Month Eight


Guess what happened the day you turned 7 months and one day?

You started crawling AND popped two teeth. All on the same day.

It’s been a really busy month. And it’s been hard to capture a picture of you without flash. And you hate the flash. So you move all over and I try my best to keep up.

This development has been, without a doubt, amazing. The first day, the only thing that would motivate you to crawl, was my iPhone. By the morning? Nothing was safe from your curiosity. You were moving everywhere, after everything.

You’re a whole new person.

Also quick.

I was lucky enough to be with you when you first started to crawl. In the pantheon of things to be present for, this seemed like one of the big ones. It was me (well, and my iPhone) that you crawled to. And boy, the distance between where you sat and my lap seemed like the most important journey any human being has ever made. I was so glad to take it with you.

This has really just been one big ol’ month of firsts for you. It’s kind of crazy, when I sit back and think about it.

Your first 5k with me. Well, kind of. You hated that. You really did. Actually, what I think you hate is the jogging stroller, having spent the past eight months in your usual stroller, facing us. Plus, it’s a little more cushion-y than the jogging stroller. It might have been just too much is what I’m thinking. We made it about two miles before there was no denying it: our runs together will have to wait until next season, when you’re a little bigger and maybe a little more open to viewing the outside world at a faster clip.

We had our first visit to an apple orchard, which turned out to be a surprisingly awesome day. We didn’t really have any great expectations for this, just that it was Fall, we have a baby now and what else do people like us with a baby do if not drive all the way out to Indiana to buy apples and apple doughnuts.

I’m not gonna lie: I was really only in it for the doughnuts.

But we got there and it was bursting with awesome. And I’m not just talking about the doughnuts. It was a gorgeous day, and there were tons of people, and the scent of baked-apple-everything permeated the air.

There were pumpkins and hay bails and animals. Oh, the animals. You loved all of them, but you showed a particular affinity for the hens and turkeys. Like, you squawked and squealed with delight, you’d never seen anything more awesome than those turkeys.

In my head I was hearing you say, “HEY YOU TURKEYS!” That probably wasn’t it, but it’s what I do.

For as much love as you had for the animals, the thing that really got you going, the thing that made you howl with laughter and smile with more force than I think I’ve ever seen was the mini tractor. I have this printed out at work, and I’m pretty sure it’s the baby picture family folklore is made of:


Quite possibly this is the best picture of you I have ever taken. I absolutely treasure it. Even when when you’re being a total pill. Which you can sometimes be, as can we all. But boy howdy, when you don’t want to take a nap – look out!

Speaking of which, we put you on a more regular nap schedule. It’s working out well, with a few misses. (For instance, right now. Oy. Kid. Go to sleep. It’s a cold Sunday morning. IT’S WHAT YOU DO.) We’ve tried before and you just weren’t ready and it seems that now you are. For the last few days you’ve been sleeping from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., with two solids naps in the morning and afternoon. It makes planning a challenge, but we’re of the Our Kid Needs Schedule variety.

We have quite a bit of fun, you and me, especially on weekends. Days like yesterdays are ones I’m going to treasure my whole life.

It was just routine – playing, napping, eating some lunch, more playing and napping – but oh what a good time we had with it all. There was dancing to Otis Redding in the kitchen as we discovered how good super puffs are with your bananas. You love to bang on your highchair tray with my spatulas while we sit and eat lunch together. There was reading all of your new Halloween books and climbing all over Glinny.

You helped me fold laundry while we threw all of your teethers around the living room during the Top Chef: All Stars marathon. As much as I was nervous about you being mobile, the more control you have of your world, the more content you seem to be. It’s actually much easier to get things done AND play with you at the same time.

And the laughing! Oh my gosh! You laugh and chatter on and on and on. Don’t get me wrong: you’re still as surly and curmudgeonly and demanding as ever, but a little less so the more you get a handle on what’s doing on. And when you do? You let out a squeal so loud only dogs (and us) can hear it.Sometimes on the days I’m working from home, I rush upstairs to smother you with kisses because the sound of your happy, high-pitched squeals are too irresistible to do otherwise.

I was reading an excerpt from Joan Didion’s new memoir, Blue Nights, the other day. This just gutted me:

“When I began writing these pages I believed their subject to be children, the ones we have and the ones we wish we had, the ways in which we depend on our children to depend on us, the ways in which we encourage them to remain children, the ways in which they remain more unknown to us than they do to their most casual acquaintances; the ways in which we remain equally opaque to them. The ways in which our investments in each other remain too freighted ever to see the other clear.”

The ways in which our investments in each other remain too freighted ever to see the other clear… This. This is what they say when they say these times go by too quickly. I can’t even read that sentence without tearing up and realizing that no matter what we do, us parents and you our kids, we will eventually end up at a place where impasse is certain. And because of how very necessary that impasse is, and how much is tangled up with getting us all there, that you might not ever really know me, and I’ll never really know you. At least not in that way that others do, will, respectively, at least not for a very long time.

And it makes me cry because in those moments at night before you go to bed, when your eyes are locked on mine, I feel certain that no one has ever known me quite as well as you. It is the strongest bond I’ve ever felt with any human being. To know that it’s simply the natural way of things that in the years to come that bond will fracture, dissipate and scatter and morph is no salve. Neither is my faith and confidence that the way in which we are raising you will give us a fighting chance of a healthy, happy relationship as we make this journey together. Perhaps the only thing I can do is pray for the sort of bravery it takes to let you go and find your own way someday.

Well, that and smother you with zerberts and kisses every chance I get.

You may think eight-months-old is too soon to start worrying and crying over all of this, but it’s amazing how much your being mobile symbolizes. It’s bittersweet. Sweet more than bitter – you are just so proud of all you can do now! – but it’s the truth staring us in the face: You can leave us. And you will.

I hope beyond all hope that I remain courageous in the face of this every day. That I remain a good example for you, but am patient enough when you choose a different path. I pray that I do a decent job of showing you the virtue in being a good person, of a life filled with laughter and a home filled with love. I pray that in the moments where you decide to be a total asshole, because we all do, you’ll humbly ask for forgiveness because it’s what your parents taught you to do.

I remain grateful every day for this chance to be your Mom. Thanks for being such a great kid.