You now clap on demand, young miss, especially after a few rounds of "If You’re Happy and You Know It." And when you drink your bottle, you lounge as if you’re reading The New York Post with a farm-boy fanning you, one leg crossed over the other. You have two teeth on the bottom. The second one came in the day after your first one. You love to eat these little star banana puffs, melt-aways. You steal your brother’s when he decides he doesn’t want his, so it’s not really stealing. And he laughs when you’re near him. The other day, you crawled up to him, leaned near his face and sneezed. Twice. And he laughed more than I’ve ever seen before.
You have a funny crawl, with stiff soldier legs, when you’re sporting a dress. When people meet you, the first thing they say is always, "She’s so petite!" They usually squeal this. Then they follow it up with an observation about your eyes, how round, how blue, how beautiful. "She’s such a girl." And you are. You took seven steps on your own, but mostly, you like to crawl, then stand, then clap and say, "Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma," but you’re not saying mama yet. You’re nine months and three weeks old, but next week we’re celebrating the day you were born, calling it your first birthday, well, because it is. Because you two couldn’t wait. I felt guilty about that, even though it wasn’t my doing. I don’t so much anymore, especially when I look at you, how well you’re doing, how happy. How big, despite being "so teeny!" You’re all smiles and claps these days.
Our Eskimo kisses make me want to nap, or eat you. I can’t decide. You usually need to be tired, or just waking from a nap, all sleepy with hair every which way, your eyes as wide as banana slivers, and somehow new and blinking. You crawl up to me and touch my face, then I rub my nose on yours, and you always smile. I love these days. And you.