Every morning you wake up to the sound of your hound, who seems to only be able to travel across our carpets by scootering. The rest of the time, he’s clattering his claws across our Pergoesque floor, raising a racket akin to a drunken Ginger Rogers demonstrating softshoe in baseball spikes. If he can’t rouse you with that, he flaps his mudflap ears back and forth, making a sound like automatic weapons firing. It appears that the only suitable place in the house to do this is in the hallway, in front of your bedroom door. When you get older, we’ll let you try to train him to do that somewhere else. We gave up on training him not to do that long ago.
Fortunately, for all concerned, you always wake up happy. You have a smile on your face that brightens even the darkest of early mornings, which is good, since you’ve been waking up at 5:15 or so every morning for the past several weeks. I think that we finally got you out of that habit this weekend, by exhausting you with dinners at friends’ houses until all hours of the night–8:30. At those dinners, you were certainly the center of attention, showing off all of your favorite tricks: clapping, raising your hands, eating with your hands, tossing food with your hands, and finding various parts of your body when we ask you where they are: ears, hair, head, tongue, and your belly, which you love to pat like a drum.
Speaking of drumming, ever since you could pull yourself upright, you’ve loved to bounce and dance as best you can to music, especially drum- and beat-heavy music. Just this last weekend, I held you on my hip and we bounced, shimmied, and danced around the living room to Baladi We Hetta twice, after which I had to lay down and sweat for five minutes, while you amused yourself by banging on your empty coffee can. In fact, you love to bang on most things that are in front of you. Sometimes, you’ll even smack the side of your head several times in a row. We’re not sure what that’s about. Maybe there’s a loose wire in there–but hey, easy on the noggin. You only get one.
When you do smack your head, you seem to only do it with your left hand. You most often find your ear with your right hand. Banging on your high chair tray, the couch, Mama, myself, Barky, or any other surface seems to require both hands. Eating is primarily a right-handed operation for you, although you do switch off at times. Turning pages in books is almost exclusively a left-hand task, although that may be because you’re almost always sucking your thumb as you read, and you only suck your right thumb. As a southpaw myself, I’m perhaps too keenly aware of this, but it’s fascinating to watch as you develop different skills, and the same skills, on different sides of your body.
As for your body, it’s getting bigger and stronger in every way. Even your fingernails continue to grow at a prodigious rate, which didn’t matter much until you recently started hating it whenever we cut your nails–make that whenever Mama cuts your nails, since I never cut your nails or pick your nose. Your growing strength, which you use in your attempts to wrest the sliding glass closet doors from their tracks and topple CD racks and bookshelves, makes this task even harder. Just yesterday, when I couldn’t hold you still, I finally had to resort to singing endless choruses from Sound of Da Police, one of your favorite songs; you just can’t get enough of that “woop woop, that’s the sound of da police.” I can’t wait to see what happens when we try to cut your hair. Will I have to break out the NWA?
Speaking of which, your hair is longer–over your ears, curling up at your neck, and almost in your eyes–and your first freckle, which showed up the Saturday before your six-month appointment, is getting darker and more clearly defined. I have a mark like that too, which also showed up a little while after I was born, that Mom always called my birthmark, even though it didn’t show up until after I was born. Mine showed up when I was sleeping out in the sun. I’m not sure what caused yours to show up, but it’s there, and it’s one more thing that makes you so adorable that it breaks my heart to leave every morning.
But leave you I must, most days of the week. It is the heartbreak of that departure that focuses me more clearly than ever at work now, so that I will always be able to leave as soon as possible to get back to you. The joy of returning, of knowing that as soon as you hear my key in the door, you start saying, “Da da da da,” until I walk in the door, of knowing how your face lights up when you see me, and of finally hearing the slapping of your hands on the floor as you crawl over to greet me–all of that fills my heart to the breaking point. I love you with all of my overflowing heart, tiger, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our months together bring.