I started doing these little monthly updates for the same reason that a certain well-known blogger does monthly letters about her daughter: changes, both physical and mental, happen so fast with babies, and I didn’t want to forget anything and end up posting something in December like, “You’ve grown a lot. You’re a year old. You’re a big girl now.” Unfortunately, I’m pretty much at that point at present. I believe my last monthly update was in June, and if I remember correctly, it was actually addressing things that happened in May. Lots of things have happened since then. In truth, you have grown a lot, and you are a big girl now. I know, I know…it’s only downhill from this point. But instead of looking at my lack of monthly updates as a failure, I’m going to approach the task from now on in the same way I might approach, say, a baseball game. I call myself a fan, but I don’t really have the staying power to sit through a game, so I have the TV on in the background, but mainly I just want the highlights.
Incidentally (she scrambles to clarify with horror), I am not comparing my parenting style to this method of viewing baseball. I am in merely criticizing my own blogging habits. I am a bad blogger. I do not think I am a bad mommy. You may claim otherwise in the future, but it will most likely be because you are 12 and pissed that I took away your stash of Absolut. For now, though, if motherhood were a baseball game I would be right there on the front row, or on the field, or in the dugout, or, as my life goes lately, in all those places at once. But lately I am more of a listen-to-baseball-from-the-kitchen-while-I-fold-laundry-and-do-dishes sort of blogger. Just to clarify.
That being said, the following is not a play-by-play of the past few months, but rather a rundown of the highlights. These highlights are not really in order, and my definition of highlights may not necessarily reflect the kinds of things baby books have stickers for, and some of the highlights are more like lowdowns, and since that probably makes no sense I will start there.
- You are not even nine months old, and already you have been to three funerals. Two of them were for your great-grandmothers. It pains me–physically, deep in my heart–that they aren’t around to see you, to enjoy the little person you continue to become. They both got to meet you, though, and Mama was probably the first person besides Dr. T. to witness your birth, because every time I looked up in the delivery room her face was peeking over his shoulder. Lately I get the feeling she’s peeking over mine, so maybe she’s watching you evolve after all.
- Your personal transportation skills are wonderous to behold. Last week you used all fours to crawl, but for the past 6 weeks or so you have not so much crawled as sped across the floor in a rendition of The Worm. The only thing missing is 80s music, a headband, and a pair of leg warmers. Your latest feat is standing; you pull up on everything, and now you are starting to move sideways while holding onto things, and next you will be walking. When that day comes I will either have to sell all our belongings and become a stark minimalist, or I will have a ceiling installed on the top of your play yard (because you are also starting to understand the mechanics of climbing, and I am starting to be afraid, very afraid).
- You seem to have a texture infatuation. Whenever your hand makes contact with any surface, up to and including my flesh, you make a little scratching motion with your fingers. Sometimes this action results in sound (like when you scratch the wall next to the changing table) and you do it over and over and over until I have to find something soundless to shove under your hand lest my eyeballs explode. You also like to run your fingers through things–carpet, my hair, the cat if he’ll allow it–and you like gripping soft things like blankets, clothes, and your Wee Hairy Beastie. And also, when I am leaning over you changing your diaper, my boob, which you also use as a handle when pulling up to a standing position.
- You are freakishly like me in many ways. For example, I am a texture freak as well. Also, you hold your pinkie finger out for no obvious reason; I do this, also for no reason in particular. Most recently, your preference for having your face covered while sleeping has become quite pronounced, a preference I have as well. It baffles me that at 8 months old you do things I have done my whole life. How did you learn these things? Is there a gene for “sleeping with face covered”?
- Blowing raspberries is one of your life’s passions.
- You have experienced lots of firsts lately. You rode a boat and a golf cart for the first time. You went to your first baseball game over the summer, and last week you attended your first high school football game. We were sitting right under a loudspeaker, so I was sure the announcing would scare you, but you seemed not to notice it. What scared the daylights out of you, I am sorry to say, was another baby. This particular baby is a month younger than you, but you are the same size, and every time she “talks” to you, you have a complete meltdown. I don’t understand it. Is she saying something mean? And finally, you saw your first live cow a few days ago. You love “fake” cows–stuffed, sculpted, painted–and you love other animals, so I thought the cow would be a hit. I think I can safely say you didn’t actually SEE the cow, so fascinated were you by a giant paper Taco Bell cup on the ground outside the pasture fence.
- You have two teeth now, both on the bottom. I had been waiting and looking for the first one for so long that I didn’t even notice when it finally popped. The second one was a different story. I actually considered helping it along with a pair of pliers at one point, but it is finally visible and the whining, GOOD LORD, the whining, is starting to diminish.
- You are a constant source of joy. This, above all, is how I would define my time with you so far: joyful. You laugh so easily, and you are interested in everything around you, and when I come home in the afternoons and you see me and your squeal with delight, I feel a gratitude to the universe so big and powerful it takes my breath away. I know every mom probably feels this way about her kid, but I believe you are special. There’s nobody on earth like you, and now that I have you in my life, I understand all the things that came before, all the trouble and sorrow and work, all the growing and learning and living: it was leading me to you. And just so you know, I’d do it all again.