Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Monthly Newsletter, Month Nine

Dear Nate,

This has been an incredibly long, mostly wonderful month. You have truly blossomed. Daddy says you smile at least 80% of the time, and I'm not sure he's wrong. You are delightful these days. Smiling, laughing, exploring, changing, and smiling some more. This is wonderful in a lot of ways, but when I say "No!" to breaking my glasses or biting me, I expect less grinning. Understood?

Case in point: you got sick for the first time this month. Really sick. Throwing up and pooping all over Mama and Daddy kind of sick. And even when you felt your worst, and were sad and droopy and clingy, you'd still smile at me. How could we not love you?

You are very toothy now, with 6 teeth front and center. People notice them all the time - evidentally you are precocious in the tooth department. We like to call you "Sponge Bob Square Teeth" after a popular cartoon character - Sponge Bob Square Pants. I believe that these pictures will show why:

You are officially on the move. You crawl like a champ, you pull yourself up on everything (and everyone), and you even walk a little when you're holding onto the couch. And in the last few days, you've started standing! Yesterday Daddy and I were playing with you in our new basement, and you pulled yourself up on his chest and then let go. I swear you stood for 6 full seconds. I kept looking around you to see if you'd secretly grabbed back on, or if Daddy was cheating and holding you upright. But it was all you. This standing trick is great - you are going to be a hit at our next dinner party. But walking? Please don't do that. Okay? No walking. I'm not ready for it.

You are a pig. You'll eat anything that is diced and put on your booster-seat tray. Tofu, pears, peaches, mac & cheese, sweet potato, avocado, cheese, deli slices - really, anything. Fabulous work. Keeep it up. It makes it very easy for Mama to take you anywhere, as long as she's packing food. (Notice the food clenched in both fists in this photo!)

Oh, did I mention that you're completely weaned? Last month, I tried a bottle as usual, but not before packing my ears with earplugs to keep the shreiking and wailing from permanently damaging my hearing. It was hard to tell with the earplugs in, but this particularly time I didn't think I heard any screaming. And it almost looked like you were drinking. The entire bottle. I sat there holding you, looking around wildly to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing. Being home alone with you didn't lessen my need to share the moment with another person. So I tried another bottle a few hours later, and you nonchalantly drank the whole thing. Then I called Daddy, Grandma, and most of your Aunts to share the unbelieveable news. It took 9 days to switch you completely over to formula, and I've been a much happier person ever since.

Thank you for that gift, son. I am taking advantage of it by leaving town for a few days next weekend. You and your Daddy will have your first time really alone together, and I couldn't care less how it goes. Scream all you want! I'll be on a beach (when I'm not blissfully sleeping). I am packing extra sheets to keep the sun out of my room, and your old sound machine to make sure that NOTHING bothers me. Daddy and everyone else I know will be under strict orders to call only in an emergency. I will probably miss you the whole time, but this will be the first time being away from you for more than a few hours. I could drop off to sleep just thinking about it.

You still sit with your legs straight out, and your arms floating around in the air. Life is so exciting!

You are making these unbelieveable connections now. When you were a newborn, we could hold a Cheerio right in front of your face and you would look right past it. At a few months, you would look at the Cheerio, and maybe even start to reach for it - you saw things that existed. A few months after that, if we dropped the Cheerio you would crane your neck to look for it - you saw the thing that existed, and when it disappeared you realized it might still exist. A few days ago, you were eating Cheerios on your tray. When you thought you had eaten the last one, you started looking around the tray to see if there were any more - you made the connection that even though you couldn't see it, it might still exist (in fact, it did exist - one lone Cheerio at the corner of the tray. You ate it in celebration). A huge leap. I'm truly impressed.

And you are just starting to mimic us - if we repeatedly slap our hands down on the table top, or on the floor, you gleefully follow suit. It's one of your strongest skills - slapping your hand down on things. Sometimes you do it while we're giving you a bottle - you actually slap at your own thighs and tummy, just to have something to slap at.

You constantly make a "ooooooh oooooooh" sound like an owl. Daddy is giving you a bath while I type this, and I can hear you cooing/hooting from down the hall. It's your excited-I-want-that-happy-sound.

As your Grama Fredi always wished for you, you are growing strong and growing well. We are so incredibly lucky. I hope you always know how lucky we are.

You made your first visit of what I hope will be many more to our lake-house in New Hampshire. Last year we went at the end of July, like always, and I was very pregnant with you. I mostly laid on the sofa and did a little floating, which was very pleasant. I cannot picture that place without your Grama Fredi manning the helm, making the whole thing work. We will all have to work so hard to keep it the safe haven that it has been for Daddy's family for so many generations. When Daddy was a little boy, he played on the docks with his cousins. As I lay there last year, I imagined you doing the same thing as you get older. I hope you treasure it as much as we do. This picture was taken while I was sitting on the porch with you. If Daddy and I can keep you looking this safe and secure for your whole life, then we will have done a very good job. We love you so much, Natey.


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