Month eight

Dear Eleanor,

Today you turned eight months old. Something exciting and scary is happening. You are turning into an independent person, a person with likes and dislikes and a voice to express those things (loudly!).The challenging part of this is that we have no way to reason with you, and even if we did, you’re so stubborn that I don’t think you’d budge.

Self-portrait of the artist

So what are you so stubborn about? Well, you seem bent on self-destruction. All through pregnancy, I worried so much about your safety and health. I attended approximately 172 doctor’s appointments and swallowed elephant vitamins. Really, the size of these vitamins, I can’t believe I didn’t choke. But after many months (Or was it years? It felt like years.) you arrived healthy. Such relief! But now you are trying to kill yourself!

On the way to trouble...

You grab every object in sight for balance so you can stand up. But usually you fall over, knocking your head against the oak coffee table or the tile floor or the stone fireplace. Have you thought about grabbing a softer object? Something that won’t give you a concussion? Dad and I are doing our best to protect you, but you are Kamikaze Baby. When we try to move you away from all these danger zones, you shriek. Don’t we realize that you are now eight months old and an independent woman? How dare we tell you what to do!

Something around here has got to hurt...

You still like to chew on your toys and our noses and hands. And the nose-chewing was such a cute habit until you sprouted two tiny razor teeth. And now you’re running around with these two razors and inflicting all sorts of damage on me — all with a sweet smile on your face because you have no idea of your power.


We’re giving you a lot of new foods to try, and you’re very polite about eating. We gave you green beans, clearly the worst food you have ever encountered, and yet, you kept opening your mouth for the spoon. Your face would wrinkle into a grimace as you tried to swallow them, and yet you just kept taking in more and more. We started to feel sorry for you. So we gave you sweet potatoes afterward. Let us now have a moment of silence in honor of sweet potatoes. … Your love of sweet potatoes is limitless, and these are just plain pureed sweet potatoes. You haven’t even had my magic sweet potatoes yet, with the brown sugar and cinnamon and heavy cream, the ones I make only at Thanksgiving because your father stuffs himself like a turkey on them. I think if I gave you a taste, you and Dad would be passed out on the couch for three days in a sweet potato coma.

Do not want.

And when you awoke from the coma, you would say, “Da da da da da!” because that is your favorite sound. You don’t seem to associate “Dada” with your dad yet, but I melt when I put you down for a nap and hear you calling “Dadada” over the baby monitor. I’m glad you don’t know “Mama” because if I heard you saying that over the monitor, I’d never be able to leave you alone.


Now that you’re letting this determined little personality poke through, I’m so excited to know you better. Your dad and I tend to be serious much of the time, and I am an almost obsessive list-maker. It’s good to have goals, but sometimes I’m too focused on living a perfect life, on making sure every moment is productive.


The beauty of having a baby around is that you are your loud, unedited, untamed self. You love using a wooden spoon to bang on things and crawling around with as little clothing as possible. Your life is solely about exploring and having fun, and that’s changed my perspective. You don’t care if our house is clean, you just want to hang out with me. Thanks for putting so much sweetness into my life, my sweet potato baby.

A better life