11 Month Letter:

Dear Skylar Joy, Hey there, pretty girl! You're changing so much every month... and this one is no exception! Your communication with us this month continued to grow and change and get better! You now wave consistently when prompted to say "bye-bye". It's especially cute when you wave goodbye to your daddy when he's about to leave at bedtime. You're telling him "okay, go bye-bye now so I can nurse with Mommy!" You also now communicate with motions. For example: You will point to your head and motion with a toy that you want us to put it on our head like you are. So we'll take it from you and put the toy on our head and you giggle and smile so big! You are more and more interested in telling us about your day and showing us what you want to do and how you want to play. We don't always understand you, but it's been fun trying to decipher what you're communicating.

When you see something new or discover something you say "ohhhhh" with so much wonder. It's incredibly cute. I love hearing you make that sound and watching you learn.

You loved it when your Gram Gram and Pop Pop came to visit. You seemed to know they were special to you pretty quickly. We wonder if it's because of all the video chats you've had with them! You certainly are interacting more and more in those chats. This month you were also away from your Daddy for a while (and in New York visiting with your other grandparents and two of your uncles). We video chatted most days while we were apart from your daddy and you loved seeing him every time. You would smile so big and often clap (you guys clap back and forth a lot as a type of "game"). You also would wave "bye-bye" to your Dad on video chat when it was time to say goodbye.

Speaking of going to New York, you were very good on 4 different flights this month, baby girl (2 each way on the way to New York). On one of the flights back to North Carolina several people in the plane remarked that they didn't know a baby was on board the flight. I was so proud of you in that moment, sweet girl.

You crawled up the stairs for the first time this month (6/23). We're pretty sure you could have done this earlier, but your Mom and Dad were far from encouraging you to start experimenting with the stairs. You cannot go back down the stairs yet (though this is definitely to be expected). It's probably time for us to get a gate and limit your stairs access a bit. We want to keep you safe, little one!

You can turn light-switches on and off with no help now. You like to turn off and on the switch in your room at bedtime. Daddy limits you to doing this a couple times so that you can settle down to reading and relaxing for bed. It's kinda a fun little game you guys play during reading time. :) You also can now close the garage door when we hold you up to push the button.

You started smiling with a "crinkle nose" smile like your Momma this month. You used this smile more than any other expression this month. It was super cute to see myself mirrored in you, but it's funny that you stopped smiling other ways this month and only smiled that way. I'm sure this will change in the coming months, but we'll enjoy it while you're doing it. :)

You kissed me for the first time this month, my sweet girl. You always have your mouth open when you do, but you kiss me when I point to my mouth and say "kisses?" I'm not sure when this started (I didn't keep track of the date), but it warms my heart every time you do it. You are so sweet, baby girl!

You saw the ocean for the first time this month, my little one (7/4). You were not quite sure what to think of the waves at first and I don't think you were super happy about how chilly the water was, but you warmed up to it pretty quickly. Your Dad and your Mom played with you in the water and eventually you started enjoying the ocean just like you do the pool! Sand was a whole different story. You were sitting on a towel under an umbrella and kept looking suspiciously at the sand. We tried putting your hands and feet in the sand and you pulled back like you were scared of it. We think that because it shifted and moved under your feet you thought it wasn't stable enough to crawl on or stand on. Eventually you figured out that sand was at least "okay" to interact with, but it was certainly not something you wanted to have all over you. Your cousins Autumn and Colden were also at the beach when you were. You loved interacting with Autumn and weren't always sure what to make of 6 month old Colden. You also kept looking at him funny when Colden was trying to eat the sand. Your expression was something like "why would you want to EAT that?!?!?" It was pretty cute. You also bumped Colden in the head a few times on different occasions. We're working on teaching you to be gentle, but it's certainly a work in progress. ;) I should also mention that you climbed the beach house stairs while we were there. It feels notable because they are not carpeted and much harder to climb.

The trip to the beach (9+ hours in the car) was not one of your happiest trips, my dear girl. And your Mommy and Daddy will be working on how to make future long car trips better for you. Neither of us wants you to be so upset while traveling again. We're hoping that as you grow up you'll be able to play more effectively with things and maybe watch videos in the car. I guess we'll see what happens. For now 3 hour trips are just fine and we'll limit our travels to that for a few months.

You are SO close to walking, baby girl. You can walk backward with the help of your highchair (it has wheels on the bottom) and while holding on to other chairs you kinda "walk" around them a bit (7/2). You are becoming more independent with things like moving from place to place. You climbed down out of your highchair with very little help this month (7/3). You also stood without having anything to help you stand up (7/6). I'm pretty sure we'll see you walking next month -- before your 1st birthday.

Finally, baby girl, you were very good during a family photo shoot we had with an old friend. We happened to get rained on a bit and you were fascinated by the water as well as by leaves on the trees and so many other things in nature. The photographer did a great job capturing your wonder and excitement at experiencing new things. So, those are the photos I'm sharing for your 11 month pictures. I love you, sweet girl.

Keep growing, learning, and, if you must, getting bigger!

Love Always, Your Momma

(Pictures taken by Anne Ryan Dempsey of Poema Photography)