Dear Baby A,
Today I realized that the sound you make when you drop something is actually your attempt to say “uh-oh”. It’s hard to get it down in print, the uh-oh that you have learned. It’s got 2 syllables, so you’re doing well there. At least now I know what you’re saying, and I can Positively Reinforce your newfound interest in communicating with us.
Of course, because you are Very Advanced, you already know the sign for “more” and “all gone” (which involves you twisting your whole body while holding your hands out in front of you, because you can’t figure out how to move your hands from side to side).
This is the week we decided that Mommy and Daddy are going to go insane if you (we) don’t get some sleep. So for the last several nights and for naps during the day, you’ve been sleeping in your crib. Oh, you made out like we were headed out for a walk in the Rosy Woods of Love, for a few nights. There might have been a little whimpering here and there, maybe a tear or two. But then we’d creep up to the crib and fine you sprawled out like a drunk, suckie in the mouth and two reserve suckies, one in each hand, flat on your back. We thought we’d won the lottery or something. After a few nights I guess you got tired of the game, or realized this wasn’t just a fun thing we were trying out. Now, bedtime takes as long as it ever did, except now instead of being crawled all over, having our eye sockets gouged out by your forehead, and being pinched on the lips, we’re getting up every 4 freaking minutes to go tell you goodnight, and lay you down on your new pillow that I made you (it glows in the dark! How cool is that?). You are not buyin’ what we’re sellin’ anymore. And I’m sorry about that, I am. But baby-if I don’t sleep at night, we’re all going to die. You have to understand that, and the sooner you do, the sooner we’ll all be back in Rosy Town. At least you’re not on the other side of the house with only a baby monitor to keep you company. Shape up. I mean it.
In a couple of weeks, we get to dress you, probably for the last time, in a Halloween costume of our choosing. I lobbied for clown, but your father, he has a phobia about clowns, and although I think it would be extremely funny to dress you up like a clown and have you wake him up in the middle of the night one night, I want to stay married. So you’re going as a pumpkin. Now before you make some stink about how unoriginal we are and how BORING pumpkins are, let me tell you that this costume was handmade by your great grandmother. I think she made it for your sister, but I don’t remember TeenHer ever wearing it. Your great-grandma never got to meet you, and that makes me sad, and since we live in her old house and I miss her, you’re going to be a pumpkin for Halloween. Your grandma Sherry and Grandpa Mike sent you a trick or treat bag with your NAME on it, how cool is that, and guess what it is? It’s in the shape of a PUMPKIN! Incredible! And they didn’t ever know about the phantom jack-o-lantern costume we have. Serendipity!
Now that school is back, you and I have settled back into a semi-routine: Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty laid back. You’ve been waking up pretty early (at least for me), having some breakfast, and then conking back out for a couple of hours in the mornings. I don’t nap much with you anymore, both because you’re in your c-r-I-b now and because I’m too busy. (I can’t get over how much I work now that I quit my job.) In between, we play. Sometimes you hang around in the bathroom while I do laundry. Most of the time, we just follow each other around the house. If you’re following me, you pull down everything I put away, every book I reshelf finds its way onto the floor-every cabinet I close gets opened, and emptied. If a drawer gets left open, the contents become carpet. If it’s my day to do the following, by the end of the day my back is in knots from bending over and picking up and putting away every single thing that you found in your path.
Every once in a GREAT while, you climb up in my lap with a book and it seems like you’re asking me to read it to you. When I start to read, though, you get impatient and flip the pages, sometimes even throwing the book. What the hell are you asking me to do, then?
Your two favorite places in the world, besides grandma’s house: the stairs and Outside. We’ve put up a wooden gate on hinges at the bottom of the stairs, and if your sister leaves it open in the morning and you escape the bathroom while I’m on the toilet, stillness settles over the house in a hurry. Because you know you’re not supposed to be climbing those stairs, doggone it, and there you’ll be when I come out, halfway up the flight, turned at a dangerous and recklessly inappropriate angle, giggling down at me. Your new thing is not climbing, but walking up the stairs. You no longer want to go up on all fours, the Safest Way. No, now you’d like to hold the rail, which you can’t reach, and walk up one step at a time. That’s also how you come down the stairs when you’re not coming down them in a ball of tumbling hands and feet. Yes, that’s right, sometimes I let you fall down a couple. Child, you have to somehow learn the limits of your abilities!
If I would allow it, you and I would ascend and descend the stairs for your entire waking day.
Unless I let you go outside. Outside, is heaven. First of all, there are stairs. YAY! Up the stairs and down the stairs we go. Over and over and over. Run to the edge of the porch. Walk down the stairs… Climb on the zebra rocking horse, and rock jump up and down, giggle, and climb off the horse. Chase the cat. Trip over the cat. Try to open and escape the gate (how can you know the gate already?). Point to the wagon. Squeal, grunt, and lunge until you get taken on a wagon ride. Sometimes I try to take a walk with you in the stroller. You’re not a fan of the stroller, and so the last time we were out, you stood up and turned around facing me, with one leg hiked up like you were trying to climb over the canopy. No more strollers. What you really love about Outside is the bike trailer! I can strap you into it, which is cool, and it has mosquito netting. You sit back there and sing, and talk on your phone, and drink juice. If you had a whip, I bet you’d whip me to go faster. As it is, we have only a mile loop, so when we go for a ride I have to do the same loop about 6 times to hit 30 minutes. When my foot doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall off, we have great rides on the bike.
I suppose I should be taking you to Park days and other stimulating play places where you can get germy and interact with Other Babies. But there’ll be plenty of time for that. As it is, we only have Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays to hang out just the 2 of us. Wed/Thurs I have to haul you in to the consignment store with me from 12-5. You’re definitely the cutest baby that’s ever set foot in there, but since you aren’t into baby toys all that much and are more interested in the cash register and the calculator, those days are pretty long for both of us, and often end something like this: “are you home yet? What the hell are you doing at home? You have to come get this freaking baby. No, she hasn’t had a nap; I’m in a store, for Christ’s sake. Come get her now before I go insane. I’m counting 20 minutes from RIGHT NOW and you’d better be here. I was born here; I know how long it takes to get from our house to 8th street. DRIVE!”
Or something like that. It’s not your fault. The store is boring. It doesn’t have stairs OR Outside. You make the best of it, and I’m proud of you for that. You roll with the punches.
Everyone who meets you loves you, of course. Like most babies, you know exactly when to turn on the charm. We’re glad of that, because it makes you easy to baby-sit. Please stay this way so that when we finally start wanting to leave the house, we can easily find someone competent to take you.
Baby A, we love you more every moment. Each day I wake up and something has changed. I’m sad for the baby you aren’t anymore, and excited to watch you turning into this little person that I can’t wait to get to know. We are already so proud to know and love you, and so grateful to be allowed to watch you unfold. The world is new and fresh and wonderful for me now seeing it through your eyes and I will always be thankful for that. You rule.
But you have to stop dancing when the radio is set to 95.1. It’s freaking me out. Some things don’t ever NEED to be discovered. Top 40 music is on that list.