Yesterday was June 8, your 6 month birthday. All clichés aside, I can’t believe we’ve been your parents for 6 months. That’s six months of nursing, of being short-changed on a nights rest, of changing diapers and of marveling at the fact that you are your very own person. We just can’t get over the fact that you are your own person, you have a completely unique personality, and yet somehow you are a combination of our DNA, and you actually grew in me and came out of me. Crazy stuff, the way God created us to reproduce, I tell you.
You, being your very own person, are a delight. In the last few weeks, you have gotten interested in EVERYTHING. I can’t walk by something without you reaching out to grab at it. If we’re holding you during a meal, our plates, silverware and placemats aren’t safe from your surprisingly strong grasp. I’ve taken to setting you in your Bumbo on the kitchen counter while I cook and clean, and I have a whole bowl of toys that you play with there, although you frequently try to lift up the whole heavy wooden bowl that the toys are in. Sometimes you get really excited about those toys and whoop and holler in delight.
What joy you bring us just by being interested in the world around you. On Monday, I set you in the shade in your Bumbo with a few toys while I planted my garden box, and you really liked being outside. Occasionally I would look over and you’d just grin at me. Migo likes to rest in the shade where I’d put your Bumbo, so he was lying next to you and at one point, I looked over and you were resting your hand on Migo’s back. You already show so much interest in the dogs, smiling when they come near, I can’t wait for when you’re really interacting with them.
You are on the verge of crawling, but I’m not ready to start childproofing our house yet. It’s so convenient to just be able to set you down on the floor, on the bed, on a chair, and know that you’ll still be there when I come back. Still, it’s exciting to see you develop such an interest in things that are beyond your immediate grasp, and I think you’ll be a lot less frustrated when you can reach those things for yourself.
You also started eating solid foods a couple of weeks ago, and you have now eaten rice cereal, avocado, sweet potato, peas and green beans. You don’t seem to particularly love any of it, but you don’t seem to hate it either. You really like drinking water and have not only mastered the sippy cup (one kind, anyway), you also start smacking your lips when I bring a normal glass close to your lips for you to have a drink. So much of our family time revolves around eating, I hope you turn out to be a foodie like your parents.
You have already been a pretty big road-trippin’ baby. Your great-grandpa Jack died on April 18, just a few weeks shy of when you would have met him for the first time. Grandpa Jim, Grandma Kitty, you and I drove down to Laramie, WY for a week with family, and your dad drove down a few days later for the funeral. It’s sad to me that you will only have met one of your great grandparents, and it makes me really thankful that you will grow up with all four of your grandparents right here in Billings. Your Grandpa Jack was quite a guy – he grew up dirt poor in depression-era Nebraska. His mom died when he was a tiny baby, and his dad remarried a woman named Edna that none of my immediate relatives (dad, grandma, uncles) particularly seemed to like. Her family took a lot of formal pictures, and your Great Grandpa Jack is making faces and ruining almost all of them. At his funeral, he was remembered for his love of gardening, and every summer he blessed the entire community of Laramie with his produce; for his love of making gravlox, a Norwegian cured salmon that he learned to make from a Norwegian college student; and for his commitment to education – he was the head of the University of Wyoming’s College of Business for 30 years, and all 7 grandchildren are college graduates, most having multiple post-graduate degrees. He was generous, talented, cantankerous and an avid fisherman – I couldn’t believe how many pictures I found of him fishing, and all three of his sons inherited his love for the outdoors.
The rest of the Great Road Trip of 2011 consisted of a drive across southern Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon (and Idaho and MT on the way home) to spend about 1 ½ weeks with your dad’s Oregon family. You were really starting to engage with people, so it was a lot of fun for all of the Oregon relatives to see your personality and your spunk. They all particularly got a kick out of how you pump your legs and arms whenever we set you on our knees. It used to be that when you were fussy, we could tell people to put you over their shoulders and that would calm you. Then you wanted to be bouncing on our knees (with you doing the bouncing, not us). Now your favorite thing seems to be for us to hold you and bounce you up and down on the ground. It takes a few bounces for your knees to loosen up, but then you bounce and bounce until our arms get tired.
Oh, and your cousin Sophie was born while we were in Portland. I think your Grampy and Grammy Friesen were in 7th heaven, having all three grandkids in the same place at the same time.
I’m afraid to say this out loud, but we like you so much, we’re kind of eager to have another one of you. (Please don’t let any of your grandparents know that.) Of course, everybody assures us that our next child couldn’t possibly be as easy-going and full-time fun as you (except for the occasional Mr. Crabby Pants days when I’m ready to rent you out by the hour; I’m thankful for local grandparents and our small group ladies on those days!). Still, being a mother continues to exceed my expectations. I like you. A lot. Please stay fun and fantastic.