Dear Natalie: Week 40

Dear Natalie,

Last week I wrote that it allllmost sounded like you were saying, “mama.” Scratch that. There’s no question that’s what you’re saying.

I’m not counting it as your first word, because right now it’s just a string of syllables repeated over and over (mostly when you want something). I’m quite sure you haven’t figured out yet that I’m mama; just that I respond when you say it.

You’ve been communicating with us your whole life. Every cry, every eye rub and yawn, every excited arm flap tells us something. But this is something totally different and pretty magical, because it actually sounds like a real word.

I do have to put an asterisk after “magical,” though, because 90% of the time “mama” is not a happy utterance, but one of extreme annoyance with a heaping helping of DO SOMETHING. It loses some of its luster when you’re shrieking at me during a diaper change, your mouth opening as wide as it will go in an endless loop of MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA. It tugs on my heartstrings far more than your normal fussing, because it sounds like you’re pleading with me to make it better.

(As a side note, I’m not quite sure why diaper and outfit changes have become so torturous as of late. At first I thought you were in pain, but it’s too easy to distract you with a book or toy for that to be the case. Honestly, I think you’re just bored. Diaper changes? AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.)

That’s not to say that all of your communication is born out of frustration, though. You’ve picked up another new skill that is genuinely fun, one whose novelty won’t wear off for a long time: waving hello.

You wave at DAD! when he comes home from work, or even when he walks in from another room. You wave at the cats. You wave at that super smiley baby in the mirror. You wave at me from your pack n’ play, sometimes so enthusiastically that you lose your grip with your other hand and fall over (still smiling, of course).

Your wave is a less an actual wave and more of a…salute. Occasionally you rotate your wrist like a beauty pageant queen, but usually you just stick your hand straight up in the air and grin at us like, am I doing it right? 

It’s adorable and I kind of hope it takes you awhile to perfect your wave.

Not that life with you is ever dull, of course, but it feels like we’re on the brink of a very exciting time. You’re very nearly doing lots of things – saying actual words, standing up by yourself (you can do it for 5 seconds at a time!), walking, and you’ve even –hold the phone– slept through the night. Granted, you woke up at 5 a.m. ready for some food, but then you conked out again for another two hours.

It all really is magical and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. No asterisk required.

Love always,


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