Dear Drew, Today you are five months old, and oh, “Drew Bear, I love you true, Bear!” I love every bit of your finger-chewing, feet-eating self.
It’s been so fun to watch you grow and learn. It’s almost as if we can see your brain sparking as you take in all the new sights and sounds. Since Emily often sleeps when we put her in the stroller, we have started trying to give you the back seat of it because it gives you a better view of the action. When your hands aren’t in your mouth, they are likely rubbing, touching, and grabbing. You love different textures, especially the soft feel of your baby blanket. If you’re fussy, we will pick you up and put you where you can see, and often that does the trick. Drew Bear just wants to see what’s going on.
Speaking of crying, you have such distinct cries. There’s the sleepy bear cry—short cries that stop short. There’s the hungry bear cry—long, incessant cries that go on until you hungrily search out the bottle with your lips. Finally, there’s the needy bear cry, the one that goes on and on, with your face getting progressively redder, until we pick you up.
But, as hard as the needy bear can cry, you can smile and laugh just as much. Papa Ray got the first deep, real laugh from you, and it took me at least two weeks to get you to do it again. I was putting you to bed, and you were a little fussy. I started singing my made-up, out-of-tune Drew Bear Song. You smiled and gave me a deep, tickled laugh. So much for sleeping! We had a least of couple of minutes of back and forth laughing instead. Now, you laugh often, and I know you are ticklish, too. Looks like it’s time to pull out the Tickle Monster book!
Like Emily, you have found your voice, and while you don’t squeal as loud as she does, you can get quite loud. I wish we had video of our first visit to church with Grandma Vivian when you got quite vocal during the service. Aunt Windy had fun taking you to the nursery where you could squeal and play.
You’ve had so many firsts. The scariest was your first fall. Daddy had you sitting on the back porch couch when he decided to step out and turn the food on the grill. About the same time, you decided to lean forward and roll off. I was inside and heard the thump first, then Daddy’s yell, and next your loud wailing. While I was ready to rush you off to the emergency room, the nurse at the call center assured me you were most likely fine. It was a long night as we watched you, each of us filled with anxiety and guilt. It was ironic, when, the very next day, you learned to use your hands to make your toy steering wheel beep. Daddy joked that the bump on the head knocked things into place.
You went to your first NC State Fair, and although we saw you eyeing it, we wouldn’t let you have this year’s fair specialty—a hamburger between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. And, no, you can never eat a deep fried Twinkie, either. Stick with organic.
For your first Halloween, you were a bear—of course. Daddy wanted you to be a milk vampire, but this year, I won. Soon enough, you will be telling me what you want to be. You went to your first Canes’ game, and, boy, were you cute! From your official NHL Carolina Hurricanes’ jogging suit to your black and red Nikes, you were 100% adorable. You had your first solid food, and you clearly are a baby who does not like rice cereal unless it is sweetened with a little organic banana baby food. This past Saturday marked another official first—the first time you seemed to really notice Emily. Until then, the extent of your interactions has been to hold or to chew each other’s hands. But Saturday, while out for lunch, you looked across the table at her and broke into the biggest grin. You were enthralled. You saw your first best friend.
You participated in your first election as your daddy and I held you and Emily on our laps and voted. Grandma Janice is already supporting your 2060 run for President. Be prepared, though, for the media to claim you had early right-wing leaning tendencies as evidenced by the picture of you wearing a “Vote Republican” sticker. The picture from our trip to the Hillsville Flea Market & Gun Show where you are wearing a sticker that says, “Guns Save Lives” will probably also surface. Depending on your ultimate political persuasion, you may have fun explaining that one. It was all in good fun.
Drew Bear, we have loved the last five months, and we love you.
Today you are five months old, and I have no idea how I can even begin to capture all that you have done since I wrote to you last. You are changing faster than you can down a half a jar of sweet potatoes and a 5 ounce bottle. Two months is too long between letters, but I’ll do my best to record all the wonderfulness that is you.
You are a squealing machine. You shriek in absolute delight. You wake up in the morning so happy—talking, laughing, gurgling. One of my favorite parts of the day is saying, “Good morning, beautiful girl,” before I take you downstairs for a morning change and a bottle. I love the way you cling to my shoulder with your little baby arms. Some mornings we will walk around, talking—to the front door to look out or the back porch to hear the birds. You love being outside almost as much as you love being held.
While you wake up easily, you don’t go down quite so well. You fight sleep so hard. You are most curious, and it’s like you are afraid you will miss something. At night, I often sit on the floor beside your bassinet and rock you and sing along with your lullaby music. I can’t bear to leave you in there crying. The only time it seems you go to sleep easily is when we are out somewhere new. Then you sleep and sleep. You slept through the Caniac Carnival, the Arts Festival, the baby reunion at Marbles, most of the fair, the Farmer’s Market, and much of the voting line.
You have learned to tolerate tummy time a bit better, and your hard work has paid off. You rolled over for the first time on October 15. You started purposefully grabbing your car seat toy on October 22. Your car seat toy is a cute pink and green frog that jingles. You grab it and stick it in your mouth, and we jokingly say you are enjoying eating some frog legs.
The last two months have been full of other firsts. You had your first solid food at about 4 ½ months—first rice cereal, then green peas, and your favorite, sweet potatoes. You and Drew went to your first hockey game. Neither one of you did really well. By the second period, we were past your bed time, and despite our best efforts to block the noise, you just couldn’t fall asleep. Everyone was happy to see you both, though, and everyone agreed that you two were well worth all the huffing and puffing I endured last season. You had your first Halloween costume—a sweet little fairy outfit with a tutu and wings. Grandma Janice stayed up all night cutting down your tutu to make it fit. While you didn’t get any candy, we walked you around Grandma and Papa’s neighborhood, which you both loved. You also had your first bad cold, and I felt completely helpless as I nervously took your temperature and reluctantly gave you Tylenol for the first time.
We also have some great stories to tell when you are older to embarrass you. Just say, “Tell me about Grandma Nettie, the Mexican Restaurant, and the poo explosion.” No matter how old we get, we won’t forget that story. One day, when your friends are over, we will sing you the “The Emily Anne Song.” The second verse is the same as the first: “Emily Anne is a beautiful girl, the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world.” No matter how old and sophisticated you get, those words will still be true.
We love you, Emily Anne—the most beautiful 5 month old girl in the whole wide world.