Letter to Camille: Eleven Months

Hello sweet pea, and Happy 11 month birthday! I can hardly believe that this time a year ago, we had just bought your rocking chair. The very chair I rocked you in tonight. We were so excited and so ready to meet you, and that was before we even knew how wonderful you would be.
As I rocked you tonight, your room kept erupting in light and noise from a thunderstorm. I wondered if it would bother you – they usually either happen in the afternoon, or later at night after you’re already sound asleep. After the first flash of lightening and roll of thunder, you looked around for the source, but not seeing anything interesting, you ignored the rest of the storm.
I wonder when we start getting scared of that sort of thing? I remember being terrified of storms as a girl. I’d creep into my parents bedroom and wrap myself up in the comforter they’d discarded on the floor. I’d sleep in my little cocoon at the foot of their bed – half the time they didn’t even know I was there until morning. But it made me feel so much safer to be in the room with them.
When you’re older, I wonder if you’ll come creeping into our room when the weather gets rough? If so, that’ll be okay. I always hope you’ll feel like your Daddy and I are a safe haven. Somewhere you can always go when you’re scared. A place where you know you’re loved and secure.
You’re another month older today, sweet angel, and about 10 times busier – I didn’t think it was possible! Sometimes it seems the second your body touches the ground, you take off so fast it appears you’ve been catapulted across the room. My role has definitely changed from Entertainer to Supervisor. I just sit back and watch you go. We’ve been working on the word “no,” because you’re starting to get into things that I know you shouldn’t. At first, you responded beautifully because I think the tone of our voices surprised you. After you discovered we weren’t going to morph into monsters and eat you, you began testing us. Reaching a little longer, a little further, even after we’d said no. But eventually, you listen to us. So far.
You’re also very busy at baby school. The other day, when I walked in to pick you up, I had to step around an obstacle course of baby toys strewn across the room. I had scooped you up and was chatting with the daycare worker when another employee walked in the room.
He stopped when he saw the toy deluge and asked, “What happened?”
The other daycare worker answered simply, “Camille.”
She went on to explain that you single-handedly removed all the toys from the shelves that afternoon. The other babies helped spread the toys around the room while you tried to climb into the now empty bookcase to play. I wasn’t surprised, because you still love to unpack anything and everything – and that apparently includes your baby school shelves.
This month you had your first real opportunities to play in water that didn’t involve a bath. Last weekend, you had your first dip in a real pool, and I’m so happy to say you loved it. I have always enjoyed water – pools, oceans, even sprinklers in the backyard – whatever water I could get into. I hope you continue to be a little water baby, because that’s something we can enjoy together through the years.
I’d bought you a little inflatable ring, and we put you in it while playing in the 1 foot deep baby pool. You were adorable. You used the ring to keep your head above water while your little feet were busy pushing you all around the pool. You were moving so quickly I could barely keep up!
You also had your first taste of ice cream last weekend! Granddaddy had been waiting for this moment for 11 months, and we finally felt that your little digestive system was ready for the treat. You had some good old Blue Belle Vanilla. Your verdict? Yummy. More please.
You had your first golf cart ride, and seemed to enjoy the wind in your hair as we zipped all around Nana and Granddaddy’s neighborhood. I can imagine when you’re older, you’ll beg to drive it. The thought of that made my knuckles turn white as I gripped the arm of the bench. My heart’s not quite ready to picture you behind the wheel of anything all by yourself, so I’ll postpone that anxiety for a while.
Just a few days ago, you started clapping, and I think it’s the cutest thing any baby has ever done. Ever. Your Daddy and I cheer every time you do it, so you clap a lot now. You’ll clap in your highchair after I give you a bite of something particularly tasty. Last night, you were fighting sleep, and just as you started to drift off, you began clapping. I think you were using applause to help keep yourself awake, and I had to choke back a laugh. Today, when your Daddy and I appeared at the door of your baby school to pick you up, your eyes got big and you started clapping. It was perfect. I nearly bowed.
Your hair is starting to get a little longer, but it’s still baby fine and has a mind of it’s own. But a couple of weeks ago I made an attempt at a pony tail. The result was pretty hilarious. I love this picture I snapped of you with your pony tail sticking straight up in the air. We call this kind of smile your “nose scrunch” smile, because you smile so big your little nose gets all scrunched up. That’s when we know you’re really, really happy. Thank you for all the nose scrunches we’ve enjoyed this month!
Your Daddy has been hard at work tonight designing your birthday invitations – can you believe it? I’m so excited about your special day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring people together to celebrate the wonder that is YOU. But while your birthday will be a momentous occasion, I want to celebrate you every day. You’re just that special.
Sleep well angel. Always remember how much I love you.