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Dear Coraline: Month 16

Dear Coraline,

It’s hard to believe, but as of today, you, my crazy little monkey, turned 16 months old. At your most recent checkup, your belated 15-month well baby visit (your doctor was on vacation last month), you weighed in at an impressive 22.6 pounds and measured 30 1/2 inches tall. Your hair is as thick as ever, you have a mouth full of teeth (I think you’re only waiting on the last two), and you have a personality so big it’s hard to believe your little body can contain it.

HuggieMonth 16 started off with you noticing you can toss your head to flip your hair out of your eyes (very baby emo), followed by your second Christmas, a day during which you celebrated with your entire family at both Abuela and Abuelo’s house and then Grandma and Grandpa’s house. You not only had a blast seeing everyone and dancing mosh-pit style to Christmas music with your cousins Stephen and Elliott, but you received lots of neat clothes and enough toys to stock an orphanage, some of which we still have yet to open precisely because you received so many.

Coraline Christmas 2011Your vocabulary has grown leaps and bounds these last few weeks. In addition to “momma,” “poppa,” and “dada,” you can now say: grandpa, banana (pronounced “nana”), shoes, socks, dog, cheese, good, cake, more, no, milk, uh-oh, book, ball, Elmo, apple, and dinosaur. You learned apple, milk, more, and cake this last Saturday alone; your abuela heard you say “dinosaur” today thanks to your fondness for the show Dinosaur Train. Your favorite word these days seems to be “Elmo.” You love watching Sesame Street, particularly the Elmo’s World segment, and you constantly try to steal my iPad because you know you can play Elmo Loves ABCs on it and watch Elmo videos on YouTube. You are very expressive and decisive, saying “no” to let us know when you don’t want a certain food, if you don’t want to wear that particular pair of shoes, or if you don’t want a certain book read at bedtime. You love saying “shoes” because, well, you love shoes. You’ve tried putting your cousin Stephen’s shoes on his feet for him and your poppa once saw you putting your tiny foot in one of his very large shoes. One day you even picked out a pair of shoes and asked your poppa to put those on you instead of the ones you were already wearing. On Saturday you not only picked out the Dr. Seuss T-shirt you wanted to wear, you also shot down both my shoe suggestions in favor of your shiny black patent-leather pair. And you were right — they really did add a little extra oomph to your outfit. (Ah, sweetie, some day you and I will have fun shoe shopping. On sale, of course. Remember what I tell you when we run errands: We shop sales in this family.)

The shoes Abuelo gave you for ChristmasYour love of reading continues to develop, with you enjoying a pre-bedtime ritual of scouring your bookshelves (and floor) in search of the perfect bedtime story. You’ll hunt high and low until you find the books you’re looking for, hand it to me, then turn around and back up to me so I can pick you up and put you in my lap. Your favorites these days are still Good Night, Dora, Lull-a-bye, Little One, Curious George Visits the Zoo, and Baa Baa Bedtime. I’m pretty sure if you had a full vocabulary, you’d be able to recite them by heart. You also have a nice cache of books downstairs in the den, which you sit and “read” to yourself or occasionally ask your poppa or I to read to you.

Coraline choosing bedtime storiesYour comprehension of things is something to behold now. You understand so much of what we say, and you are an incredibly fast learner. You are also quite the little ham, walking around with your arms behind your back, military-style (thanks to mimicking Stephen) and, as of a few days ago, walking around with your arms folded over your head. You know when you’re being funny and always check to see if we’re watching you, doing your patented slow-mo eye roll where you don’t move your head at all, only your eyes. You’ve also taken to smirking while doing your little eye roll, probably because you know it will make us laugh.

Coraline in her swagger wagon

Scrunchie faceYou’re growing and learning new things at the speed of light. Your energy knows no bounds, as demonstrated at your friend Danica’s fifth birthday party at Tataru’s gym this past weekend. (I spy gymnastics classes in your future.) The best part of each workday for me is coming home and watching you play and playing with you in our den before you wind down for bedtime. On the nights I put you to bed (Poppa and I alternate nights), I always make a point to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you for being such a smart, sweet, amazing little girl. Then I thank you, because I’m so honored to be your mommy. And I always will be.

Sweetie pielove,


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Dear Coraline: Month 11

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned 11 months old. Thankfully, this month has been far less eventful than last month was. If I had to guess your weight as of today, I’d estimate that you’re around 20 pounds (based on my biceps, anyway). You’re almost exclusively wearing clothes sized 12 months and — you guessed it — are still in size 3 diapers. You finally outgrew your infant car seat carrier: Day 310 saw you graduate to your official big-girl car seat, which is in our new car (a second big-girl car seat will be here soon for your poppa’s truck). You’re also so incredibly happy — you’re a delight to be around, smiling easily and making us laugh through your actions and facial expressions. And you are just gorgeous, with a full head of curly, fluffy hair, eight teeth (still), chubby little fingers and toes, awesome arm and thigh rolls, and a perfect, round belly.

HappyThis month, you’ve turned into my crazy, silly little monkey. You can stand up unassisted for several seconds at a time, and can walk several steps on your own before stopping and sitting down. You rarely fall these days, and when you do, you cry more out of surprise and frustration than actual injury. Although you occasionally do bonk your head — you’re lucky you seem to have your poppa’s thick skull. Basically, you never want to stop moving. You almost never want to stay in your play yard anymore, and you rely less and less on your dinosaur to walk, preferring instead to hold my or your poppa’s hand(s) as you parade around our house. You also love taking “wind sprints” along the length of the couch, jumping up and down, screaming with delight, and biting the cushions when you get to either end.

Standing TallYou first walked holding only one of my hands on day 314, going on to walk between your poppa and I around the basement for the first time, holding onto one of each of our hands, later that night. That was also the same day you seemed to purposely turn your dinosaur instead of going in your usual straight line. The next day you went on to stand unassisted for almost 15 seconds, a new record. You also cracked up your poppa that night by rolling around like Scrooge McDuck for a full five minutes on the downstairs dog beds (I was upstairs taking an online class at the time). I enjoyed witnessing your first true solo walk, from our ottoman to the couch, on day 316: You held your arms out Frankenstein-like and made it a few steps before falling. For some reason, later that night you did what can only be described as a Spider-Man crawl on the basement floor; your poppa and I found it quite amusing. The following day, you walked/ran on tippy toe (a habit of yours) from the ottoman to the sofa, then from the ottoman to me, then stood on your own while you drank from your sippy cup. That night we enjoyed a birthday dinner for your Auntie T, at which your cousin Elliott played peekaboo with you, cracking you up in the middle of the restaurant.

Mugging for the CameraAs the aforementioned rolls and round belly would attest, you eat very well. You weren’t crazy about your first taste of baked chicken (day 304), but now you love it. That was also the day you last had breastmilk; I’m happy I had enough stored to last until you were 10 months and 1 day old, since I never thought we’d make it that far. That night you demonstrated that you knew what “kiss” meant when you kissed both your poppa and I on request. You later made us laugh when you gleefully grabbed our cat Buster, who was trying to relax on the couch, and when you refused to go in the play tunnel we bought you, preferring instead to go (far) around it. Two days later (day 306), you waved when we asked you to. You really enjoyed — and still do — showing off that skill to whoever asked. Going back to new foods, you liked your first taste of cooked spinach, which you sampled from your poppa’s breakfast (day 313), as well as corn, which you tried the next day.

Walking!Your baby talk has finally evolved into a few discernible words. Your first word was “up,” said to your abuelo and verified by your abuela (day 309). That was also the day your abuelo let you try some ice cream; he said you wanted some since your cousin Stephen was having some. I’m sure you’ll love it someday, but right now you’re not a fan of how cold it is. You said “dada” (day 317) before you ever said “momma” (ouch). While your poppa swore he heard you say “momma” (day 324), I didn’t hear it that first time; I did hear what you said, but it didn’t sound like “momma” to me. I think your poppa was trying to humor me so I wouldn’t feel left out. It wasn’t until a few days later, when we picked you up from your abuelo and abuela’s house, that I finally heard you say “momma” (day 329). Your abuelo said that not only had you been saying it all day (yay!), but you’d been saying “poppa” for about a half hour before we picked you up. We find it funny that you said “dada” first since we always refer to your poppa as, well, “poppa.” But you’ve obviously heard other people refer to him as “daddy,” so we know that’s how you made the connection.

Saying hi to Mirror BabyProving once again that you are indeed your poppa’s daughter, you “played” Jenga (day 312) one evening, successfully getting six pieces out — the lowest piece being six rows down — before the tower fell over. During your second round, you got a piece in the ninth row down out before the tower fell over. All in all, not too shabby for your first time playing. You also appreciate how our game shelf is organized, trying to put back a game you’d taken out (day 325) before your poppa could do it for you.

As is typical, you have enjoyed many visits with family and friends. When your grandma and grandpa came over (day 318) to see you show off your walking skills, your grandma brought you her beautiful antique baby doll cradle, which you promptly squeezed yourself into. At dinner with them that night, you tried cucumber for the first time, which you liked. (It’s worth noting that cucumber came from your abuelo’s garden.) You tried ground beef for the first time (day 322) and LOVED it. To the point that you started eating it so quickly you ended up getting sick because you crammed too much in your mouth. At least I know that we can look forward to trips to a local burger joint when you’re bigger.

The Cora's in the CradleYou continually amaze us with your cognitive skills. It really is wonderful watching you learn new things and figure out things all on your own. For instance, your poppa used a cloth napkin to play peekaboo with you at Little Bangkok restaurant (day 323). Once you had the napkin in your own hands, you would drape it over your head, then quickly pull it off, smiling and laughing as you played peekaboo back. You learned how to back up your dinosaur on your own (day 324) when you got stuck. You mimicked me pointing out words during bedtime stories (day 331), and even turned the pages of your books when I asked you to (day 334). You also figured out my iPad very quickly, which I knew you would. That night we enjoyed some quiet time together, watching YouTube videos of hungry kittens and giggling babies (day 329) with you nestled into my side, sucking your thumb. Halfway through a kitten video, you turned to look up at me and flashed me the biggest smile. I love those sweet, stolen moments we have together.

CoyAlong with you learning new things comes you learning not to do certain things. You understand when we tell you “no” and “stop.” Of course, you didn’t listen too well one night and ended up dousing yourself with a glass of cold water because of it (day 327). We couldn’t help but laugh at your stunned expression before you started wailing; we dried you off and you calmed down pretty quickly. You’ve also taken to exploring the kitchen, trying to eat every cabinet doorknob within reach. You don’t like when Troubadour is crated for a time-out, working hard to figure out the latches to spring him from his canine hoosegow. You’re quite interested in a hole in one of the basement doors. When we tell you “no” to keep you from touching it (lest you get a splinter), you give us this look as if to say, “What? I wasn’t going to actually touch it,” before turning your attention to a door hinge or the door itself, acting as if that old wood is the most fascinating thing in the world.

The face of innocenceI can’t believe that in exactly one month you’ll turn one year old. Where have the last 11 months gone? You’ve gone from my tiny, 6-pound, 7-ounce newborn to a little walking, somewhat-talking dynamo. It’s such a privilege and blessing for me to watch you grow and learn, especially since you seem to be developing leaps and bounds every day now. I look forward to many more fun times with you, as well as our little stolen moments — I live for those hugs you give me when you walk into my arms, you know. I can’t wait to celebrate your birthday with our family and friends next month, and to experience all that your toddlerhood will bring. Until then …



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Dear Coraline: Month 10

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned 10 months old. You went to the doctor yesterday (day 302) for a weight recheck (he wanted to make sure you were OK after losing weight during your ear infection) and weighed in at a healthy 18.6 pounds. Dr. J was thrilled with your weight gain (more than a pound since your last visit) and said for us to “keep on keepin’ on” what we’re doing. Of course, I could’ve told him you’d gained weight — your little arm rolls and your awesome thighs and your adorable round belly are filling in nicely. You’re still in size 3 diapers but are now fitting into clothes sized 9 months to 12 months (your poppa and I went clothes shopping recently and picked up some nice new outfits for you).

Growing GirlThe first day of this month (day 274) was our third day without power thanks to the Great Power Outage of 2011. That Friday night we packed up and went to stay at your honorary grandparents’, Fran and Don’s, house nearby. You had a blast there, playing with their grandson Thomas and enjoying your first dip in a pool (day 275). We bought a little float just for the occasion, so you could sit in it while your poppa and I took turns pulling you through the water. The only downside to staying there was that it was hard for you to get to sleep since you were in a pack ‘n’ play and not your crib. Having your beloved seahorse there helped some, though. The upside — for me, at least — was that I finally got you to snuggle with me in bed; we spooned and slept together two mornings in a row (days 275 and 276). I loved every second of it, too. The power came back on that Saturday night, so your poppa went home to sleep so he could take care of the dogs. He picked us up the following morning and took us home, and we both noticed you seemed particularly happy to be playing with all of your toys in your play yard that day. You took turns playing with every single toy, something you rarely do. You also had a great welcome home nap in your crib.

Sleeping With Seahorse

Swim BabyYou’re quite the little explorer now and extremely determined when you want something. Whether it’s going after your poppa’s Blackberry (day 276), exploring every inch of your bedroom (day 278), climbing up onto the fireplace and on your play yard giraffe (day 279), or attacking your favorite books by your bedroom chair (day 286), you go after everything with gusto. By far your favorite new thing to do is walk, though. We bought you the Stride-to-Ride Dino (day 282), and just like that your cruising became full-on walking, with you proudly holding on to your dinosaur’s handles as you walked tippytoed across the basement floor. You’ve improved every single day, walking faster and further than the day before. You finally walked all the way across the basement with it the night your Auntie T was over (day 295); we think you were showing off for her. I have no doubt that soon you’ll figure out how to get out of corners and turn around on your own, instead of waiting for your poppa or I to help you out.

Blackberry Thief

Told you I'd get a picture of you rolling your tongue

Tippytoe WalkerYour sense of humor continues to develop, with you laughing back at people when they laugh, like you did with your Auntie T, and you finding things incredibly funny when you play with your toys at home or in the car. And one day, when I changed your diaper and let slip the word “poop,” you laughed your head off (day 279). I spent the next five minutes saying “poop” just to get you to laugh like that; I laughed so hard at your giggles I was almost crying. Of course, later when I tried to catch you laughing at the word on video, you played it cool. But I at least have that really fun memory (of the laughing, not the diaper that triggered it).

Dino RiderYou continue to try new foods, from little stuff like veggie Lil’ Crunchers (a win) and peach-flavored Puffs (day 278) — which you weren’t crazy about — to pizza crust (day 282), watermelon (day 283), oranges (day 291, courtesy of your abuelo), and mushrooms (day 303), all of which you liked. You’re fond of drinking water from water bottles, although we finally hit on a sippy cup you like and can use, one that has a straw. Now you enjoy chugging water after working up a thirst from zipping around with your dinosaur.

You have enjoyed being babysat with your cousin Stephen and visits with your grandparents. When you saw your grandparents on day 283, you kept holding your left arm up over your head. Turns out you were practicing, since you waved for the first time the very next day, to our friend’s mother-in-law. Your cousin Elliott used you as a human notepad (day 287), writing blue squiggles on your left arm, and then played sweetly with you the next day; that was also the day he held you around the neck when I asked him to hold you for a camera phone photo (he did much better when I asked him to hold you around the tummy for the next photo). The same day you wore a barrette for the first time was the day your cousin Elliott and his family moved to Alabama (day 289). I’m sure you miss each other, but it’ll be nice when you get to see each other again, hopefully soon.


Cousin HugYou proved once again what a good baby you are when your poppa and I took you car shopping (day 290). We spent more than five hours at the car dealership, and you didn’t fuss once. You finally passed out from exhaustion after about four hours, while I was holding you as we signed the last of the paperwork. Having played on a little slide and with a balloon for the first time helped keep you entertained during that very long afternoon, as did you and I exploring every inch of every car in the showroom. The salesman working with us even commented on what a mild-mannered, mellow baby you are. We were so proud of how well you behaved that day, especially since your poppa and I were on the verge of melting down, the process took so long.

With MommyIt’s hard to pick a favorite new behavior/milestone of yours. We love watching you dance, like the day you stopped mid-crawl to dance on all fours to your dinosaur’s music (day 292). And last night (day 302) your poppa saw you stand on your own for a few seconds on our bed; I saw you stand on your own for a few seconds tonight in your living room pack ‘n’ play. I can say with certainty it’s not your new habit of biting; I still have a tiny bruise on my upper-left arm where you got me the other day (day 300). I’m leaning toward your new habit of doling out kisses. You kissed me on the mouth three times in a row the other day (day 292), which made your poppa jealous (you later kissed him, too, and all was forgiven). I got another kiss from you the next morning when you kissed me right after you finished your breakfast bottle (later that day your new friend Tori was born; we’ll get to meet her in the near future). And now I get kisses from you almost — but not quite — every time I ask for one.


Trying to get the hang of kissing

As I write this, you’re sleeping soundly in your crib despite a thunderstorm. We had a fun, exciting day today (day 303): We went to a friend’s birthday party where you went swimming for the second time. I didn’t go swimming, so it was just you and your poppa. You squealed with delight as he pulled you around, kicking your legs behind you and wearing a huge smile on your face. Everyone there agreed that you seem to be a water baby, so get ready for swimming lessons in a few years. Just don’t grow up on me too fast — month 11 and all its adventures will be here soon enough.



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Dear Coraline: Month 9

*This was originally to be posted Thursday, June 23, 2011, the day you turned 9 months old, but thanks to a massive storm, power outage, an even worse storm, and other various disasters since then, it’s been delayed until now.

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned nine months old. The first day of this month (day 242) you had to go to the doctor, three days after you developed your first-ever fever. It turns out you had an ear infection, another not-so-fun first. You never let on that your ears were bothering you, so it’s a good thing the fever and your general misery tipped us off. You’d lost a bit of weight due to being sick and were down to about 17 1/2 pounds as of that doctor visit. Fortunately, you are now back to being hale and hearty and are rapidly gaining weight, including starting to outgrow a lot of your size nine months clothes (although you’re still in size 3 diapers). Your poppa agrees that we need to go shopping for some new clothes for you, which I love doing since baby clothes are adorable. Size 9-12 months, here we come!

Standing in cribYou’ve become a little nut this month, all personality and chattiness and ever-increasing mobility. You finally pulled up on your knees in your crib (day 243), prompting your poppa to hurry up and move your crib mattress from the middle to the lowest position, which worked out since on day 245 he caught you pulling all the way up to standing in your crib. I got lucky and saw you pull up to a standing position the very next day using your giraffe in your play yard. You spent all evening on day 249 pulling up using me and your poppa for leverage, making for a fun night for all of us. You’re quite fond of your downstairs play yard (which I like calling “the pen”) since you’ve got a lot of fun toys in there and are free to roam around however you want. As your mobility has increased, though, we’ve let you play free-range outside your play yard more often, which you love. You now take off crawling at warp speed in the blink of an eye, pulling up on the coffee table, couch, your play yard walls, even your exersaucer — whatever you can get your hands on. You’ve also developed a fascination with the fireplace, which we now have covered with bumpers for safety. And you made our day when you finally started to noticeably dance (day 265) to some of your toys’ music.

Standing tallYou sprouted tooth #7, the second left incisor on the bottom (day 242), and tooth #8, the second bottom right incisor (day 250), and enjoyed your first tooth brushing session on day 252. You are continuing to develop your palate, trying new foods more and more often. You’ve now tried squash (day 247); peas, which you LOVE (day 254); peaches, which you didn’t love (day 252); and even teething biscuits, which were a hit (day 255). However, it was on day 257 that you almost made your poppa’s heart burst with pride: You saw him eating broccoli and wanted to try it, and you LOVED it.

Mmm ... broccoliYour newfound mobility led to a very sweet moment on day 252, when you spotted our dog Caleb (still your favorite) on the floor nearby. You started crawling toward him and he started crawling toward you, and you giggled and smiled as he kissed you once you met up. That was also the same day you first cruised hand-over-hand around your play yard. We bought you a baby pool, but it was too cold the day we tried it out (day 255). You looked absolutely adorable in your bathing suit, though, and Caleb went nuts over your matching sun hat, kissing you until your hat flew off your head and you tipped over.

In search of a baby poolYou seem to have bypassed a lot of the social anxiety we’d been warned about. You study people very closely before deciding they’re worthy of a smile and have been very brave when new people have wanted to hold you. You did, however, leap into my arms at your ear infection recheck appointment when your doctor reached for you. You didn’t cry after seeing your abuelo for the first time in two weeks after he got back from Puerto Rico; we’d all expected at least a few tears, but you smiled as soon as you heard his voice. You’ve enjoyed visits here at our house with your other grandparents, too, and do really well with them both. Your poppa and I were particularly proud of how well you did during a sad occasion, the viewing of our friend’s father (day 270); you didn’t make a peep or fuss at all while we were there. One of your most significant social milestones came when we met up with a couple of my friends from high school and their babies (day 261). You liked Michelle’s daughter, Prisha, but you went absolutely NUTS over Neeta’s son, Armaan. I had to keep pulling you off him, you were being so aggressive going after him. I will say your poppa wasn’t too thrilled hearing about you chasing a boy at your tender age. I mean, just look at poor Armaan’s expression, then look at yours. Crazy, right?

When Arman Met Coraline

When Arman Met Coraline …

You enjoyed hanging out with your honorary grandparents’ grandsons Thomas and Matthew (day 268), particularly Thomas, who is 9 years old. That was the same day we went to a neighborhood association cookout and you met tons of new people all at once. You also saw some familiar faces, like our neighbors who have babysat you, which made you happy. You received tons of compliments and comments about your hair from just about everyone there. Oh, sweetie. Your hair. It’s taken on a life of its own. Most days it’s curly and cute as can be. Other days it looks like you scalped Little Orphan Annie and dyed her red hair brown. Either way, if I got a dollar for every time someone has commented on your curly hair, we’d have about half your college tuition by now. It’s insane the amount of attention your hair gets — insane.

Give me a head with hairPerhaps one of your best days this month fell, appropriately enough, on Father’s Day (day 269). We treated your poppa to brunch at Tomato Head and then enjoyed a walk around downtown. You were happy as a clam, snug and face-forward in the Baby Bjorn on your poppa’s chest, swinging your feet, flapping your arms, and smiling at everyone we encountered. I know that day meant a lot to your poppa, and you made it extra special for him. Later that day you enjoyed your first bottle full of water; the sippy cup is still a work in progress. That was also the day I got the biggest laugh I’ve ever gotten from you. I would creep up to you in your exersaucer and you would just die laughing. We were laughing so hard, in fact, I was almost crying. It was awesome, especially since you typically laugh more for your poppa.

Hanging out with PoppaYour ninth month ended on a literal dark note when a massive storm hit — the first time your poppa went out of town since you were born, no less — and we lost power (day 271). I don’t think you even noticed, to be honest. The storm was just starting when you went to sleep for the night, so you didn’t get to see me wielding a flashlight and lighting candles all over the house. I was just happy it turned out you didn’t need your nightlight or sound machine to continue sleeping happily. Small graces and all, especially since we still don’t have power. Yesterday, you started rolling your tongue and sticking it out the side of your mouth in concentration, which is too cute for words. I’ll do my best to capture that on film.

All in all, you continue to amaze me and your poppa with pretty much everything you do. You’re smart, sweet, and funny. You’re getting more affectionate, which is something I’ve been waiting for. You reach up for us to pick you up and bury your face in our shoulders or against our chests. You “kiss” us by either sucking on our noses or biting our lips. You grin from ear to ear when we walk in your grandparents’ house after work each night. You enjoy snuggling with us in our bed on weekend mornings. It’s the little moments like that and tiny gestures that make every single second spent with you the most meaningful ones. I look forward to a lot more of them in month 10.



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Dear Coraline: Month 8

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned eight months old. I’m not sure exactly how much you weigh right now, but you’re definitely growing. I suspect you’re around 18, maybe 19, pounds now and are starting to outgrow some of your size six months clothes. You now fit into some of your size nine months clothes and are still in size 3 diapers.

You’ve been such an active baby this month. You started army crawling (on Easter Sunday, no less; day 213) and can now sit unassisted (you first pulled yourself into a sitting position by yourself on day 220). You love the independence you now have to move around on your own, and your poppa and I love watching you flit around from toy to toy. You also set land-speed records whenever I set my camera down or you spot your poppa’s cell phone within reach; you move fastest for electronics.

Coraline crawlingWe enjoyed some first holidays together this month. We celebrated your first Easter with a visit to the Easter Bunny at the mall (day 212; you were unimpressed) and an Easter basket at home. I also dressed you up in bunny ears your aunt bought you; you were even less amused than when you met the Easter Bunny. We also celebrated my first official Mother’s Day (day 227); I say official since I was pregnant with you during Mother’s Day last year. Mother’s Day was also your first visit to Market Square downtown, where we ate brunch at The Tomato Head. You absolutely loved people-watching, which is something your great-grandma, Abuela Tulita, loved to do. So thank you for that. It made me feel like she was with me that day.

Disgruntled Bunny

First Easter BasketYour personality continues to develop, and you never fail to amuse us with your antics, like when you grabbed your cousin Stephen by the hair and tried to kiss him (day 217) and how you started to turn around while we read you bedtime stories so you can watch us reading (day 218). Your first hint of stranger anxiety came about when our friend dropped by the house one Sunday (day 220), but you got over it pretty quickly. That was also the same day we noticed you talking to and giggling at your toys. Your Auntie Tamara gave you a Curious George doll that chitters like a monkey (day 226), and you’re head over heels for him. You even tried sharing one of your Easter eggs with him, the first time you ever made your toys co-mingle (day 228).

Giggles for GeorgeYour sixth tooth finally broke through (day 221), the upper second right incisor. You tried sweet potatoes (day 219) and apples (day 223), and used a sippy cup for the first time (day 233). You started holding your elbow while you suck your thumb (day 219). You weaned yourself the day before you turned seven months old and are no longer breastfeeding. As of day 228, you now have a play yard in our den so you have a safe, dog-free zone in which to play. You got ambitious and pulled yourself up on your knees when playing with your Sit-to-Stand Giraffe (day 230), which you continue to do using both your giraffe and your play yard walls, something I liken to the velociraptor in Jurassic Park testing for weak spots on the fence.

Sippy CupYou’ve also been very social this month, enjoying visits with your grandparents and your Auntie Kirsten, among others, and attending your first non-family get-together (day 233). You rode in a shopping cart at Target for the first time, as well as mastered traditional crawling that same day (day 240). Bye-bye, army crawl! You also hit an unhappy milestone this month: your first fever, 100.3 degrees (day 239), which had you feeling absolutely miserable. Your poppa and I think it might be related to teething, though. Be thankful teething is something you won’t remember.

This month has been so much fun. You’ve grown leaps and bounds, and continue to do so almost faster than your poppa and I can keep up with. We love watching you figure things out and learn new skills, puzzling things out on your own. I love you more than I can say and can’t wait to see what adventures month nine brings.

Coraline & Mommylove,



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Dear Coraline: Month 7

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned seven months old. It’s hard to believe you are now past the half-year mark. You’re approximately 17 pounds, approaching 18, and are starting to fit into clothes sized nine months. You still wear size 3 diapers, which I expect you’ll be in for some time. You’re still as sweet as ever, smiling readily for everyone, and talking up a storm. One of your poppa and my favorite things to do is listen to you talk to yourself in the morning. You’ll chat to yourself, trying out sounds, even testing out how loud you can be. It’s awesome to listen to. When we picked you up after work the other night, your abuelo even swore you said something that sounded an awful lot like “hello.” We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since both your poppa and I have heard you say something that sounds an awful lot like “mama,” too.

Coraline CloseupYour first big milestone this month: solid foods. We introduced you to carrots the day you turned six months old (day 181). And, boy, did you love them. You very quickly got the hang of eating from a spoon (although we’ve fed you cereal that way several times) and eagerly opened your mouth for your next bite. It was messy, messier than I expected, but our dog Troubadour was more than happy to help clean up your high chair when we were done.
Eating CarrotsAfter carrots, your poppa and I introduced you to plums (day 192), which you weren’t as crazy about. Seems the tartness was a bit much, although it was funny to hear you sigh loudly and then shudder a full two minutes after you’d had a bite. Next you tried bananas (day 208), which you definitely liked more than you liked plums. Next will be sweet potatoes, so get ready. (We have to wait several days before introducing you to new foods to make sure you’re not allergic to them.)

Eating PlumsYou’re still very social, not yet exhibiting any signs of stranger or separation anxiety, which is great. When your poppa took a day off work (day 186) to spend with you, the two of you ended up visiting your Gramma Fran and Grandpa Don, and your Auntie Kirsten at her job. At your cousin Stephen’s second birthday party (day 198) you made fast friends with his Grandma Jane and Grandma Debbie, to name a couple. That was also the day your hair started to develop a noticeable curl; your poppa has already apologized to you since it looks like you might have his hair. It’s already the exact same color as his. As if that day wasn’t exciting enough, that’s the day we noticed you were cutting a third tooth, your upper right incisor. Which might explain why you went the entire day without napping. The very next day, Sunday (day 199), I noticed you were cutting a second upper tooth, the left incisor. And then three days after that, you started cutting another tooth, the second left incisor. You now have those three teeth coming in up top and the two on the bottom, giving you a grand total of five teeth. Pretty impressive for a seven-month-old. Soon we’ll have to take you for your first dental checkup.

Coraline As Tulita

Here you are mimicking an expression your late great-grandma Tulita used to make.

You’ve had a very social month, enjoying a workout with poppa (day 202), visiting friends with us, giggling at and reaching for your cousin Stephen when saying goodnight (day 208), having lunch with me and a few friends, and essentially seeing everyone in your family. You held your bottle for an entire bedtime feeding (day 187) and FINALLY giggled just for me (day 209), which was wonderful since you usually giggle for everyone but me (you think your poppa is the end-all, be-all clown).

SmileyThe most amazing milestone you’ve hit this month is that you finally sat on your own (day 204), right there on your poppa’s office floor. We were so proud of you and just awed to see you do that. You’re getting better at it, too, sitting up for longer periods of time and getting really close to righting yourself when you tip over. You’re also rocking on your knees like you’re getting ready to crawl. Which means your poppa and I have to hurry up and childproof.

I usually write your monthly letter early in the day, but today I had an ulterior motive for waiting to do it so late: We took you to see the Easter Bunny at West Town Mall today. It meant a lot to me to get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny since tomorrow is your first Easter. You handled it like a pro, much like when you met Santa in December. You were very obviously unimpressed to be seated in the lap of a six-foot-tall quasi-rodent and didn’t much feel like smiling. Or crying. Or really reacting with anything other than boredom. It was only when the photographer’s assistant worked to get you to smile that you did. And it was worth the wait.

Meeting the Easter BunnyI tell you every day, but I love you so much and am so lucky and proud to be your mommy. Here’s to a great month eight.



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