You are 9 months old. You have been alive outside my belly as long as you were alive inside my belly so I think it is appropriate for me to take a minute to talk about what it was like being pregnant with you.
Pregnancy, like motherhood, was not what I expected it to be. At times it seemed as if I would never stop being pregnant, that you were going to hole up on my belly forever and I was going to spend the rest of my life in a terrible state of not being able to have coffee whenever I wanted it. And then the next day I would look at the calendar and realize, Good Lord! This baby is going to be born in 5 weeks! I should maybe think about packing a hospital bag...
There were days when I was sure I was not ready to be a parent. But there were many more days that I was either too busy to think about it, or I was just so excited to meet you that it didn't matter. I knew things would work out in the end.
Norah, your daddy and I did not find out that you were a girl until the day you were born. I don't really remember how it happened, but we decided that we did not want to find out if you were a boy or a girl until you were born. I, of course, had a feeling that you were a girl the whole time. Since we didn't know for sure that you were a girl, we didn't call you by your name. We just called you Baby. And I think because of this, because we did not call you "Norah", I sometimes have to remind myself that I was pregnant with you. Norah. Not just Baby, but Norah. So if you look back through the things I wrote when I was pregnant, they were all about you. The times I compared your size to various foods, it was you that was the size of a lime, or a turnip, or a crenshaw melon. When I threatened to put your feet in silly baby shoes if you did not get those feet out of my ribcage, those were your feet. All that weight I gained, was for you. All the cheese burritos, Oreos, cheetos, and bowls of ice cream went to your development.
And in this picture, where my belly is all weird and pointy? That was your elbow or knee or foot sticking out and making my belly look like that.
Sometimes, especially in the months right after you were born, I miss being pregnant. It was nice to have you all safe and confined and near me all the time. I liked having that belly and feeling you move inside me was incredible. And it sure was nice having an excuse to eat ice cream. But when I think about it, it's better having you here with me like you are, all smiles and laughter and soft skin and crazy hair.
Little girl, you just keep getting better and better. I loved when you were tiny and floppy and depended on me for everything, and I thought that I would be sad when you became more independent. Sad that you needed me less and that you were not my tiny little baby anymore. So I am honestly surprised by how much I absolutely love this stage you are in.
You are crawling now. You can feed yourself most foods if they are fingerfoods. You can sit up by yourself and pull yourself up to stand. You can fairly easily make your needs and wants known. And I just love all this. It seems as though with this explosion of independence came an explosion of personality. There are some things, like the train whistles, that make you cry. There are other things, like when I crawl after you and tickle you, that make you laugh hysterically. You cry and ball your fists when you can't have what you want. You jabber all the time, say Mama when you are mad or sad, blow rasperries and curl your toes when you concentrate.
I love all these things about you Norah, and a million other things. But if I tried to sit and write all of them out, we would be here forever. Just know that you are incredible, fantastic, beautiful, smart, funny, and the absolute brightest part of my life.
It's been 9 months, and I am still surprised by how much I love you.