Today marks your 4-month birthday. I can hardly believe it’s been 4 months since you came into this world and changed our lives forever. There is no way I can describe to you how much your daddy and I love you. Maybe one day you will have your own kids and then you’ll get it. Then you’ll understand. That’s how it was for me. All at once, I understood a lot of the things my mom had been telling me since I can remember.
You are a beautiful little girl. Already you’ve grown and changed so much that I can barely remember what it was like when you were so tiny you curled up to sleep on my chest. You don’t really do that anymore – you’re much happier sleeping on your back or in your swing. You still fall asleep in your car seat, but these days you wake up as soon as I take you out of the car. You used to sleep forever in that little chair.
Speaking of sleep, you’ve been sleeping through the night since you were about 7 weeks old. Like really through the night, 8-10 hours. At about 3 weeks you started sleeping 4-6 hours at a time, and you loved to sleep in your bouncy chair with the vibration turned on. But when you were 7 weeks old, we started giving you a little bit of formula and wrapping you in the swaddle wrap, and that did wonders for your sleep! These days you routinely sleep 10-12 hours at night, but you don’t really like to nap during the day. I know, you’re afraid you might miss something. You’re so interested in everything that’s going on around you. You’re curious, and I’m sure once you can talk you will have endless questions.
You’ve started using that little voice of yours, though I’m not sure “little” is an accurate description. You and I have long conversations almost every day. We jabber back and forth at each other and it gets louder and louder and louder. Right now, you laugh when I say “mm-hmm”, “uh-huh”, and sometimes when we play peekaboo. Your laugh is so cute. I’m pretty sure I could be in a terrible mood, and hearing you laugh would change it all. How is that possible? I don’t know, but your little giggle just melts my heart.
You were born with a little birthmark on your head, over your right ear. By the time you can read, it will be long gone, and you will have undergone your first surgery. Hopefully the last for a very very very long time.
Right now, I am doing a project. If you haven’t seen it by the time you can read this, ask me about it. I am taking a picture of you every single day. Yep. That’s a lot of pictures. I’m going to print them in a book, so you can look back at it later. And if you don’t end up hating the camera too much, I might do one every year.
Clara, you are a beautiful girl. You are bright-eyed, curious, strong, stubborn, funny, and quirky. You need to know how thankful your daddy and I are to have you in our lives. We are truly blessed. I’m not sure how it is possible to love someone so much that you’ve only known for 4 months, but we do. You have your daddy wrapped around your little finger, and you can’t even talk yet. Actually, that happened as soon as you were born. Maybe even before that.
You have a lot of family members who love you too. Your cousin Maddie now yells “CLARA!” whenever we see her, instead of “Becca! Joel! (that’s mommy and daddy’s names). Your other cousin, Camryn, tries to eat your face every time we see her. But she’s only 3 months older than you – it’s a sign of affection. Your Aunt Kelli and Uncle Brandon, well, I think they think you’re a doll. You hang out with them once a month while your daddy and I go out on a date. Your uncle Brandon once thought that you weren’t really his niece, since he’s not Joel’s brother, but don’t you worry about that. He still likes you. 🙂 Your Aunt Rachel thinks you’re about the best thing that ever happened. She keeps a picture of you on her computer just so she can see your face every day (she’s in medical school in Virginia). She loves to hold you and kiss you and play with you. I think your Uncle Jacob is pretty smitten with you as well. Your Noni and Papa live in Iowa, but they come to see you every chance they get, and they both always cry when they have to say goodbye to you. Papa loves to whisper little things to you, and I wish I could hear what he was telling you. I’m sure it’s something sweet. Your Grammy and Grandad love to see you too. They are always impressed with how much you’ve grown and ask about your new tricks every time we talk. Your Grandad would do anything in the world for you. There are so many more, not to mention friends. You are one loved little girl!
You’re a little quirky, but that’s what makes you unique. We love your little quirks. You eat and sleep with your hands on your head like you’re trying to hold your head on. You fight sleep, especially during the day. You cry whenever I turn my back or leave the room. When you’re really mad, you sound like a little German baby, saying, “Nein! Nein!” Lately, everything you can get your hands on goes right into your mouth. You love the bath, and I can’t wait to take you to mommy and me swimming classes soon. I think you’re going to love the pool. You barely have any fat on you. Only one little fat roll on each thigh. You have a baby six pack. But you’re really long, or tall, or whatever you say for babies. Your hair is getting more and more blonde as it grows in, and I can’t wait until I can braid it or put it in pony tails for you. I’ll have to perfect my french braid. I secretly hope your hair will be curly, but that’s just because mine is stick straight. I know it will be beautiful either way. Right now your eyes are a dark greyish blue. They were full on grey when you were born. You love to stand up, and if you get it in your head that you want to stand, you will NOT let us sit you down. You’re very strong, and can already almost scoot out of your little seat if you’re not strapped in. Also, you can pretty much hip your way out of your bumbo seat… I can’t take my eyes off of you for a second.
I pray for you all the time, Clara. That you will grow up to be a woman who knows Jesus, and loves above all. Who is strong and confident, but knows when to ask for help. Who sees needs and does what she can to meet them. Who knows that she is important, but yet just a part of a much larger story.
I know that we’re going to mess up along the way. So I’ll say I’m sorry now, and I hope that you can forgive us. Parenting is a kind of overwhelming responsibility. We are doing our best, and we hope that ends up being enough.
Above all, know that we love you very very much, and we wouldn’t trade you for any other kid in the whole world. Happy 4 month birthday, Clara.
Mommy (and Daddy)