Almost eight months old. She’s wearing my current “favorite outfit” – changes every three months because she outgrows her clothing every three months – a white onesie with crocheted sleeves and collar and a purple jumper with a hippopotamus in a bathing suit on the front.
She’s sitting in the one open space in house that isn’t otherwise occupied by furniture, a rectangle of about five feet by three feet just in front of my rocker, to the left of the coffee table and just before the complete clutter of swing/exce-saucer/old computer that seperates the living room from the dining room. Not that it is a dining room. That’s where our computers are. We eat either in front of our computers or in front of the TV. I put her there on purpose because she has a dreadful habit of sitting and playing contentedly for a while before throwing herself over onto her back as hard as she possibly can. If there’s nothing but carpeted floor in the way, she’ll wail and fuss and go back to being cheery in about three seconds. If there’s something else in the way – like a coffee table leg, for instance – she’ll cry a lot louder and not be at all happy and I will feel like the Worst Mother Ever ™. I’m already working on being a Bad Mother, as I am not sitting over next to her to prevent her from flinging herself onto the floor and wailing like a banshee, but instead at my computer, reading other people’s blogs. I’m personally of the opinion that getting a bump or three on her head, while painful, will eventually encourage her to abandon the idea breakdancing for a living.
The cat is sitting a Reasonable Safe Distance away. Just close enough that he can see her and yet not close enough to have his tail grabbed and stuffed in a greedy mouth. Jessica is mostly ok with this, as she likes to watch the cat, although she occassionally expresses the desire to have him come a little closer. She has attempted bribery. Coyly, she’ll pick up one of her animal crackers (there’s a small stack of them nearby and a wide swatch of crumbs around and on her) and wave it in his direction. Curious, the cat will creep forward, belly to the ground and claws dug deep into the carpet as if he expects at any moment to be scooped up and deposited in a bucket of water. He gets just close enough to sniff at the cracker, then gives the baby a disgusted look, backs up and lays back down.
She is surrounded by some of her favorite toys: a turtle “activity book” with a completely moronic story line and badly scanning rhymes, but has velcro bits and bells and rattles and squeezies and crinkly material in the shell; the silver rattle my dad and step-mom gave her for Christmas; a white tiger stuffie that was a promotional thing from Exxon; a penguin that plays Jingle Bells if you squeeze the belly; and her newest aquisition, a yellow Wocky from a Happy Meal at McDonalds. She explores all of her toys carefully, picking up each one in turn and giving it a thorough inspection with hands and mouth (usually coating it as all well in cookie crumbs)
And even in the middle of her playing and exploring, as busy as she is, when I look over at her and say her name, she looks up and gives me a huge smile, so much so that her eyes are crinkled up and she looks as if she couldn’t possibly be happier in the whole world right now.