Dear Little E (aka Bubbles, aka Mangler, aka Sweetboy);
You are a big shot. Fat cat, big cheese, top dog, da kine.
You rock, and you know it.
For some time now, you've been able to work a room. You have piercing baby blues that beg to make contact - and you know how to use them, my boy.
Every day you begin by grinning. Every day. Usually followed by the giggle. One single, cheerful 'geh', that knowing look you flash me while your eyebrows are still laughing - our private joke. When you crawl up on my chest and try to head-butt me, I usually try and distract you with offers of more milk. "More nursing? Nurse again?" I ask hopefully. You know that word to be certain, as many have paid surprise witness to someone else offering to nurse, and at the sound of the 'nur' you are tossing backward in my arms and scrappling for the entry to the nipples. Darn clothes get in the way! When your belly is full and no amount of morning milk can placate you, you usually let out a few good rips, more grins, then it's up-and-at-em. Unless I want to get head butted again.
You love the great outdoors. You love to swing, hang out in the outdoor playpen, take walks in the bjorn (almost graduated to the backpack, mr. longlegs!), touch plants-trees-dirt, bounce on the trampoline, take secretive rides with Daddy on the zipline (thankyou, mr. babybjorn), and bang on the door to outside when you feel inclined to see and be in it. Did I mention that you rock?
You have a...well...precocious and testosterone-fueled sense of humor. One morning (when you were just nine months old, which makes what I am about to say even more remarkable), you let out this huge teenager fart, looked right up at me with a grin, and gave me a huge raspberry, thus showing me that you did realize exactly what had just occurred. Impressive.
This has been a very big month for you - first you finally mastered sitting without falling, but then, only days later, crawling quickly smashed any notion you might have had of sitting around. Within days of discovering you could crawl and thrash your way across a room, you also realized that you could use your arms to achieve a vertical position - what we bipods call standing. The first time you did this, I threw up my arms and shouted "YAY!", and the next ten times you pulled yourself up, you would toss your arms in the air, yell, "Yaaaaaaayyy", and promptly lose your balance and plop to the floor. Then (and this is my favorite part) you would look around the room as if you wondered who pushed you! (I did not)
Earlier this month, at the beginning of our Seattle sojourn, you had just begun to crawl. Julia very accurately described your crawling ballet as resembling one of those sticky things that you throw on a window and then watch as it chaotically makes its way down to the bottom. But by the time we left you were showing off with a quick scoot, able to hold on to a table with only one hand while standing. One friend remarked that it wouldn't be long until you started walking, the way you keep practicing that balance skill! Please forgive my gut third-kid-reaction: "Not if we keep pushing him over!" You're just SO active...let's stick with crawling for a while, shall we?
At some point this month I finally figured out that you just hate baby food, and yes, I promise I will stop buying it, opening it, feigning mock excitement about it, sniffing it, and shoving it into your unwilling mouth. And from now until you deem it unpalatable, I promise to mix everything that I do try and feed you with your favorite food, pesto. Mashed potatoes and avocado? Both duds -until mixed with pesto. Basil will do in a pinch, but you prefer the cilantro variety - the more garlic, the better. I will keep trying with the bananas and oatmeal in the mornings though, darling. Mama can't take your garlic breath too early in the morning.
Your vocabulary is growing. I really have to stop saying "Oh shit" when you wake up (every one to two hours!), or it is sure to be your first phrase. Since you are still on single word utterances, I consider myself safe for a limited time - but On Notice.
So, you say: Yay!, Dada, 'at (cat - yes it really is, since you say it whenever the 'at comes in the 'oom!), kak-kak (when looking at the duck), hey!, mmmmmmm (yum), and...(drumroll, please)...MAMA! Oh yes, you SAY it! Not just calling me 'milk' as you have been signing at me for months (my name is not milk), but MAMA! Thankyou, sweetbabyboy. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!
You, my dear one, are everything we needed - and we didn't even know what we needed. Because you are so fabulous, I will save my little tiny rant about how you never ever sleep through the night and how I am so sleep deprived right now, I am perfect cult material. For another day.
Because today I celebrate you.
(editor's note: yes, they really are that blue.)