Today, you're crawling. Tomorrow, you'll be driving. I'm sure of it. You're embracing each new capability of independence to explore your little world.
The crawl started with cute, little, disconnected scoots with a motivation to get closer to books. Now you chase after everything you see and want. You follow me, your Mom and Greta around the house. Your Mom makes sure that you're wearing pants to save your knees from the hardwood floors, but they're getting tough anyway. You're like a honey badger. Honey badger doesn't care about her knees. Honey badger crawls where she wants.
Honey badger is scared of the giant, green yoga ball though.
For some reason, you decided that you are fearful of the same yoga ball that your Mom bounced you on when you were a little baby. You've probably seen the ball about every day of your life, but suddenly you've decided the ball is the scariest thing ever created. Maybe you took a soft, rubbery bump on the head when we weren't looking and that scared you straight from yoga balls.
I have to admit, I kind of love the "scary" game. You crawl quickly to me when you see the ball and hold on tight to my shirt to make sure you don't move toward it. You'll reach out to point at the ball and mumble some jibberish to tell me all about the ball and what's wrong with it. You'll get brave and touch the ball when I'm holding you, but not without a reaction to crawl quickly up my shoulders trying to reach a high point, like a cat up a telephone pole.
If you are fearful of taking yoga classes as an adult, we'll all know the deep-seeded reason why.
You're also trying to stand a lot more often. Maybe motivated to learn how to get away from the yoga ball more quickly? Just last week, I found you standing in your crib, bracing the jail bars. It took me by surprise. You looked so big! I am smiling as I type this. It's strange what strikes you as a parent as a "whoa" moment. That was one of them. You looked at me like, "Oh hey, Dad. Good morning. Want to go for a run?"
I am enjoying our little conversations. In addition to "mom" and "dada," you can also say "puppy" and "baby." Good job! Of course, you tend to repeat these words over and over, but I think I am getting your points. For example, when I find you in the morning standing in your crib and you repeat, "puppy" over and over, I know it means, "Dad, Greta is under my bed again. I think she had a bad dream so she came in at 2 a.m. to hide. I told her everything is OK." Such a smart girl.
You also have a weird, night-vision superpower. When you get bored in the crib at night, we can see you in the monitor playing a game where you find your Wubbanub pacifiers in the dark, throw them in the air and find them again. You crawl around the crib playing this game for several minutes at a time. Oh, and your ability to throw is really impressive. You may follow your Mom's college softball athletic path. I'll start calling recruiters. That throwing arm plus your smarts are a recruiter's dream.
The past month had its share of adventure. We took you to Cougar Mountain Zoo. Strangely enough, we haven't gone to nearby Point Defiance yet. Much like the yoga ball, you were scared of the animal statues decorating the park, but not the real animals themselves. The zoo was really impressive. We got to see cougars and tigers, and you were close enough to the llamas to have them lick you.
We spent some more time at the Chaffee beach house, and I put you on a paddleboard for the first time. We had to stay close to the shore because we didn't have a proper life jacket for you, but you stayed in place and didn't get too brave. It's funny to think that you must perceive the YMCA pool to be huge, so a little corner of Puget Sound must feel like the entire ocean.
You got to see a lot of family this past month. Your Nonno is always good about stopping by the house to play with you. Your Grandma Vicki is always asking to come over after work. We saw your Aunt Nina and cousin Harrison a couple of times, too. The first time was an ill-fated camping attempt in Bellingham. We couldn't get a camp spot, but made the most out of it hiking up to Fragrance Lake and spending time at Larrabee State Park and Lake Padden -- all my old college haunts! I never thought back then that I'd come back to those places with a daughter in a backpack. Twenty-something me gave thirty-something me a high five followed by a concerned, double-take at the sight of future hairline recession.
You saw Aunt Nina and Harrison again back at our house. I had a work trip at Summer Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City for half a week and your Uncle Jeff went to Oklahoma to see his brother play soccer, so your Mom and Aunt Nina hung out. Aunt Nina also came down to Tacoma to get a new tattoo on her thigh. Aunt Nina has many tattoos and learned the hard way to find a good artist and stick to him or her. If you decide to be like your Dad and get a tattoo one day, just make sure to be smart about the placement and use a good artist. Please. If you decide to be like your Mom and leave ink off your body, all the better. Let's talk about it when the time comes.
People tend to get nervous about tattoos because of their permanence. But what's really permanent? The tattoos on my body will be gone long before this digital letter, which will likely outlive you and me. It's easy to think cosmetically about a bad haircut, body shape or skin blemishes being burdens of the day, but then forget to recycle or put more carbon emissions in the world on a commute and realize those are the real problems at hand. My failures to address those are what burden you in the big picture, not the shade of green ink on my shoulder that I wish came out darker.
The only things that have permanence are what we create and build. Make time to create great things and don't waste your time on work that doesn't make you or a bigger community happier. That will be your legacy and mark on this place. Imagine my joy that one of my legacies is you.