Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy 10 Months: A Letter to Arlo

Dear Arlo,

You're ten months old today, and I couldn't be more proud of you. Everywhere we go—restaurants, the grocery store, The Little Gym—you're the center of attention. Your extraordinary hair is undoubtedly a factor in this, but moreso, it's your charisma. You have a force—an undeniable magnetism—that draws people to you and makes them want to be around you. It's the same magic pull that attracted me—and attracts everybody who meets him—to your daddy. I'm so glad you inherited this trait from him, and I can't wait to discover more of our characteristics in you as time goes on.    

You're independent, too. If this is conceited to admit, forgive me, but my independence is one of the things I like most about myself. To an extent, I think this quality was forced on me because I wasn't blessed with parents who adore me the way your daddy and I adore you—but for as long as I can remember, I've preferred to do things on my own. You're the same way. Even your nanny, Luda, has expressed this sentiment. You steady yourself against furniture to walk around the house, just taking in everything you can. You literally spend uninterrupted hours playing with your toys and looking out the window, and I used to feel like I wasn't paying enough attention to you, but I've come to realize you just prefer to do your own thing.

Once in a while, though, you stop what you're doing to come visit me. You charge over and climb into my lap, and I savor every second of our snuggles. You've even started kissing me recently, which is my favorite thing you do right now. I'd give anything to know what you're thinking when you kiss me. I don't know if you're aware that it's a declaration of love, or if it's your way of getting as close to me as humanly possible, or if you're just kissing me because it's something you know that I do to you—but I love it. You've had a cold for the past week or so, so some of your kisses are pretty interesting, but they're worth every bit of snot that ends up on my face.

My second favorite thing you do is clap. You clearly understand this is something people do to express joy, and I love that you're able to really communicate with us now. Each little clapping session is like you're exclaiming, "I'm so happy, Mom and Dad!" You frequently clap while you're eating, and it makes your daddy and me laugh every time.

You're such a good eater. Mealtime has become enjoyable this past month because we've been feeding you pieces of whatever we're eating. It's easier than having to find something special for you, and it's so fun to see you try new things. You've never turned away anything. You love food! You've devoured every fruit, vegetable, meat, cheese, and noodle we've offered you. Your daddy and I like a wide variety of foods, so we're pleased you aren't a picky eater. Early on, we had great intentions of having your birthday cake be the first sweet treat to pass your lips, but we've been letting you have a tiny bite of dessert a few times a week. Interestingly enough, I think you like cauliflower more than chocolate.

We're obviously doing something right with you because you're growing right on track. You're still in the 50-something percentile for weight and the thirty-something percentile for height—which is about where you've been all along. Developmentally, you're ahead of the curve, and I'm not just saying that because I'm your mother. At the end of your 9-month checkup, Dr. Robbins said, "Okay, see you back at fifteen months!" And your daddy asked, "Doesn't he have to come back when he's one?" And Dr. Robbins replied, "Oh, yes. I got confused because he seems so much older than nine months. I was thinking he was already a year." Proud parent moment! We know you're smart, but we definitely appreciated that unintentional validation.

I guess this letter just could have said the following:  Your charm, your kisses, and more superficially, your wild hair, are all enough to make me weak in the knees. I adore everything you do and everything you are, and thank you for picking me.


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