Move over royal baby.
It's no secret that we are nuts about little Bao Bao, the giant panda born to mom Mei Xiang at the National Zoo in August.
Lucky Hugh Jackman was granted an audience with the four-month-old cub when he was in D.C. last weekend, hosting the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert. The actor's visit, which the zoo described as "personal in nature" to NBC Washington, led to some jealousy-inducing Instagram pics, like this one:
Until now, non-Wolverines have had to be satisfied with the Panda Cam -- a livestream from the pandas' den that broadcasts their every movement, at least when the federal government hasn't furloughed this precious lifeline.
But soon everyone (who's in D.C.) will get to see Bao Bao in person -- er, panda -- as well: the zoo announced on Wednesday that the panda cub will be making her public debut on January 18.
In a media release, the zoo cautioned that Bao Bao may still be scarce, at least in the beginning:
The amount of time Bao Bao and her mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) will be on exhibit each day will depend on the bears’ behavior. In the first few weeks they may not be on exhibit for long periods of time; they will spend more time on exhibit as Bao Bao gets older. They will also have access to the den, where Bao Bao has spent much of the past few months, and may choose to spend time in it instead of in public viewing areas.
The zoo said on Monday that Bao Bao recently spent her first entire day outside the den. Our girl sure has changed a lot since she was a teeny pink infant weighing an impossibly small 4.8 ounces.
Here, let's take a trip down what we're comfortable calling the world's cutest memory lane:
Bao Bao being born, on Aug. 23, 2013
Bao Bao during her Aug. 25 exam. She didn't have a name then -- by tradition, pandas get their names when they are 100 days old -- and the zoo didn't know her sex yet, but she weighed about 4.83, and chief veterinarian Suzan Murray said she had a steady heartbeat and a full belly.
Bao Bao had her first full veterinary exam on Sept. 16. At around two pounds, her weight had doubled since Aug. 25.
Mei Xiang and Bao Bao being snuggly and adorable on Sept. 17
The cub had her second full veterinary exam on Sept. 26. She weighed 3.07 pounds at the time, and was 11.4 inches around the belly. Bao Bao <a href="http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/PandaUpdates/" target="_blank">was described as</a> "very wiggly and squirmy" by keepers.
Also from the second veterinary exam. That face!
This photo was taken on Oct. 8 -- but because of the government shutdown, we didn't get to see it until Oct. 17, at which point the zoo said that Bao Bao was up to five pounds. Her eyes had partially opened, and her ears were fully opened.
6.73 pounds! This photo was taken during an exam on Oct. 23, when the cub got her first vaccine. She'd started crawling by then.
On Oct. 29, Bao Bao weighed 7.7 pounds, and her eyes were almost fully open.
On Nov. 15, Bao Bao weighted a whopping 9.68 pounds (and crossed her legs daintily during her exam). Her nose was turning from pink to black.
And here she is a few days later, taking her first steps.
Here's our girl weighing 10.8 pounds, about a week before <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialreports/name-the-panda/" target="_blank">voting ended on her name</a>. By tradition, cubs aren't named until they are 100 days old. And on Dec. 1, the zoo announced that the public had voted for the cub to be named Bao Bao, which means "precious" in Chinese.
As of Dec. 6, Bao Bao weighed 12.76 pounds. The zoo's keepers said that she was beginning to try putting bamboo in her mouth "in an exploratory sort of way, though she's not eating yet." Keepers "baby-proofed" the panda enclosure for the toddler, who was spending more and more time outside her den.
Even if Bao Bao is growing braver and bigger, she and her mom still love to snuggle.
Here are Mei Xiang and Bao Bao again on Dec. 13
Also from Dec. 13, and very precious indeed.
Also on HuffPost:
"14 years as friends and brothers :)" - Submitted by Cathy Donges Dashley
2003 -Sam (8 weeks old), Savannah (8 years old). 2012 - Sam (8 years 9 months), Savannah (17 years old)" ~ Submitted by Jennie Mariano Nichols
Me with my old dog Scrappy! The first picture is from when I was 11, and the second is of my with him at age 28! - Submitted by Michele Foster
Dylan was about 14 months old and Kobe was about 9 weeks old in the summer of 2001. Now Dylan is 12 and Kobe is 11 in the fall of 2012. - Submitted by Sheri Musgrave
"Sparky and I (: ♥" ~ Submitted by Sam Reed
Navy was our special Christmas puppy in 2001. Second picture was taken last Christmas (2011) when Navy got a new little sister." - Submitted by Rie Noda Hollingsworth