dear peanut {five months}

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happy five months, little miss elinor!  that is one whole hand's worth.  just a few weeks shy of your half-birthday.  eeep!

you are five months...going on fifth grade.  personality is bubbling out all over the place.  you are effervescent.  and, at times, somewhat scary.  you will be a handful, for sure.  no shortage of attitude and energy and opinions and zest and personality here.  no ma'am.  but, we wouldn't want it any other way.  and the battles of the will are already beginning.  for example: your new favorite is bathtime flailing.  on one hand, super cute.  you are discovering that you can lift your bottom up and then plop yourself down and all the water will rush up onto your belly.  you also like to plug the faucet with your big toe so that the water sprays every which way.  and, you like to spread out your hands and place them on the surface of the water like one of those water strider bugs and then you slowly raise your hands up before...splash!  okay, but on the other hand, potentially hazardous.  you have also discovered that you can kick the knobs and make them move.  and while i applaud your chimpanzee dexterity, it also freaks me out when you get your toes on the cold water knob because you never kick it to make the water colder...you always shut that guy off.  leaving only a stream of hot water.  {pretty sure this tops the caring for an infant no-no list}  and so, i find myself washing you with one hand while keeping the other up as a blocker.  which you have taken as a challenge, of course.  break through the barrier!  get to the hot water so i can burn my delicate baby belly skin!  with every kick attempt, i respond with a firm, "no elinor" and a grab of the foot.  and my oh my, you aren't too keen on that.  you arch your back and furrow your brow...and wind up for another kick.  determined and defiant little thing.  and i am not trying to be the ogre who ruined bathtime but jeepers, i don't think you will enjoy third-degree burns.  sheesh.  and so, my prayers are that i will be able to engage you firmly and with grace.  that the battles to come will result in softer spirits and molded wills.  that your papa and i can protect you while also teaching you to discern and navigate without our assistance.  most of all, we just pray that God shows us what to do next.

you are quite persnickety about your naptime, my dear.  you love your sleep.  but you want it done a certain way.  we have created a creature of habit.  i just know that you will have a super chic dayplanner like me one day and we can be all nerdy together and "check our calendars" and "pencil things in" and "check!" things off when we have successfully completed them.  but i hope that you have some enjoy-the-moment-let's-be-spontaneous-go-with-the-flow-ness in there too.  so...sleep.  you like to go for a solid 12-hour stretch at night and i wake you up around 8:30 for some breakfast.  and i am pretty sure that if you didn't need to eat to survive, you would keep right on snoozing until noon.  really, you just wake up so that you can enjoy your first meal of the day, roll around a bit, and sing and squeal.  then, you very quickly shift from a ball of happy energy to a sweet little sleepy thing.  the thumbsucking begins and i swoop in and whisk you away for your nap.  what a life.  and when it comes to your nap, you like things just so.  rushing water setting on your sleep sheep.  check.  swaddled up all tight and plopped onto your side.  check.  arms exposed so you have an easy thumb path should you become startled and need a bit of soothing to doze off again.  check.  a super soft blanket draped over you and tucked up by your hands so you can rub it between your fingers as you fall asleep.  check.  and, the most important element:  a solid window for naptime, no less than 1.5 hours in duration.  you don't mess around.  your papa and i have learned that if we are busy and find ourselves with only 45 minutes for a nap, it is best to just let you play and catnap in our arms or in some kind of carrier contraption.  because "not it!" on being the one who has to wake you up from your truncated nap.  oooohh you give us such a death stare.  chilling.

currently... you love rolling yourself in your blanket like the cutest little burrito bundle.  you drool constantly.  you nibble on everything.  you are fascinated by dishes and cups. {probably because you are smart enough to understand that they are food and beverage vessels}  you like to impress us with your feats of strength, flipping from back to belly and the back again.  you are kind of a mama's girl which is really cute but can hurt your papa's feelings.  {i continue to reassure him that this is a phase and that pretty soon i will be old news and he will be her hero}

you have taught us so much in these past months.  and we know that we will all continue to grow and learn together as our little family.  you have taken me out of my type-A comfort zone.  and teach me patience and kindness.  and your sweet papa...oh, he just loves you and wants to wrap you all up and keep you safe.  forever.  he is learning to relax and let you explore the world...and even squawk at inopportune times.  you stretch us, sweet girl.  and we are grateful that God is using itty-bitty you to teach us and mold us.  we want to do this parenting thing well.

i must say that communication is getting better and better.  you are much more vocal these days.  and not just those newborn waaahhs.  you have a whole repertoire.  squawks and squeaks and giggles and ooohs and aaahs and weees.  a sound for every occasion.  and we are starting to understand your cues.  plus, you are adding in new facial expressions to help us along.  some of them are just copycat faces, i'm sure.  but others are indelible parts of your personality.  you have your sassy sideways glance.  you have your own smile of glee.  and you have your serious/focused face.  all you.  it will be so amazing to see how your face changes over the years but still maintains your very own expressions.  and one day, when someone says something absurd and you respond with that wilting sideways glance, i will just about burst.  remembering that very same expression that you have made since you were a wee one in diapers and a feathered headband.

love, love, love,

your mama + your papa

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rachel