You turn six months old in a few days. I would normally wait until the actual day of your six month mark to write this, but we’re going to be at a family reunion all week and my hands will most likely be tied behind my back so that I don’t CHOKE ANYONE TO DEATH.
Six months. Good gravy, child. That’s as long as the same-as-cash financing plan on our warshing machine. Yes, that’s right. Your mother pronounces washing as warshing, and SO WILL YOU. Your father may try to convince you otherwise, but crayon is pronounced as crown, ruin as ru-een, and iron as arn. Speaking this way will endear you to others and will also beguile and distract anyone in law enforcement who is giving you a hard time. Remember this, Leta, when the DNA governing your driving skills kicks in and you find yourself trying to outrun Utah Highway Patrol after a hard night of partying in Park City: the key is to stretch every single-syllable word into three or more distinct syllables. Oh, and showing some cleavage works, too.
This month you have spent most of your waking hours grabbing things and shoving them into your mouth. There is nothing in this world off-limits to your grabbing and eating. You’ve gobbled other people’s hair, the wireless phone antenna, ceramic drink coasters, the dog’s tail, and both of your feet AT THE SAME TIME.
I’ll never forget the first time you took hold of your right foot and pulled it to your mouth. You were lying on the changing table getting prepped for bed, and you snatched up that foot like you were stealing food off someone else’s plate. And then you stuck it in your mouth, and the stunned look on your face seemed to say, “What is this? A third hand? To chew on? You mean I have three hands? Why have you been hiding this from me, this third hand to chew on?” I could see the cogs in your brain clicking and clacking as you suddenly realized that if there was a third hand, THERE JUST MIGHT BE A FOURTH ONE AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE! And there you were, my chubby, naked baby contorted like a pretzel on the changing table, all limbs of your body in your mouth. You looked up at me as if to say, “This, this is the American dream.”
Last week you spent three days with Grandmommie who introduced you to a bottle and to the joys of artificially flavored suckers. She would return you home every night before bed and I honestly thought that she had returned the wrong baby. Something changed when you started taking the bottle, something wonderful happened. It was as if we had unmasked A BABY! You’ve been WONDROUS this week, making all these happy noises and smiling and laughing your ass off. Where have you been? Why have you been hiding from me?
Sadly and tragically the bottle has also changed the substance that comes out of your hind section. For six months you were exclusively breastfed and the poop that came out of your butt was just a liquid that sometimes possessed an interesting color and texture. It never had an offensive odor. But now, now that you’re taking formula and eating food, that inoffensive liquid has turned into ACTUAL HUMAN FECES. You have SHIT coming out of your ASS! And I have to clean it up! With my HANDS! I am having a hard time reconciling the fact that my precious punkin buttercup could manufacture something so foul and revolting. You no longer poop in your diaper. Now . . . now you crap your pants.
This month you also took your first trip on an airplane. We had a blast in San Francisco, seeing friends and taking pictures of the architecture and riding public transportation. At a diner on Geary I fed you a couple bites of a chocolate malt, and in between each bite you would turn your head to look at me and beg for more. I promise I will always share my chocolate malt with you, if you promise to keep wrapping your arm around my neck when I scoop you out of your bed.
While we were waiting in the Salt Lake airport for our plane to arrive, I got you to fall asleep on my shoulder, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. It was no small feat, and I had to walk up and down the terminal and sing Morrissey OUT LOUD (“America, you know where you can shove your hamburger!”), but you eventually gave in to the exhaustion and passed out in the curve of my neck. That was one of the most beautiful moments of my life, having you there motionless and heavy from sleep, the smell of your powder-fresh head smeared across my cheek.
Leta, you are so lovely. You have made my life so complex and crazy and intense, but recently I have been waking up really early and counting the minutes until you wake up. I get so excited to see those Armstrong eyes and that Hamilton chin, and I want to rush in and ask you if you want to play. I’ll hold your feet while you eat them!
P.S. You rolled over today! TWICE! And then immediately looked up at us like “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?”