Elsa’s first experience of solid food.
Your dad and I have been saying it a lot lately – you just seem so much older lately. Here you are, already six months old, halfway to a year, and it’s like you’ve always been here. You continue to be extraordinarily sweet. You rarely cry. You wake up with coos and sighs. You kick your legs and grin when we get you from a nap. You can barely eat you smile up at me so much. You are just so content, such a joy to take care of.
Little by little, you’re gaining control of your body. You carefully hold toys and slowly, carefully bring them to your mouth, concentrating on not dropping them. When on your back, you immediately pull your toes to your mouth, and on July 27, a week past six months, you rolled over from your back to your stomach for the first time and now do it like it ain’t no thing. We stand you up, and you are pretty solid on your feet, and you’re just starting to sit up, though you use your hands to keep you from tipping over, not unlike a little frog.
My Elsie Belsie – you are just the biggest baby. You are wearing many 12-month clothes, and the same diaper size as Owen. Your rolls are one of my favorite things on earth, and I hope that I never forget how they all look in a swimsuit.
You now officially have teeth. As of July 8 (at 5 months, 2 weeks), your first two little bottom teeth popped through. I had my finger in your mouth to let you chomp on it a while (which you will do with anything these days), and suddenly there were two very tiny, very sharp teeth on my finger. It surprised me…because though I knew you’d been teething, you hadn’t been that miserable, so I had figured we had a ways to go.
Elsa Bels, you make me laugh all day long. You have started doing this gaspy, breathy squawk/screech. We can’t tell if you’re singing or talking, but if we do it back, you crack up. You LOVE music, and love to dance. You giggle the entire time we make you dance, throwing your arms up over your head and wiggling you to shake your little booty…you even laugh just watching us dance. You can’t handle Rise and Shine – it still gets you every time. Your face lights up at the sound of the bathwater running. You get in and kick and splash and look up at us as if to say: do you see this? It’s amazing!
And then there’s Owen. You are completely smitten with him, watching his every move with awe and wonder. You crane your neck as he runs by the couch. And in the (rare) moments that he comes close to you, engages with you, gently leaning his head in to hug you or to zerbert your belly, you are in heaven. You giggle and sigh happily. If it came down to it, I’m pretty sure you’d pick him over me.
Lately, it seems like the reality that you are here to stay has been hitting him…and he’s kind of having a hard time. It breaks my heart to see how much you love him and how jealous he can be of you. This gives me a glimpse down the road into rejection you might someday face. And the day you come home from school with your feelings deeply hurt, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it. I will comfort you and give you strategies and tell you that it’s okay to be hurt and that you’re strong and wonderful and loved, but then I will go hide in the corner of our bedroom and cry for you. I pray that your love is always returned well, Elsa Ruth.
Elsa, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re mine. I love that you are my little girl, that I get to be the one to nuzzle your cheeks and comfort you. You are an absolute joy, such a happy addition to this home, and I cannot imagine life without you.
Things you Love: pacifier, sleeping bunny, burping, pooping, the Ergo, bathtime, being naked, chewing on anything, Owen, your dad, me, dancing, music, books with high-contrast pictures, crinkly dice, Sophie the Giraffe, rolling over, being sung to, screens of any kind, swimming in the lake or pool
Things You Hate: getting dressed, being on your belly too long, being held by too many unfamiliar people, the slightest injury (your leg brushing into the doorframe as we walk by), the sun in your eyes
You are five months old, and little bits of your personality are starting to slip out. In the past few weeks, your dad has been saying, “I guess she’s not the quiet one.” And I think he’s right. Your infancy was marked by serenity, calm, and quiet. And while you are still calm and happy, you’re also showing yourself to be pretty silly.
You are the easiest laugh of all of us. You break into giggles when you’re smiled at, talked to, when you’re playing with toys, anytime Owen’s visible. You appear to enjoy slapstick comedy best, and we get your biggest laughs when jostling you around, or when you’re dancing with your dad, or bigger yet when we play music and make you dance. Singing “Rise & Shine” while moving your arms rhythmically is a guaranteed laugh. You make raspberry noises and giggle at yourself.
Bathtimes have become a waterpark once again. We lay you back in the water, head propped up on a rolled up towel, and you kick. You kick so hard you make waves that annoy even Owen. You splash and laugh, even as you splash water in your own face. Your froggy legs move constantly in water; you even get excited as we undress you if you can hear the water running.
You are such a happy baby. You bring us so much joy, Elsie Bels.
At a recent doctor’s checkup, it was medically confirmed that you’re basically “a little round basketball” as your dad calls you. Your weight-to-length percentage was a whopping 97%. Your neck has all but disappeared, and your rolls, Elsa, are impressive. You have at least five rolls on your arms, and the rolls on your thighs are few but deep. Your wrists have rolls. Your knuckles have rolls. And your cheeks basically touch your shoulders and chest. People are always saying, “Wow…she’s so…healthy” as they hesitate to say big about such a cute baby girl. But really, you’re kind of a gigantor. You’re wearing some 9-month clothing, and you’re only 1 diaper size beneath Owen. We’re not sure what to do with you.
You are also, well, a girl. It has become apparent that you have a pretty low pain tolerance. The slightest brush of your leg against a chair as I hold you, walking past it, elicits big sobs. As Owen monkeys around the couch next to us and bumps your arm slightly, you cry. Loudly. Whereas he is daily taking big spills, headfirst, and popping up, saying “I’m okay!” You seem a little bit dramatic, and I’m a little nervous about what your learning to walk process will look like.
While you’ve found your legs and love to stand on our laps, you still don’t seem to have much ambition to roll, though you’re starting to push yourself up on your forearms when you’re on your belly – especially if Owen’s anywhere on the floor near you. He’s starting to notice you more, now that you laugh at his antics. He brings you toys – to your great delight – and lays down next to you when you’re on your play mat, usually inadvertently hurting you, but still – it’s adorable. He plays peek-a-boo with you when you sit in your crib, and goes in to help get you up after a nap, saying in a sweet falsetto: “Ga-moooorning, Elsa! Sweetie girl! Elsa be cute!”
And you really are such a sweetie, Elsa Ruth. You continue to stop nursing – constantly – to look up at me and smile. You still give a little giggle as you smile sleepily up at me just before falling asleep. You will crane your neck like an owl to see your Dad and Owen and grin at them. When we come to get you as you’re waking up, you grin and pant and kick your legs like you’re biking up a mountain. And your cuddles are my favorite. I love to pull you into bed a bit before getting up. You lay next to me on my pillow, my hand under your head, the other resting on your belly, my nose pressed against your cheek. You are just so plump and snuggly. You sigh happily before the pacifier falls out the side or your mouth in another last bit of sleep. These are the moments I hope to memorize.
You are deeply, deeply loved, my girl.
Things You Love: bathtime, nursing, pacifier, being carried in the Ergo, being naked, Owen, your Dad, me, dancing, eye contact, when anyone dances near you, music, Rise & Shine, our Elsa Ruth song (to the tune of Praise Ye The Lord), chewing on fingers, grabbing your feet, sleep, your sleep bunny, funny noises, burping, seeing someone come to pick you up from a nap, screens
Things You Hate: getting dressed or undressed, getting out of a bath, when you can’t poop, when you get even slightly bumped in the leg/arm/head, getting put down after being held for a while, being on your belly