A Letter From My 9-Month-Old Daughter

Dear Daddy,

Can you believe it? It’s been nine months. I’ve now been out here as long as I was in there. As such, I thought this milestone might be a good opportunity to check in with you and see how you’re adjusting to this whole “fatherhood” thing, as well as let you know about some challenges and opportunities I’ve been encountering in adjusting to this whole “life on the outside” thing. Let’s begin.

First of all, I have to tell you that this is not what I expected. Those nine months in Shangri-La did a terrible job preparing me for my current daily grind. A few grievances, in no particular order:

  • I sometimes have to wait to eat now. It’s ridiculous. Back in the hole, I barely had to think about it. I was quite literally plugged into a buffet line of nutritious goodness. Now I have to choose to eat, and my choice is contingent on food actually being available. I feel like I just got off a cruise and I’m missing the midnight pizza something fierce.
  • There’s so much work to do. Before I got here, the work was mostly internal affairs. My organs were developing, I gained my senses…stuff like that. Out here, every day is an endless stream of stuff I have to deal with. Every item you put in front of me—and you seem to just love putting stuff in front of me—needs to be carefully inspected via touch and taste. If I put the item down for more than three seconds, the inspection process must begin anew. I’m very thorough in my work. I guess I’m just hoping that there’s more to life than this. I think I might have been born for something greater than feeling up a stuffed fox.
  • That said, there’s so much work you won’t let me do. I really don’t mind working overtime when my work is interesting. So why are there so many incredible objects that you won’t trust me to inspect? Have I mentioned how thorough I am? For example, I’d love to sink my teeth into that glowing square you’re always carrying around. Just one bite. Please?
  • My schedule is not my own anymore. I used to live life on my own terms. Remember my 11 p.m. dance parties? Mommy would finally stop moving, the dance floor would stretch out before me and I busted some moves on the regular. You always got such a kick out of that. (Pun intended) I know, because I could hear everything you were saying. (That’s how I learned about puns.) But now, whenever I try to get my nighttime party started, you either ignore me or come in and try to put an end to it. Both of those options are very disconcerting to me. And so I have to make my feelings known to you and everybody loses. I just want to dance again.
  • Speaking of dancing, you always used to blare “Uptown Girl” before I was born. Now you never do. I need some more of the Piano Man in my life again.
  • Lastly, I’m a little concerned about all the photos that you take of me. Where are those going exactly? Am I going to regret posing for these in about 10 years? Did you really make up a hashtag about me? Come on, Dad.

But it’s not all bad. Life is much more interesting out here. A few simple pleasures, in no particular order:

  • If I had known I could grow teeth, I would have done it a long time ago. That’s why I’ve rushed the production of these first eight. Cosmetically, I think they really make my smile pop, especially this semi-evil grin that I’ve been workshopping for the past month or so. Have you noticed? In my unscientific focus groups, people seem to really be responding to it a lot more enthusiastically than to my basic smile. I think I’ll keep it for a while. Practically speaking, teeth are a wonderful invention. I thought putting things in my mouth was fun…now I can put things in my mouth and sometimes keep a souvenir piece. What a world. I’m sorry for all the finger-biting of a couple months ago. It’s clear to me now that those fingers aren’t coming off, so I’m less interested.
  • I am a voracious book-lover. They taste amazing. The way the cardboard gets soggy and just breaks off in my mouth…ah, perfection.
  • Why don’t we go outside more? It’s beautiful out there. If I can just get some wind in my face, it can really cure what ails me. Mommy’s been taking me out a lot more while you’re at work, and I hope that continues. Speaking of which, you really need to get home from work sooner. Don’t you see how happy I am when you get home? Am I not greeting you with enough fanfare to make you come home early? Tell your boss this is important to me.
  • I am loving the increased independence of the last couple months. Now that I can roll around, it’s so much easier for me to get at the things that you foolishly never offer to me. Now I can at least get a few precious seconds of bliss with these objects, before you look over and see what I’m up to. When I start crawling, it’s going to get even easier. Can’t wait!
  • Keep those teething crackers coming. To paraphrase the great Jim Gaffigan, Mommy will never make anything that tastes as good as these teething crackers.
  • I’ve heard you talk about how proud you are that I can clap now. Well, let me tell you, clapping is pretty fun. I love the way I can make you guys freak out whenever I do it. I’m also loving the slow clap when I’m upset and you guys won’t tend to my needs quickly enough. Sarcasm is fun. (and genetic, apparently)

A Letter from MaddieSo you’ll be happy to know that I’ve decided I’m going to stay. I’m not sure what my other options are exactly, but you and Mommy have both made me very happy in these first nine months, despite some minor frustrations. I’m hoping those will clear up in a little while when I can just tell you what’s up.

One last thing: I was talking to my girlfriends at the church playgroup the other day and realized that my birthday is coming up in a few short months. Have you started planning my party yet? Maybe it can be a Billy Joel-themed dance party. Just a thought.

OK, I have to wrap this up, as duty calls. This label isn’t going to peel itself off of this water bottle! Thanks for reading and keep up the good work, Pops.

Much love,


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