I am typing this from a letter that I wrote Declan yesterday, so forgive the chronological inaccuracies. I figured I'd better have an electronic copy, knowing how well I do with keeping track of pieces of paper (read: not well at all.)
Today is your very first half-birthday. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that you are six months old. For some reason, six months feels so much older than five months did. I know it's cliched, but I get a little teary when I think about how fast you are growing up. It seems like just yesterday I was lounging in the hospital bed, examining all of your tiny parts and realizing that you are mine.
Grandpa and I threw you a little half-birthday party this evening. When you woke up from your nap (which you conveniently took while Grandpa and I ate a celebratory steak dinner), I ground up some green beans and rice and made it into a little patty. We stuck a candle in it and sang "Happy Half Birthday," but I had to help you blow out the candle. Then I tried to feed you your "cake," but that was a disaster. You gagged and made faces, and green beans ended up everywhere.
In general, though, you love food. I feed you one serving of "big people food" every evening, and you get a new food each week. So far you've tried rice, peas (your favorite), carrots, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, and green beans. Tomorrow night we're either doing pears, blueberries, broccoli or spinach, I haven't decided yet. Anyway, you're a great eater. It's one of my favorite parts of the day, sitting you in your high chair and watching your little face light up as the spoon comes toward you. And after dinner, I always give you a bath, because you like to get your food all over yourself. I'm sure that won't change for quite a while.
Declan, you are such a good baby. You love to babble and squeal, and your belly laughs are literally the best sound I've ever heard. You should see some of the ridiculous things I do to get you to laugh. You're a big chunky boy, at just over 20 pounds. Everyone who sees you, even strangers, want to squeeze your squishy round thighs and pinch your chubby cheeks. I'm sure you'll lose this baby fat when you start to crawl and walk, so I'm savoring the rolls while they last.
You've hit every milestone ahead of schedule, especially sitting up. You're an amazing sitter, and have been for almost a month now. You still tip over sometimes because you're stubbornly determined to get that toy that's just out of your reach. You're not crawling yet, but you're pretty close. Grandpa likes to play with you on the floor in the evenings and help you crawl by lifting your big belly off of the floor. You love to chew on anything and everything that you can get your hands on. All of your toys (and your hands, and my hands, and the couch pillows, etc.) end up covered in drool. You're still toothless, but I think they'll make an appearance soon.
At the moment, we're living in a condo in Austin with Grandpa. Daddy went to live in Iowa almost two months ago, and we miss him a lot. He's working nights at the wind turbine factory, trying to save up money so that we can all move back to Austin when you're older. In ten days, you and I are making the long trip up to Iowa to join Daddy in Grinnell. I can't wait for him to see how big and how smart you've gotten.
You look just like your daddy, Declan. He is so, so proud of you and it's killing him to be away from us for this long. I think you've even inherited some of your dad's personality... sometimes you will whine and pull my hair, and then when I say, "Declan, no," you'll give me this big mischievous grin. But people say that you're most like me, personality-wise. Laid back, and very happy as long as you're being held, talked to, or played with. We will just have to wait and see what kind of a kid you develop into.
Declan, I am so happy to be your mom. I would suffer through those first few weeks of no sleep one thousand times if I knew that I would end up with such a fun, joyful, wonderful baby six months later. I love you.