Letters

month eight

Dear Brooklynn, Today, I am almost positive that you are eight months old. In case you aren’t quite familiar with February quite yet, it’s over in a scant four weeks which adds up to 28 days. You were born on June 29th, so I’m not quite sure how that works out for keeping track of age. Luckily, by the time you’re out of diapers, people don’t care so much about months as they do years, so this will be a short-lived problem.

What is this thing?

Looking back, I realize that it has been over a month since you’ve been out of the hospital. Life didn’t get back to normal quite that fast – we had oxygen tanks and a large noisy machine that made pure oxygen an at-home pulse-oximeter. We had infant canulas and baby-sized LED O2 monitors. And then you finally got over the hump and quit it all. Back to normal, or whatever passes for normal these days.

Normal these days involves much standing, standing on laps, on the floor, next to futons and the bath tub, pretty much anywhere you can get your feet under you. You’re not fully stable and need something or someone to hold onto. Humans (mostly your mom and me) do a pretty good job at keeping you upright, but it’s hard to take pictures and hold you at the same time, so we resort to propping you against various items. The couch is a little high, the exersaucer a little wobbly, and the tub is a little cold, but crib rails and futons are just right.

Oh, hi there

Seeing as how you are standing and might actually be headed toward walking and running sometime in the next year or so, perhaps it’s time to consider, oh, rolling over? We can count on one hand the number of times you have officially rolled over from your back to your stomach completely by yourself on one hand. And the number of times you have successfully followed that with a roll from stomach to back didn’t take you right back where you started? Well, it’s a whole number that’s less than one.

(I’ll wait until you know enough math to figure that one out. Hint: it isn’t negative.)

Sitting with Tyler W/ Braylon

I like to joke that in a half year, you will be able to run around but only if someone actually sets you on your feet and if you fall down on your back you will be immobile like and overturned turtle. It would be funnier if sometimes I didn’t worry it was going to be true.

Honestly, we do have hope for you future mobility. A week ago, after one of those rare back-to-front rollovers, you managed to push yourself backwards all the way across the living room in a no-leg reverse crawl sort of motion. You stopped when your legs got wedged under the TV stand and you looked pretty concerned at what was happening the entire time, but that was the farthest you have moved on your own up to this point.

Red Cup

While we may have concerns about your lack of self-powered movement (and at the same time, we admit it is still nice to have a house that doesn’t require baby proofing), we don’t worry about your vocal development. You babble, squawk, screech, smack and scream with stunning regularity. We don’t have a clue as to what you are telling us, but the communication is definitely coming along. The latest addition to your repertoire has been blowing raspberries and buzzing your lips together. It’s very attractive and I’m sure you’ll get good use out of that life skill if you become a tuba player or something like that.

Our house is slowly falling toward controlled chaos with the toys that we go through every day keeping you entertained. There are times when a colored plastic ring will keep you entertained for an hour and others that flashing lights and music can’t hold your interest for more than a few seconds. I’m beginning to suspect that the more a toy costs and the more batteries it uses, the shorter it will actually entertain a baby. Currently, some of the best toys you have are plastic tupperware bowls and an empty two-liter pop bottle. Every time we hand that bottle to you, you squeal with delight and look at it as if to say “This huge thing is just for me? Awesome!”

Jean Dress

In short, you are a noisy, opinionated, demanding two foot four inch, 21 pound ball of personality. And we wouldn’t change a thing about you. (Although, if you wanted to sleep the entire night in your own bed with any consistency, we won’t complain.)

Love, Dad

month seven

Dear Brooklynn, You are now officially seven months old. Yes, your parents, who have at times struggled to keep house plants alive, have managed to care for you for more than half of a year. Honestly, I'm kind of shocked as well.

Some months I outline what I want to write to you because everything just flowed together and I need to brainstorm what I want to remember. We talk to other parents of small babies a few months younger than you and a comment of theirs will jar our own memories. We think, "Oh, remember when Brooklynn did that? I must have completely blocked it out of my memory until just now."

Pants on Head

This is not one of those months. No, this past month will always be remembered as the one that you spent eight days in the hospital.

I'm sure by the time you read this and actually understand how long eight days is, it will be more of a "Oh, a little over a week, ok..." reaction. I want to give you some reference to what eight days means to you right now.

At the time you checked in to the hospital, you were 206 days old. When you left, you were 214 days old. Yep, do the math: 206 + 8 = 214.  When we left, that made up a little over 3.7% of your life.

ER

That sounds small, right?  3.7%.  Insignificant. Consider that when we left the hospital, I was 10,243 days old. that 3.7% of my life is about a year.  And as hard as you may find it to believe some day, there was a time in your life when your dad wasn't old and completely uncool. 3.7% of a life is no small amount.

You spent two days at the hospital when you were born. Brand spanking new and hot off the presses. I think 10 days in the hospital should be enough for anyone for at least a few years, so let's try to stay home as much as possible from now on, ok?

This was the worst year for RSV in several years.  The day we came home from the hospital, the local news was outside the doors we just left reporting on how serious the whole situation was.

I'm Hooked Up

We were never really worried about your long-term well being. Even as we sat for three hours in the emergency room, we were confident you were going to be ok. We just didn't know that it would take quite so long to leave again.

You came home with four more stuffed animals than you left with, and after figuring out what this will cost us in medical bills, I want you to know that those had better be the four best stuffed animals ever created.

Now, I've made it seem that 8 days is the equivalent of forever in your life. Actually, it still left 3 weeks of healthy time.  I'm sorry; I failed to mention the double ear infection you developed during the beginning of the month.

Well, I think you probably had about 4.5 hours of being completely healthy and awake somewhere in there. We just expect to you have one heck of an immune system when you get older, ok?

ET Toe

Believe it or not, there were actually events in your life that did not revolve around illness.

Around Christmas, you started to sit up on your own but still seemed prone to spontaneous toppling if you stopped actually thinking about sitting up.

Now, sitting up is what you do. You sit up on the floor, on the couch, on our laps, in your crib. Why lay down when you could sit up and reach for things with your hands.

Hoodie

The bath tub still has you a little stumped because objects just seem to float away as you try to grab them. Don't worry about it, thought; you've only gone face first into the water one time trying to reach forward too far, and we got you out quick enough you almost didn't cry about it.

With all that sitting, it was only natural that you started to sit with us at the table while we eat our meals. Your mother and I finally got with it and ordered a high chair for you.

O2 Tank Big Girl

And if you have a high chair for a baby, that must mean it is time to eat some food. You've really taken to it, although the more excited you get about eating, the worse you are. We mostly just worry about you lunging forward and impaling yourself on the spoon while trying to get to the FOOD! Give me FOOD! You will tolerate plain rice cereal and veggies, but fruit is your favorite.  The first time we gave you peaches, you took a bite, stopped to taste, smiled, and did your best to stick your hand into the bowl because, hey, hurry up already, that stuff is good.

With all the sitting and hospital staying, you seem to have forgotten how to roll over (not that you have ever rolled from your back to your front anyway). According to the milestone charts you might be passing things back and forth between your hands (um, you did this over a month ago) and rolling all over (nope, not yet). I guess you are just bound and determined to do everything at your own pace, which is fine by us.

Caged

Let's just try to stay out of intensive care if at all possible. Your mom and I would really appreciate the normalcy of a month at home.

Love, Dad

month six

Dear Brooklynn, This month, you turned six months old.  Now, maybe by the time you read this, that will seem like a trivial length of time, seeing as how it is only half of a year, or 1/42nd of the time until you can legally order a drink in a bar. When I consider that I personally am almost 56 times older than you… well, it doesn’t make me feel any younger.

Going Home

You started this month being sick and ended the month even sicker. We have just recently descended into our first official ear infection and your mother and I really hope that you are not prone to them in the same way I was. To celebrate your first infection and provide some moral support, I went ahead and got the same infection right along with you. Because I’m a caring dad like that. If it makes you feel any better, your Aunt Sarah thinks you make a very cute sick baby.

You have officially passed 19 pounds and are fast approaching 28 inches in length, and our arms, backs, and legs know it. When I stop to consider the fact that you aren’t even walking around and demanding to be picked up, I think that I really need to start looking into lifting weights before you cause irreparable damage.

Good Hair Day

Just a week ago, you experienced the excitement of Christmas for the first time. Actually, I don’t know that excitement is really the right word, since you didn’t really have much anticipation built up. The real excitement came when you discovered that there was wrapping paper and bows and more paper. As long as we didn’t take the paper away, life was good.

The Best Part of Presents

There are starting to be signs that you might eventually move around under your own power. You are much more willing to lay on your stomach and reach in front of you for toys, so perhaps some day you might crawl. If placed in a sitting position, you also can maintain your balance for several minutes or as long as a toy doesn’t roll too far to the side of you. When this occurs, a faceplant is usually close behind.

Remember when I said how caring I am? That’s right – sometimes I let you fall. I call that a learning opportunity and a life experience. Caring. Definition of.

But don’t worry, someone is always around to pick up back up again. Because we really do care.

I would like your candy

We care enough that during Project: Tough Love, when we let you cry for an hour to break the habit of midnight feeding, I think it was harder on both of us than it was for you. We care enough that your mom spent 10 hours in the back seat of a car with you just to keep you entertained and it wasn’t until she got out and started walking around for a while she realized just how cramped that can be.

In a minute, I will spit up on you

You’ve seen blazing hot days and snow bad enough to close a couple of states worth of roads. You’ve been to pools, in a hotel, and taken a couple trips into the mountains above 10,000 ft in elevation. We left you at home with your grandparents when you were five days old, and we left you with your other grandparents in their home to go see a movie on about 15 minutes notice. (See, there’s that caring again…) You’ve been on 6 planes, driven over 2000 miles in the span of about a week, and met a lot of people, including Santa Claus.  Maybe next year, he can even bring you a present, but only if you’re good.

I have feet

Let me tell you, that’s a full six months, and you can’t even talk about it yet.  Ask me again in another six months and we’ll see how we’re doing then.  At the rate I feel like I’m aging, I’m just hoping to make it that long.

Love, Dad

month 5 – a little late

Dear Brooklynn, Last weekend, you turned five months old. Fittingly enough, it occurred while we were in transit, which is why this letter is a little delayed, but more on that later.

This past month of your life has covered two of the larger celebratory holidays in our country, Halloween and Thanksgiving. While I don’t think that either of the days held any great significance to you personally, we participated just the same.

Scary!

Halloween was an opportunity for us to dress you up however we wanted, because I don’t think you really had any idea of what was going on. Luckily, it was a nice afternoon so we could take you out a little and show you off to the world. I would say that you tolerated your costume more than anything, but you sure did like to chew on the candy you grabbed with your little hands.

Grabbing and chewing were two of the larger parts of your life over the past several weeks. We have transitioned into putting a bib on you almost all the time when you are awake because the chewing on various objects (including your own hands) tends to allow copious amounts of slobber to escape your gums.

You chew on towels, clothes, toys, the floor, your hands, other people’s hands, and pretty much anything else you can get your mouth on. And you are getting better at grabbing anything that you can see, which makes it all that much easier to get objects to your mouth. I have a feeling that our house will be undergoing some baby-proofing steps in the not too distant future.

Concentration

Although I think that you would be content to lay on your back and gum up objects for the majority of your time, your mom and I are still working on getting you some time on your stomach. This task has been made a little more difficult by the fact that you have recently learned how to roll over from your front to your back. The first few times you did it, you would get halfway around then flop on to your rear, but lately, you have been getting much more smooth and graceful about it. I’m pretty sure you get that part from your mom.

Not everything was all smiles and hand chewing. For the last two weeks, you developed a pretty nasty head cold, and a cough, and a stuffy nose. Funny thing about kids your age – you have no idea how to expel mucus build up from your nose on you own. Luckily, there is a solution to the problem: saline drops and a nasal aspirator.

Don’t worry, you love having your nose sucked out. In fact, on a scale of 1 to vaccination shots, having your nose cleaned with drops ranks just below the shots. I don’t think it hurts you nearly as much, but it lasts quite a bit longer and can happen several times each day.

We cleaned you out for a few days every time before we fed you a bottle, and we have a fear that you will either grow up to associate food with the trauma and not like to eat or you will find food as a great comfort and overeat. Sorry about setting you up for lifelong food struggles so early on.

Worried Look

As much as we do things to you that you don’t care for, your own behavior leaves something to be desired as of late as well. When you were about two months old, you suddenly started sleeping through the night every night. It wasn’t anything we did intentionally, but we got to tell everyone how wonderful you were and we were sleeping wonderfully, thank you for asking.

Well, early in November, you woke up in the middle of the night. And we were very unprepared for it, but we fed you, put you back down, and moved on with our lives just slightly more sleep deprived. And the next night, you did it again. And again.

At first, we thought growth spurt. Growth spurts do not last for three weeks. Then we thought the sickness might have something to do with it. Now, we are beginning to think it’s just a habit. Whatever it is, please stop. I think karma has been paid, and we would just like a full night of sleep.

360 Entertainment

I’ve read that babies really like routine, and since waking up in the middle of the night started to feel like a routine, we thought that maybe some shake-up would help you reboot, kind of like a mini human computer. So we traveled. We went to North Dakota to see your Aunt Sarah play in the State High School Volleyball Tournament.

Two plane flights, 600 miles on the road, and several hours in a loud indoor stadium. Aside from the several hours after the flight there when your ears didn’t pop and you cried the entire time, you did great. And you still woke up each night.

Checking Her Out

We came home for three nights. We left again – another flight, this time to Minneapolis and then a 240 mile drive to your Grandparents for Thanksgiving. You were awake and happy for the first time on a flight, and you managed to poop for the second straight airplane ride. And then you blissfully slept in the rental car for the majority of the drive.

And, even thought you were sick and we were giving you small amounts of Benadryl to help your cough, you still woke up every night. Your first Thanksgiving dinner was spent on the floor while we ate, which will probably be the last Thanksgiving dinner that you will be content to spend on the floor.

On the Bench

Before we left, my parents gave you a few early Christmas presents. The best present of all? The wrapping paper. Tough, foil-like, glittery wrapping paper. It didn’t get soggy, but it did help you get glitter everywhere. The presents… eh, you would look at those briefly before demanding the paper.

Even though you are not sleeping consistently, you’ve been sick, and we don’t always know exactly how to make you feel better, we still sit back and marvel at the new things you do and wonder how we will even keep up with you in the future.

Can I Have Some?

Love, Dad

month four

Dear Brooklynn, As of yesterday, you are four months old.  In case you don’t remember that far back, the week you were born was warm; enough that we started the car and let the air conditioner run for several minutes just to cool down before you put you in it for the first time. This week has not been like that week.

Not at all.

Grin On Safari

You are staying at home today, just like yesterday and the day before that, because of snow days. Around two feet of snow has fallen in the past two days, or, as we like to say in our house, about a Brooklynn’s worth. I’m sorry that we don’t have any fun snow pants or jackets to put you in so we could throw you in the show once or twice, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t really be as excited about it as we would be. Today is warmer and little slushy; it's a great day for having a snowball fight and making snowmen, but you didn't seem all that interested.

Baby Soup, Anyone?

Last month, I told you how you liked to bring your hands and items you could grab up to your mouth. Well, did you know that once something is close to your mouth, you can chew on it? Yes, actually you can do know that and I think you demonstrate that at least 50% of your waking hours. Remember how the buffet was more like THE BUFFET?! That's what chewing has becoming. Around our house, we don't just chew; we CHEW! On shoulders, on fingers, on our own hands and fingers, on towels, on toys.  One time I handed you a pen (with the cap on) to try to keep you occupied while I mixed up a bottle for you and you tried to chew on that before you mistakenly stuck it in your own eye.

Maybe we need to work on a little coordination next.

That Baby Looks Good

This month has also seen an few additions to the nightly bathtime routine. You alway seem very excited when we take your diaper off your butt, so one night, to keep you happy while I ran the water, your mom took off your diaper and sat you on the bathroom counter in front of the mirror. And then she put her hand under your bare bottom and helped you to stand on the counter while you admired your sleek baby figure. We do this every night, and it is a hit every time. Either you're really in a hurry to learn to walk so you can get away from us, or you think you are pretty hot stuff.

Mama's Helper Reading with Mom

You have also found your voice over the past couple of weeks. We are subject to a consistent stream of coos and other weird noises coming out of your mouth, which is preferable to spit or vomit. When you really get wound up and going, even your mom can't get a word in edgewise, and when you get to know your mom a little bit better, you will realize how amazing that feat really is. You like to talk when you are tired, mostly while looking off into space somewhere. There are time when you will talk yourself right to sleep for several minutes. Your mom and I can listen to you over the baby monitor to make sure it isn't crying, but you don't need someone to come get you. It seems like you already have your own bedtimes stories you want to share with us.

Honestly, Brooklynn, it's downright adorable, except when you do it at three in the morning on one of the few occasions you wake up during the night. At that point, the baby talking over the monitor right into my ear as I'm trying to sleep isn't quite as appealing. Maybe we can work on a shorter story in those situations.

All Dressed Up

For the most part, you are a happy and healthy baby pretty much all the time, but not everything is perfect. This month you have developed a pooping issue in which your poop resembles adult style pieces rather than baby-type guacamole. I never thought I would be so intimately familiar with another persons butt functions as I have become with yours.

One day, while I was feeding you, you started to scream and cry like your were in pain and there was a lump in your diaper. I found a turd stuck halfway in your butt that couldn't come out anymore because the diaper was holding it in, so I helped pull it for you. Someday, when you are 16 and you tell me that I don't care about you or ever do anything for you, I will direct you to this letter. If pulling poop out of someone else's butt is not love, I'm not sure what is.

Give Me These, I'm A Professional Sitting Up like a Big Girl

Since you are a little on the large and chunky side, the doctor recommended that we add a small amount of prunes to your diet for the time being to see if that will help you onto some softer and more regular bowel movements, so I guess that you are 4 months going on 90 years old. We might have to look into having your daycare moved to a nursing home if possible. Considering that you like to stick your tongue out to lick things a lot, I do not have high hopes for trying put food in your mouth and get you to swallow it.

We had your four month appointment this morning, and according to the doctor's measurements, you are 16 pounds, 3 ounces and 26.75 inches long. For a four month old, that is weighty and off the charts long, so I guess it's time to start looking for volleyball teams for you. Honestly, though, if you'd like to slow down the growing and stay in one size of clothes for just a little bit longer, that would be fine by us.

Cozy and Happy

And stay happy. It makes having you around so much fun.

Love, Dad

three months

Dear Brooklynn, As of yesterday, you are three months old. Trust me on this one. I looked at the calendar and counted at least four times, because you do not fit in three month pajamas anymore. Yes, I understand that baby clothes are much like women’s clothing sizes (in the fact that they don’t really mean anything and can vary wildly among different brands), but when you consistently pull your clothes off of your shoulders by stretching out your legs, it’s time to upgrade.

We’ve put you in bigger pajamas and officially retired some of your oh-so-cute newborn and 0-3 month clothing, including the pink shorts that looked more like hot pants on your butt than anything. Earlier this month, your mom tried to put a head band on you that we had when you were just born and it was tight enough to leave marks in your scalp. You didn’t really care for that too much, so we don’t put it on you anymore.

Flying

So, now that you are all big and everything, we’ve started keeping track of what big girls do.

Apparently, big girls drool. Quite a bit, actually. It’s ok; you just take after you dad a little bit. You started drooling and blowing bubbles in your own saliva right along with the discovery of your hands. Remember how you used to love to suck on Dad’s finger to calm you down? It turns out you have fingers too! And when you manage to get them in your own mouth (rather than your eyes, nose, or ears), do you ever go to town. (And don’t forget the drool.)

What, Me Drool?

But it isn’t enough just to bring your hands to your mouth, because, seriously, you probably did that once in a while when you were only two months old. That’s baby stuff, right? But what if I told you that anytime we put a dress on you or lay a towel across your tummy, you grab it and bring it to your mouth?

Well, believe it, because that’s what you do.  All the time. We don’t know if you really want to chew on things or if you are just that excited to show off your baby potbelly to anyone who will look, but the second you are left alone, up comes the dress or shirt.

And it gets better. Not only do hands work to bring items to your mouth, but they can also grab objects that hang in front of your face. Objects such as your animal friends on the jungle themed play mat we bought for you or the toys that hang on the handle of your car seat. And once you grab on to something, you don’t really like to let go. It could be the washcloth in the bath, your jungle gym when we are trying to pick you up, or Mom’s hair; as far as you are concerned, holders keepers.

Eat the Towel

This month, we spent our first night away from our own cozy house since we brought you home from the hospital. We took you on a plane all the way to North Dakota (because we are at least smart enough to know that we didn’t want to drive all the way there with you in a car). It was your first time through an airport and on a plane as a real person, and apparently, air travel is pretty boring because you slept through most of the flights both there and home, a feat with your mom and I appreciate very much.

Even sleeping in strange rooms was fine, except for when we tried to put you in a bassinet that was a little too small for someone of your size and you woke up in the middle of night because you jammed your head and feet against the railings on either side.

Which leads me to a question. Seeing as how we still wrap you up to sleep at night, how do you move so much during those hours when we leave you unsupervised? Do you climb out of your blanket, dance around for a while, and then wrap yourself back up? There have been times in the morning when we have found you spun 180 degrees and moved over into a corner of your crib. We had to take all the stuffed animals, blankets, and stuff we shouldn’t have had in there in the first place out to make sure you didn’t get your face covered up while you play baby race car at night. (This is called the "Oh shit, we actually have to parent or something!" phase of baby care.)

Propped Up

Some things haven’t changed recently: you still like bath time (and your splashes keep getting bigger), you smile at us when we get you up in the morning (I’ll see if that is still true when you’re a teenager), and you really like to eat. Some things are different: you like to suck on your pacifier, you turn and look around a room when you hear Mom’s voice getting closer, and we struggle to find enough time to spend with you amidst all the other things we have to get done around the house.

Ok, that last one isn’t new. We could always use a few more minutes, or another day of staying just this size so we can remember you like this for a little bit longer. I know, there’s a huge world out there that you have to grow up and explore all too fast, but you’ll always be our baby girl.

Love, Dad

two months

Dear Brooklynn, This weekend, you turned two months old.  That doesn’t seem like a very long time, but when you stop and consider that it has been a whole month since I wrote you a letter, you are twice as old now as you were then.

You had a growth spurt a week into this month and during those four or five days, you were not happy and you let us know it. You’ve never been a big fan of long naps during the day, but those days were ridiculous. It was almost if time napping was time wasted not being unhappy, and that was unacceptable. Considering you put on a half inch and almost a pound of weight in that span, I can see where the cranky came from.

Cousins

This month, your cousins came to visit, and in the span of three days you went to a water park, on a drive into the mountains, and to the zoo. Even though your mom and I were pretty exhausted by the end of that time, it was good for us to find out that you are a little trooper when it comes to getting out of the house.

Now our thought is that you are actually happier out and doing something (or out and sleeping) than you are just sitting around the house. We took you back into the mountains ourselves to visit some of your mom’s students on a field trip and you slept in your car seat the entire two hour drive up their. And then you slept for most of the day while we walked around, and then you slept for most of the drive home.

Putting On Shoes

And other than the fact that we think the thin mountain air really tires you out, it also has shown that you are open to sleeping in your car seat while driving, like a normal baby does. You are also open to taking a pacifier from time to time. One time, Mom was driving home with you in the car by herself, and when you started crying because you weren’t the absolute center of her universe at that very moment, she reached back, stuck the pacifier in your mouth, and you fell asleep.

And the heavens opened up and the glory of all that is good shown down upon our vehicle.

This month has also seen you learn to go to sleep by yourself. When we see you start to yawn or look tired, we burrito you up, lay you down, and let you have a little quite time to drift off on your own. Usually, if things don’t go well, just a few minutes of rocking or a couple quick trips up and down the stairs are enough to send you to dream land pretty quickly. I’d like to thank you for this behavior and ask that you please keep it up as long as possible. We found out early on that you don’t like to get overtired, and we don’t like it when you don’t like something, so it’s just a little easier on all of us.

DSC_6591

Along with getting so big, you are getting strong as well. When your feet touch any type of object, you like to push against it with your legs as hard as you can; this leads to you trying to stand in our laps or climb over our shoulders when we try to burp you. Your mom had to change her shirt and shorts when you managed to spit up over her shoulder and all the down her back with your climbing antics.

One might think that we could simply stand up and not give you anything to push against, but one might also be wrong. Yes, that does take away the standing leg issue, but you are also strong enough to push back with your arms and hold your upper body and head straight up in the air. You favorite time to do this is when you are so unhappy for such a small person, and you scrunch your tiny face, get very red, and scream.

And the straight back and upright head? Well, that just puts your head right by our ears, which is all the better to hear you with, except the fact that you scream like a diminutive banshee, and no matter how many times we tell you yes, we can hear you but we will go deaf if you continue, it just doesn’t seem to sink in very well. On more than one occasion I have given you bottle or changed your diaper or whatever other action you were so urgently requesting, and in the ensuing silence I tried to find the source of the ringing in the house only realize that was just my ears wringing from the volume of your demands.

Holding up her head

You might think from reading this that you are a handful to deal with, but nothing could be farther from the truth. You love to look at us, or the ceiling fan, or out the window. Sometimes, you even are intrigued by the moving pictures on the TV screen. You love to dance to music and like it when I move your legs or arms around for you. You get so excited in the bath and try to drink the water as you splash about; a couple times you have even managed to splash us as we sit on the edge of the tub to try to wash you up.

You are starting to drool (please don’t be as bad as I was) and put your own hand in your mouth more and more frequently. One day, last weekend, you were waking up and just starting to cry in the morning. I walked into your room to grab you and you stopped crying, looked up at me, and had a huge smile come across your face as if to say, “I know you; you’re the one who cares for me. How wonderful to see you!”

Observing

And the last little piece of my heart that wasn’t already completely yours fell firmly into your grasp.

Love, Dad

one month

Dear Brooklynn, Today, you are one month old. To your mom and I, it feels much more like four days than the four whole weeks it has been since we first brought you home from the hospital.  We were going to make a cake for you, but we figured that we didn't need to eat a whole cake by ourselves and you weren't really old enough to even enjoy playing with frosting yet, so that will have to wait.

As I write this, you are having an evening snack from pretty much your favorite place in the whole wide world, THE BUFFET.  And yes, it is required to put THE BUFFET in capital letters, because that is how exciting is; although, you'd think if it was so exciting, you would stay awake a little bit better.  Not only is THE BUFFET a wonderful place both a snack and a nap, but it is also a workout center and you really enjoy doing leg lifts while you eat.  I know I told you that your thighs were thick and drumstick like, but that is ok for now.  You don't have to work too hard to tone up quite yet.

Mohawk

Speaking of thick, that is a wonderful word to describe you right now.  This week, you officially hit 10 pounds.  You've been gaining a half pound a week just like the doctor said you would.  You can also lift your head up when laying on your stomach and yesterday, you rolled from your stomach on to your back and then looked at me as if to say WHAT JUST HAPPENED THERE?!?

I might mention that you rolled over while you were searching for something to eat on your own arm.  I know it's physically impossible for someone to put their own elbow in their mouth, but you were about as close as anyone has ever gotten. This was only after fully exploring from your hand and all the way up your forearm, gumming happily the whole way.  I'm pretty sure you have no idea that it was in fact, your own arm.  You're still learning every day, so don't worry; I'm sure you'll catch on soon.

Dad, seriously...

Both your mom and I go back and forth between feeling like you are still very small and helpless and wondering where this huge child came from and what you did with the little baby we had in the hospital.  You can be downright belligerent when you want to be and no one will tell you to eat, sleep, or be happy when you don't want to, and you have the lung capacity to say no quite emphatically.

You are slowly starting to make more cooing and happy noises rather than grunts and cries, and sometimes, like this afternoon, it really feels like we can have a conversation.  I say something and pause and then you get excited, pump your arms and legs and go AAAHHHH! with a smile on your face.  This carries on for upwards of 5 minutes sometimes, and I really wish that I knew what you were trying to tell me.  It could be just about anything, but I imagine that it's something about have I seen THE BUFFET recently?

Holding Hands

I know that we still have a long time with you, and some day you won't think it's cool to cuddle up with your dad much less take naps on my chest like you have for the past couple of nights.  We'll take this cozy time while we get it and work on the whole sleeping without being wrapped up like a bug.  We'll take the sleeping throught he night that you've been doing and work on the unexplainable fussiness that will cause me to lose hair at a rate faster than I would care to publicly discuss.

Regardless of how I come out after raising a child, just know that your mother and I are so very glad that you are a part of our lives.

Love, Dad

Cozy