You’re 8 months old today. 8 months!
In the last month or so, we’ve spent a lot of time together, you and I, and I’ve made a few observations.
First of all, you hate teeth. Oh sure, you have a couple now, but you’re not happy about it, and we’ve quickly learned that when you ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Those two innocent, tiny, seemingly harmless teeth have been the cause of many sleepless nights, and much general misery at our house. Before you get any more, please give me at least two weeks notice, so that I might stock up on vodka, Advil, coffee, and earplugs. Not for you…for me.
You love food. You eat anything I spoon into your mouth, without question or comment, except when I stop feeding you before you’re 100%, completely full. When this happens, you breathe heavily through your nose like an angry bull, and repeatedly kick the bottom of your high chair tray until it pops right off. You recently started eating Cheerios, which you love, but it’s a bit weird to take off your diaper and watch handfuls of toasty O’s tumble out onto the carpet. They go in your mouth, not in your pants!
You really enjoy VH1. I know this from the countless hours I’ve spent with you, lounging on the sofa in the middle of the night. I like to think that you’re simply a music lover, but truth be told, you seem to be most riveted by commercials featuring clips of buxom yet airheaded women engaging in nasty, bleep-laden catfights. Let the record show that if you ever bring such a woman home, Mommy will hyperventilate, and possibly have a heart attack, and you will feel guilty for the rest of your life.
You’re incredibly handsome, and strong. We’ve learned that you’re capable of pulling the lamp off the end table, yanking Pumpkin’s tail until his eyes bulge out, and turning over laundry baskets full of clothes. We’ve also learned that changing your diaper is occasionally a 2-parent event – one to pin your arms and legs down, and the other to get the diaper on and fasten it at lightning speed – because if you want to roll over, you will roll over.
You have discovered your body. I know this because every time I remove your diaper, you immediately reach for your “special purpose.” I pretend to not notice, because I don’t want to embarrass you or anything.
You don’t give a rat’s backside about any of the baby toys we purchased for your amusement. Whenever I try to interest you in something, such as a set of plastic keys, or a toy truck, or Tickle Me Elmo, you look at me as if to say, “What, exactly, am I supposed to do with this? Is this supposed to be interesting? Cripes woman, can’t you be more original?” You seem to prefer more unconventional, edgier playthings, such as sharpened pencils, marbles, bobby pins, cords that are long enough to wrap completely around your neck several times, important bills and papers, cat toys, dirty flip-flops, permission slips that must be returned to school, and basically anything small, sharp, or otherwise dangerous that your sisters leave strewn haphazardly about. Also, I’m not positive that you have taste buds, given the vast assortment of completely disgusting things you choose to put in your mouth.
You think bath time is the best part of the day. You really like for us to fill the tub with just an inch or two of water so that you can lay on your back and thrash around. It’s incredibly cute and funny to watch you kick and splash, except I could do without the sea of water left on the floor when you’re done, and the fact that you always, always swallow a lot of water, then splutter and spit, choke and cry. Here’s a piece of advice for you, Bud…a smart man learns from his mistakes.
You’ve learned that you can make a “P” sound with your lips, and lately, it sounds like you’re saying “poop” all the time. I was hoping that we could work on some other consonant sounds, because I really, really don’t want to write in your baby book that your first word was “poop.” How about M? As in “Mommy?” That’s a good one. Let’s give that one a whirl, and I’ll just pretend the whole “poop” phase never happened.
You are your mother’s boy. If I walk through a room and fail to acknowledge you, why this is simply not acceptable. And if someone else is holding you, and you notice that I am also there, but NOT HOLDING YOU, you get agitated and begin to squirm, and you make an angry, cackly noise, as if to say, “What?! My MOM is here and you didn’t tell me? Put me down this instant!. I must go to MY MOM! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT ME DOWN!“
Whenever you achieve something that you think is really, totally awesome, such as pulling up and standing by your little music table, or climbing onto the fireplace hearth, you always look over your shoulder at me, like “Mom! Did you see that? Did you see me? Did you see what I did?!” And then I must respond with one of these standard responses, or you will get upset:
1) Look at you!
2) I see you, big boy!
3) What are you doing, Mister Man?
We used to call you “The Big Man,” but we can’t anymore because at your last checkup you were only 55th percentile for weight, and 65th percentile for height. You’re now “The Average-Sized Man,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? And here’s the thing…you’re growing up too fast. Can we talk about this for a minute? Because see, you’re my last baby, and each of your milestones means the end of something incredibly special for me. Being your mother is sometimes confusing, because watching you grow up is so amazing and wonderful, and at the same time, it hurts me. Whenever you achieve something new, I applaud you more enthusiastically than anyone else, but inside, my heart quietly breaks just a little tiny bit. For I know that there will be a day when you’ll be too big to cradle in my arms, and a kiss won’t be enough to soothe all of your hurts. The nights of rocking you in the still, inky darkness, with your head on my shoulder, my cheek pressed to the top of your downy, sweet-smelling head…someday, those nights will be just a memory. Someday there will be no more night feedings, no diaper changing, no chasing you around shouting “NO!” ….but there will also be no more footie pajamas, no sippee cups or board books, no wriggly, excited greetings, and huge, gummy smiles in the mornings.
I know that you have to grow up, DJ. I know that. But please… don’t be in such a hurry, OK? Just stay my baby boy, for as long as you possibly can.
I love you so very much, my big boy. You’re the icing on my cake, and the cherry on my sundae.