Month Five

Dear Monks –

You’re Five-Months-Old today. To celebrate, you woke yourself up at 3 a.m. by flipping over on to your belly, once again, and you were completely pissed off by the whole situation, once again.

Oh, my love, you are my daughter, through and through. It is my fear (and I suppose somewhat my hope) that you’re going to spend the majority of the next 25 years asking for forgiveness, rather than permission. Patience is not one of my strong suits, and neither is not being supremely irritated when I don’t get what I want when I want it right now, dammit. That said, if you are anything like me, and my prediction proves to be true, remember that this also makes you a doer, a problem solver.

There is, without a doubt, always a reason to rejoice in our darkness as well as our light. You just have to live with it all and take a few deep breaths now and again.

So yes. You’re rolling over on your tummy any time we put you down, and depending on the surface, you’re moving straight into “And now I will conquer crawling, thanks.” It’s insane. Yesterday, as I turned around to finish making your bedtime bottle, I turned back 30 seconds later to find you’d turned yourself completely around and were grasping at the mat to scoot yourself closer in reach to your toy blocks. Your Daddy notices that you’re starting to stick your tush out in the air, and place weight on your knees, which blows my mind and perhaps leads me to believe that I’m more easily amused in my advanced age than even I originally thought.

You’ve had a big month. In addition to all of the rolling over and disgust over having to endure being on your belly that comes along with it, you’ve become enamored with your feet. Never was anyone as in love with her feet and toes as you in Month Five of your time here on earth. And once it became clear that you could reach down and grab your feet, and then bring them to your mouth, well, it was all over. You look at us as if to say, “Guys. GUYS. Did you know there were TWO MORE THUMBS DOWN THERE?” It’s all very serious business, this putting your toes into your mouth.

It probably makes me Mother of the Year, but at the end of the day, when I’m getting you ready for bed, sometimes I totally encourage this because it’ll keep you occupied for at least three minutes. Sometimes more.

I feel less guilty about the days where I just can’t wait for bedtime. Some days, I just need to sleep and so do you. But most of the time, I’m excited for bedtime because, wow. Once you become a parent humanity just takes on this entirely new dimension that it’s all you can do to not rush home immediately and swallow your child whole. I see people every day, alone, homeless, sad and then I think, of course, “This was someone’s AG.” And, you know, if they weren’t someone’s most precious, sparkling little powder keg of awesome, or at least weren’t treated as such, I’m destroyed by the notion. It’s almost more than I can handle, so I have to bolt home to you, just so I can tell you, “You are my awesome.

Bedtime is now my favorite time with you. We snuggle in, get settled. You now throw your head back and cuddle up close to my chest, oftentimes you reach out to touch my face. I like to think it’s so you know I’m still there. I’m probably wrong, but I like to think that. Sometimes I assign you this entire booze-y filled storyline, mostly because after you’ve polished off a bottle, the look on your little face resembles me at age 19, freshman year of college, after I’d had a Mad Dog 20/20 too many. I think you’re ready to tell me this big ol’ story about Old So-And-So and you end up just giving up the ghost and passing out. I really am Mother of the Year.

You go into your crib easily, though in addition to all of this rolling over business you’re trying to figure out, you’re also teething up a storm. No teeth yet, but it’s clearly bothering you. Like most things thus far, you don’t take them lightly, getting your first teeth doesn’t seem to be an exception. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You take no guff from no one, and that includes your first teeth.

There is so much laughter in our lives that it breaks me. It occurred to me this morning, after a particularly challenging week at work, that no matter what happens during the day, I get to come home to you at the end of it. As usual, we spend it outside with Glinny at first, but now we carry on and talk and sing on the porch for longer stretches. You love it when I zerbert your belly and your neck, and you just peal with laughter. My stomach flips, rolls and dive bombs all over the place. It’s like being on a roller coaster, getting those giggles out of you, and believe you me: it still takes work to earn one. But, they seem to come more fast and furious these days. Or I’m just getting better at hitting your most ticklish spots. After giggles and songs, we sometimes talk to Aunt Kate, but mostly we play with your toys, read a story, and play your favorite game, which is still the one where we take your hands so you can immediately lift yourself to sit upright, and then move into a standing position. You could do this forever.

Your favorite creature on earth is Glinny. Did you first reach out for me or your Daddy? Nope. It was Glinny. If Glinny is anywhere in your general vicinity, you are grunting and whining to get her attention, arms stretched wide, desperate to wrap yourself around her. Or at least get your mitts on her face.  And she is ever the patient buddy, not even flinching, despite how many times one of your chubby little fingers lands squarely in the middle of her eyeballs. You’ve aged her a little bit, but you being in her life seems to give her a sense of purpose she didn’t have before. She has a job now, and her job is to be your best buddy and protector. She takes it all very seriously, never leaving your side for a second, unless you’re sleeping. Then she sighs, and gets in a few winks before you’re up again.

Oh sleep. You’re still our awesome little sleeper, save for a night here and there. Last night we had some ridiculous storms and it woke us all up. I think it all threw you for a loop and you refused to be put back in your crib. So, well, you and I did something we haven’t done in weeks, and that was sleep together on the glider for a couple more hours before I had to get ready to leave for work. It was sweet, save for the umpteen million times you managed to smack me in the face. You are not a gentle sleeper anymore, it seems.

You were baptized this month, and it was quite the day. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was one of the most memorable days of my life. Almost everyone who is near and dear to us was there, and it was hard not to be touched by how much love and care you were shown by these lovely, kind, amazing, good people.Your Papa especially made the day memorable, taking part in the service alongside Deacon Andy, delivering the homily that, between you and me, he was born to give.

We spent weeks planning and preparing, and your godparents, Mr. and Mrs. Guardi, stood by our sides and promised to do some heavy lifting with us where you’re concerned. We’re lucky to have them as friends, and you’re blessed to have them take such a special place in your life. Their oldest daughter, Nora, already loves you quite a bit, and has since she met you when you were just a month old. We expect you’ll all be running the south side of Chicago before we know it.

I remain in awe of you, and realize with each passing moment how really and truly blessed we are to have you here as part of our family. It’s been an adjustment, to be sure. Not much of me feels my own, even the parts I deliberately carve out for myself. I was at the gym last week, climbing stairs on the stairmill, reading some random women’s health magazine. It’s been Mom Time, my time spent working out. But there I was, reading that magazine, and a statistic that has no doubt crept up before jumped out from the page: Girls born to women with issues with body image and eating are twice as likely to deal with those same things. Like everything else I read in relation to you, I’m just crushed by the awesome responsibility that is before me, and what was just a trip to the gym to space out and sweat, ultimately turns into another hour spent recommitting myself to being the best person I can be for you. Whether that be to continue to take good care of myself by working out and eating well, or to stop watching The Real Housewives when I could be reading a book instead, I find myself doing very little if it isn’t somehow in service, even in some small part, to helping to make sure your world is simply a better one and I’m setting a good example for you.

I still don’t recycle much at all. I’ll get to that eventually.

I feel like I’ve lived a purpose-driven life before you were here. But now that you are here, what’s really changed is the actual purpose. You are the reason for everything, and no matter how many days there are where I just want to sleep in or stay out late or just not care, the feeling is fleeting. Indulging in any of it means it’s of no consequence or matter to you, and that’s not the case anymore. It feels good to know that what I do now carries with it something bigger than myself.

Even if for now she’s only 16 pounds.

I love you, Abigail.