Five months. What can have happened, right?

M speaks in complete, long sentences. She jumps (sort of). She goes down the big twisty slide by herself. She sometimes nurses only once a day, and she asks for "cows' milk in a cup" of her own accord. She spontaneously thanks guests when they leave: "Bye! Hanks for swinging wif me!" She carries her own plate of food to the table and climbs into the booster seat by herself. She still loves to sit on the potty with her shirt off, and she still has yet to pee in it. She hugs and kisses my belly and says, "Hi, baby."

She sleeps! For two or three hours at naptime and for nine or more hours at night! By herself! In her crib! She goes to sleep by herself in her crib! And does not need me until morning!

And I'm sick of the pseudonym M, which only stands for Monkey, a nickname she kind of outgrew when the Moro reflex went away. Her name is Ingrid. I can go public with that without you coming to TP my dandelion field, can't I?

I am still pregnant. Ever more unwieldily pregnant, and the baby seems very pointy and hard and active. We had a scary few hours after the 20-week ultrasound in March involving some choroid plexus cysts and a full-scale freakout by both my husband and me. We have moved on from that to occasional plunges into dread of the baby's first year. On which, more later. We have been talking a lot about names, and I've taken to taping down my belly button most days. Who knew it could be such a train wreck at only 32ish weeks?

I splurged on three ridiculously expensive giant allium bulbs last fall and they are now two feet tall and blooming. What Ingrid calls "a bad bunny" ate our first zinnia, but lots more blossoms are about to pop, and the tomato plants are shooting up and the pumpkin plant is already threatening to take over, and, speaking of taking over, the dandelions and milkweed and sumac and ivy are having a banner year so far. Let's not think of those things as weeds, shall we? Let's just see them as evidence that lots of things come here to thrive.

And it feels like I am thriving for the first time in a long time. Despite the baby worries. I feel so well-rested and, if not actually focused, more attentive to the things that matter than I have been in ages. Since Ingrid was born, really. For the first time in two years, I not only feel like writing but also seem to have the mental coherence to give it a shot. So look out.

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