Dear Owen: a letter at eight months

You are growing in leaps and bounds, my boy. Please stop at some point before you turn into a full-fledged teenager so that you can be a baby a bit longer, okay? Your dad and I often look at pictures of newborn you, and we’re not really sure you’re the same kid. You are turning into a little blondie, and sometimes when I look at this picture, I think you’re looking more like me these days.

However, you are your father’s child in all of your wiggling. At the beginning of this month, you were sort of making forward progress by rolling back and forth like a little boat, but now you army crawl with the best of them. You sort of move your legs like you’re doing the breast stroke (which works surprisingly well as you slide along our hardwood floors), and you primarily use your right arm to slap the floor and pull you forward. In fact, you play fetch with yourself much of the day, throwing whatever toy you happen to find in your hand a few feet away, and then crawling after it.  Once an item is tossed, though, you look at it, and if it’s more than 3 feet away, you turn to look for something closer…but what gets me laughing is the moment of indecision as you stare after the toy deciding if it’s within range or not.

And changing your diaper has become an epic struggle because unless I am zerberting your belly or nibbling your feet or singing Old MacDonald, you are doing your best to roll off the changing table, using anything you can as leverage.

You still love your nightly bath, and now you know it’s coming. Just after dinner, we take you in the bathroom and turn on the water to warm it up, and then it’s to the changing table to de-onesie you. A few weeks ago as you lay there, you suddenly stopped and tilted your head towards the bathroom…looked at me…listened…looked at me and then suddenly started squealing and doing your excited snow angels. And it dawned on me that you, for maybe the first time, were anticipating something. And you’ve done it every night since.

You are still our little foodie and eat most of what we give you with great gusto. You’ve even started to reach out and try to grab the spoon to feed yourself, and you now constantly take the sippy cup and give yourself a drink before flinging the cup to the floor. You love to eat yogurt and banans, sweet potato lentils, braised beef, and my homemade teething biscuits.

We’ve often called you our “strong-willed baby,” most often in the middle of the night when you refuse to sleep…but you are also highly emotive. You enjoy so many things these days, chief among them, balls. Any sort of ball…you and your dad play “catch,” and you’re not half bad. You fling balls across the floor to chase. You squeal, literally squeal, when I throw one up in the air and catch it. You and your dad sit on our bed, and he bounces balls off the wall and catches them just in front of your face and you laugh and laugh.

You could play peek-a-boo any time of the day or not, with anyone or object around, and to my great delight, this past month, you realized books are for more than chewing. We read “In My Den,” and you laugh when the finger-puppet bear tries to kiss you (and you open-mouth kiss him back). You love books with faces like Smile and Peek-A-Boo and giggle at the baby faces in the pictures. You totally got the hang of touch-and-feel books, and you automatically reach to pet the cow and the “warm wooly coat” of the sheep.

Let’s just take a moment to consider how amazing that is. Eight months ago, you couldn’t even hold your own head up, and now, you see a familiar page of a book and remember to reach out to pet the rabbit. Unbelievable.

And you’ve started to express some real emotion. If I take away a toy…you know, because you’re about to eat…you cry and screech as though I’ve razed your entire village. But my favorite is when you’re excited or happy…you scrunch your face up…nose crunched, lips pursed, and make a snorting sound through your nose, not unlike a bull about to charge. You do it all the time, and your dad and I do it back to you, and we’re going to be that weird family that snorts like a herd of bulls when good things happen to us.

On January 20th, we dedicated you to God at Jubilee Community Church. All of your grandparents came down to be with us that weekend, in addition to your Uncle David and Julia…plus many of our Minneapolis family came for the dedication as well. You got majorly loved on by the grandmas and grandpas, and then your dad and I happily stood in front of our church family, and affirmed that we would do anything to see you come to know and love and walk with Jesus. With sweaty palms, I acknowledged that you are indeed a gift from God and that we long to see you be fully His, even if that were to mean “surrendering all worldly claims upon your life.” Owen, more than anything, I want you to know God for who He is, and I pray every day that He would use me…despite myself…to lead you to Himself.

You are His, but for now you are also mine, and I’m so grateful you were brought into our lives.

Your Mom

Things you love: balls, playing catch, crawling, baths, sitting in your highchair and looking out our front window, when buses go by, your bouncy chair, your yellow sunshine toy, oatmeal and apple sauce, when your dad comes home, banging on our living room tin platter, going for walks, peek-a-boo, books with pictures of babies, watching videos of yourself, finger puppets, drinking water from a sippy cup, carseat naps, brushing your teeth

Things you hate: going to bed, staying asleep for the night, when I try to look at the teeth you’re growing, when we take a toy away, when we pull you away from looking out the window, getting into your carseat

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