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Dearest Emmie,

Man oh man, has this ever been a month! I can’t even believe that last month you were still army crawling. It seems like so long ago because you’ve done so much in such a short time. Even though many exciting milestones happened this month (Real crawling! Standing!), the real showstopper for me has been the very earliest glow of the dawn of language.

The mom in me is convinced you’ve said (and signed) your first words, but the speech pathologist in me isn’t quite as positive. Earlier in the month, you began crying “mamama” when I left the room or it seemed like you wanted me, so I’m claiming “mama” as your first word. In the last few days, though, you’ve begin signing “more” consistently enough to convince even your skeptical mama. When you are eating and you run out of a favorite food on your tray, you start whining and clapping your hands together slowly. There was a day when I’m pretty sure you thought that sign meant “rice puffs” because I gave you “more” of what you were eating, and you simply were not happy and kept signing/whining until I gave you rice puffs. BUT! Then this morning, I said the word “more” several times in conversation, not even in your high chair and you TOTALLY STARTED CLAPPING/SIGNING. It. Was. Awesome.

You are understanding more and more. I think you understand “book,” maybe “ball” and “dog/puppy.” You consistently turn to your name and often come when I call you (if you don’t get distracted along the way).

And in unquantifiable ways, you’ve become so much more socially communicative. You point at things, sometimes just to point, sometimes to share something. You’ve had glimmers of joint attention, where you look at something, then look at me to share the moment and the excitement of looking at the thing. You’ve started to play imitation games more. At some point, you saw someone put a bowl on their head to be silly with you, and even though it’s happened before, that time it clicked. You now LOVE to put “hats” on (real hats, bowls, books, cards, etc.), you love it when Mommy puts a “hat” on too, and you even will put a “hat” on Mommy. You’ll play actual GAMES with us, love to be chased by Daddy, and will start laughing and squealing just when we start saying “I’m gonna get you!” in that special voice.

You love waving at… well, everything. Just after you figured out how to wave, you would interrupt your evening nursing session to turn up to your chandelier to wave goodnight to it. You wave at the fan, you wave to Jasper in the morning, you sometimes wave to strangers, and often wave to friends after you’ve warmed up. But my very favorite wave of all has to be your “Good night Daddy” wave you do every night as Daddy leaves the room so you can nurse to sleep. You always turn to look for him in the doorway, and as soon as you see him, a huge smile spreads across your face, you reach your arm out as far as it can go, and you open and close your little hand as if you could touch him. As soon as he waves good night and closes the door, you turn back to my breast with a satisfied little smile, content now to go to sleep. It is so wonderful.

On the mobility front… wow. You are an expert crawler, hands and knees all the way, and your favorite thing is to crawl right over obstacles in your way, like your Daddy. If you are trying to get over his outstretched legs, you will launch yourself up and over them, flail for a bit when you get high-centered or beached on your tummy up there, then after a mighty struggle, you break free and crash face-first into the carpet. Then you laugh and laugh as you roll away. You also regularly pull to your knees and can even kneel in without touching anything. You are working on pulling to standing. The standing part is easy, but you know that you don’t know how to get down yet, so I think you avoid it for that reason. You are also now very proficient at moving from sitting to crawling and back, and it’s been fun to watch you play with your center of balance with this.

Your personality is really coming out now, and probably unsurprisingly, you are a lot like your mom and dad. You are cautious of new things, although willing to try after warming up enough. You don’t like to try to do something unless and until you are pretty sure you can do it and do it well (maybe why skills seem to come and go until they come back mastered?). If we hold something out to you, your first instinct is to pull your hand away until you can inspect it, then after looking at it cautiously, you might decide to carefully touch it. Usually at some point, maybe even a few minutes or tolerating the new thing, you’ll eventually take it, eat it, taste it or play with it, but it’s never instantaneous (unless it’s a “New Thing” left out on the floor, then you make a beeline for it!). Hopefully you’ll have the same reaction when you are older if strangers offer you candy!

Amazingly, you’ve begun to follow me to other rooms. If I leave your sight for more than a few seconds, I see you crawling right towards me as soon as I turn back. You do this more often when I call to you, and almost never when I tell you that I’ll be right back. Hmm… do you understand me? I don’t know, but I do love seeing your little face light up when you catch sight of me again.

Something that is VERY exciting to me is that you now have clear preferences. This can also be challenging, but it means that you are developing into your own little person and I cannot wait to watch you grow and change. So I’m adding a new section:

Favorite things: pulling books out of bookshelf, toys & clothes out of bins; tasting wooden blocks; playing with wooden toys; “reading” books (very favorite); rice puffs; Jasper’s water bowl; Jasper’s dog bed; Jasper; putting things on your head; playing in water; crawling around the ottoman; being chased by Daddy; lift-the-flap books; looking at things; pointing; waving.

The very first thing you do every morning when I put you down to play is pull out all your books from the little book cubby your Daddy made for you and start turning the pages to look at them. You can amuse yourself for a long time sitting there, surrounded by your piles of books. It makes your English major mama very happy. You also now actually like to LOOK at the pictures in the books too. Yes, you still love turning the pages the most, but when I pointed out that picture of the bunny, you laughed and laughed. You kept pointing to the bunny and actually LOOKING at it. It makes reading books with you even more enjoyable.

There has been so much growth this month that I think we may be approaching that point where I can no longer say, “Look! This happened this month!” Instead, I think you will be adding new skills so quickly that they will almost go by undetected as you begin to flower into a fully-fledged person.

But for now, you are still my Baby.

Things I love about you: The way you truly connect with me and we lock eyes and share a moment of delight; your sweet pudgy little feet; your brilliant blue eyes; that little speck of gold in your right eye that appears to be there to stay; your belly laugh; the way you will put whole fistfuls of the tiny millet puffs in your mouth; the way you crawl into my lap when you want to nurse; the way you smile, laugh, point and clap when you see me coming to get you from your car seat; the long sweep of your eyelashes; the way you are (usually) so gentle with Jasper; the way you rest your hand on my breast as you nurse.

Songs I sing to you: Hush Little Baby, The Wheels on the Bus, Time for Bed, Down in the Valley.

I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama