Yesterday you turned 8 months old. By now you should be used to me saying “I can’t believe this is happening so FAST” in each of your monthly letters. You can now hold yourself up on whatever is handy, and inch along the floor- sort of like when you’re roller skating, but you suck at it, so you hang onto the rail and move around the ring that way. That’s you moving around the living room. Sometimes you crawl, when you are in an open space and there’s nothing to hold onto. Lately you’ve been trying to get to me so you can rip the cords out of the laptop and bang on the keyboard, and you keep getting yourself stuck under the side table, which has a glass top. There you’ll sit, forlorn and cranky, trying to stand up over and over again, and bumping your head on the glass every time. I should feel empathy for you and get you out of there but sometimes it’s just too funny. You have to learn how to get yourself out of sticky situations, child, if you are to be anything like your mother.
You are starting to really enjoy the people you come in contact with during the day. On weekdays, that might just be your grandfather, or me because I am a slacker and a hermit and it’s really hard right now for me to get us out of the house. I’m working on that. Last week you can I took a ride into Jacksonville to shop for your dad’s birthday present, which we found only after almost going broke in target buying stuff TOTALLY UNRELATED to his birthday (you will grow into this strange shopping habit of mine, where I go looking for one thing and often forget altogether why I was even at the store), and everyone who saw you fell instantly in love. I swear, if I have to say “um, don’t touch her, you don’t want her to give you her cold (YOU GERMY TOUCHY FREAK)” I am going to lose it! But it is really fun to watch you interact with people because you are so incredibly charming. Your whole face lights up, and your little body almost convulses with excitement- hands banging on the cart handle, legs waving back and forth- and a smile that could power a small country. When your sister was a baby, we got the same reaction from people, because she was, like you, instantly affectionate with anyone who smiled at her.
While you are enjoying your interaction with the Outside, you are beginning to feel a little uneasy when I’m out of the room, or saying goodbye to you. Sometimes when someone else is holding you, you’ll launch yourself toward me like you’re diving for home base. It’s cute, really. But sometimes I’d like to go pee by myself. If we could work that out, that would be SUPER.
A month ago, when I wanted a shower during the day, I could put you in the exersaucer and if I left the shower door open, I could get a WHOLE SHOWER while you played. Those days are over, so now you make your way over to the shower and climb in with me. The first couple of times you did that, you played on the shower floor while I washed my hair and stuff, but last time, you crawled over to me, stood up, and tried to climb my legs. Except you couldn’t look up at me with baleful eyes because the water hit you in the face whenever you raised your head! It was hilarious. So now I’m trying to learn how to shower one handed, while holding you in the other. I guess I’ll have to make a mesh baby sling to wear you while I’m in there. You seem to really like the water. I’m glad, because when I was little, I remember that I would SCREAM BLOODY MURDER when anyone put water anywhere near my face. I’ve since read that is a symptom of autism. Maybe that explains some things about your mother.
Your dad is nearing the end of his school year, and when that happens he’ll have LOTS of time to spend with you during the day, which will be cool because as it stands right now, you only have a little while with him in the evenings. I think he’s been secretly teaching you how to play X box on Saturdays when I sleep in. I’ve woken up a couple of times to find you in his lap, looking suspiciously innocent while he plays. I’m not entirely convinced you’re not going to be some kind of X box prodigy. When you started to crawl, the VERY FIRST thing you ever tried to dismantle was the X box and the X box controllers. I caught you red handed. You still make it your mission every day to roller-rink-walk your way over to the X box and dump the basket with the controllers in it.
Avery, every day you are doing something new. Today you learned how to hold your bottle up. You’ve also begun to yank my spoon or fork out of my hand and try to eat whatever I’m eating. It’s hard not to give you just a taste, but we really feel like the best thing for you is milk for the first year. So stop begging, you embarrass yourself. You’ll be gorging soon enough on good southern favorites like cool-whip-jello casserole.
Holding a Bottle
Soon we’ll be in our own house, where hopefully you will spend your entire childhood. Your dad and sister and I have been having a blast looking at floor plans and dreaming about how we’ll arrange all our hand-me-down furniture (which is really holding up nicely). We’re not sure what color we’ll paint your room yet-right now I can’t imagine you sleeping in a room away from us, but I know the day will come when you want your own space. I suppose we’ll have to prepare for that, just as we’re beginning to prepare for your sister’s sneaking out and never-telling-us-anything days. Except I don’t think there is any way to prepare for any stage of your child’s growth. It is always too much too fast. I hope these letters and pictures are able to remind us what this wonderful time was like. Avery, you are loved.