Dear Owen: a letter at ten months

10-monthYou are ten months old now, putting you at just two months shy of a full year old. This is somewhat incomprehensible to me. Your dad and I are always saying how fun you are right now…you take such great pleasure in the smallest of things; you love us more than anything, and your face explodes into a four-toothed smile when we walk into a room. This is very affirming, and we’d like you to stay like this always.

You are a baby on the go. From the minute you wake up and we pull you into bed, fruitlessly trying to convince you to be still and cuddle with us for just fifteen more minutes, you are ready for action. You are crawling around and over us, your lumpy-mountain parents, sitting up, making blubber lips and clapping before we can even open the blinds. You are the world’s happiest alarm clock. We take you out to the living room, and you are head-first into your toy bin, pulling each one out, crawling from one end of the house to the other, pulling yourself to standing on the couch, the ottomans, the walls, the dining room table, stopping only to let your hair blow in our floor-vents and be picked up for twenty seconds at a time. You seem to be moments away from walking; just this past week, you started walking, zombie-like, behind your rolling pushcart, very, very pleased with yourself. And you can even go from one side of the ottoman to the other, teeny tiny tentative steps, in an effort to get to that moment’s object of your heart’s desire…you know, like a smartphone.

On March 8, you started eyeing the steps. You got up three of them, your dad cheering you on, before you gave up. But the very next day, you made it up the entire set of steps…hand, hand, knee, foot, foot…with me right behind you, but all on your own. We looked down at your visiting Grandma Pam, and you snorted with excitement.

We had a really sweet time with your Grandma Pam while your dad was away for work. It was while she visited that you really got the hang of waving hi and saying a sort of greeting: “aaaaaaaaaaii.” You even initiate the waving exchange sometimes, and you truly seem to enjoy other people. You practically hyperventilated when your friend Ellie Buller came to visit and woke up from her nap, and you are now handing out high fives like it’s your job. You’ll give me (and mostly only me) kisses and hugs on command, but once or twice, you’ve just reached up and given me the wettest open-mouthed kiss of your own volition, and each time, I’ve practically melted into a puddle on the floor with happiness. (To their credit, you also kiss the characters in your books each and every time we read them…the bear finger puppet in In My Den is stiff with the effects of your after-every-page kisses). You have really started to love reading, and in a motion very un-Owenlike, you even settle back and relax against me while reading sometimes, in a way that reminds me of why I’m so glad I get to be your mom.

You have discovered your voice this past month, Owen Augs, and our house is filled with the sounds of it. You sing along with your noise-making toys, and your little booty bounces up and down in a prequel to dancing. You’ve got rhythm, kid, and you clap as often as you remember that you can. You started the month by learning how to make that “Indian” sound that comes out when you repeatedly hit your hand over your mouth. You thought it was so funny. When we would do it, you would thrust your face towards our hands, so you could do it too…only sometimes you’d forget to make a sound. Thanks to your dad, that sound quickly evolved into your beloved blubber lips, which you now constantly make by doing sort of a backwards wave on your lips. You’ll even start doing it but then pull our hands towards your mouth to do it faster, and then continue like this for at  least a minute. It’s your newest party trick, and we’ll show everyone who will watch.

You have also learned that guitars make sounds – even louder sound than your own mouth – and you delight in this. You will beeline for your dad’s guitar, and the best part of your day is when he comes home and sits you on the bed with him, while he plays and lets you strum / pound on the wood along with his playing and singing. When it’s just me and you at home, there’s a lot of open strumming and tonal pounding, but mostly you just love the noise. Lately, whether I’m pulling you away from that (you know, because your palms are bright red) or away from your bus-watching at the window, you’ve begun to throw mini back-arcingh tantrums, wherein you kick your legs like an angry dolphin and screech like a baby pterodactyl. It is not my favorite.

You still love watching traffic out the window, and a couple of weeks ago, it was !40 degrees! but sunny, and we sat out on our front steps, you bundled up next time like a baby kangaroo, and we watched cars go by for a good twenty minutes. You were mostly in it for the buses, panting each time one went by; I was mostly in it for the cuddles. It made me excited for spring.

This past month, we lost your Great Grandpa Ole and traveled to Fargo to attend his funeral. Mostly, you just crawled great distances along the entryway of the funeral home, but my prayer is that you can, in some ways, grow into the kind of man he was: a hard-working farmer who still knew how to twirl his little girls around in a playful two-step to the tune of one his hummed songs. It made me tear up to hear that one of his favorite songs was You are My Sunshine because I sing that to you all the time.

Owen, we are so glad that you are the baby that we got. That it’s you that we’re going to get to watch grow up. And that we get to live with you.

I am so, so thankful for you, Babyloo.

Love,

Your Mom

Things You Love: blubber lips, guitar, hurtling our tupperware all over the kitchen floor, standing, walking behind your walker, seeing your mom or dad, waving hi, reading books (Smile, Peek-A-Boo, In My Den, I Love You Through and Through, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom), baths, running water, walks outside, sleeping in your car seat, mashed potatoes, clementines, bananas, drinking water from a zippy cup, Bruce, your little brown teddy bear, clapping, baby Einstein puppets, your owl puppet who plays the best peek-a-boo, crawling around with your squeaky Sophie who lets us know, at all times, where you are, ice cream, putting all sorts of non-food items into your mouth

Things You Hate: when I have to retrieve a non-food item from your mouth to keep you from chocking, diaper changes, leaving your window-watching, leaving the guitar, when we take away your sippy cup, winter hats, mittens, getting bundled up in a coat, when we try to put shoes on you, getting dressed and undressed

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