Gummy Bear

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Daphne baby will be 9 months this Friday. NINE months. Didn't I just announce that we were expecting her? Didn't we just find out she was a girl? And, weren't we debating names for her just yesterday? Oh me oh my, I can't even get a grip on it.
And now, we've had a month full of milestones for her to top it all off. It was only a few weeks ago that she started to really crawl. Not the belly-on-the-floor "army" crawl, but I mean really hands-and-knees start to get mobile (yikes!) Our days have become filled with shouts of "No Daphne!" and "No cords, baby! Let go!" as she inevitably seems to navigate her way straight to a power outage on each and every journey she embarks. Not only has she mastered crawling, but now she pulls herself up to standing - in her crib, at the couch, the ottoman, anything! And she has entered into the "I-think-I-can-walk-but-I-actually-can't-so-I-just-topple-and-hit-my-head-every-ten-minutes-instead" phase, which is really creating a peaceful environment for mommy (ha).

But, the change with the most impact occurring right now, is that this little lady is finally getting some teeth! Four at once, in fact. The whole top row seems to have just barely peeked through overnight, like a garden that has woken up to springtime. Tiny little teeth buds, making their debut to my daughter's smile, how sweet.

Babies go through so many insanely vast changes within the first year, it continues to boggle my mind. When they are first born, my husband and I lovingly refer to newborns as having "squishy face" syndrome. You know what I'm talking about - all new babies have that little face that is wrinkly and red and soft, so soft, that it truly is, in fact, squishy! Then, about six weeks or so later, they start to "get their face" so to speak. They are blinking and smiling at you. A bit of personality is chirping up between bouts of crying and sleeping. They react to you and know your voice and you can start to see which one of you she might actually resemble. Their skin has adjusted to the outside world and their eyes are huge with every little glance of something new. It's not long before more dominant features start to show definition. By 6 months, they are labeled "smiley" or "happy baby" or "chunky buns" or whatever might stick out to you when you look at them. They are real little people, growing and changing right before our eyes.

Daphne was plump and round right from the start (having been born a week late at a whopping 9 lb 5 oz!) and so we called her "little bear" from the get-go. She just looked like a little bear to me. And so, of course, as is Pardy-tradition around here, many more nicknames sprung up from "bear": "Daph-a-bear", "Mini-bear", "Bitty-bear", "Baby-bear", and when you look at that big, toothless smile, it's not hard to imagine where "Gummy-bear" got its start.

My little Gummy Bear is growing up, like it or not. And soon those little teeth will be filling her mouth and changing that little smile and giving her face an entirely new look altogether. It's so weird. Honestly, the whole "teething" bit just kind of freaks me out. Your sweet baby is going through their life, happy as a clam and then WHAM!

"Oh, sorry sweet one, that throbbing pain you are feeling in your mouth is just bits of bone trying to grow their way through your sensitive gum-line. Once it pierces through, after many sleepless nights of tears and anguish, you'll be able to enjoy new activities, like chewing food and biting your sister back."

I wish we could explain it to her. I wish she could understand that it was worth it or tell me what I could do to help her. And I wish I could make her understand how gosh darn cute she has been for the last eight months and how I have treasured her little gummy smiles. Matilda had four teeth by four months old, so the fact that Daphne is almost nine months has truly been a fun, much more manageable pace for me to appreciate this time around.

I know there are many milestones to come for this wee one. I am excited to see, at her own pace, how she grows into the little beauty she will become. Each little phase of babydom is precious, with its own triumphs and challenges along the way. I know I will fall in love with her toothy smile just as much (or more!) as I have with this gummy one; but, of course with each new chapter comes a bit of sadness and sentimentality for this mama. Still, there are three months left to this first year with my lil Daph-a-bear. And, no doubt, she will be bringing smiles to my face for many more to come.

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