Newsletter: Month Fourteen

Dear Leta,

Yesterday you turned 14-months-old. Why didn’t I write this yesterday? We’ve discussed this before, child. When you start wiping my butt, then, THEN you can ask me these questions. Until then I will answer all inquiries with, “Because,” AND YOU WILL ACCEPT IT.

About an hour ago you figured out which button on the cordless phone activates the speaker phone. You were holding the receiver in your hand when you hit the button and this horrible dial tone roared into the room at a volume comparable to a tornado siren. We like things loud in this house, especially when it comes to the telephone, and you will never hear me having a conversation on the phone that isn’t SHOUTED. Our people, they used to live on mountaintops, and the only way they could communicate to each other was by hollering. I myself have never lived on a mountaintop, but hell if you can understand a single word that comes out of my mouth. Shouting gives me a marginal chance of being understood.

Anyway, the speaker phone. It scared the holy living poop out of you. You immediately tossed the phone across the room, let out an audible, “Ahhh!” and looked at me like, “You didn’t tell me it was going to do THAT.” And I said back to you, “Well, you can’t just go around pressing buttons without expecting consequences.” And I meant that on SO many levels, levels you will certainly understand once you figure out how to purposefully embarrass me in public. Despite your initial trepidation you crawled back over to where you had thrown the phone and proceeded to turn on the speaker phone, turn off the speaker phone, on, off, on, off. Why must you do this with the real phone? Why won’t you play with your toy phones, phones that don’t cost more than $50 to replace, phones THAT AREN’T MY LINK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, SO HELP ME GOD IF YOU BREAK IT.

Yesterday was the first day of the time change, and while I thought I was going to handle this one better than the last one (the last one cancelled out all my meds and I started talking to the walls again), it threw your already screwed up schedule into a tailspin. You normally go to bed at 7 p.m., but by 5:30 p.m. you were already so tired that you were crawling on the floor WHILE YOU WERE SUCKING YOUR THUMB. This caused you to rest your head on the floor at the same time, so you moved around the house on both knees, a hand, and an elbow, your head a bumper that would occasionally slam into walls. Again, your father and I had a hearty laugh at your expense, but you have to understand that the whole time we’re laughing we’re thinking, “WE produced THAT.”

Normally, though, you crawl like an expert and can disappear in the two seconds it takes me to set you on the floor and say, “I gotta go pee, stay RIGHT THERE.” Surprisingly you don’t get into too much trouble when I’m not in the room to catch you, because what’s the fun in that? The fun is knowing that you’re not supposed to open that drawer, and when I look at you and say, “Nu uh uh!” you go ahead, jerk open the drawer and then flee the room GIGGLING. You cherish torturing me this way and challenge me to follow you throughout the house so that I can SEE you doing things you know you’re not supposed to do. This morning you sat at the top of the stairs and would move your hand over the landing just to hear me say, “NU UH!” You did this repeatedly and I fell for it every time. BUTTONS ALREADY BEING PRESSED.

This month you’ve also learned how to sneak the dog treats underneath the tray of your highchair. I cannot believe how sneaky you are about this. You know how to distract me so that I don’t see you giving all of your food to the dog who is hidden behind your dangling feet. The only reason I catch you is because you betray your ruse by laughing out loud at the silly, unsuspecting food and roof providers. That’s right, you heard me. We give you food and shelter, and you repay us by manipulating our generosity, laughing because you are smarter than we are. All I can say is, you make me very, very proud.

Leta, I have to say, to know you is to love you, to fall head over heels in love with you. Your personality only gets more adorable every day, every minute. I love it when your father and I are talking, and to get our attention you will talk babble at a volume louder than our conversation. I love how you can give an entire monologue in one vowel, your voice rising and falling as you ask rhetorical questions and pose scenarios, “Ahhhhhh, AHHHHHH? AHHH?? Ah. Ah ah ah ahhhh ahh ahh. Ah, ah ah ah… AH!” I miss the days when you would pronounce your name as Leego, because now you say it exactly as it is supposed to sound, Leta. But that’s okay because you say Mama a lot more now, too. You’re also good at saying BYE, HI, NA, and when you’re not very interested in something, you’ll shrug your shoulders and go, “Meh.”

This morning you and I were playing on the floor in your bedroom — I was hiding the phone and you were crawling all over my torso and legs to find it — and you suddenly stopped, your face very close to mine, and you leaned in and pressed your nose to my cheek. We stayed in that position for several spectacular seconds, a hesitation that altered history, a moment so intimate it felt like it could end wars. I could feel you grinning on my skin and even though I wanted to scoop you up and cover you in kisses I let you hold your face there for as long as you would. I know there are only a handful of moments like that in life. Thank you for that one.