To Grace at 8 months

Our darling “Gracies” (which is what your brother believes your name is),

What joy you bring us. You slid into our family with hardly a peep, and 8 months in, I can barely remember what we felt like without you.
I mean, I remember bedtime being a little simpler, and getting out the door taking less time, but it feels like we have always been a family of 4. You suit us well and I suppose we suit you just fine, too.

You are fat and happy. You hardly ever cry except in the car sometimes. Your brother is your favorite person in the entire world and he can make you laugh like no one else. You began exploring our food, too, and while your gag reflex makes yogurt and applesauce a challenge, you’ve taken a shine to avocado and broccoli spears.

Being that you’re the second baby, I’m a bit more low-key in my mothering – and it’s okay, because you’re as low-maintenance as they come. As I write this, you are sprawled on the floor bed next to my side of our bed. I love nursing you to sleep and having you in bed with us, and since you still nurse through the night, it’s about 300% easier to have you in bed with me than in another room. Nonetheless, we’re trying to help you get comfortable sleeping on your floor bed, too. You and Jack napped in the same room for 20 minutes yesterday – a first for us and a small victory.

You’re going to spend the night at Gran and Papa Keller’s tomorrow, and I’m nervous for our first night apart. You have never taken a bottle very well, and at this point, 8.5 months in, we might as well go right to sippy cups.

We’re fairly sure your hair is red, what little bit you have! We’re so excited for a ginger baby. You have daddy’s blue eyes, two little bottom teeth, and a red “stork bite” birthmark at the nape of your neck.

You are quite keen to stand up these days, and just this week began trying to stand unassisted. It’s comical to watch because you cannot support yourself standing, so you’re upright only as long as it takes you to fall over. The only way I can slow you down is to put you in a dress, which only frustrates you – you’re on the move! Sometimes you crawl to and try to pull to standing on Jack, but he has little patience for this.

Jack’s general attitude toward you ranges between passing interest and indifference. He asks to hold you, and then pushes you away after 2.3 seconds. He tickles you pokes your cheeks until you cry (we’re working on better tickle methods). He squeezes your neck in over-enthusiastic hugs. And whatever toy you’re holding is the one he cannot live without. He does self-regulate to a certain degree: If he takes a toy from you, he replaces it with another. Sometimes you still cry in the car and Jack consoles you by shouting, “Gracies! ‘Kay!” (“It’s okay.”) it’s not very consoling, as you might imagine.

You’re most talkative in the 15 minutes after you wake up. We’ve heard “mama, dada, baba” but they’re still just sounds to you. Your laugh is what dreams are made of. We love to make you giggle with silly dance moves, peekaboo, and raspberries on your tummy, which even Jack gets in on!

You light up when we come in the room, and you make us light up, too. I am so glad you’re ours, sweet girl.

You’re the surprise that made me more the mama God intended me to be, and some moments – like holding you while you sleep – leave me dumbfounded, speechless at the miracle you are.

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