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Darling Emmie,

Yet another month of changes for you (duh, Mom, you say).

The biggest was probably the advent of food. You had your first bites on New Year’s Day (when you were technically still a day away from being 6 months old), but during the past month, you’ve actually figured out this “food” thing. You’ve had rice cereal, oatmeal (your favorite by a long shot), pumpkin, apples, carrots (second favorite), broccoli (did NOT like), and sweet potato so far. It took a few weeks, but you’ve finally figured out that this stuff on a spoon can be good, and within the past few days, you’ve started to open your mouth to ask for more (YAY!). This is incredibly good because at your last pediatrician’s appointment, your weight was low enough to worry Mama, although not enough to worry the pediatrician. So we are making a full-fledged effort to fatten you up before the next appointment to make sure you are packing on the pounds appropriately.

***Warning: if you are not already a parent, you may skip over this next bit.***

And now, because I must, a word about poo (as all parents must talk about this at some point). When you just had breast milk, I can honestly say your diapers did not smell, and no, that’s not just the love of a mother talking. They had a smell, but it was more like yogurt or slightly sour milk. Now that you are eating more solid food… let’s just say there is no mother’s love that could pretend that away. (Amazingly, it didn’t even take all that much food to change it drastically). I knew it would change, but the suddenness of the change took me by surprise (literally, one day). Alas, the days of baby poo are now long gone…

***End poo discussion***

The most exciting for me was the beginning of real babbling, complete with canonical syllables. It thrilled me to my very core. I honestly think the day you started babbling was one of the best days of my life. Since then, you babble at least a little every day. You still do your elephant trumpeting occasionally, but it has been replaced with honest to goodness syllables. I adore hearing your sweet little voice telling me all kinds of important tidbits about your day. I honestly thing I will lose it when you start using words for real.

It’s been fun to watch your auditory development, too. When you were wee little, you used to startle at certain sounds (silverware clanking, for example). As you heard new sounds, you quickly adjusted to them and lost that reflex. Now, you are quite proficient at localizing to a sound (turning to see almost exactly where it came from), and at picking out unusual sounds that might “mean something.” I see this the most when there is someone new or unexpected at home. Grandma Gretchen visited this past weekend,  and when we were nursing right after you woke up (and you presumably had forgotten she was here) and you heard her make a noise, you looked at me, startled, as if to say “What was that?” It was incredible to me because that meant that you knew the “normal” noises around here, and could tune those out, but unexpected noises clearly needed an explanation. As soon as you would see Grandma, your face would break out into a huge grin and all was well again.

Movement-wise, you started off the month as a rolling fiend, but after a week or so of reveling in your new skill by constantly rolling back and forth, you let the rolling cool while you figured out how to turn on your tummy. You can easily (very quickly) rotate 180 or 360 degrees while on your belly, which is useful for grabbing those pesky toys. You’ve also figured out how to scoot backwards, which delighted you the first few times, but quickly frustrated you since you just keep moving AWAY from the things you are trying to grab. Now your daddy and I are just waiting with bated breath for you to figure out that last direction of movement: forward.

You have, in fact, developed a method of moving forward, but it is so slow and cumbersome that we don’t have any real reason to worry… yet. You will roll, back and forth, slowly changing your angle with each roll until you finally roll into that thing which you seek. It can take you a good 3 minutes to move 6 inches this way, and while we aren’t too worried right now, I know this is just a harbinger of things to come.

Your fine motor skills are also quite good. You can get your Soothie (pacifier) in without any trouble at all, and you can turn it and manipulate it until it’s exactly where you want it. You try to pick up tiny things with your fingers (kind of a pincer grasp, but it’s not all the way there yet). You like playing with the pureed food that gets on the high chair tray, but seem perplexed at how it just… disappears once you squish it between your fingers. I love watching you figure out physics.

One of the hallmarks of this month has been nodding. On your six month birthday, we thought you were trying to dance to music as you rocked your body forwards and back as you stood on someone’s lap (oh yes, you are totally standing and have been for at least 2 months). We finally figured out that you were trying to nod, but the movement just carried through your whole body. This month, you figured out how to isolate it to your head and watching you nod rather violently in agreement is just about the cutest thing ever.

You’ve become extremely interactive. You laugh a lot, even at things we might expect you to laugh at, like tickles. You love to play peek-a-boo and get so surprised when we appear out of nowhere from behind the towel we just put over our face. Daddy can make you laugh the most, I think, except for Jasper. You just look at Jasper and start laughing. We think it’s starting to give him a complex.

You also got hair this month. It started growing in last month, but there is no doubt now that you have HAIR. It still looks quite blond, but usually at least one person will ask if it might not be a little red. It totally depends on the light and the angle, but it can look blond, strawberry blond or even a bit brown (like the last remnants of your mullet on the back of your neck). It’s fairly long, too, especially given how bald you have been. I love seeing your hair sleep-tousled after you wake up from a nap, or tucking the little wisps behind your ears. (If I don’t tuck them back, you look like an 80-year-old man with ear hair. Sad, but true. Good thing you are so cute).

Things I love about you: the sound of your belly laugh, the way you kick your legs and wheeze in excitement when I come to get you from your crib, the little sounds you make with your mouth while nursing or eating, how interested you are in the world, the way you are the cheeriest and happiest baby at home but become very quiet and observant when we go out, the way you rest your cheek on my breast and cuddle after you are done nursing, the way your face lights up when your daddy walks in the door, the sound of your voice, your singleminded determination and persistence, the way you are secure and happy in my arms, our conversations on the changing table, your Gerber baby eyelashes, your perfect profile, your delicious cheeks, and the soft back of your neck.

Songs I sing to you: Braham’s Lullaby has consistent lyrics now. “Time for bed, Emmie May/It’s time for bed/Time for sleeping, closing eyes/It’s time for bed/Time for beeed, Emmie May/It’s time for bed/Time for beeeeed, Emmie May/Lay down your sweet head.” (Nope, not quitting my day job). Also, “Go to Sleep LIttle Baby” from O Brother Where Art Thou (also with modified lyrics).

I love you, always and forever,
Your Mama