Your will has entered our lives and your will hath fury. Just this morning you snuck your hand into my shirt to swipe a nursing pad from its whereabouts, and when I interfered with the attempt, your entire face ripped off and a screaming goat appeared behind your baby-like flesh. The wail was so intensely horrifying that it scared even you – the original singer/songwriter of Paranormal Farm Animals The Soundtrack – and tears welled up to wash off the goat parts and then you were a baby again. It was a close call. I’m buttoning my shirt higher to keep the nursing pads out of radar should the goat return.
Ever since I covered Lenka Clayton’s amazing Motherhood in Residency project, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how I view the relationship between work and parenting and creativity and all things good and perfect, Amen. Although I’m a big believer of compartmentalizing my work and home life (which is increasingly difficult as it’s a work-from-home life), I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t concede that Bee is endlessly inspiring to me. So it only makes sense that her play area and my office be one in the same, yes?
You little nine-month-old, you. There are three party tricks you know: clapping, waving and shaking your head “No“. It’s always a “No” with you – never a “Yes” – and I sort of like your spunk, kid. I don’t like it as much when it’s Bedtime (No) or Avocado Time (No) or Stop Climbing The Dog Time (No). But overall, I like it. Sometimes we encourage you to use your party tricks in context, like waving at the mailman or your grandmother, but you get them mixed up and you start clapping bye-bye or waving no and then you get confused so you just do them all in a row. Clap-wave-No, clap-wave-No, like a scratched CD, skipping and disoriented.
You have five and a half teeth now, and your dad says he spotted a sixth but I sort of think it was a Cheerio part. We’re still on the fence.
You are wildly mobile these days, pausing for nothing and everything all at once. I’ve had my suspicions for a few months now that you’re going to be a very active baby, and this week God delivered a notarized letter of confirmation when you began an official attempt to move the furniture around our living room. I used to do this, too (although certainly not at eight months), so I think God and my mother are in cohorts together and this is a twisted form of karmic interior design.
You’re eight months old now, which means I have to stop buying frozen pizzas in bulk at the market and telling the grocer that I have a newborn at home. Because Bee, you are no newborn. You’re a kicky, squishy, squirmy being – one that your father and I are trying our best to keep up with. And in celebration of the massive personality you’ve grown into over the past few months, we wanted to capture your spirit in a more visual way in today’s letter:
Today I sat down to write you a letter and my mind started ticking boxes for all the things you’re learning and doing – all the moments I so desperately wanted to document in your letters, locking them away into a virtual cedar chest of sorts. You stand on your own now – a proud, but surprised look on your face, like you’ve just baked your first cherry delight and it didn’t taste horrible. Tick. You wave wildly, welcoming friends and family into our home as they come and go. Tick. You play independently, hug fiercely and throw tantrums with vigor. Tick, tick, tick.
I like to think I understand your feelings and thoughts and emotions because you sometimes make weird faces when you do things. Like the furrowed brow face you make when you’re eating avocados or dissecting your stuffed giraffe. It’s the same face I make when I’m focusing on something, like my computer monitor or a particularly philosophical book or your dad’s political rants in the kitchen. And I like to think that’s your concentration face, too, and that we’re linked in that way, but really I wonder if that same furrowed brow might mean something else to you – like you’re unimpressed or bored or daydreaming about springtime.
Hello, Ms. Personality. I’m praying for your future boyfriends, friends, teachers, leaders and members of your social circle today. Praying hard. Because you, my dear, are what we lovingly refer to around these parts as “Pistol Pete.” Your opinions are forming faster than we can take note of, but the short list is that you love wall vents, floor vents, ceiling vents, electrical outlets, crawling to said outlets, drawstrings, socks, fabric of any variation and form and you do not love naps, sleep, laying down, cribs, sheets, quiet nursing or calming music. You are a 100% bona fide party animal with a stubbornness that resulted in repeated 10:30pm bedtimes three nights this week. You also do not love the word, “No.” (Clearly.)
I always love hearing about how mothers spend their days with their littles – are they homebodies, like Bee and me? Or do they explore, seek and play outdoors – always ready for a new adventure? I was recently asked to share my day on So, How Was Your Day? – a brilliant peek into the day planners of fellow creatives – and was surprised at how, after writing out my daily routine, tied to a schedule I truly am.
You turned six months a few weeks ago and all the sudden, I have a baby. You’re not that smelly-necked dinosaur thing that used to live in our home (thank you, sweet Lord in Heaven). Instead, you’re a baby. A baby that sleeps and plays and laughs and eats. We fed you your first food last week: an avocado. You hated it, loved it, hated it, then loved it. And now you love it always. When it’s time to eat and we put the bib around your neck, your nose scrunches up and you start grunting like a gorilla with a stuffy nose. And the grunts continue during feeding time until you’re finished and you stop grunting and purse your lips instead.