Tomorrow you turn seven months old. Some people might say that there is nothing special about turning seven months old; you can’t get your driver’s license or purchase alcohol in a manner that wouldn’t get you arrested. But what they don’t know is that with the seven month mark comes the POP TART AND PICKLES PRIVILEGE. What could be more special than that?
Just this morning your father and I spent over a half hour sharing our strawberry pop tart with you, giving you little bites with the yummy strawberry filling. You gummed the pieces with sheer delight, making mmmm, mmmm noises and waving your hands like some beauty pageant winner on a float being pulled down Main Street. Several times you tried to grab the pop tart out of my hand, but OH, NO, little Scooter. I didn’t want strawberry pop tart all over the walls or stuck in my hair or flung through the window into the driveway. You’ve got quite an arm on you. You could break land-speed records with the toys you throw.
I know that the pop tart police are going to contact me and accuse me of feeding you something that will turn you into a homicidal sociopath later in life, because that’s what pop tarts do, they corrupt and demoralize and subvert Heavenly Father’s plan, but oh how I’ll love my cute little homicidal sociopath.
A couple days ago we put you in the highchair and fed you Cheerios. Oh Mary Mother of God how you love those crunchy, oaty Oh’s. I think it may be an instinct kicking in, your love of Cheerios. There must have been a primitive form of Cheerios in prehistoric times, because I don’t know how the species could have prospered if Cro-Magnon babies didn’t have their Cheerios. What would they throw across the room or drop off their highchairs to feed Cro-Magnon puppies?
You’re barely big enough to see over the tray in the highchair, but you’re pretty good at reaching your hands up and grabbing handfuls of Cheerios. Gobs and gobs you grab, and you bring a fistful of Oh’s to your mouth, but that’s where you become stumped, like, I’ve got them close to my mouth, NOW WHAT DO I DO? Some of them make it to your chin, others to your ears, but most of them end up on the floor and in Chuck’s mouth. That was Happy Hour for Chuck, billions and billions of treats on the floor. He snarfed so many Cheerios that the house smelled of oaty dog farts for the rest of the day.
Your relationship with Chuck is remarkable. He loves to lick your face after you’ve been fed a bottle, and you sit there with your nose scrunched up and your eyes closed in a state of half bliss and half wonder. Who is this beast that lives in your house? This beast with fur and fangs and wiry whiskers that tickle when he sniffs your face? Whenever he enters the room you stare at him in amazement and then giggle for no reason other than the fact that this creature exists. Chuck is happy to amuse you, you who have come into this house and disrupted his peaceful life as the only child, you who consume most of Mama’s attention, but I think he’s devising certain plans that involve lifting his leg and peeing on whomever you bring home as your first date. That will be his way of saying, WHO’S GIGGLING NOW?
A few days ago I came home from the hospital after getting help for my disease. I happened to come home just as you were waking up from your first morning nap, and when I walked into your room your smell hit me like a monsoon. That was one of the most peaceful moments of my life, being wrapped with the blanket of your fragrance, knowing that I would get to spend the whole day with you. When I picked you up out of the crib you looked at me and smiled, your trademark gummy smile, and this look of recognition flashed across your face that said, “You are the woman who used to feed me with your boobs, and now you are that woman who snorts and tries to make me laugh, and you eat my feet a lot. I remember you! Hey! It’s YOU!”
Leta, I need you to understand that I went to the hospital because something was wrong inside of me. My disease is not your fault, and you are not the reason that I am sick. When you are old enough to read and understand these things I don’t want you to blame yourself for the pain I have been through. Nor do I want you to be ashamed that your mother had to go to the hospital. I am not ashamed. In fact, I couldn’t be happier about the help that I received. I feel better, and I haven’t been able to say that in such a long time.
I think you have noticed a difference in me because you have been utterly joyous these past few days. You are constantly smiling and giggling, laughing out loud with your whole body. And the noises that come out of your mouth span the whole alphabet. Your father and I just sit and stare at you, amazed that such an extraordinary being sprouted from the two of us. In case anyone hasn’t told you yet, you look a lot like your father. You look a lot like his father, actually, and sometimes we call you Byron Junior. When your father brought you into the hospital to see me the staff at the front desk would say, “Oh how sweet, he looks just like his father.”
You are my sweet Zing Zing Zing Bah, my Punkin Head Piggy. I love you, and I missed you like crazy. It’s great to be home.