You're 8 months and 1 week old today, and you took off crawling just four days after I wrote you your last letter. We're not surprised you started crawling relatively early. You've always been so strong, so determined—even when you were in my belly. You love being able to get where you want to go, and already, crawling just isn't enough for you. Here and there, you'll take a few steps like a wobbly baby deer—hands and feet shuffling along on the floor, fat little butt up in the air—before eventually toppling over. It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. You can pull yourself up onto things, too, and we had to lower your crib so you wouldn't flip out of it and break that pretty little head of yours.
You're starting to mimic actions and sounds, like if I show you how to do something, such as roll your toy truck across the floor, you'll be doing it yourself five seconds later; and if I say "aah" or "puh" or some other short "word," you'll occasionally say it back to me. My potty-mouth days are numbered, I'm afraid.
I don't even know how many teeth you have because you won't let me look at the top ones, but I think you have 9—six on the top and three on the bottom. We've been putting all those teeth to work by letting you try crunchier foods. You're able to use your thumb and forefinger to guide food into your mouth, and you clearly enjoy feeding yourself. Scooter loves that you've mastered this skill, too, and he sits next to your high chair while you eat, drooling like a maniac and waiting for you to drop something. You two are already partners in crime.
I know there was more I wanted to tell you this month, but Thanksgiving has eclipsed everything. Our whole world was turned upside down that morning, when your daddy walked into your grammy's house to discover she'd had a bad stroke. We were terrified that she wasn't going to be okay—that we were going to lose her, and you'd never get to hear, firsthand, that you mean the world to her—but 10 days have passed, and she's gotten a little better every day. She still completely paralyzed on her left side, and she has a lot of skills to relearn—but for the most part, her mind has come back to us. Only time will tell if she'll be able to hug you with both arms again, or walk, or eat solid food—but she's determined to improve. She tells us every day that you are her motivation. She wants to get better for you.
Grammy has a contagious infection, so you haven't been able to visit her in her rehab facility. She misses you terribly, and I swear you miss her, too. You've been unusually fussy and needy lately, and I know you're too young to know that anything major is going on, but I do think you're aware that your schedule has been changed. Of course you'd wonder why you aren't going to Grammy's house every day. It breaks my heart that she can't watch you while your daddy and I are at work anymore, but we hired a nanny yesterday, with the intent of keeping things as normal for you as possible for a while. She'll come to our house every day and give you her undivided, one-on-one attention. She's not Grammy, but I know she'll grow to adore you, too.
It's impossible not to fall in love with you, Arlo. The fact that you're so, so handsome is just the icing on the cake. Your personality is really starting to emerge, and you're smart, curious, strong-willed, and so happy. You might be the first baby in the history of the world to smile for your picture with Santa. It doesn't take much effort to get a laugh out of you, either. Earlier today, you were cracking up because one of the cats was wagging his tail. Once in a while, I can't even figure out why you're laughing, and I've decided that sometimes, you laugh just to laugh. You are inherently happy, and I can think of no better quality for a person to possess. You really are an inspiration.
We all love you so much,