Friday, July 12, 2013

Eleanor is Eight Months Old!

Can you handle the cuteness?
She isn't so much fun to photograph anymore, as she wiggles and squirms out of every picture.  Despite her best attempts I was able to capture a few amazing shots.  She is beautiful, funny, full of light and a joy to be around.  This my friends, is my beautiful eight month old baby girl, Eleanor.
I can't get enough of her!  (Or that perfect "school photo" shot above!)

Eleanor has reached many new milestones this month.  She waves her hands to say goodbye, or to say hello to herself in the mirror.  Then Alex taught her to clap and that is incredibly fun.  "Clap, clap, clap," we say to her all day long.
She can pull herself up to standing, and even learned how to sit back down.  You think those sound like simple tasks, but I'm telling you, it is so fascinating to watch a child learn.  Such meticulous and careful thought.
She is still a fabulous eater, as evidenced by yesterday's foodie baby post.  She will chow down on everything we give her.  Yesterday she ate a whole olive and even a pepperoncini pepper at lunch.  (Mmmm Olive Garden!)  I don't think she has ever turned down a single food item.  And she eats whatever we are eating.  I hope that is always the case!
Days are fun with Alex home with us.  Summer is such a magical time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I am certainly looking forward to Autumn, my absolute favorite season.  But you just can't top the long sunny days and quality family time.  Alex and I balance our work with baby duties and it is so nice to have a break from being the main caretaker.  He is fabulous with Eleanor.  I feel silly even saying that, like it even needs mentioning because being a dad to Eleanor comes so naturally to Alex.  There are so many things that he can do so much better than me (like soothing Eleanor when she wakes in the middle of the night--which rarely happens these days).
Yup, you heard that, Eleanor sleeps through the night and so do we!  I think we are going on two solid months now.  I have finally let go of the stress of the unknown before bed each night.  I used to almost dread going to bed, not knowing how our night would be.  Now, I just curl up into Alex's arms and fall asleep, knowing it will be at least six in the morning before I am awakened.
Everything about Eleanor is more predictable these days.  Her naps are also getting better.  While she still needs to cry herself to sleep most days, it is getting easier and easier.  We have nearly cut out the third nap altogether.  Most days she takes a morning nap around nine, an afternoon nap around one or two, and goes to bed about eight.  We nurse after she wakes up in the morning, and after each nap, as well as once right before bed.  That's just four times a day!  We were still doing five, a dream feed right before I went to sleep, but this past week we have done away with it completely.  After months of round the clock nursing, it is hard to believe she nurses just four times a day!
Of course I am certain that has something to do with all those solids making it down the hatch.  Did I mention how great of an eater she is?
Our days are typically pretty laid back.  She plays independently so well.  After breakfast in the morning she will play on the living room floor or her bedroom for hours by herself.  She is no longer interested in many of her toys but goes straight for the basket of cloth diapers and a bottle of lotion.  She practices pulling up on the coffee table or her changing table and stretching for items just beyond her reach.
Eleanor is also crawling.  Each day she gets faster and stronger.  Today she ventured from the living room into the kitchen on her own.  Most days she doesn't go far unless she is trying to attack me.  Once she sees her momma she darts towards me.  So fun.
She is equally a momma's girl and a daddy's girl.  She brightens up when we walk into a room.  But more often these days she will begin to cry or whine if I hand her off to someone else or walk out of the room.  She likes to be around me even if she is playing on her own.  It's cute, sad and sometimes annoying all at the same time.  I hate that she cries when I place her in a friend's arms.  I wish she would just love on everyone.  However, from a distance she is friendly and eager to smile and wave. And I would be lying if I didn't say that I secretly love it when she "needs" me!
Did I mention she can accurately signal "all done" in baby sign language?  We have been teaching her when she's done eating to wave her arms and show her the sign while we say "all done."  We also do it in the tub and sometimes when finished playing.  In just the last week or so she has been showing us "all done" when we say it, or when she's finished eating.  It is so cool to see her pick up on communication techniques.  She impresses me every day.  If you could see me now you would see me beaming with pride!
All this mobility and learning leads to many bumps and bruises of course.  It seems like she is always sporting a purple bruise on her forehead.  That darn head just gets in the way so often.  I try really hard not to always rush to her aid but let her figure things out on her own.  Of course that also leads to more bumps and bruises.
She is still our little swimmer hitting the pool two or three times a week.  We have a nice rotation going from the YMCA to our friends' houses to neighborhood pools.  In counting, we may make it to every pool in Mooresville before the summer is up.  I wish we could just build one right out back.
I don't think she loves having her head dunked under water, but she tolerates it.  We count "1...2...3" and then blow in her face and dunk.  She comes up sputtering, I resist the urge to wipe water out of her face.  Slowly she blinks away the water and opens her eyes and mouth.  Looking around she shoots off her mad face and then quickly recovers.
We are almost out of photos, so I suppose I need to wrap up our little recap as well.  I honestly can't say enough about Eleanor and what a joy she is in our lives.  How did I ever get so lucky in life?
I could just kiss those stinkin' cheeks all day long (and I do).  I want to just eat her up!  Breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Golly, I love her so very much.
Happy Eight Months Old Miss Eleanor!  Thank you for these eight wonderful months.  I can't wait to see how you continue to amaze us!
You are the best Nugget! The very best Chicken Nugget!

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