Letter to Camille: Eight Months

Hello sweet sleeping bear. Where to begin? You are eight months old today (!) and each day you seem to be doing something new. You are such a sweet, loving baby – mostly happy, although I think your teeth gave you more trouble than usual this month. But despite your frustration, you’ve still given us a ton of smiles, laughs, and THE BEST hugs. You love to wrap your arms tightly around my neck while you open and close your little fists in my hair. It is ridiculously cute, and melts me every time. Even the ladies at daycare tell me you are the best hugger and cuddler they’ve ever seen.
You’re not quite crawling yet, but you have become adept at scooting around your room on your belly. Gone are the days when I could lay you on the floor, walk out of the room for a second, and come back to find you in the exact same place. You are so ready to get up and run around, you just haven’t figured out how to get all your limbs to work together to assist you in this effort. Soon though, the chase will begin!
This has been a month of visitors, which you always enjoy. Do you have any idea how many people love you? So many people, Camille. People who will drive long distances just for the pleasure of spending a day or two with you. I understand. You’re that special.
While most of your visitors have been adults, you also got to spend some time with Nia and Nate. I know you play with other babies every day you’re in daycare, but I don’t usually get to see this. I really enjoyed watching you interact with them. You loved watching them play and hearing them talk or laugh. Nia and Nate were very sweet with you, and you repaid them with several of your signature hugs.
This has also been a month of new culinary adventures. You’re beginning to learn to drink water from a sippy cup. But by far, your favorite new things are banana puffs. Girl, you love some banana puffs. They are little star-shaped rice puffs that dissolve in your mouth, and I think if I continually put them on your tongue, you’d keep eating them forever. They come in a plastic container, and all I have to do is shake it and your eyes light up, your hands start beating your highchair, and you gasp in excitement. You’re like Luca when I shake her can of kitty treats.
At first you had a hard time getting the puffs from your hand to your mouth, and most ended up in your lap. But you quickly learned how to manipulate the little stars, and now you’ll shove three in there at once. And when you do, you look quite proud of yourself. I’m proud of you too!
Unfortunately, this has also been a month of teething woes. They really began about the time we all went to Macon for one of my overnight work trips. You’d been a little fussier than usual the few days prior, and were really chomping down on anything you could find. That night, I had no trouble getting you to go to sleep in your pack-n-play, but at about midnight, you woke up. And you were seriously angry.
Usually, if you woke up and refused to go back to sleep on your own, I could feed you and you’d drift right away. If all else failed, our rock solid back up was to put you in bed with us.
Well that night, in the Ramada Plaza, even sharing the bed with us didn’t help. Instead, you snuggled in close to me and proceeded to slap me, yank my hair, and even ram your finger in my nose and scratch your way back out. You were upset, and nothing could fix it.
The next day, your general anger continued, and we left my meeting early to head straight for the doctor’s office. I was afraid you had an ear infection or some other terrible disease I didn’t even know about – but you got a clean bill of health. Teething. That was the only diagnosis they came up with.
We felt so sorry for you (and still do), because it was clear that you were frustrated with your aching gums. For about 2 weeks after the Macon incident, you couldn’t sleep through the night. You’d wake up, and often stay awake and crying from 2 – 4 a.m.
After a few nights, the lack of sleep began taking its toll on us all. However, I didn’t realize how tired we were until last week. Your Daddy and I had been asleep for about an hour when suddenly, the house alarm went off. I sat straight up in bed and my very first thought was, “Do NOT wake the baby!” As the alarm wailed shrilly, I started nudging your Daddy.
“Lee! Lee! Wake up!”
“What is it?” he asked, still half asleep. “Is the baby crying?”
“No! The house alarm is going off!”
We both jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, where the dog was pacing below the alarm pad. I punched in our code, hit cancel, and we all dragged ourselves back into bed and back to sleep.
It wasn’t until the morning that I began to wonder, “What made the alarm go off?”
It never crossed my mind that there might have been an intruder. My sole concern was shutting off the noise so it wouldn’t wake you. What would I have done if I’d raced down the stairs to see a robber in the foyer? I probably would’ve held my index finger to my lips and gave him a loud “SHHHHHHH! The baby is sleeping!”
I still don’t know why the alarm went off, although I think the dog may have set off the motion detector. I usually turn the motion detector off when we’re home, but I was tired and might’ve forgotten. Oh, and we left the front door unlocked. Again, the sleep deprivation made us do crazy things.
You’re sleeping a little better now, but still not as soundly as before. Some nights you’ll make it through the whole night, but you still have some nights where you need mommy or daddy to soothe you in the wee hours. That’s okay. We’ll get through this teething stuff together.
You’ve gotten to really enjoy some of the fun things about your hometown this month. Last weekend we went to Tara Feis, the Irish Festival held downtown every year to kick off the St. Pat’s celebration in Savannah. It’s a more family-friendly event, with cotton candy, several moon bounces, and lots of little Irish dancers doing their jigs on stage.
Nana was in town and went with us, and I got this cute picture of you two checking out some of the newly blooming azaleas. As Nana and I were chatting though, you grabbed some of these blooms and pulled hard enough to yank them free. When we finally looked down at you, white azaleas were sticking out of your mouth. But apparently, they aren’t too bad for you because you seemed to survive just fine.
I even had your face painted at Tara Feis, and you sat nice and still through the whole thing. Camille, it was so great to be there with you. Your Daddy and I have gone to Tara Feis for years, and I’ve always enjoyed watching all the other children and imagining what it would be like to attend with my child. And it was wonderful. I loved being outside with you, holding you, showing you off to all the people in the park, watching you soak up the sounds and the sights.
You also enjoyed the St. Paddys parade, especially snuggling up to your Aunt Erin who kept you warm despite the wind. I love Savannah, and I love seeing it anew through your fresh eyes. I pray for many more happy memories here.
Camille, one of the greatest things about this month has been your laugh. It’s a new thing – we’ve only really begun to hear it blossom in the last few days. You’ve laughed for us before. A little giggle on your changing table or when I nibble your toes. But only recently have we heard you really laugh out loud. And it is the most precious sound in the world!
Yesterday, we were in the car together and I got choked on something I was eating. I had to cough and cough to clear my throat, and suddenly, you started laughing. Each time I coughed, you smiled widely and laughed. Once we caught on, everyone in the car started coughing just to hear that magical sound.
All day we continued our coughing fits, hoping to hear your laughter again. I don’t know why this is so hilarious to you, but I’ll take it. I got this video of you on the couch yesterday while we coughed for your entertainment.

Sweet girl, if laughter is the best medicine, I think your laugh could cure all the world. I look forward to another dose tomorrow. Sleep well angel. Mommy loves you so much.