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Dearest Emmie,

You’ve done it. You’ve turned that corner of Mobility, and now nothing can stop you. The world is your oyster and you know it.

The biggest thing that’s happened this month is the advent of crawling. Sure, it’s still an army crawl, but it gets you where you want to go, and surprisingly quickly. It happened pretty much overnight. One day, you were just rolling, and the next day, you were launching yourself forward with your toes.  Over a few days, this refined down into the army crawl you use now, but it was all blindingly fast.

You get an object in your sights (invariably, something new or that you know you aren’t supposed to have), and in the next instant, you are swimming across the floor, laughing and gasping in the ecstasy of knowing that YOU CAN GET IT. Ain’t nothing gonna stop you. (Except a Deus Ex Machina/Hand of Mommy or Daddy swooping you up short of your goal, if the goal is something dangerous). You’ve now explored almost all of the hallway, all of the dining room (under the table is your favorite), the kitchen and most of the living room. I wouldn’t be surprised if real crawling is somewhere near in the future, since you often rock on your hands and knees and have been using you feet and knees to propel you as well.

The other huge, massive, gigantic thing that happened almost simultaneously with the crawling (literally, almost the same day) is some serious self-feeding skills. No more spoon feeding, Mama. That’s for babies. It started with some puffed rice, which stuck nicely to your fingers, and as soon as you figured out that you could pick them up and put them in your mouth and this was a FUN GAME, it was all over. Now you prefer to feed yourself, and even though it takes FOREVER, we are happy to let you do so. Things you have eaten with your fingers: brown rice puffs (favorite by far), bananas, avocado, chicken, lentils, cooked rice,  sushi rice, oatmeal, yogurt, random things found on the floor (despite a seriously stepped-up vacuuming schedule). When confronted with a new food on the end of a spoon, you much prefer it if we put a little bit of the food on your tray for you to pick up and taste before you’ll let us spoon feed you more of it. You want life on your own terms now.

Jasper has reacted to these two developments in two very different ways. He seems slightly put out that you can now make a beeline for him and quickly grab his tail or touch his feet, two things he does not care for at all, and two things which happen to be your very favorites. He usually tolerates you for a second (longer if we are petting him or have food), but he will get up and walk away when you get too enthusiastic. The food, on the other hand, he is ecstatic about. He sits right under your chair, waiting for the magic food tree to rain down food upon him, as it does so regularly (a large portion of the food you bring to your mouth doesn’t actually make it IN your mouth). You also have figured out that you can dangle your hand over the side of your high chair and Jasper will lick it clean for you. Sometimes you love this, sometimes you are just fascinated by the giant black beast below.

In the midst of this incredible developmental spurt, you’ve also resumed babbling (THANK GOD). Your mama was seriously starting to get worried about you. You babble with consonants at least a couple times a day, usually on the changing table or in the bath, and sometimes at the table with a spoon in your mouth. I’m trying to learn to be a little quieter with you, and hold back on my speech pathologist instincts to talk right back to you because it seems like that shuts you up again. Instead, I think you are like your Daddy. Quiet, a good listener, absorbing everything around you, then when you choose your time to talk, everyone better listen because you aren’t going to say it again. So I hold my tongue and just listen to you telling me your stories, and enjoying that beautiful sound.

You are absolutely understanding more words too. No question but that you understand “uh-oh,” or at least the tone we use when you are touching/eating something you shouldn’t be. You jerk back and look straight at us, often dropping whatever contraband you were holding. I know this won’t last long, and soon you’ll be using “uh-oh” as an invitation to do MORE mischief. You also seem to understand “Daddy” and “Jasper.” If I say “Daddy” when he’s not home, you look around for him. If I say “Jasper,” you start to look for him in his usual spots (under your high chair or on the couch). I don’t know if you understand “Mommy” yet, since I’m the one usually asking you and you doesn’t exactly need to look around to find me 🙂

You now “dance” pretty consistently and it melts my heart. You wiggle your little shoulders back and forth or rock your upper body to the music and pretty much ONLY to music. So far, the music you’ve liked has been quite eclectic: Boyz II Men, Mozart, Beethoven, Pete Seeger, some techno, just to name a few. I can’t wait to see what kinds of music you really like once you are old enough to tell us what you really like.

Your pointer finger gets a workout these days. While you haven’t pointed meaningfully to anything yet to show us something, your little pointer is always extended out into the world to touch and explore new things. You also waved for the first time just yesterday. You’ve been sort of opening and closing your hand for a while, but yesterday you did this while charming a group of girls at the next table, so I’m counting that as your first wave. You also have been moving your fist in a way that looks *exactly* like the sign for yes, but I’m pretty sure you don’t mean it as “yes.” In the same way, you are always shaking your head “no,” which is getting closer to meaning something (for example, you used to do it at mealtime even when you were hungry, but now you only do it when you DON’T want more food).

Your hair. Oh, your hair. Every time people see you, they comment on how much it’s grown, and considering that you were bald as a cue ball not that many months ago, they are right. It’s soft and fine and definitely blonde now and grows STRAIGHT UP. (It’s a little better if I brush it down after your bath, but that only tempers the madness). Your “old man tufts” over your ears are also getting extremely long. You might have to have your first haircut just to trim those up a bit.

Things I love about you: your eyelashes, the way you reach up to touch my face while nursing, the way you dance and sing along to music, how excited you get to crawl to something, the way you are so cautious about first encounters with anything, the way you light up when you see your Daddy walk through the door, your delicious cheeks (as usual), your sweet and sleepy face when I come in to get you in the morning, the way you quietly observe everything, the way you crane your neck to watch one of us leave the room, your belly laugh, the way you can instantly go from screaming to smiling if we bring you into the light and you can see us (also frustrating, but adorable), and the way you pick up food and put it in your mouth (or at least try).

Songs I sing to you: Down in the Valley, ABCs, Go to Sleep Little Baby.

I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama