dear ashelyn (8 months)

Posted on: 1 December 2012

Let’s talk about the first time you stood on your own! It happened in the bassinet. You let go of the edge and balanced for a good, deliberate moment – knees bent, feet apart, arms stretched out. I recall the look in your eyes before you did it, all, “Hey. I have an idea. I am going to carry it out.”

I didn’t think much of this at first, but in two months of pulling up you’ve never “gotten stuck.” You’ve always been able to let yourself back down. (One way is to lean backward until you plop onto your diaper-cushioned butt.)


When you’re excited, you bounce up and down while making a noise that sounds like a dog panting. If someone happens to be holding you at the time, you’ll kick your legs the same way. And it looks like you’re clicking your heels together.

You can flip your tongue sideways in your mouth. Do you know what this means? It means that already you can do something daddy can’t do.

Somehow you caught another bug last week, only a month after the last one. For two days you were so snotty we had to regularly break out the snotsucker bulb the paramedics left with us when you were born. You HATED that. (What’s with babies and having their noses wiped?) Daddy needed both hands to immobilize you so I could operate the snotsucker. We soon discovered that nothing angers you more than having your freedom of movement restricted. You’d rather get your shots.

Then your voice went kaput for a couple days, except you didn’t seem to care and continued to chatter all raspy-like. It was especially pitiful when you cried, a thin wail that sounded nothing like you.

You say “mama” all the time now. At first you only said it when you were upset, like, “HEY YOU! Come here and pick me up NOW!” But ever since you lost your voice, you’ve said it sooo sweetly my brain short-circuits and seeps out my ears.


It seems we’ve tempted fate long enough, and you finally fell off the bed. Not the master bed, thank God, the knee-high one in the guestroom. I thought you fell on your forehead, but the bruise that formed was on your cheek. I called the newborn hotline on your behalf! They said to watch for vomiting and seizures … so I think we’re good.

You’ve developed the breastfeeding quirk of rogue arm syndrome. You’ll reach behind you with your free arm and try to knock things out of my hand. Or you’ll throw your arm up like a flagpole. All this when you aren’t pinching, that is. And your pinches leave scabs.

You laugh when we blow raspberries on your tummy. You blow raspberries yourself.

You (silent) clap, though not on command. Not that you’ve ever done anything on command.


You greet people with a crooked salute. If they draw close enough you may touch their face, or you might play shy and bury your face in my shoulder. That isn’t a rejection, though. It’s pretty clear when you’re wary of someone (which has only happened twice): you’ll cry.


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