enjoy beautiful weather, fun festivals and great days with this little gal. We had such a great summer and now have so much to look forward to, including a big birthday that is fast approaching!
I will never understand how Alex and I got so lucky. Our world is full of so much joy and pleasure. Every morning I am excited to pull her out of her crib and cuddle with her in my bed. And every evening I squeeze her tight to me, missing her already. I know we are just ten (and a half) months into this parenting thing, but I am already certain of many things: 1. she will always know that I love her, I will never fail to tell her and 2. she will always know that I am on her side, that I accept her just for who she is.
I can't wait to watch as her personality continues to unfold. She is an amazing little girl.
I realized this month that being her mom doesn't wear me out the way it used to. When she was four or five months old, a day spent with her would be exhausting. Fun and wonderful, but very tiring. I'm not worn out by motherhood the way I used to be. Maybe it's because we have less diaper changes or because we are only nursing three or four times a day. I wouldn't say it's easier now, but maybe that it is just more natural. I've always enjoyed my job as mom, but now it's not as exhausting.
So now just one and a half more months and this little girl will be a year old! On one hand it feels like she just got her, and on the other it seems like she's always been a part of our world!