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Dearest Emmie,

This month has been chock full of changes for you. Your daddy and I were joking that we brought back a different baby than we left with (he hinted that I traded you somewhere at the airport on the way home). While you are still the same sweet baby, you definitely are a-changing!

The biggest “first” this month is you are sitting up now! I honestly couldn’t tell you how it happened. We never “practiced” it like we work on tummy time, but one day, while we were at a play date with a baby only 10 days younger than you, you decided you wanted to show off. I was demonstrating how you were getting better at sitting (but still fell over a lot), when you just… stayed sitting. For minutes. Not even a wobble. I think you were just showing off. Now you can sit by yourself easily with no support, any time, any place, you name it!

In this past month, the sphere of your world has expanded. Last month, anything within your reach went to your mouth. This month, you have begun actively seeking out objects, reaching, twisting, pulling and MOVING to get things. It’s amazing to watch you see something, recognize that it’s something new, and watch you launch your body in any way possible towards that object. If you are sitting on our laps while we eat, we need to clear EVERYTHING from the table in front of you (and even further than we thought), or else it will be in your fists moving towards your mouth before we can blink. I literally don’t know how you do it sometimes. The craziest part is that I feel like this happened overnight. One night, dinner was no problem and you just watched us eat. The next night, the placemat was in your mouth and you almost cleared the table with your waving arms.

Last month, I felt like you would never be ready to eat food (not that I was in any hurry!). You just weren’t showing the “signs of readiness” all the books talk about. Sure, you watched us eat, but you didn’t seem all that interested in what was going in our mouths, frankly. Then, while we were in Michigan for Christmas, it was like a lightbulb went off. Every time you saw anyone sitting at the table to eat, you started opening and closing your mouth like you were trying to chew too. You reached and grabbed for food, forks, plates, anything. You studied everyone else eating. You were ready!

So on New Year’s Day, one day shy of your official six month birthday, you had your first food. Sure, it was just a little brown rice cereal with a lot of mama milk, but it was still food! You didn’t make any crazy faces (to a certain mama’s dismay), but you didn’t seem to hate it. It will be so fun to explore new foods with you and to see you experience that huge part of being human.

Your favorite sound this month has been a sort of trumpeting sound. You stick out your bottom lip a little and blow (like an upside-down /v/). It sounds *exactly* like an elephant. You make this sound when you are playing, you make this sound when you are a little upset and need to work through something (like getting a shirt put over your head). You love making this sound. You’re doing a teeny bit more babbling this month, and you’ve said “mama” once (sure, it was when you were crying and basically just moving your mouth up and down, but I’m counting it).

I *do* think you are actually starting to understand a few words (maybe), which naturally thrills me to my very core. You turn to your name about half the time, but never when we are trying to demonstrate this skill to other people. There was also a time when you were being held by someone else and I said “somethingsomethingsomething mama somethingsomething” and you turned and looked right at me when I said “mama.” This could be a coincidence, but the way you turned and calmly looked at me made me feel like you actually did know that word (again, thrilling!).

Things now have to be NEW and DIFFERENT now. You get bored with toys, meaning I have to pack a lot more, and you can quickly recognize something that’s new from the jumble of familiar things and go towards that one thing with singular focus. I now understand why people have 8 million baby toys because when a baby’s attention span is 30 seconds and old things are BORING, there are a lot of seconds in a day to fill up with NEW things.

I think you have developed some stage of object permanence this month as well. If someone leaves the room and you don’t see them go, you will look around to try to figure out where they went. You seek out things you see hidden or moved, and you are really *searching* now. You finally really like playing peek-a-boo, and laugh hysterically!

Laughing… oh, the laughter of this month! You now really, really laugh, and laugh at things you think are funny. Things like: standing in your excersaucer, Jasper, mama’s funny faces, walls, yourself, diaper changes, laying on your back, waking up, looking at people, everything, nothing. But if we really, REALLY want you to laugh, gasp in joy, throw your hands down on your knees in glee, then we just need to put you in front of a few cats. You loved the one at the Michigan grandparents’ house, but you about had a fit when you saw TWO of them at Aunt Jude’s house!

As if to celebrate turning six months old, on that very day, you figured out how to keep rolling to move yourself around. That was only yesterday, and yet you’ve already done this new “trick” at least five times since then. I’m already nervous to leave you on the bed anymore, so I’m going to have to figure out a new way to grab a second to go to the bathroom!

You’ve also developed… what shall we call it… a will? an independence? Instead of placidly entertaining yourself, you now WANT things and make that desire clearly known. It won’t be long before you really start crying when we move something or take it away. Even know, if you are unhappy, you’ve begun to throw your body backwards and cry LOUDLY (most babies have probably been doing this a long time, but we’ve been lucky with you so far).  We are just starting to get a taste of what toddlerhood will be like, I think.

Things I love about you: your amazingly sweet smile, the way you reach for me now, how carefully you examine and explore new toys, how happy and calm you are (even when exhausted, as long as you are being held or are in a new place), your newly growing hair (looks blond, but some see reddish too), the way you cuddle into me when you are tired, your super-long eyelashes, the way you laugh at your daddy when he’s changing your diaper, your glee at watching an animal just walk across the room, the way you smile and laugh at me when I come in to get you from a nap, the way you rub your eyes when you’re tired, the way you laugh and smile when we dance together, how much you love your daddy.

Songs I sing to you: lots of Christmas carols this month! Braham’s Lullaby with ever-changing, made up lyrics (mostly along the lines of “Go to sleep, Emmie May/It’s ti-ime for bed/Close your eyes my little one/Lay down your sweet head”).

I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store. I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama