Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Newsletter: Month Nine

Dear Violet,

I feel like a total failure as a parent. This letter is, like, two weeks late. I have no excuse. Life gets in the way yet I've still managed to find time to park it on the couch and stuff my face with quesadillas while watching Deadwood marathons with your Papa, so again, I have no excuse. Here's the thing: you're turning into such a big girl. I'm going through those emotions I'm sure every parent deals with, chiefly, what happened to my baby? One day you were this tiny, peanut and now you're a big girl, gleefully rolling all over the house in your walker, toes and paws of your loved ones be damned. In fact, I might go so far as to say you relish ramming into your loved ones and really, some days I can't say I blame you. If I could climb into a vehicle with wheels and ram straight into Pop sometimes I believe I would do the very same thing. And giggle madly, just like you do.

A friend at work recently had a baby who weighs the same as you did when you were born. He brought the little guy to work and I just stared at this newborn in wonder. Was my little Violet really that tiny? Holy cow! And if my little Violet was really that tiny and delicate how in God's name have we kept her alive all this time? Two blundering oafs like me and your Pop are sure to screw things up, right? You're likely reading this to pass the time in the future as your hover car takes you to Mars and are probably in psychotherapy because you contend that me and Pop DID screw you up. But seriously, we're doing our best here and so far, fingers crossed, we think we've done a marvelous job. Of course, that's mostly because you're totally the best baby ever. Which is kind of a bummer for the blog because I have nothing to rant about. I mean, can't you crank our some drama if only for blog material? But NO, you're just all the time happy with the gummy smiles and snorts.

There's this thing you do, when you get a kick our of something you kind of breathe in and out of your nose real hard so you snort every couple breaths and you smile so big. So I laugh and then you laugh because you've made me laugh and you end up snorting some more so I laugh some more and we just sit there laughing at each other like a couple a goons.

Uncle Dave sent you a copy of The Great Pumpkin in advance of Halloween and God bless Uncle Dave because I think your Pop and I were just kind of on autopilot with the Sign Language DVDs not realizing a better life was out there waiting to be lived. A life where Baaaaby, baaaaby, baby signing time!!! doesn't echo in our heads during every waking moment and accompany most dreams too. There I'd be, smoking hot, your Pop nowhere in sight, on the verge of meeting up with Brad Pitt in my dream, he reaches for me and, finally, we come together to a dramatic crescendo of Put your fingertips together for more, more, more!!! Baby Signing Time!!!

The horror.

We'd allowed the songs to seep into our existence and, like enormous butt zits, the singsonging awfulness you loved so much just became a painful part of life that we'd almost learned to ignore. We were resigned. And lo and behold The Great Pumpkin arrives and so it, instead of Baby Signing Time, was the soundtrack to our October because you love Charlie Brown. And we love that you love Charlie Brown. He is so much less offensive than Baby Signing Time. We're saving money on cotton swabs too because our ears have stopped bleeding.

God bless America and Charlie Brown.

This month we made the transition to big girl baths and you couldn't be happier. You'll sit in there until your little body prunes, chewing on washcloths, fiddling with this toy, jabbing that one and sucking on Rubber Ducky's beak. You'll vigorously do these activities as if you're on the payroll and were you to stop we would immediately cut off your supply of Lil Crunchies. I'll try to get your attention every now and again and you'll throw me a cursory glance like, Look Lady, cantcha see I'm busy here? I've got shit to do. I've gotta dunk Rubber Ducky, chaw on this washcloth some more and then try to turn on the hot water faucet again. Because even though you keep stopping me every five minutes, I've gotta try JUST ONE MORE TIME. So back off with your baby talk and snapping. This is Very Important Shit I'm doing here.

My favorite image of you, by far, this month is you standing at the edge of the tub waiting as it fills with water. Your little butt just kills me. How can thigh rolls, a chubby butt, elbow dimples and cankles be so cute on one person and so repulsive on another? Take it from me, enjoy the compliments on your chubby butt while you can, thigh rolls and cankles just don't have the same appeal on older women.

I repeat Mama to you as often as possible in the hope that it will be your first word so I can prove to Pop that yes, you do love me more. So far I've gotten some Mamamamamamamas and that's about it. But I am determined. Although I am sure Pop is up to big business when I'm at work, brainwashing you with all his Papa, Papa, Papa is better talk. Don't listen!

Sometimes I think about my life before I met you and it seems so gray. You bring technicolor to our world. You make every day challenging yet beautiful. You're teaching Pop and I to be better people, to slow down and realize how wondrous the small things can be. To just sit and look out our big front window at the world going by is something I never really did before. Now I'm watching the birds, listening to the wind rustle the leaves, pointing out pretty colors and describing the wonderful world to you. This is something I needed. As an alleged adult that can be easy to forget sometimes. So thanks, peanut, thanks for showing me the beauty again.