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

Dear Violet,

I have felt crushing guilt these past few months that I haven't written your monthly newsletter. Worse than when I tried coffee that one time in high school against The Lord's wishes, even. Do not get Jesus started on the evils of coffee, Violet. If I teach you one thing in life, let it be that talk of hell and damnation is best left untalked about.

I always thought I'd slack off memory keeping after the second child was born. You know, like every other mother in the world. But here I am dropping the ball with my first born. You're supposed to be the well adjusted one. It's the next baby that's supposed to feel slighted in the baby book/memory keeping arena. In my defense, January was filled with packing and then we finally moved into Grandma's house and February was just a blur of dogs (five!) and commutes to and from work. Maybe we can always mysteriously refer to months twelve and thirteen as "the lost months".

You are the bright spot of our lives, Violet, and I daresay you, and only you, smoothed the way for us to move into Grandma's place. I'm thinking she would've given us a big, fat NO if putting up with three extra people and two dogs didn't include seeing her beloved grandbaby every, single day.

photo taken by grandma

Of course, that means I have to put up with her yelling at me to "get some socks on that baby's feet before she freezes to death" no less than eight thousand times a week. Last night at, oh, I'd say eleven o'clock, Grandma called me from work to remind me to do just that. "Dammit, Mom! Leave me be! I know what I'm doing, for the love of God!" Then I hung up and came into your bedroom to put some socks on your feet.

This month we finally got it together enough to coordinate an actual play date at a proper place where good parents take their children to learn. I was thrilled that you showed so much interest in all the gadgets and thingamajigs, however, you paid your play date no attention at all. If this were a baby edition of The Bachelor you SO wouldn't have been given a rose. But that's cool, she wasn't that into you either. It sure was cute to see you hanging out with a little buddy, though.

You're nearly walking, little mama! You don't quite want to do it on your own yet but your favorite activity this month is to do laps on the front walkway while Pop or I hold your hand. You motor up and down that sidewalk jabbering in your secret language and it's all I can do not to butter you up and swallow you whole you're just so damn cute in your determination.

You are fierce, baby doll, furrowing your brow and concentrating and tugging us in whichever direction you'd like to go and pulling when you'd like to turn around. I had the audacity to sit down and I'll be damned if you didn't crawl over and tug at my hand until I stood up and continued your laps with you. This walking thing is no laughing matter!

Charlie Brown finally has some competition. This month you've discovered Dora The Explorer. Most mornings you wake up around seven o'clock. I hear you talking in your bedroom, bouncing around in your crib. I drag in there, pluck you from your crib and bring you back to my bed. I spend the next hour watching you pop up and down while you cheer Dora along on her latest adventure.

You are the bounciest, poppingest baby I've ever seen. You love to pop up and down and flap your arms when you get really excited. You get especially excited when you see your Papa. Every day I load you in the car and we drive to wherever Papa is working that week. Then he drives home with you and I continue to work. It's been difficult, but we're proud and lucky that you've always been with one of us and we haven't had to drop you off at a babysitter.

As soon as he pulls his car next to ours I roll down your window and say "Where's papa?" You start craning your little neck so you can peek out the window and the second you spot Daddy you suck in your breath, grin and start flapping your arms and kicking your feet as hard as you can. If it's possible, Dad is even more excited than you.

Now that the weather is getting warm again Dad and I have been throwing you in a backpack and heading for the hills. You love it! Last weekend we tracked Dad down while he was fishing. You sat right down on a boulder and watched Dad fish while playing with rocks. You would've crawled right into the water if I'd let you.

Watching Dad show you how to fish made me so happy. I hope you grow up to be the kind of girl who likes to go fishing with Dad. That man is so crazy about you, his dedication to you is awesome to witness.

Tub time is a pretty big highlight of your day. You've got it all dialed in. You'll stand there as the tub fills with water, a tiny lifeguard monitoring the situation. You help me take off your shirt, offering first one arm and then the other. Then you lift each leg up as I slide off your pajama bottoms and then look at me expectantly until I lift you into the tub and plop Rubber Ducky and the rest of your toys next to you in the water.

Sometimes I'll play with you, but most of the time you get up to your own business in there, running scenarios with Ducky, attempting to reorganize the shampoo bottles and so forth. You're so easy to please. Grandma is constantly remarking on how long you'll entertain yourself in the tub or in your play area.

You still aren't talking very much. Well, that's not necessarily true. There is lots of talking. Lots of made up words with adult intonations that sound just like you're talking.

The other day I peeked around the corner and watched as you read a book. You opened the book, read a page, turned it and continued in your baby gibberish. Maybe the cutest thing I've ever seen. Except for everything else you do. It's all the cutest thing I've ever seen. YOU are the cutest thing I've ever seen. And I can't wait to hear what you really have to say because I want to hear it all. Always.

Thanks for being my best pal.