You've now spent almost as much time out in the world as you did baking in your Mom's tummy. I think you agree it's a lot more fun out here.
This past month, you have turned into a slap-happy, wild child. You're communicating a lot more with your hands and verbally. You consistently sign "more" when you want to eat more, "milk" (aka Mom) and "all done." You still haven't signed "please," so you're still more demanding than polite. You sign "more" so much, you also have begun to say it: "Mmmmmmooooaaaa.... mmmmoooaaa mmmooommmaaa." Somewhere in there you're saying, "More, Mama."
You are eating pretty much everything we are these days. Your bottom two front teeth are there, but let's be honest, they're useless. You do fine gumming most things. Your top two front teeth are starting to break through now. They'll be more useful. Like a good set of knives, you'll notice the difference.
You're nearly crawling. You started crawling backwards. Your Mom says that's normal, but I think it's weird. You don't learn how to drive a car in reverse. Anyway, you're on your hands and knees scooting around to whatever toy is nearby, or Greta. You're hellbent to touch Greta's paws. Sometimes she lets you. You also reach for Greta's frisbee, knowing that's the key to her attention. When you grab it, you waive it around your head triumphantly and "throw it," which is a little further than a drop. I am super impressed by your eye-hand coordination. You can sometimes catch a ball in the air from a short distance. It took your Aunt Nina an additional 10 years to accomplish that feat.
If you're not on a crawling mission, you prefer to sit-up and have excellent posture. I wonder when kids start to slouch. I slouch all the time, but you have this perfect upright position. It's inspiring. When I slouch I have a beer-gut, but when I have good posture I look like I may work out once a week (about right). Thanks for the reminder.
Our morning and nighttime routines have changed recently. When you wake up in the morning, I find you sitting up in the crib, looking at me like, "Dad! Let's get this day started!" and "Change me. I peed like an adult overnight." At night, you've been less interested in taking a bottle with me on the couch. You drink a little but then start to flick the bottle nipple and laugh. You have a great sense of humor. Nipple flicking is funny. You'd rather take the bottle when you're in your crib later in the night. Mom says that's a bad habit, but I think it's nice to kneel by your crib and talk to you about the day. Sometimes you still flick the nipple at the end of the bottle for good measure.
You've also started to wave at people, which is totally adorable. You wave at strangers in the store who wave back. You are doing your job being a cute baby who waves. Keep it up. When you're older, the adult version of this is smiling. The more you smile at people, the more you'll reflect the light in the world.
Like any baby, any month, you get a lot more toys. You're a big fan of anything that lights up and plays music. You're obsessed with your maracas, xylophone and drums. You're in the rhythm section. We also finally opened up the VW-inspired play tent van that your Aunt Courtney bought you several months ago. Your Mom has always wanted a VW Vanagon and I think she's a little jealous you got a van before she did.
Speaking of tents, we went camping as a family!!! Camping is an American tradition, so we introduced you to camping for the Fourth of July. (We would have gone weeks early but weekend weather wasn't working in our favor.) We camped out on the lawn of the Chaffee beach house. The backyard-camping approach made it an easy trip because we could pack light. Your old man was smart enough to pick a place where we could bail if things went wrong.
Well, they did. You were totally fine, but I didn't think through Greta freaking out all night over the fireworks. She shed a year's worth of hair inside the tent, and I spent the morning with a lint roller pulling it all up off the floor, cots, clothes and anything else in plain sight.
In the bigger world that you don't see yet, there's a lot of sadness. I believe that you'll look back at the "20-teen years" and identify it as a time when gun violence, police brutality and racist and homophobic-inspired acts of violence peaked. It's not unlike how I remember the LA riots of 1992. There's a tension in our country. There was a major shooting at a gay club in Orlando a few weeks ago, and consistent, almost daily, killings of young black men by police officers -- and a retaliatory sniper attack on Dallas police officers, taking five lives. There's a movement called, "Black Lives Matter," that is drawing attention to how black people are being targeted by authorities.
All of this translates to us living in a lot of privilege. We aren't targeted and abused by authorities because of what we look like. Our corner of the Pacific Northwest is very progressive and largely tolerant. Though we're not often affected, we have an opportunity to contribute to the solution -- by acting our values. The best thing I can think of doing is raising you to be a loving, open-minded little girl. You will have friends who are black, white, Indian, Latino, gay, straight... and the list goes on.
The more you open your world to people who are different than you, the faster you'll build wisdom, compassion, understanding and live in the present. If that's not rewarding, I don't know what is.
With love, Dad