Dear Nora,

I started thinking about your three month birthday at the beginning of this week. I thought about all the things that have happened to us as a family over the course of the month. The list is long, filled with mostly fun events. But first, what I want to tell you about is who you are becoming this month.

You are becoming a morning person. You are happiest a few moments after you wake up, especially in the morning. Your dad has a new practice with you, for when you wake up from naps. He sits you on your bottom, facing him, and asks “What did you dream about this time?” Each time, you start to gesture and gurgle, as if you are really telling him about your dreams.

You are becoming interested in the outside world. Even more than last month, you prefer to face out in the world in our arms. When Daddy carries you in the Balboa Sling, you no longer like to lay down. You like to face out and watch the world around you.

You are becoming stronger each day. You can now hold your head steadily and look around you. You also can keep your head level when we gently pull you from laying down to sitting up. You also like to stand on your feet while we hold you around your ribcage. You still don’t like to be placed on your belly, but you are developing your neck and abdominal strength in other ways.

You are becoming a little person with a big sense of humor. You are so close to laughing, but we haven’t quite reached it. You like it when I make funny sounds and when I tickle you on the changing table. I think in a few weeks, you’ll be laughing up a storm.

This month, you are becoming more of your own person, with your own preferences and rhythms. I love being a part of this process, learning what you like and don’t like. I love learning more about who you are.

This month, you have also participated in a lot of events. We went to my work place twice this month. First, my friends through us an awesome baby shower. You were passed around to a lot of new people and we received many gifts. Most people gave us books, which we’ve been enjoying all month. Two days later, we participated in Las Posadas, a Mexican celebration of the nativity. At the last moment, the organizers desperately needed a baby Jesus, since their original baby fell ill. So, you got to play the part of baby Jesus in front of about 150 people. For the rest of the month, I’ve been calling you LBJ (Little Baby Jesus) for short.

We also celebrated your first Christmas this month. Originally, Grandma Jean and Grandpa Marvin were going to come up and celebrate with us. Unfortunately, they both came down with a cold and didn’t want to make you sick. Even so, both your dad and I got sick, so we spent our first Christmas sniffling. Strong girl that you are, you  didn’t get sick with us! Grandma and Grandpa mailed Christmas to us and we celebrated it just this week. You got a cute snow suit, pink with animal ears on the hood. I can’t wait until it’s cold and snowy enough for you to wear it.

As much fun as this month has been, this was also the month that my maternity leave ended. I began returning to work, at first on a part-time basis. By the middle of next month, I’ll be back to full-time. I didn’t anticipate how difficult this transition would be for me. For the first week, I cried every day, either before going to work or when I came home. I’ve been with you for almost every minute of your life and you have become a big part of me. Going to work each day, I feel like I’m leaving an essential part of me at home. I know it’s going to get easier as I continue to work, but it’s hard right now.

I’m lucky that you get to stay home with Daddy and he takes excellent care of you. Together, you’ve been baking bread, organizing his work files, reading and playing. You’re already so close to him and I can’t wait to see how your relationship deepens and grows as he spends each day with you.

Nora, I cannot believe it’s already been three months since you’ve been born. Every day, I am amazed at how unique you are and how you reveal your personality to me in new ways. I cannot wait to see what your next month brings!