As I write this we are sitting outside at a table with an umbrella. Next to us is a fountain; the soothing sound of falling water is occasionally punctuated by the squeals of toddlers splashing, and kicking, and soaking themselves. We are just feet from a gardening store, plants and flowers spill out onto the sidewalk. Babies and parents and strollers are everywhere. We come here daily. We play for a while, and look around at the sights and the other babies, and then I dive into my homework while you nap in your stroller.
These are our days lately. I try to get in as much homework as possible while you’re napping, but there is too much, so it consumes a great deal of your awake time as well. I try reading my textbooks out loud to you, and that will hold your attention for a page or two (which I think is a pretty fantastic attention span for a 4 month old baby). I want to make sure you have enough experiences outside of the home, and interaction with me, to help you develop your brain and motor skills. At the same time, passing these classes is critical for our short term and long term well being. Keeping my grades up helps me keep my financial aid so we can pay the rent; completing my degree will help me support us, and provide you with the benefit and example of educated parents. Balance, it seems, is every mother’s challenge. I’m trying to find a balance between keeping my grades up and not neglecting you.
We have managed to pack in some great experiences this month. We walked through flower gardens, played in water fountains, watched the birds in the back yard, listened to a live band, watched a bonfire, and attended several parties. You are so adventurous and adaptable – not at all intimidated by new sights and experiences, in fact, you thrive in those situations.
You have changed so much over the past month. You have discovered your fingers and they are your favorite toy these days; they’re so interactive and ever-present. Your motor skills have improved and you can now reach for and grasp toys. You shake your rattles and put everything in your mouth. Grandma gave you a spoon to play with at a restaurant and you put it right into your mouth as if you knew exactly how it was intended to be used.
Your latest skill is kisses. Big, wet, slobbery, baby kisses, and we love them so. Each time you give us a kiss, you squeal and laugh as if it’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done. We think it’s pretty cool, too.
And talking. Oh my goodness, you talk all the time. It’s all babble and giggles, but we both enjoy it so much. You wake up happy every morning, and talk to your fingers for a good half hour before you start to want some attention. This is such a nice way for me to wake up – to slowly ease into consciousness to the sound of your babbling and laughter. I think the world would be a better place if everyone could wake up every day to the sound of babies laughing.
You make my world a better place.
I love you.
Read more Letters to Gem.
One year ago: Backlighting