I now understand why people say ‘slow down time’

Dear Millie,

Just like that, you are closer to a year old than to being a newborn. I constantly struggle with wanting you to grow and learn and wanting to freeze this exact moment in time. I spend more time than I ever thought I would just studying you. You love studying me as well, and we both spend a good chunk out of the day looking at each other and laughing. It’s not just that I feel this intense love for you, but it’s also that I can see and feel the intense love you have for me, and it is a feeling that gives me so much life and pure joy.

I’ve been staring at the computer screen a bit and starting to write the second paragraph of this letter, but each time I have to erase it because it doesn’t flow. I want to share how great you’re doing, how there are no problems anymore, but that simply isn’t the truth. I will say that you are so incredibly happy still that the notion of anything being wrong with you simply does not feel like it’s a possibility, but I suppose all parents feel that way about their kids. We are still trying to figure out what is going on with you and your GI issues. The GI issues have actually calmed down a bit, but now have some blood work levels that are off. I feel like I’m in a game of whack-a-mole (you don’t know this game yet, but I sure hope it exists when you are old enough to play it, it is such a simple pleasure). Because there have been so many questions and not many answers, your doctors decided it was time for us to take you to a speciality hospital, so we are booked with appointments for you at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital at the beginning of August. You’ll be seeing a few different doctors in the gastrointestinal, hematology, and immunology departments, and we are so hopeful we will finally be able to once and for all know what is going on with you.

Almost everyone that sees you and knows that you’ve been having issues can not believe it. Everyone tells me ‘she’s just too happy to have anything wrong’. Those are the words that I hold close to my heart, so those moments when I worry more about you I remind myself of how happy you are. I still believe that one day we will look back and this and think how small it was, but it’s really hard for me and your dada (and everyone who loves you), to see you go through all of these tests with no definitive answers. However, you have made friends with each doctor and their staff at each office. We now have our two favorite ladies who draw your blood, they get it on the first try every time, we know that your GI doctor loves you, and you love the fish tank at your hematologist. We always make the best out of every situation, and it has given me a lot of time to reflect on how easy it is to take for granted good health. I think it’s easy for everyone to do that from time to time, but I’ve seen a lot of kids who have a lot of problems that deeply impact their quality of life and their parents are the definition of resilient. When you are a parent, you don’t have the time to dwell on things you once did, you just get up and go. I want to find a way to be more involved to help those in need, and I promise that I will figure that out and make sure it is an important part of your life as well.

For now, we wait until August for the next steps, and in the meantime, we are trying to let you live your life like any other 7-month-old. You started crawling a few weeks ago and I LOVE HOW YOU CRAWL. It isn’t ‘proper,’ but it is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. You put your entire body into a plank and then move your weight in front of your arms and plop down. Sometimes you plank with one leg only. I want you to know that you are making this harder than you need to, but you are determined to be on the move and this is the way you want to do it. You move quickly and hilariously, and dada and I could watch you do it all day long. You just cut your first tooth and have been calm and collected about it, in typical Millie fashion. In fact, the only reason we knew your tooth was coming in was because your dada felt it when you munched on his finger. You don’t seem phased by it, and we keep giving you chew toys, which you always loved.

We’ve taken you to a few museums and you like it as much as a 7-month-old can. You saw the fish swimming in the aquarium and that caught your eye, but I think at this age you still are just taking everything in. You love to study people’s faces and some people tell me how serious you are, and they aren’t wrong. You don’t give your smiles away easily, you make people work for it and you first make sure they are deserving of your smile. You still rarely cry. Everyone tells me we don’t know how lucky we are with how calm you are. I think in that way I don’t know how lucky I am, but when it comes to feeling lucky to be your mom; the feeling of love I have for you is so deep.

You are still the most stubborn baby ever. For how easy you are, you are equally as stubborn. I am pretty stubborn myself, and actually, so is your dada. I think you took it from both of us, and when you do not want to do something, you refuse. You still do not want to eat solids, it was kind of cute at first, and now it’s just like we are battling one another. But we keep going at it. Three times a day, we sit you in your high chair to feed you. Brutus, our dog, ends up getting more food than you. You close your lips as tight as possible, and then you even clamp your gums down. In the event that food enters your mouth, you typically spit it out. We are experiencing a battle of the wills, but I am taking a laid-back approach to it. You will eventually eat, and while I wish it wasn’t so hard, I know one day you will eat. I mean, how long are you planning to nurse, Millie? Help your mama out!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, you LOVE your dada. Of course you love me, and I can see it and feel it, but when you see your dada, your face lights up. You also started saying dada this past month, at first it started with a string of other babble, and then a couple weeks ago you looked straight at Vlad and said Dada and smiled ear to ear. He had tears in his eyes and your dada isn’t a guy that tears up easily. Every morning our routine is still the same, I go to get you out of your crib and bring you into our bed to nurse you. When you finish, you look for your dada, sitting straight up and smiling when you locate him in the bed. Then you start flapping your arms and trying to get to him with a huge smile on your face. You two then start your day together, and I try to get a little more rest. I know how much you love these mornings with your dada, but I also know that your dada cherishes those morning moments with you as well.

Sometimes at night before I fall asleep, I go back through my photos and videos of you and just smile. I always said I’d never lose myself when I became a mom, and I don’t think that I have, but kid, I would do anything for you. The love I feel for you is intense in a way I can not understand. I want for you to live the best life ever, I want for you to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. Your dada and I will do anything we can to help that happen.

Love,

Mama

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