you're eleven (and a half!) months old, wattsie!

My big, big girl-- you are eleven (and a half!) months old! I cannot believe that you will be a year old in just a few days.




You have grown up so much over the past month. You are starting to really be independent. You are so good at crawling on all fours now. You can really go! You are also really good at walking when someone is helping you. I think you'll be walking on your own very soon. You've taken a few steps, and you've stood on your own. It's just a matter of time now!



You are still nursing four times per day (when you first wake up, 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.). You are still sleeping through the night from 7:30 p.m. until about 7:30-8:00 a.m.

You love every single food we put in front of you. You really love cheese toast, crackers, turnip greens, peas and beans, and mac-and-cheese. You love food, and that makes me so happy.



You also love bathtime. The other day, we visited a church member in the hospital, and you saw a fountain outside. You went berserk. You love water. I often have to let you play in the sink just to satisfy your need for water play. Silly girl.

You are definitely getting bigger and taller, too. I think you weigh about 24 pounds. You wear 18 months clothes (more for the length and not for the width), and you wear 6-12 months socks and a size 2-3 shoe.



You can say a few words, too: DaDa (your favorite), Nonna (Momma), Ni-ni (night-night), Bye-bye, and no. You aren't one to be put on display, so to say, so it's hard to get you to say lots of stuff.

You are also kind of shy around strangers, but you love to stare people down, too. You always have something to investigate.

You still only have four teeth, but they are good, strong teeth that can do lots of chewing.



You really love to "pat-a-cake", and your favorite part is the "roll him up" part. But I can't ever get you to "throw him in the pan."

You are definitely a grinner. You grin all the time now, which is something kind of new for you. You always haven't been the easiest little girl to impress, so your affluence of grinning makes me so happy now.



Wattsie, you mean so much to your daddy and me. We love you so much, and we are so very proud of you. I cannot wait to watch you grow during these last few weeks of your first year and during all the years to come.

I love you, little girl.



happy halloween...

Happy Halloween!








We went trick-or-treating on Monday night-- we saw great-grands and Pop and Gran V. Last night, Mat took AWA in her costume to see Aunt Cathy and Uncle Randall. I think our little duck had a good time.

She doesn't mind wearing her costume at all. In fact, I think she likes it.

She's a sick baby today, so I doubt we'll get out in our costume to church tonight, but we'll just have to see how it goes. Poor baby.

Happy Halloween...from our little puddle duck!



perfectly her mother

I ran across an article yesterday (thanks to Erin) that was about making pictures not just of your children but of making pictures of your children with YOU in them.

And that got me thinking. I make a lot of photos of AWA, but I don't make a lot of photos of AWA with me in them, as well. And that's really not fair to her.

Here's a little from the article. Go here to read the entire thing.

"But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen. People, including my children, don't see the way I make sure my kids' favorite stuffed animals are on their beds at night. They don't know how I walk the grocery store aisles looking for treats that will thrill them for a special day. They don't know that I saved their side-snap, paper-thin baby shirts from the hospital where they were born or their little hospital bracelets in keepsake boxes high on the top shelves of their closets. They don't see me tossing and turning in bed wondering if I am doing an okay job as a mother, if they are okay in their schools, where we should take them for a vacation, what we should do for their birthdays. I'm up long past the news on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and eating cookies and milk, and I spend hours hunting the Internet and the local Targets for specially-requested Halloween costumes and birthday presents. They don't see any of that.

Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week's parent reader or planning the class Valentine's Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).

I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.

When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don't look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her -- her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That's the mother I remember. My mother's body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn't care that she didn't look like a model. She was my mama.

So when all is said and done, if I can't do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.

I will save the little printed page with four squares of pictures on it and the words "Morgan's Sweet Sixteen" scrawled across the top with the date. There I am, hair not quite coiffed, make-up minimal, face fuller than I would like -- one hand holding a sleeping baby's head, and the other wrapped around my sweet littlest guy, who could not care less what I look like."

No, I'm not always perfect. No, I don't always look great. And truth be told, no...I don't shower every day sometimes. But every single day, Ama-Watts is here with me, and I'm with her. Every single day she is my daughter, and every single day, I am her mother.
So, I am committing to be in the picture with her. So one day, when I'm gone and maybe she's missing me a little bit, she can look at a picture of the two of us...on some random Thursday...and she how I wasn't perfect, but how perfectly I was her mother.
I love you, Ama-Watts.