Month nine — Henry

Dear Henry,

Today you turned nine months old. The doctor makes me fill out a questionnaire every time you have a checkup, and when we went in yesterday, he said that you had just barely passed the section on gross motor skills. Really? I wanted to tell him that he should have seen you last month. A month ago, you were a potato. Really. But in the past four weeks, everything has happened!


You are crawling everywhere, and your sister informs me that I need to clean the floors more, as if I didn’t know. You are grabbing cords and pulling off doorstops and getting into a mess of trouble. I love it! Without words, your actions are the only thing I have to understand what is happening in your brain.


You were content with the crawling for about two weeks, and then you figured out that you could stand when holding onto something. Now, that is all you want to do. When we put you down to crawl, you push up like a seal and cry until we prop you at the coffee table. When I try to sit you in my lap, you go rigid and slide down my legs so that I have no choice but to let you stand on my thighs and bounce. You are determined to walk. Never mind that you are too weak to pull yourself up. That’s what parents are for. Onward!


Your favorite word — your only word, really — is “Mama,” although I have to guess at it’s meaning. Hungry! Lonely! Bored! “Mama, Mama, Mama!” Maybe it also means “ouch.” You are teething, and for real, this time. You have one jagged nub in your lower gum and another about to poke through. Like a puppy, you constantly need something to chew.


Henry, I used to feel sad with the knowledge that your sister would never understand how much I loved her. And her arrival was normal. We waited years for you, and so did scads of our friends and family members. One of those friends commented recently that you would never know how much you are wanted. Well, good. That’s how I want it. I hope that you never experience the sort of pain that your dad and I did, the sort of pain that would allow you to understand how much you are wanted. Having you here is enough. It is our privilege to raise you.