A few days ago you turned eight months old. The changes abounded this month -- so much that I probably could've written weekly letters.
This may sound strange, but all of it added up to one climactic revelation: Your name finally makes sense to me. I struggled with the decision throughout my entire pregnancy, and it still didn't click in my mind when we brought you home.
You were milliseconds away from being Elizabeth or Evelyn, and even up until just recently, I would study your face and question which one suited you best.
I had wanted to name you Vivian so badly, but Dad nixed it because it's a mouthful with our last name, and I grudgingly conceded.
One of the main reasons we settled on Allison was because of the nickname Alli. It just seemed so fun and personable -- like someone we'd want to get to know. Everyone took to calling you that right away, but it didn't roll off my tongue the way I thought it would. It just felt strange.
Now that your personality is really starting to shine, it makes complete sense. Like you were born to have that name and I must've just instinctively known when I saw you for the first time, all beautiful and soft and new.
I hope you love it someday as much as I do.
One of your father's biggest fears is raising a picky eater. It's right up there with spiders and accidentally wearing gang colors in a city after dark.
Almost everyone we know has some sort of food hangup. And for two people who love consuming everything from ziti to kiwi, from turkey to tofu, from hummus to rump roast, from sushi to salmon, in a wrap, on a bun, baked, fried, braised, hot, cold, pureed, diced or sliced, we just don't get it.
If it's edible, what's not to love?
Thankfully, you have adopted our household motto.
When we first introduced you to solids, we defaulted to textbook parenting. All of our reading materials instructed us to introduce one new flavor every four days and keep a vigilant eye for any signs of food allergies. First came sweet potatoes, then carrots, then peas, then green beans.
Then we opened the floodgates.
After awhile, you started protesting when we wouldn't give you a bite of what we were eating. So we did. And you've gleefully sucked down every last minuscule flake of chicken, floret of broccolini and crust of bread.
You're happiest when you're given something you can ingest with your own two hands, and we've been delighted to comply. It's so amazing watching you experience flavors for the first time that sometimes it's easy to get ahead of ourselves.
Like the time we went to an Indian restaurant and I opted to give you a bite of my mashed lentils. Yeah, I forgot about the zing of curry in there. Good thing you're able to drink water from a glass.
But once your eyes stopped watering, you yelped for more.
Keep it up lady. I promise to show you there's so much more to experience than the dinosaur-shaped nuggets and sugar-coated crap companies market to kids.
When you're not busy shoveling bananas into your mouth, you're on the move. You know how to crawl -- I've seen you do it -- but you apparently prefer what we call the Army method of traveling.
If you were to enlist right now, you'd blow everyone away at boot camp when it came time to maneuver under barbed wire on your belly through the mud. When you're tired of crawling, you flop to the ground and your arms take over. You paw at the floor and drag your torso around as your butt swishes back and forth in rhythm.
Your newly acquired motor skills came in rapid succession. One day you were stationary, the next we couldn't stop you long enough to change your diaper or jam a shirt over your head.
I assumed all of this independence would cause you to explore more, but only if someone is still in sight. You are very much a people-person, and checking out something new isn't gratifying unless someone else is there to experience it with you.
And if I walk from the hallway to the bathroom? You suddenly appear at my feet. From the vanity into the closet? Little fingers on my toes. From the fridge to the kitchen sink? Slap, slap, slide.
Once I deliberately walked back and fourth in the hallway until you figured out what I was doing and got pissed.
I just laughed and scooped you up and showered you with kisses.
In a few years I'll be chasing you around like that, so forgive me while I revel in it.
There are some things I know to expect. Like rolling comes before crawling and standing comes before walking.
But this month you've shown the ability to grasp entire concepts and it's completely blowing my mind.
Just the other day while we were in New York, your grandma and I took you to your great-grandma's house on our way home from shopping. When it came time to leave, all three of us were waiving goodbye to you and repeating "bye bye" like maniacs.
And then, with a hint of a grin, one of your little fists started opening and closing.
If my jaw wasn't attached to my face with skin and muscles, it would've hit the driveway.
I must've had a similar look when I watched you figure out how to elicit music from your new toy train. You've always loved music, that much I already knew. But now that you can produce it on your own, you can speed through three honkin' DD batteries in a few days.
You just sit next to the train's engine and paw at the base until a song comes on, then you sit up straight and revel in the tune. With a huge grin, you move your arms to the beat and shake your torso until it stops. You always seem so surprised that something so wonderful would ever come to an end, which is probably the same look I get when I scrape the bottom of an ice cream container, but lucky for you, your pick is self-rejuvenating.
Again and again you hit the base of the animal train.
To give you an idea of what that does to an adult, I woke up in the middle of the night recently singing about giraffes that run very, very fast.
If I didn't adore you, that thing would've found its way into the trash compactor on garbage day.
Just one of the many ways I can measure my love for you: One sanity's worth.
And you're totally worth it.