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Monday, December 27, 2010
::Sagan's Monthly Newsletter, December 2010::

Dear Sagan,

Merry eighth month! I have to say, when you were conceived, Dad and I had no inkling what great timing we’d achieved vis a vis your age during the holidays! I think that 8 months is the cutest possible age for a baby to be at Christmas; what a conflagration of habits, fascinations, noises, activities, and locomotor skills!

You went “camping” a couple more times, which basically means we had campfire food in remarkably mild Texas winter weather. When I went out to buy your dad's Christmas present, Gran and Uncle Josh took you to the lake shore and marveled at a) your lack of interest in the ducks; b) your fascination with the tiny pebbles, which you miraculously didn’t try to put in your mouth; and c) your appreciation of the sound of lapping water. Josh took some great photos with our camera (and Christmas rectified his lack of a good camera of his own):

Funnily, their discovery of your love of water sounds coincided with my purchase of a “Seaside Lullabies” CD, which features common, tinkly-sweet lullabies with soothing lapping water in the background. (Bonus track: 14 minutes of just the waves!) I started playing it as I rock you to sleep, a process which is surprisingly painless. You seem to have stopped fighting sleep; you may have just realized the beauty of it, the surrender to restfulness after your days of go-go-go and play-play-play. UNLESS, of course, we’re talking about the middle of the night; you’re waking up twice on average still, and we’re chalking it up to teething. Most of the time Dad or I can just shush and pat you back to sleep without lifting you out of your crib, but the rest of the time, you’ve already stood up, and there’s no way to get you straight back down after that. You then need a cuddle. And it’s not that bad when I think about how holding you in my lap or up on my shoulder won’t last much longer.

Solid food continues apace; you’re now really into the little “puffs” that, as far as I can tell, are more for training fine motor skills than they are for actual sustenance. But you love ‘em, and if you end up with childhood obesity, it was probably because puffs are The Greatest Panacea For Babies Ever.

You’re ever-more into discovering textures and details. Your eyes are drawn to them, even beyond what I notice sometimes. You’re fascinated by the door chain on the front door; whether it’s dangling and sparkly or closed and grab-tastic, your eyes (and fingers) are drawn there whenever we go into the front room. Amazingly, though, when we were coming inside after feeding Oscar the other day, you gestured and cooed, and I realized you had noticed another door chain! I totally hadn’t realized there was even one back there. Good eye, kiddo!

You’re still cruising up a storm, and we’ve turned the living room into the Sagan Corral. You don’t really need the foam mats anymore (though this month could easily be categorized as The Month With All The Head Bruises and Screaming), but we’ve set up an ottoman between the sofa and the red chair to create a babyproofed (well, mostly babyproofed) zone from which you cannot escape! Except for that one time you did. You bust your lip a couple of times, too, what with those emerging teeth (you now have four; if all you wanted for Christmas was your two front teeth, you totally got your wish).

Your personality is starting to ooze from every move. When we play music, you’ll often “sing along,” an odd wailing sound that I realized just tonight sounds just like a theremin! You’ll happily bang your hand against any flat surface (and I’ll happily say, “Bam bam bam!” along with you). By far the cutest music response you do now, though, is dancing. Your whole body bops back and forth, your head thrown back in elation and your mouth open with glee. Unfortunately, you’re a little camera shy with this, though; the sight of an iPhone or camera makes you fixate on it. Christmas music (specifically, Christmas commercial music!) really make you boppy. I downloaded all the Target Christmas songs, as well as the Vampire Weekend album, so we could replicate this effect sans TV. We all love to watch you dance.

Your cousin Kassidy babysat you one morning; she loved having you at your house, but I know she was glad to get all the attention back when you left!

You’ve started this faux bashfulness phase, one in which you turn your head away from people and bury your face in my chest for a moment before you turn back smile, flashing your four gorgeous teeth and reaching for a new friend. False shyness or no, I’m happy to be the recipient of your nuzzle.

Being the pride of three couples, you were featured on many holiday cards. We had four different ones (you can thank Shutterfly’s weird coupons for that!), plus Pitter and Gran’s, plus Nana and Grandpa Karl’s. You’re a star.

You performed admirably at the Smith and Rowe and Patterson Christmas reunions, dressed as Santa and Christmas plaid kid and Puma kid, respectively. Other little kids bowed down to your adorableness. And played with you. And made you smile. It was great. We were sad to not achieve our goal of training you to say “Ho ho ho!” before the holidays, though.

I almost didn’t decorate the house at all, but I’m glad I took the time to put up our silver tree with twinkly lights. You love gazing at our Christmas décor, particularly the sock Rudolph Pitter made (jingle bells! whee!) and a statue I refer to, affectionately, as Proctology Santa. (He’s pulling on a glove! With a twinkle in his eye!)

Christmas was... well... perfect. You were old enough to be completely adorable and interactive yet young enough to have no idea what was going on, so you didn’t know what Santa brought you, or why everyone gave you all those boxes with fun paper to eat, or what Baby Jesus had to do with anything (though Gran encouraged you to teethe on his wooden one from the nativity set, and when you lost that, he used a little flashlight, which I guess was appropriate). You did take an epic nap, along with the best of ‘em.

Next year will be different. Awesomer, but different. Sleepier for Mommy and Dad, for sure.

You LOVE the toys you got that make music. Your bam-bam-bams are welcome on a great LED-lit drum; you can beat that thing like a metronome. You have a musical learning table that really entertains you, with jazzed-up versions of nursery rhymes and the alphabet song.

And your rockin’ walker makes you “wiggle and giggle, bounce and bop and tap” (lyrics theirs). It’s amazing, to see the diametrically opposed reactions music gives you – from calming you down after fussiness to spazzing you out from your normal self – and I can’t wait to discover what more music can do for you.

More than anything, though, this Christmas made me so happy for you. To see so many people who love you and care about you, people whom you make smile and laugh—and weep with joy (I’m looking at you, Pitter)! I love that you’re a new focus of attention, and that you’re so sweet and fun and happy around large crowds (useful for being a Smith, huh?). Every year from here on out will be more beautiful, more joyful, and more magical than the last. Christmas was such a memorable, fantastic part of my childhood, and I pledge to make it as wonderful and wonder-filled as mine were.

Also, I pledge to embarrass you. A lot. Starting by publishing the face you make when you poop!


Dislikes: Being removed from danger, “drinking” from a sippy cup, being confined to your baby carrier at a restaurant, sitting in a high chair at a restaurant
Likes: Your Christmas tree and wreath in your room, the flavor of electrical plugs, unrolling toilet paper, your vibrating teether, singing
Things You Can Do: Headbang, chew/bite, walk while holding a hand, crawl fast, gesture to things you want, understand (and often comply with) “No”
Very very nought!
I like children!
Cartier rings

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