Month four

Dear Eleanor,

Today you turned four months old. Your spunky personality has taken me by surprise. Last summer, when I was first pregnant, we visited your aunt, uncle and cousins in Pennsylvania. This was our first time meeting your cousin Beatrice, and she was so mellow and sedate that we hardly noticed she was there. Your cousin Sebastian, on the other hand, was (and still is) a little wild man, and your dad and I could not fathom how his parents kept up with him. So we were relieved when we found out you were a girl because it was clear to us that girls were much easier to handle than boys. But you, my sweet girl, are neither mellow nor sedate.

There's always something else to knock over.

You have places to go and things to do. You have mastered moving from one end of your crib to the other. I say “moving” because you can’t yet crawl, but you have figured out something so much better than crawling. You put your forehead on the mattress, shift your weight onto your head and hands and then drag your legs forward. You are an inchworm!

Bright eyes

You have started using this same tactic when we put you on the floor, especially if you spot a toy beyond your reach, though you still prefer rolling. We always set you on a blanket, but you’re tired of that. And now, when I set you on the blanket so that I can check my e-mail or tidy up the kitchen, I come back to find that you have rolled off the blanket, and often, halfway across the room. If I return you to the blanket, you roll away again as quickly as you can, frustrated that I have erased your progress.

On the move

As far as you are concerned, your hands and mouth are the only useful body parts you have. You tug on everything within reach, including my shirt when I’m nursing you. And when I say tug, I mean that you are trying to rip my shirt off. Is this something your dad taught you? Once you have something in your grasp, it goes into your mouth. I am sorry to report that this includes the dog. Yes, you have licked the dog. It’s as though nothing is real to you unless you can touch and taste it.

Turn about is fair play.

When there isn’t something going into your mouth, there’s drool coming out of it. Are you aware that Austin is in the midst of a severe drought? And here you are wasting water right and left. We could be watering the yard with that drool! And then there is the talking. So many ahh’s and la’s and oo’s. You have strung together sounds that resemble “thank you” and “good morning,” and like any good parents, your dad and I are sure that you’re a genius.

Genius

I know this is another parent cliche, but I also need to tell you about the cuteness. I have never been a girly-girl and – I hope you won’t take this personally – have never been that fond of babies. But I cannot get over you – your rose-petal-soft skin, your plump cheeks, the long lashes that frame your brown eyes. Sometimes I watch you sleep and start to cry because you are so beautiful. When you wake in the morning, you have your million-dollar smile. The only other time I’ve seen a smile like this is on the faces of Lottery winners. You haven’t won the Lottery, but as you see it, you’re just as lucky. You have a whole day in front of you for playing and exploring and eating. You’re happy because you’re alive. Thanks for reminding me what a gift this life is.

Melt your heart smile. Not even the big one.

Love,

Mom