Dear Little Elephant,
There is no greater truth than this: You have your Papa wrapped around your finger. He is a complete slave to your every whim and so in love with you. Your Papa is learning to stay calm when you cry; to bounce you in his arms and sing folklore to you; to make you smile he will put a ridiculously large, TV salesman, cheesy smile on his face (honestly, I have never seen him smile this much or this big- ever); and he even will choose to watch you sleep over reading (previously his favorite activity).
You smile back now and love to make people smile at you. First, you pick a target. Then you stare at them. If this does not make them smile back, you smile at them, mimicking the behavior you want to see. If this does not work, you make cute cooing sounds at them. When this does not work, you scream at them. This almost never works but it does show your frustration. You are a social baby and very much want everyone (including everyone on the airplane) to smile at you.
Your Abuelo and Abue (Chilean Grandpa and Grandma) adore you. They spent every single moment you were in Chile (except when Mama was evil and put you down to sleep in your crib at night) cooing at you and cuddling with you. I have never seen Abuelo smile this much or look as happy as he does when he is holding you. He has patience to walk you through the house when you are your most upset. He loves holding you in his arms while we eat. And he can spend hours in silence staring at you and telling you how beautiful and amazing you are.
Abue needs to be reminded that Abuelo/ Uncle M/ Mama/ Papa haven’t had a chance to touch you. Abue is wonderful at getting you to talk and you love having “conversations” in which you excitedly tell her “aguuuuu” and then you smile. Abue also bought you a mobile for your crib and you think it is the best thing in the world (after breastmilk and pooping).
Your Uncle M was the first of your Chilean family to hold you. He even beat Abue by pulling you out of my arms when we got out of the car. Uncle M has had less experience with babies, but is enamored with you. He sings to you, carries you in his arms up and down the hallway, plays with you and is even willing to help Mama do tummy time with you. You HATE tummy time and your Papa can’t stand to hear you scream so we don’t do it much. After Mama explained how important it was, Uncle M took it upon himself to make tummy time fun— he has even succeeded (for short periods).
In Chile you met so many people, Abue’s family, Abuelo’s family, Mama’s host family and her other host family, Papa’s friends from law school and even a friend who was visiting from Barcelona. Leaving Chile was hard. It was hard on Papa’s family because they love you so much. It was hard on Papa because he loves how happy you make his family. It was hard on Mama because it was hard on Papa.
During this month we moved on to a new adventure: Kazakhstan! You are very very jet-lagged and so in my milk supply. You like the new house and all the fun new things we have here. The swing was an instant favorite as was the rocking chair. This month you discovered your hands– but you still don’t know what to do with them beyond lick them. Mama has been trying to teach you to hold a rattle and every so often you do– for a few seconds. You smile huge when you make it make a sound and then look surprised when it falls from your hand. We are reading more books and checking out all the things there are to do. Almaty has so many fountains and other great colorful buildings to look at.
The other big change, 4 days ago, was that Mama went back to work. I think in your jet-lagged state, you barely noticed. You sleep so much while I am out and I have been coming home to feed you. Also, I have been leaving bottles so that Papa can feed you. He loves being able to feed you and you love the bottle. The truth is, you love to eat and are fascinated by food. The only downside to Papa feeding you is that before when you were very hungry and Mama need a minute or two, Papa could hold you and you would be calm. After all, you knew he couldn’t feed you. Now, there is no peace when you are hungry.
As your Papa tells you: you are my everyday sunshine. I love you very, very, much my little girl.