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

Oh my. My sweet Violet, what can I possibly write? A bunch of sappy sappiness, I suppose. On more than five occasions this month I've remarked about how I can't believe you've grown. It goes so fast, they all say. And annoying as they all are, they're right. You're a little girl now with attitude to boot. If you don't want to sit in your high chair, well then, by God, we ain't sitting in your high chair. You're hungry now! Just one second, Miss Bielanko, while I procure a bottle of "Milkies" for your bedtime drinking pleasure, m'lady.

Basically, you've got shit to do and you don't need two meddling doofus adults mucking up the works. I've got to fiddle with this light socket, see? And I NEED to crawl over to the fridge and suck on each and every greasy magnet in Pop's collection. So get the hell outta my way! Oh, you may be tempted with pretty colors and such but really, Mama can't pull the wool over your eyes. You've got dog hair to pick up off the floor and eat and no amount of Mama's silly cajoling, singing and doll waving will deter you from the task at hand. Like Papa said; lay a rainbow, a unicorn, a doll and a dagger on the floor and you? You'll go for the damn dagger every time.

Max in the background ruminating on the AIDS crisis in Africa and puzzling out exactly where Osama Bin Laden is hiding.

So yeah. You are eight months old now. It's September and Papa is already meticulously planning your Halloween outfit. Will you be the pumpkin that GranElaine planned? But what about the cow outfit Papa is drawn to every time we go to Wal-Mart? This man cannot walk past the baby girl clothing section of any store without pausing to peruse. Speaking of GranElaine... can I just tell you how crazy Mama's mom is for you? It's a tad bewildering as you certainly aren't her first grandchild. But, there it is.

This week you developed a rash on your little Lady Parts. The worst you've ever had. GranElaine had you down at her place as she does every Wednesday. She called me at work to say you hadn't stopped crying ALL DAY. And not the normal crying either, she told me. The heartbreaking, godawful crying that makes anyone in vicinity want to scream and cry over the horror. Finally, you fell asleep, naked, to let as much air as possible heal your little rash. GranElaine offered to let you spend the night but Pop and I, we couldn't bear to be away from you and set out to pick you up at ten o'clock at night.

The next day GranElaine called me at work to ask how you were doing. She's fine, I told her. Slept all the way home and her rash looks much better. I waited for her response. Nothing. Hello? I said. Still, nothing. And then I heard the telltale sniff. Are you crying? I scoffed. Well I was really worried, she replied. Oh my God, Mom. I can't believe you're crying OVER A RASH. You've raised four children, for Godsakes. But Violet was crying so hard, Mom sniffled. Seriously, V. You are, like, her fifth grandchild but I've never seen this woman so batshit insane for a kid. Oh Grandma. You so crazy. For real, Grandma. You're crazy. Seriously.

You're really blowing our minds on a daily basis, Peanut. One minute you're this little larvae-type bean who can't hardly roll over and now you're all kinds of busy. You're crawling all over the house, following me and the dogs no matter where we go. You're eating little baby cheese puffs like a hungry stoner, slurping down bottles that you hold by yourself, attempting to eat greenery and conduct minor electrical work on various outlets throughout the home.

I'm working as hard as I can to instill the word Mama in your head. Mama Mama Mamamamamama. You say it over and over again. Granted, sometimes it's Dada Dada Dada Dada and other times it's Baba Baba Baba Baba but I'm determined, by God, that the first word is going to be Mama and you will know it means me!

This month your Pop and I took you to your first concert. It was a kind bluegrass folk festival in downtown Salt Lake. You were happy as a clam, eating your little snacks, swilling a bottle and bobbing and dancing to the music. Which reminds me. You're standing! If we hold your hands you'll pull yourself up and stomp and sway like a drunk sailor, teensy hips swiveling like there's an invisible hula hoop you're trying to keep around your waist, michelin man thighs wobbling with the effort. The starring act took the stage and began playing the loudest music of the night. And you fell asleep. If that ain't the true daughter of an ex rock'n'roller I don't know what is.

You've still got just the two little teefies on your bottom shelf and they're cuter than the new baby elephant at the local zoo that everyone's making such a fuss about. Who'da thunk a coupla teeth could be so damn adorable? But there it is. The teefies, like you, they be heartbreakers.


You and Papa are still just sickeningly cute. Like, drink-a-couple-gallons-of-syrup cute. Like, cut it out already, everyone wants to puke, cute. This Papa is crazy-insane-nutso for you. So nuts for you he wrote an article about it that will be printed in a major magazine! It's all very exciting. He was commissioned by a magazine called Esquire (the UK version) to write an article about being your Pop! And, peach that he is, he asked that my photographs of the two of you be included! So! We're anxiously awaiting Pop's (and mine!) major magazine debut. With you. I'm just saying! When you're fourteen and being all mean to your old dad, please read this and remember how nuts this man is for you. He spends hours and hours crawling around on the floor, singing ditties, making up plays while he feeds you, walks with you and then puts you to bed. THIS MAN IS NUTS FOR YOU. YOU ARE HIS REASON FOR GETTING UP IN THE MORNING. So if he's a little dopey and, like, so not cool when you're fourteen? Cut him some freaking slack! Me too.

The other day we were sitting on the floor of your bedroom. There's a big mirror in there that we've placed against the wall. You found it and in doing so, found yourself. You couldn't believe that adorable baby sitting there looking at you. You smiled at her and she smiled back. You waved a dainty paw and she waved back! It was a scene right out of the opening credits to the Patty Duke Show! You tentatively reached out to touch that other baby and she was into it. You laughed, then you tried to smooch the little girl but there was no baby, it was just flat mirror. But you could see the baby, why couldn't you feel her? A whirlwind of emotions.

Come to think of it, you pretty much experienced what I go through every morning in front of the mirror while getting ready for work. But you? I hope you always remember to smile shyly at yourself in the mirror like you did that day. Because you're the best.