Monica Bielanko
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Newsletter: Month Seven

Dear Violet,

I am frantically typing this while at work on an alleged lunch break. I use the term alleged because it's not really a lunch, or a break for that matter, when you're sitting at your desk inhaling a Cup'O'Noodle from a malfunctioning break room vending machine and you can't go ten flipping seconds without someone asking you a question or approaching your desk and staring at you until you damn near lose your shit and shout WHAT? Yes baby, Mama is annoyed. About work, not you. You are the reason I sit here dealing with this day in and day out. But I'm so conflicted about it all because I just want to be with you. We're in the process of working it out so that hopefully, someday, you will have a full-time Mama and won't ever remember the days when she wasn't available to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight.

I never thought I'd want to be a stay-at-home-mom or a SAHM as it's apparently called in certain mommyblogger circles. I always wanted to conquer the world all feminist-style so my daughter would see that women can do anything and women are just as good, if not better, than men. Anymore it feels like the feminist move would be to stay at home and kick ass at taking care of children. Sometimes I wonder if we haven't been working so hard to prove our point that we've forgotten what life's really all about. You know, this woman once told me that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. That woman was Whitney Houston. She was probably smoking crack when she wrote and sang that. But you know, she was right. As a feminist I know I can do anything and be anything and what I want to do now is be with you. Here is why; you make me smile at least once every ten minutes if not more. You are so easy to be with, you have a fantastic sense of humor and, trite as it sounds, you make me want to be a better person. A better mother, a better wife, you even make me love my own mother more because I can understand what it feels like to be Mom to a daughter. There is nothing you could do that could make me love you less. And you like looking at the TV, you shit your pants and you love dogs. We have so much in common!

This month you are all about the dogs. I could be dancing naked, juggling baby food jars with sparklers strategically stuck in bodily crevasses and if Max or Milo should happen by you wouldn't spare me a glance. You have developed a particularly sweet relationship with Milo who has an uncanny sense of the gentle way in which he needs to deal with you. The two of you will lie on the bed like a couple of lovesick teenagers. Rolling around, patting at each other, licking each other. Sometimes you'll stop and just kind of look at each other and I imagine the conversation would go something like this:
What do you want to do?
I don't know. What do YOU want to do? (Giggle)
Should I grab for your shiny dog tags again? Should I?
Sure that sounds good.
(Giggles all around!)

And off you go, rolling and pulling and patting and licking. Max loves you too but he's still sorting out his feelings of jealousy and working on coming to terms with you, the fifth member of our family, and remains aloof. To be fair, he's also working on a solution for genocide in Darfur and is mapping out exactly where in Pakistan Osama bin Laden is hiding so it's not all jealousy. He's just preoccupied.

You are such a good baby, V. You get up around six o'clock and I hear you in there babbling to yourself and exploring your crib. I'll fix you a bottle and the minute you see me enter your room you bounce and snort and flash that gummalicious grin of yours and I go weak in the knees. And when you see I have a bottle? Forget about it. You breathe fast and loud then hold out dimpled starfish hands until you're happily glugging your "milkies". This buys Dad enough time to eat breakfast, rattle dishes, march loudly up and down the stairs and turn on every light in the joint. It's important, all this noisemaking. How else would he insure that his wife is awake. Awake, awake...FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I'M AWAKE!

And now we pause for Elbow Dimples! Who can resist? How can such sharp, pointy things have dimples? Mom loves the Elbow Dimples!

You'll hang with Pop for a little bit and sometimes you fall back to sleep. But most mornings Pop leaves for work at eight and then it's Baby Signing Time!!!! Those exclamation points aren't used to indicate my level of excitement about Baby Signing Time but to convey the excitement with which the Baby Signing Time lady announces that it's BABY SIGNING TIME!!!!

A few months ago my friend Natalie gave me these DVD's that show this insufferably perky lady singing songs and teaching sign language for words like eat, milk, food, crackers, sleep, dog, cat, frog. Perky doesn't really do her justice. Substitute 7-day-cocaine-binge for perky and you get the idea. The DVD shows babies and toddlers signing the words that the lady demonstrates whilst singing about how it's Baby Signing Time!!!! I put it in one day just for kicks and you watched it like most men watch porn. You couldn't take your eyes off all those sexy, sexy babies. It absolutely blew my mind to see you digging this video. Sometimes the lady, Rachel, will finish up an unfortunately catchy ditty and the scene changes. You'll pause to look at me and snort laughter like, wasn't that scene the best? Isn't this great? And I'm right there with you, nodding and singing along even though I want to shoot myself in the head because this song is tattooed into my DNA. I hear it in the shower, in the car, in my sleep. But if you love it, I love it. And so mornings are BABY SIGNING TIME!!!!

We spend about an hour with Rachel and the gang snorting the cocaine that is Baby Signing Time and then we lasso the dogs to your stroller and head to the dog park. On these trips you're just as cool as ice. I think it's because you've got your boys on either side of you and you can see them, they're at your level. You just chill, sometimes crossing your legs, sometimes just relaxing and taking in the scenery. Like, this is how I roll, yo. I got my boys Max and Milo and big mama back there chugging along. The Queen in her chariot pulled along by her minions. This is how I roll, bitches.

A few weeks ago, after one of his signature four hour sojourns through Wal-Mart, Dad returned home with a bright pink swing which he promptly (read: two weeks later) hung from a tree in the backyard. Often, in the morning we all traipse out back, because we can't go anywhere without traipsing. The whole goddamn parade of us. Me, you, Milo then the reluctant Max. Max moves under duress, like, we're moving AGAIN? Jesus, we just got here. But Milo well, Milo, get your head out of my butt! is a phrase Mama can often be heard shouting. Seriously, the little guy cannot leave me alone for a few seconds. Where are you going, the kitchen? I'm coming. Where you going now? Change the laundry? Wait for me! This'll be great fun!

The other morning I had to use the bathroom but you were crying so I just brought you in to sit on my lap. Eeewwww gross! I can already hear a teenage you shouting. You pooped with me on your lap?

Yes, yes I did. Get back to me when you have a screaming kid and really have to use the loo.

So you're in the bathroom with me and Max and Milo do not like being left out of any bathroom action. These two yay-hoos bang in and just sit there staring at me until I'm done. That's how most mornings go. All of us traipsing around tripping all over each other. Kitchen to bathroom, single file, please. Bathroom to bedroom, everyone on the bed! Back to the front window and here we go to the swing in the backyard, watch the dog poop! Milo, did you fart?

This last week you've actually started crawling. I'm talking full-on knees and palms crawling. Which is tough to do on hardwood floors. Moved in, loved the hardwood floors... Now? Not so much. You've smacked that precious coconut head more than once and I die a little inside every time you get hurt. The other day I went to Wal-Mart to buy a rug on the cheap, came home and dragged the dining room table to the garage and slapped the rug down in its place. Voila! Violet's new play area. Where I used to care about a stylish living room and beautifully arranged items, now our living quarters look like the display floor at Babies-R-Us. Swing here, highchair there, Bumbo seat, Jumparoo, play area. Back when the Bielankos was fancy folk and had cable I would watch HGTV and scoff at those parenty types who had toys strewn about their homes. Didn't those people know their house looked like FAO Schwartz? I think they knew and like me now, could not care less.

Your Pop and I are feisty folks and sometimes have a tough time expressing ourselves appropriately (read: we yell rude shit at each other) but you, little girl, remind us of our true potential every, single second. And it is great. Because we are fantastic parents and we love you so much we know that we must belong together. Which makes us want to work it out, be together and continue to be the kind of parents you deserve. If two idiots like us can create a daughter like you? Well, we must be all right.

Thanks for the inspiration, Peanut. I love you.