Month 12

Dear Baby A,
Today we forgot your birthday, until like 9 o’clock. It won’t be the last time, sweetie. At least there’s a starting point for your therapist, which we will undoubtedly begin paying for when you’re around 4. That’s cool, babe, you come from a long line of crazies. It’s your birthright.

I guess it’s old new now that you’re walking everywhere and getting into everything and making every day of my life feel like the Tour De France. The NEW news is, now you can almost talk. I mean, not so much with words, but you’re getting really good at pointing and nodding and shaking your head. It usually goes something like this:

You, with arms up: AAAH! EEEEE!
ME: OK, you want up? Here you go (picking you up)
You: POINT, POINT (toward fridge, or bathroom cabinet, or keys, or computer)
Me: You want this/? (Holding up a bottle)
You: shaking head (Jesus, don’t you people have anything besides milk?)
Me: how bout this? (Holding up baby food)
You: shaking head, again.
Me: OK, I guess you aren’t hungry…. Grabbing egg salad or cookie dough from the fridge
You: nodding head, lunging for bowl, lip smacking (stop trying to trick me, woman, and learn to SHARE!)

Your hair is curly now, and moving toward red, which as I understand it, is a family trait from your dad’s side, even though I’ve never ACTUALLY seen anyone on your dad’s side with red hair.

A year ago today, you had a full head of very black hair. Your sister saw your feet through the window of the recovery room and she thought you had very hairy feet, because they had just inked you for footprints. So we called you hobbit baby for a long time. While there wasn’t actually hair ON the bottoms of your feet, you made up for it on the head. And ears. Yes, beauty queen, you had extremely hairy ears. As you’ll see in your one-year slideshow, there was a point when your entire black luster fell out, and with it went the ear hair, so really it was an OK tradeoff. What I had forgotten until I started looking at the pictures from the last year is that there were a few months there where you were like, bald!

You’ve learned to dance, and luckily you have both my taste in music and my rhythm. We never get tired of loading up some Prodigy and cranking the volume, and one of these days we have GOT to get out the damn video camera and preserve your Solid Gold moments. I suppose I should be playing you some kids fold CD or something like Trout Fishing in America, but whatever. Prodigy is what you dance to. You hate NPR, practically glazing over and turning to marble in the mornings when I’m listening to The Diane Reem show. I don’t blame you, really. Her voice is REALLY annoying. In the years that come, you’ll become more and more annoyed by our radio choices, and you’ll find your self plugged into your MP3 player in the back every time you get into the car with us, just like your sister. Your dad and I were just talking about how strange it is that one day, Rage Against the Machine and Prodigy will be so totally ARCHAIC to you, and you’ll groan every time we play Radiohead at dinner. I hope, for your sake that those years only last a little while and that you come back over to Our Side when your tastes mature. Your sister, she has quite the hip hop/alternative collection, thanks to her parents’ fantastic influence. You should learn from her, she KNOWS.

You ARE learning from your sister more and more every day. Yesterday, she took you on a wagon ride to the Back 40. The last I saw, you were bouncing up and down in the seat (can you believe that when we were kids wagons didn’t have seat belts? Or even SEATS!?), smiling and I think if you’d had access to a whip or some spurs, you would have used them. TeenHer shows quite a bit of promise as a Future Babysitting Slave. In the rare moments when you will sit still, she reads to you from the extensive Kid Library that lives on our bottom 2 bookshelves. I’m not sure what your favorite is, because you don’t ever sit still long enough for me to read to you. We’re trying to pound you full of Velveteen Rabbit and Goodnight, Moon and There’s a Monster in my Closet, which makes us feel nostalgic and old, since those were books that our parents read to US- but for the time being, you prefer the ripping out of pages to actually hearing the story.

You might wonder what the hell we do all day, since we’re not reading stories and doing to the park or on picnics, since you eat every thing that will fit into your mouth and hello, the ground? It has some really disgusting stuff on the menu. Oh, and thanks for picking up and almost eating that roach last week when I had a SLING CUSTOMER in the house learning to wear her BABY and giving us MONEY. Nice touch, and perfect timing.

Mostly, Baby A, we run around the house and play. I’m still napping when you nap on lots of days, so not much really gets done around here right now, other than the Care of You, which, even though is sounds easy, is a serious workday. Occasionally I find the time to feed you while I’m washing bottles or something since now, as long as you have apple chips or Oat-E-O’s to eat, you’ll sit in the high chair and show down. You’ve embraced solid foods like a champ, Little One, but we have to come to some agreement about drinking water or juice, because I really don’t want to have to go all Dooce and start writing about poop, and your problems with doing that regularly. So I’ll just say right here: water is your friend, juice is your friend. Refusing them only hurts both of us in the long run. Stop it.

And stop screaming when you don’t get your way, and STOP stealing Henry’s scream. I know you nailed him in the head with those blocks just so you could hear him do that special Hell-scream. I hope you’re happy, and I hope it was fun treating us to your Screech of Death all night. See if we ever get YOU drunk again.

But you don’t ever have to stop reaching out to grab my nose when you’re tired. And please never stop singing to me when we’re in the shower, or looking up at me in triumph when you find something fun to play with. You can keep right on snuggling close to me at night when you’re restless. In fact, if you want, you can stay just like you are right now and I’ll deal with the occasional screaming and throwing of toys and ripping of paper, if you promise to keep up with the grinning and laughing and chasing your dad when he comes home from work. You could just stay right here, right now, just like this.

But I know you won’t, so I’ll be back here next month and everything will be different, and I’ll be reading these letters and wondering how it all happened so fast, which is what I find myself thinking about 40 times a day. How is this all happening so fast?

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