Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Newsletter: Month Four

Dear Leta,

Tomorrow you turn four months old. I have been trying to keep up with all the changes going on in your life, but even in the last 24 hours you’ve learned something new, and I can only type so fast. This is one of those moments when I wish I could TiVo you, press pause, and replay you over and over again so that I don’t miss anything. Kinda like I do with episodes of “Real World” when your father is making mean comments and I can’t hear what they’re saying.

A couple days ago you learned how to blow bubbles and make tugboat noises with your tongue. This was an inevitable development as you were trying to figure out what to do with all that drool. Where did you learn to drool like that? We could water the lawn for a month with all the drool that seeps out of your mouth on a daily basis. Perhaps all this drool is compensation for the fact that you never spit up, ever, except for that one time we were outside talking to the neighbors and you hurled all over your father’s new black business shirt, right after we had just proudly announced, “She never spits up!” You’ve got great timing, kid!

You’ve discovered both of your hands, and they are the most marvelous creations you have ever seen. You suck on your fingers and then your fist and sometimes we look over and you have both of your thumbs in your mouth, as if one thumb just isn’t enough. When we’re dressing you for bed at night and we have to pull your pajamas over your arms, you are separated from your hands for all of three seconds, and the look of panic on your face seems to say that you are worried that you will never see them again, oh wonderful hands, where have ye gone? And then you are reunited with them, your long lost friends, and you get so excited that you almost hyperventilate, sticking both fists into your mouth so violently that you almost choke on your knuckles.

This month you also discovered the joy of sticking things into your mouth. One night a few weeks ago you were lying on your back on our bed and I dangled a teething ring over your head. The room got very quiet, and time seemed to shift into slow motion as you reached up, grabbed the teething ring, opened your mouth and tried to bring the teething ring to your tongue. But you missed your tongue. You missed your whole mouth altogether and tried to stick the teething ring into your ear. You did this three consecutive times, shoving the teething ring into your ear, and then into your forehead, once into your nose, and then, as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir swelled to a triumphant, room-shaking Hallelujah! you brought the teething ring to your mouth! Fireworks exploded in the distance as you took the teething ring out of your mouth and then put it back in your mouth, over and over again, as if putting that thing in your mouth was what you were born to do. As you squealed in celebration I said goodbye to my old life and hello to my new one, a life of that will be consumed with running to grab potentially harmful things out of your hands before they make it to the inside of your eager, drooling jaws.

You are becoming such a little person, and every day I have to resist the urge to put you between two slices of wheat bread and lather mayonnaise on your head, gobbling you up in one bite. Things are so much better, so much more fun now that you have graduated from the oozy, poopy larva stage into an actual baby, one that I can play with, one who responds to my voice and my touch. Your giggles and squeals are delightful, and the once intolerable screaming has been replaced with occasionally hilarious fussiness, thunderous squawks of displeasure as you try to communicate with me that you are mad or angry or just so damn tired of it all! You’ve never seen a baby so exasperated, and now I have to resist laughing at you because you sound like a really pissed off bird.

A little over a month ago when the screaming was really bad, your father had to come home from work early because I was in a dark, unforgiving place. You had been screaming on and off for hours, and I was crying uncontrollably, still dressed in my pajamas. Your father tried rocking you, singing to you, swinging you. He tried everything I had already tried, and in a moment of frustration he set you down in the crib and walked away to regain some perspective. Twenty seconds later you were asleep. ASLEEP! You fell asleep in twenty seconds and you slept for two hours. That was the beginning of the end of the screaming. It was as if all that screaming was your way of telling us PUT ME DOWN, YOU IDIOTS. Ever since that afternoon we put you down in your crib for naps and you fall asleep BY YOURSELF. You don’t want to be rocked or sung to or fussed over. In fact, you hate to be fussed over, and if I try to rock you or soothe you to sleep you scream at me. So I leave you alone now when it’s time to sleep and you couldn’t be happier. THANK YOU, LETA.

I know you’re awake when I hear you scratching the mattress. It’s your way of letting me know that it’s time to come get you, SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH. I can hear the scratching from the most remote point in the house, even outside in the backyard. It’s not the prettiest sound, and it makes my spine twitch every time I hear it, but it also breaks my heart it’s so damn cute. It’s also cute when your father is holding you in the Baby Björn and you scratch his arm like you scratch the mattress, and then you grab hold of his arm hair and yank it like you’re pulling weeds. He shrieks a bit from the sting, but that is okay, because that’s his way of sharing in the pain since he didn’t have to push you out of his vagina or suffer engorged, torpedo boobs.

Over the weekend you met your Grandpa Hamilton for the first time. He’s the man responsible for your pointy chin and the shape of your upper lip, sorry about that. He’s a good man though, as good as they come, and you should take his advice when it comes to money and financial planning. However, when he starts talking about politics I want you to cover your ears and kick him in the shins.

What a great month, little one. We are having so much fun together, going on walks and reading books and watching “Pyramid” twice a day. Just when I think my love for you couldn’t be any bigger, I wake up and discover that I love you even more, and I worry that my body isn’t big enough to hold this much love. I worry that my insides may explode because there isn’t any more room. I am drunk on my love for you, a sloppy drunk who can’t see straight or speak in coherent sentences, a drunk who giggles every time you fart. And it’s just so awesome that you’re old enough now that you can giggle with me.

Love,
Mama

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