This has been one of those milestone months. The kind of month you have with a new baby that leaves you feeling like you’ve really finally met them. Not just the physical, baby them. But the real them. The them they’ll be for the rest of their life. Only, in smaller packaging.
And your packaging is small. It’s packaging so small I have a hard time believing it fits all of you in it. While most babies at five months are plumping up like Pillsbury dough, you seem to grow UP faster than your OUT can keep up with. Your limbs gain steady reach and your neck gains strength; your toes outgrow one precious baby shoe after another and your jammies pull at the neckline more and more from one kick of your legs to the very next. And at the rate your piano fingers are growing, kiddo, you’ll be able to pick up the guitar in less than a month and master every cord. But your little tummy, even at it’s very plumpest, leaves a gap in the waistline of even the jeans your legs have outgrown weeks ago -- a gap that quite frankly my dear, makes me a little jealous. Since I'm the one working off all the ice cream you made me eat for breakfast when I was pregnant with you.
And Lord KNOWS it is not from any lack of eating. Child, you eat my poor breasts out of house and home. In fact, Matthew very appropriately calls it ‘Eating My Boob.’ As in, “Mommy, Scarlett’s crying. I think she needs to eat your boob.” He doesn’t know how right he is. Or maybe he knows too well. Sometimes I’m surprised you leave any mammary glands left at all.
It’s all just part of your feisty personality. And feisty it is, my love. For everything you lack in physical bulk, you make up for with BIG personality.
To prove it, you have -- at only five months, mind you -- officially been dubbed the UNbaby-sittable child. That’s right. Both sets of loving, devoted, notorious-for-spoiling-rotten grandparents (to a dozen grandchildren between them before you even came along), have all but banned you from being left at their houses anymore. At least until they’ve had a good few months to recover from your last visit. Why? Because the only few times you have been, you have screamed bloody, violent murder the entire length of your stay. You’ve refused to eat. You’ve refused to sleep. You’ve refused to exhale without vocally shattering windows with each shrill breath. You’ve practically been thrown back at us upon each return and frankly, I wouldn’t have been shocked to look back and find that the windows had been barred shut after we left.
And guess how much I blame them, Scarlett? Not much. And guess how surprised I’ve been at your behavior, Scarlett? Not. Much. Because guess how much more civilized you are at home? NOT MUCH.
I’m pretty sure, Scarlett Rebecca, that if you don’t go on to achieve some kind of great position of authority (like maybe global domination) someday, it’s not going to be from any lack of potential. Your presence is a powerful one. Which is surprising for someone who could easily fit into their own diaper bag. But, believe me, (and anyone brave enough to baby-sit you - or the crowd of strangers that flock around you anywhere we go) it’s true.
I think it's funny how both mom-moms made it a point to say as we were leaving, "Oh! It's not that we don't love her dearly -- don't get me wrong..." Daddy and I find ourselves saying the same thing to eachother after complaining about what a pain in the ass you are for some length of time, too.
But you know what makes it all worth it? The fact that there is one anecdote to your rein of
I thought that Daddy was just trying to butter me up to hold you the first few times he pointed it out. But I started to notice it too -- until it became downright unmistakable the way you react to me walking into a room. Your head pops up in my direction like a kernel of hot corn, and your little arms fling themselves into this totally uncoordinated flurry of action, as if you might be trying to swim to me or something. It’s a tactic that works too. Who could refuse a greeting like that?
More than once your father has thought that you might actually be crying out in pain while waiting for me to get you… only to be shown that, yes, that is simply the way that you cry when you want to be held. You should hear the way that with one good sigh of relief once you’re lifted into my arms, ten minutes of gut-wrenching wails are tucked away like they never even happened. You’ll even pepper me with smiles as if to say, “Me? Upset? Never! I’m such a delight!” That’s usually when Daddy calls you a nut job. And usually when I say, “Yes, but she’s Mommy’s little nut job.”
Whoever said you can’t spoil a baby, by the way, greatly underestimated you.
You have somehow managed to wrap every last one of us so tightly around your little finger that this house has become nothing short of a puppet show. (That, or maybe a dictatorship.) You run us ragged from dawn to dusk (and SOME OF US from dusk to dawn) -- still, all we want to do is kiss your feet. And amazingly, Matthew and Mary haven’t shown any signs of minding the attention-hogging-vortex you’ve become to this family. They fight for your attention as hard as any of us. Earlier this month, Mary playfully teased Matthew over you loving her the most -- to which Matthew furiously seethed, “Nu-uh, MARY!! Hers is always looking AT ME more!”
Judging the daily Lets See Who Loves Me More competition between your siblings
I think it’s safe to say you have groupies for life.
And it’s no wonder. You are a delight. Nutjob or not.
There are, of course, the adorable things you do just like any other typical five month old baby. You greet us every morning with gaping, contagious smiles. You gurgle and coo and you kick your little legs in this spectacular show of gratitude for changing your diaper. And you love us so deeply that you almost have us convinced that: yes, the world might just end if we don’t stop what we’re doing to hold you in our arms and love on you at once.
But then there are the things that are all you, Scarley. Like the way that you have been vocal from the day you came home. While most babies are almost silent still at this age, you’ve already mastered the noisy grunt, the happy squeal, the roll of your gargle, the Eeek! of a fun surprise, every array of hoot and holler known to mankind, and the sputter-y beginnings of your first few laughs. This month you’ve also discovered how to whisper. We listen to you practice every morning to yourself:
“Whish, whish, whoo… hhhhhhaaaaahhhhhh, sssssshhhhhhh, bahhhhhh… whish, whish, whooooohhhhh…
For a while, I started to call you Little Hoot. Until, of course, you learned to roar. At which point you were re-named Little Dinosaur. If this doesn’t sound as cute to you, you obviously have not heard yourself roar. There is nothing cuter on the planet than watching you crinkle your nose into a tiny knot above your gummy grin and hearing you let our a wispy, sometimes throaty “roa-aaarr!” in between tickle attacks, as if you are actually playing along, preparing to attack us if we don’t tickle you into submission.
And there are your hands. You have amazing hands. You move them with this fluidity that is downright impressive for a five month old. While most babies at this age usually have their hands clenched into perpetual fists, always grabbing and pulling… you prefer to reach and feel. Your hands are almost always open -- unless they are weaved into one another in this way that I didn’t even know babies your age were coordinated enough to manage -- and you reach for things with this gentle cautiousness. You are intensely curious; you love to study every inch of the things we put in front of you -- but careful at the same time. Our favorite, favorite, favorite part of this month with you has been - hands down - the special way that you reach for our faces. You hold us above your eyes with one still hand, running your other delicately along every dip and curve of our skin, whispering to us while we whisper to you. It is amazing to watch you soak up the life around you.
This month’s letter to you has been the most difficult to end. There are too many sides of you to describe, too much love for you to put words around, too much wonder in your eyes and color in your personality to capture in a handful of photos. I could write for days about the relationship each one of us has built with you already. Daddy says that it’s as if you were born knowing and feeling like were always a part of this family, and that’s why you’re never content to just sit in your swing or play in your highchair when the rest of us are gathered together in a room. You want to be with us, in the middle of all the action, all of the time. Whether we’re gathered at the breakfast table on a weekend morning, or finishing dinner over the stove and making our plates in the kitchen -- at the busiest and most inconvenient of times you always need to be held the most. And I think he’s right. Putting you down so that we can be a family while you rest somewhere just being the baby isn’t something you’re content to do. In fact, when we call you ‘the baby,’ Matthew corrects us everytime: “She is not The Baby. She is just Scarlett Rebecca.”
And I think that more than anything that pretty well sums up what we’ve learned about you this month.
You are not just the baby. You are all Scarlett, all of the time. And we wouldn't have it any other way.