Dear Natalie: Week 42

Forgive me for hyperventilating; it’s just that you are now 42 weeks old, which is a scant 10 weeks away from your first birthday.

Every week you’re looking less and less like a baby and more like a very small person. For instance, you actually have a neck now, as opposed to the bowling ball head that seemed to sit directly on your shoulders for months. It’s far easier to clean and no longer requires flossing with a washcloth while you’re in the tub.

You still have a very impressive belly (which I ADORE), but your waistline is starting to thin out. You grew two inches in between your six- and nine-month checkups but only gained about a pound and a half, so we’re actually snapping up your diapers more tightly than we used to.

A few times this week I’ve watched you pull yourself up on the couch or your little toddler chair that you can’t actually sit in, because you can’t be trusted not to fling yourself out, and then….let go. And not fall over. Apparently that impressive belly is now acting as a kind of kickstand to keep you upright, and you don’t need to hold onto things with your hands to stay upright.

You’ve always had an impressive amount of hair, but now it’s at the point where your dad and I are actively thinking about your first haircut. I’m brushing your bangs out of your face all day long, because they’re just long enough to graze your eyelashes. When your hair is wet we can style it to a certain extent, but after a nap it bounces right back to where it was before. To date you’ve been very adamantly anti-hairclip, but soon it’ll either be that or a haircut. Which I can’t even face, because you are not supposed to be old enough to need one.

Your 18-month clothing still fits (I think this is the longest stretch you’ve ever stayed in one size), but there’s a growing percentage of 2T and even 3T clothing making its way into your closet.

I recently went through all of the clothing you’ve outgrown and packed it all away for any future siblings. This took far longer than it should have, because I had to keep stopping to hold up tiny onesies and pants and exclaim to your dad about how small they were. I’ve called you the valedictorian of baby growth several times, but now I look at the clothing that you were wearing when you were 10 pounds, 15 pounds, and I have a hard time remembering you clearly at that small size.

Time seems to pass differently when you have a baby; that’s for sure. It unspools slowly in the beginning, when each night seems to last for days and the first week is the longest week of your life. But then it begins to spin faster and faster until suddenly your baby is standing on the brink of toddlerhood and it takes you three times as long to write them a letter because you have to keep retrieving them from diving into the cat food bowls (ahem, ahem).

Some days I’m utterly baffled at how we arrived here so quickly, but most of the time I look at you and everything feels like it’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Because how could it be anything else?

Love always,


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