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Darling Emmie,

At first, I thought this month was just an extension of last month, but after reading where you were at four months, I realize how very wrong I was.

This past month, the world has opened up to you. Where before you were tentatively reaching out to explore, you now are voraciously consuming everything the world has to offer, metaphorically speaking. Everything, EVERYTHING, goes towards the mouth so you can learn more about it. When you see something that catches your fancy, you stretch out your hands and move toward it, mouth wide open and ready for the experience. So far, nothing really frightening or dangerous has made that inexorable journey, but I know it’s only a matter of time (and mobility).

As for mobility, while you (still) don’t roll to get places, even though you continue to roll over on very rare occasions, you ARE beginning to figure out that you can move that little body of yours. Just the other day, I put you down in your crib to play with your head to the wall and feet to the front of the crib. I left to go get something, came back, and you were turned 90 degrees. Another errand, came back and your feet were to the wall and head was at the front of the crib. Amazing.

You also have begun to USE that mobility to get to things that you want. You’ll catch sight of something just out of reach, arch your back and crane your neck to see it better, then reach and scoot around to try to get it. When you are on your back, you can move around more, but you are also getting better on your tummy as well. You can now do the “mini-pushups” they told us to watch for on those developmental checklists, and you often push yourself up on straight forearms (I think because you’ve realized you can see more). You also are standing more now. Not exactly on your own, but I am astonished at how well you can stand up, only holding onto a finger or two for balance. Uncle PJ even had you standing next to a coffee table, holding onto that, and I was amazed that you were able to do that as well, even if it was only for a moment. Whenever you stand “by yourself,” you look SO proud, and squeal and grin at everyone around to share your glee.

Jasper has finally made it into your “My Important Beings” file, after the Milk Lady and the Magic Burper (seriously, Daddy can get a burp out of you just by touching you). Not only have you really finally noticed him, but I think he is your favorite out of all of us. You watch him in open-mouthed delight, you smile and laugh at his every move, even if he is utterly indifferent to you. If you get close enough to him, you try to put him in your mouth as well, but he’s always quicker than you and makes good his escape before you can get a mouthful of fur. Recently, we have facilitated some actual contact between the two of you, and it’s gone amazingly well. You reach out your tiny, chubby hand and gently, carefully touch his fur, and he tolerates you (as we pet him and praise him). You stare in awe of his black creature who towers over you, yet is so gentle. After a few moments of your gentle pets, you want to explore further and grasp a handful of his fur with that surprisingly strong grip of yours. Remarkably, Jasper never flinches, turns or reacts in any way to this (even though I certainly recoil a bit when you train that grip on my own skin!). As soon as the grabbing starts, your petting is over (and Jasper’s treats start flowing!).

You had your first Thanksgiving this month, and while you didn’t get to eat anything this time, you did get to meet a LOT of new family and friends. We went to Reno to see Mama’s family, and you managed to charm everyone there, just like you do everywhere we go. Even though pretty much every day was go-go-go with no regular schedule, let alone regular naps, you rolled with the punches and managed to keep it all together (for the most part). When we got home, you had decided that sleep was for babies and you happily stayed awake until 9 (2 hours after your regular bedtime of 7). You seemed to have figured out that if you laughed and smiled enough, we wouldn’t put you to bed (it worked!). Luckily for all of us, you went back to normal after a few days back.

Things I love about you: The way you smile whenever you see me or your daddy, how hard you kick-kick-kick on the changing table, how gentle you are when you nurse, your delicious cheeks, how easily you go to bed (usually), your beautiful eyelashes, the way you watch animals and other kids with intense fascination, the way you smell.

Songs I sing to you: Down in the Valley; The Wheels on the Bus (you LOVE the “up and down” and “swish swish swish” verses when I move your legs to the song).I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama