Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Newsletter: Month Two

Dear Violet,

It is morning as I type this. I'm holding you in my arms as you alternately doze and look around with those big, lovely eyes. Last night you slept for seven hours in a row! Unfortunately my inner clock wasn't in sync with yours and I popped up at two-thirty which is when you usually get up. You were slumbering peacefully there in your little bassinet next to our bed so I went back to sleep. My sleep was fitful because I was certain you would wake up at any moment. I finally got some shut eye and was brought back to consciousness by your little fist sucking noises. I checked the clock thinking maybe twenty minutes had elapsed but it was four in the morning. We put you down at nine-thirty and you slept until four-thirty! I couldn't believe it. Not only is it the longest you've slept it's the longest I've slept since you've been born. And! After your bottle you slept four more hours. It was like a little vacation to the beach where senoritas fed me grapes and massaged exotic oils into my pale, baby ravaged skin.

I hate to boast but I'm bragging to you about you, so what the hell. V, you are such a good baby! I just knocked on wood so don't get any ideas for later years, little miss. You rarely cry and when you do it's for a very specific reason; usually you're hungry and sometimes you just want to be held. But even then there is none of this screaming banshee crying I've heard mothers tearfully describe. It doesn't even seem like crying to me because behind the cry I can hear what you're saying to me so I perceive it as a language. This is your language. It isn't too bad. In fact, I find it more pleasant to listen to your language then, say, German or Hebrew.

I've managed to get you on a pretty good schedule which I must tell you, for me, is impressive. Despite his being the rock star in the family, Pop doesn't like to wing it. I'm the one who likes to fly by the seat of my pants. This makes for shitty vacations because he needs a planned itinerary that rivals a Presidential visit to Iraq. Me? I just like to see what happens. But you and I - we've got a good thing going. Usually you get up around six in the morning because you're hungry. Pop gives you a bottle before he goes to work and puts you back to bed. You mewl and wiggle for a bit until I wake up and pull you into bed with me. When you hear me whispering your name you turn your little head right into my face, sometimes licking my nose and you stay that way until we both fall asleep. We wake up around nine-thirty and enjoy a bottle and coffee respectively. You'll have some good awake time before dropping off again while I get ready for the day. At around eleven the dogs start to give us the stink eye so we know it's time to head to the park.

I strap you in the Bjorn and we hike back to a little pond to let the dogs swim and give Mom's thighs a workout. You usually sleep through the entire hike and the drive home. Which is good because, well, your mother is addicted to Howard Stern and that isn't quite easy listening... at least not until you're four or five, anyway.

We hang out around the house in the afternoon, me pretending to clean and you pretending to sleep. You may drop off for what appears to be a nice, long nap but inevitably I'll hear your clicking insect noises and fifteen minutes later you're looking like you're ready for a marathon or perhaps a quick hike up Mt. Everest. In the afternoon we head over to Liberty Park for a stroller ride. We also have Music Time. I'll play Pop's music to you. We start with Mom's favorite record, Marah - Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight. You really like Fever. Next we move on to Mom's second favorite record, Marah - Kids In Philly. Your slice off this album is Faraway You. Then we slow it down with an acoustic version of Float Away. Often you drift away to Uncle Dave's lullaby even though the two of you have yet to meet. He has made sure you are the hippest baby in Utah.

When your Dad gets home from work he heads right to you. If you're ever fussy it's generally in the evening hours. Unfortunately I think Pop can't help but take this personally. When I go back to work next month he'll see that sometimes you just get a little cranky. Sure, you happen to time it to the exact second we've loaded our dinner plates and our forks are alllmoooost to our mouths... it could be a coincidence but I think you're doing it on purpose. Well played, Violet.

You're really starting to show your personality. You "talk" to us with little grunts and coos and squeaks and whenever I hear you I stop whatever I'm doing and listen because it's so amazing to hear your "voice". You raise your eyebrows and get wild-eyed when you're excited, you furrow your brow when confused. You're still pretty much a mini-version of your Dad although you did inherit one thing from me; your dimples. You are smiling sporadically, especially in the morning and whenever you do, those little dimples pop into existence and it's all I can do not to eat you alive... just shove your whole head right into my mouth and swallow you whole.

Like your Mom, you are at your best in the bath. So much so that I put some wine in a bottle and offered it to you. You know, so you could really enjoy your tub time just like Mom but Pop said that probably wasn't a good idea. I said you think she's a beer girl? He said no, that probably wasn't a good idea either. But tub time is your thing. We play a game we call Waterfall where we soak the washcloth and squeeze all the water out onto your little body while you kick with glee. Your favorite part? When the water accidentally splashes onto your face or into your mouth. Every time you see that waterlogged washcloth hovering over your body and your Dad and I singsong WATERFA-ALL your eyes get all big and wild, you puff out your chest, kick like an Olympic swimmer and stick your tongue out to catch any stray water drops.

You are also personally invested in the well-being of The Itsy Bitsy Spider and its sad plight with the rain. This seems to be your favorite ditty, likely because of the hand actions that accompany the song. The other night Pop was singing while you were propped on his legs. You'd intently watch The Itsy Bitsy Spider going up the water spout but every time the rain came down and washed the spider out your chin trembled, lower lip emerged and you'd start to sniffle. Not until Pop would send The Itsy Bitsy Spider back up the water spout would you recover and gleefully watch Pop's fingers climb into the sky. You've also developed a fascination with mobiles and will spend hours swinging and staring lasers at the mobile dangling above you. If only I could have harnessed this kind of focus in my early twenties I'd likely be a neurosurgeon today.

My favorite thing, by far, is when I hold you close or lay next to you and whisper and sing. When you know I'm there you turn your face until our foreheads are touching and you can lick my face. That's when you seem most content and you'll drop off to sleep within seconds, Mom's morning breath be damned.

This month we've all suffered through stuffy noses and your Dad and I had to learn how to suck boogers out of your head. This was a terrifying prospect for me. Sticking an apparatus up your nose and suctioning? Dear god, I was afraid I'd suck your little brain right out of your head. After a few sessions I quickly realized I was made to suck boogers. It's a similar satisfaction to popping zits and I am a professional zit popper, can't get enough. In fact, your Dad has been known to hide the existence of acne for fear I'll pounce on him and never let go. You react similarly when I get the booger sucking gleam in my eye, a little something you and Pop can bond over and bemoan about me. You'll be grateful I enjoy this kind of thing when you get slivers though young lady!

So life is good. Except for one thing. The binky. I am officially The Binky Putter Inner. Although I adore the binky and its magical plugging powers I spend a combined total of a million hours a day retrieving pacifiers and plugging them back into your mouth. I have whiled away many an afternoon daydreaming contraptions that would keep the binky in your mouth. I regret to inform you that these did include duct tape. I don't think that would go over so well with you or child services so I continue to hone my expertise in binky retrieving. The bright spot in the binky madness? You have discovered your hands and I'll often find you snacking on them in lieu of the binky. This is fantastic and I hope to phase the binky out sooner rather than later.

This month also marked your first fishing trip. We hiked two miles in snow and mud to find Pop on the river. I hope you liked it because I have a feeling a significant portion of your youth will be spent on the river flyfishing with your Dad.

Soon you'll be spending a lot more time with Pop because I have to go back to work. This devastates me. I can't imagine not spending every single second with you and need to start practicing leaving you with Dad. I'll still be with you every morning and we will still take the dogs to the park but I'll miss much of your day including bath time. I know that first day back to work will be hell and I'll have to lock myself in a stall and cry my eyes out every hour until Dad texts me a photo of you. Still, just thinking about all the little coos and smiles I am likely to miss breaks my heart.

I suppose I better get used to a broken heart as you are likely to break mine a million times over throughout the rest of my life. First word, first step, first day of school, first boyfriend, first date... You can bet I'll have to lock myself in the bathroom and sob for each and every one of these events. I'll try not to embarrass you too much and can at least promise I won't cry in front of your boyfriend.