Newsletter: Month Eight

Dear Leta,

Yesterday you turned eight-months-old. We have several things to talk about, but the first and most important thing that we need to discuss are the two teeth that have taken residence in your mouth and in our house. Why did you have to go and grow those two teeth? Were they really necessary?

Perhaps the worst thing about your teeth is that they decided to sprout at the same time, which made your usual grouchy and cranky self a notch more grouchy and cranky which in turn shook the foundation of the house and crumbled the brick exterior. I thought you were grouchy and cranky, but I had no idea what two teeth could do to a human being, and the world will never be the same. There is no wrath on earth as vengeful as the wrath of a teething baby, and I challenge anyone to stick their hand anywhere near your mouth without pulling it back missing a finger or two or five.

It’s not like you really need teeth. You could sustain your life on milk and applesauce for years, and you can chew cereal with those two teeth just fine. Why grow more teeth when all that does is create more things to clean? You already have armpits and earlobes and fingernails that have to be cleaned, why add anything else? Take my advice: keep it simple. You’ll thank me later.

Over the past month you have learned how to sit up by yourself. It happened over night, like BOOM, there you were sitting there hanging out without tilting or leaning over. You have no idea how much this has contributed to our quality of life, as I don’t have to carry you around kicking and screaming all the time. You can just sit there and kick and scream. I now have TWO FREE HANDS to do with whatever I want, like putting clothes on your head or taking a toy just out of your reach. OOOH, you can get testy, and you usually reprimand me by saying, “NA NA NA NA NA!” Which means, “Woman, my love for you is conditional, now give me back that goddamn toy.”

You’re constantly reaching for things and grabbing the remote or telephone out of my hands. You inspect objects like a scientist, end over end, and then you try to put things into your mouth from every angle. First the top of the thing goes into your mouth, then the bottom, and then the sides. One new object can entertain you for almost a half-hour, but if you’ve already seen something YOU CANNOT BE BOTHERED WITH IT. You’ve already seen that bunny! You’ve already played with that rattle! And this tupperware container? You saw it TWICE yesterday. You get this really frustrated look on your face that says, “GOD, PEOPLE! CAN’T YOU BE MORE ORIGINAL? How big is this world that you brought me into, and these are the toys that you bring me? OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!”

You’re now eating three meals a day in addition to the bottles we feed you, Oh Royal One. You love oatmeal and pears and sweet potatoes and apples and cereal, and last week we fed you pulled pork. You’ll eat just about anything we feed you, and when we put food into our mouths we had better be prepared to share that food with you as you accost us with an open mouth, like a hungry baby bird. Your system is handling the new food well as you poop about 40 times a day. One of the great mysteries of the Universe has to be how the hell I gave birth to such a regular baby.

Weekly physical therapy with Heidi is going really well, meaning that you squawk less and less each week we put you through your exercises. You still refuse to put any weight on your legs, but Heidi thinks this may just be a characteristic of your personality rather than something neurological. When we distract you while we put you into certain weight bearing positions you are fine, and then you realize, WAIT, we have distracted you and put you into a weight bearing position and WHO GAVE US PERMISSION TO DO THAT! SQUAWK! I’m working with you everyday to get those chubby legs of yours to assume more responsibility, but this is a hard slog as your are so very stubborn. I can’t blame you though; Jon Armstrong is your father.

Over the weekend you spent two days with Grandmommie while your father and I “reconnected.” I promise you will understand what that means when you have your own kids. When we walked into her house yesterday to pick you up you were sitting in the middle of her floor surrounded by cousins and toys, and both your father and I felt a rush of electricity shake us in our bones. We were SO excited to see you, our little Scooter sitting there smiling, waving your arms and wiggling your hands. We never knew we could miss something so much.

We picked you up and hugged you, and then I handed you to your father so that I could go to the bathroom really quickly, and Leta, for the first time you cried as I turned to walk away. My mother assured me that you hadn’t cried all weekend, but there you were looking after me as I stepped closer to the bathroom, and gigantic tears fell from your eyes. I couldn’t help myself, so I turned back around and scooped you out of your father’s arms and took you to the bathroom with me. And there we were in Granny’s bathroom, me on the toilet, you on my lap, smiling and peeing and being very much in love.