At just over a year old, the longest stretch you’ve ever slept at one time, in your whole entire life, is four hours.
This incredible event happened in the car on the way back from Nebraska, coming home from the 4th of July.
We were fairly certain you’d expired.
I used to feel like we were doing something “wrong” because you didn’t sleep like other babies WHO I HAD READ ABOUT ON THE INTERNET.
But hey, also judging from the Internet, the amber necklace you wear is a completely useless, albeit trendy, choking hazard, but it will magically help with your teething pain and drooling.
Co-sleeping is going to end with you being ruthlessly smothered, and probably sleeping with us until you’re like 15, but you also might wind up less anxious and more independent—
you know, if you survive.
Because you’re vaccinated, we don’t have to worry about you catching any of the fun illnesses best known from their roles in The Oregon Trail (ASHLEY HAS DIED OF DYSENTERY), but we do have to worry about what’s actually IN these vaccines, as well as how that manifests into horrible, disfiguring things that might make your legs fall off someday.
All that said, it took me almost this whole past year to have the realization that you sleep like you do because THAT IS HOW YOU SLEEP.
Likewise, daddy and I parent you and make the choices we’re making because that’s how we parent.
You are safe, loved and taken care of.
You eat everything.
You like books, sharing food with the dog, and waving to the water as the tub drains.
In the grand scheme of things, regardless of what the internet has to say about it, you’re turning out okay.
Because it’s winter, and also because we don’t have a cool slide or a neat mushy-bouncy floor, daddy and I have been taking you to the play place inside of the mall that has both of these things.
I have cursed myself approx. 700 times for not bringing wipes along with us to clean your hands afterward, and yet not once have I remembered to actually bring them.
I find comfort in the fact that probably it’s like immune system training.
One thing we’ve noticed in our recent goings is that Parents of the Play Place generally seem to favor referring to their kids’ ages by month. We’re either lazy or just not as into math as everyone else is, so while I think it’s rad when a mom can remember that her child is approximately 29 months old, we’re pretty firmly in the “oh, he’s one” camp if & when people ask.
You’ll upgrade to “almost 2” sometime this summer, dude.
Mama ain’t got time to math.
We also, contrary to the posted signage, smuggle in snacks for ourselves.
PLEASE NO ONE OUT US TO THE PLAY PLACE POLICE, just come sit with us and we’ll totally share.
In milestone news, this past month we ordered you your very own meal for the first time.
Up to this point, you could hang pretty well with the random slices-and-dices from whatever daddy & I ordered—
but lately, this practice has turned into you basically eating all of our food, and me sitting there like, WTF where did my sandwich go and why I am so hungry this is terrible.
It must be said: Chick-Fil-A is legit.
As a company, they have really shitty moral standards, but damned if they don’t also have clean high chairs, and really friendly employees with exceptional manners, and aren’t just wonderful as can be for offering GOOD fruit and grilled nuggets so I can feed you nice things.
Now that you’re fully mobile, you love helping clean up and put stuff away. Even at baby work, you’ll casually grab books off the floor and go put them back on the shelf like ain’t no thang.
It greatly distresses you that we won’t let you use the vacuum by yourself, which tells me that I’m more OCD about cleaning up than even I imagined.
Even at night, when you’re like OVER IT, LET’S SLEEP, you’ll still reach out and close the copy of Goodnight Moon in my hands, gently take it from me, and attempt to return it to its spot on my nightstand.
Also, a moment for how “goodnight nobody” just comes out of nowhere in that book and throws a nice, depressing wrench in things.
Here we are like, GOODNIGHT CARPET AND CROWN MOLDING AND MITTENS AND HAIR ACCESSORIES AND MUSH AND NOBODY.
What the hell, Margaret Wise Brown.
What were you even going through.
The other night at Target, you were pretty solid on the fact that you could carry our basket.
So we let you.
And for the 4 very exciting inches that you were able to travel with it, you were the proudest little boy to have ever existed at a Target, ever.
I love watching you do life, little dude of mine.
Things you’re really into this month:
– “Reading” in the car (which amounts to a lot of squeaks and various babble inflections as you turn the pages)
– Using the Nixon-sized broom grandma bought you to “sweep” the floor
– Mostly successfully feeding yourself with Nixon-sized silverware
– Successfully drinking from a straw, sometimes followed by a dramatic exhale wherein all the water you just drank runs down your chin like a waterfall
– Absconding with washcloths/napkins and using them to dust chairs… the cat tower… the cats… yourself
– Screaming, usually for no reason beyond it’s a skill you possess and would like to share with others
– Realizing that you can be chased, and joyously drunk-running away from us every time you remember that’s an option
– Bringing your snacks with you to sit directly in front of the vent every time the heat comes on
We got the raddest compliment the other day.
At a favorite local dive with the best breakfast burritos in town, the guy behind the counter commented on how much he enjoyed watching your daddy and I just playing and hanging out with you while we were there.
There is no greater compliment than one about how you’re NOT messing up your tiny human, man.
I’ve always made a point to high five (literally or verbally; usually both) other parents on their awesome human-raising skills, but hearing that, and the way I felt afterward, basically sealed the deal on wanting to keep it up forever.
I’mma be 90, blindly high-fiving my way through a crowd to be like, I JUST THINK IT’S WONDERFUL HOW YOUR DAUGHTER USES HER MANNERS WHAT A GREAT LITTLE SOUL
You make me endlessly proud to be yours, babycakes.
Well, would you look at that, my sweet little light.
You are a whole year old.
365 days’ worth of goodness & drool & fancy little man-pants.
I look back at pictures of you from a year ago—
the first time we met;
you being all glorious in the sunshine on your very first morning;
you in fuzzy dinosaur jammies on our first official day of maternity leave;
you, in your glorious brand-new-ness, all milk-drunk and snuggled up against my chest—
and I marvel at how you’ve spent the last year becoming this super-cool little being who can drink with a straw & eat pizza with us.
I am so, so overdue with this letter to you, ‘Cakes, because life.
In November, I started a new (amazing, incredible, “oh-my-god-is-this-real-life-and-I-get-paid-to-do-this?”) job, daddy started a new job, then it was your birthday, and like five seconds later, it was Christmas.
Any space in between, I was either
(a) placing tempting snacks above the sink to lure myself to wash bottles & pump parts,
(b) preemptively losing my shit about all the Things we needed to do/buy/wrap/experience guilt about in relation to Christmas and your first birthday, or
(c) actually losing my shit about all the Things we needed to do/buy/wrap/experience guilt about in relation to Christmas and your first birthday.
THERE WAS JUST A LOT GOING ON.
However, as tends to be the case with most things I barely hold it together about, everything worked out beautifully & we all survived.
I credit this mostly to the fact that your daddy is really, really good at balancing out my panic with this totally zen, “babe we got this don’t even worry” attitude.
Also to snacks.
Really, for your birthday, the only thing I was adamant about was that you have a giant balloon for the occasion, because there are so very few events in life that call for celebratory helium.
Done annnnnd done.
Initially, daddy and I were like, “We’ll just invite family over to do pizza and cake at our house, and it’ll be super chill and laid back.“
And then we remembered that we have a thousandy immediate family members, realized it would basically be the worst idea we’ve ever had to fit that many humans into the space where we live, and quickly came up with an alternate plan where we moved the party to somewhere at Not Our House.
At your party, you got your very own smash cake of the very same flavor and design that grandma Bridget had made for your Daddy to decimate on his first birthday.
Ever the appreciator of food, you deigned to actually smash your cake and opted to joyously pet the frosting around with a fork.
The highlight of your day, however, was climbing atop the four-wheeler you’d been gifted and realizing that SWEET MOTHER OF GOD IT MOVES
This is the actual moment of that discovery, and your face basically says it all.
Daddy & I were all ultra-cautious as you climbed on for your first ride, very parent-ly hovering alongside in case gravity decided to clothesline you—
but you were just like, NAH BRAHS, I’VE GOT THIS, IT’S COOL, and casually took off like you’d been driving for years.
On your real-actual birthday, we celebrated by having evening breakfast with grandma Sharry, grandpa Mike and a pancake shaped like a “1”—
a festive treat of which you were suspicious and maybe kind of judgmental.
WE WERE ALSO ABLE TO HAT YOU
WHICH WAS AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR THE GLORIOUS 3 SECONDS IT LASTED.
I’mma be honest with you when I say that your daddy and I didn’t buy you anything for Christmas this year.
Probably because we are jerks.
Mostly because I was already flipping out over how much Stuff you already own, how much Stuff you’d just accumulated for your birthday, and how much Stuff was still coming from two families’ worth of Christmas.
So, I mean, I guess if you look at it that way, what we actually gave you for Christmas was mama’s sanity.
Despite the fact that you’re currently growing in four of your upper-level mouth swords, you were so, so good and wonderful for all the holiday festivities. Snugglier than usual, but generally awesome.
You frosted (and by “frosted,” I mean “wildly flailed while holding a paintbrush loaded with frosting and some of it touched the cookie”) your very first sugar cookie;
you met Santa, an event during which you were FAR more concerned by the giant Chick-Fil-A cow wearing clothes that was standing nearby (which, fair);
you were thrilled that people were kind enough to give you bags and crinkly tissue paper, but weren’t entirely sure why anything else was included because HELLO WHAT MORE COULD YOU EVEN WANT THAN NOISES;
and you joined me for our very first Solstice celebration, where we set beautiful intentions for the new year & you were quite distressed that the flaming Yule wreath in the middle of the room did not wave back at you.
You’ve graduated from using “all done” strictly for food-related statements and now use it in ANY situation where you’ve decided you’re over it, thanks, make this be done.
You went from turbo-crawls, to tentative furniture-surfing, to OMFG HE RUNS NOW? over the space of about a month, and now, for the most part, you only walk like you’re 45% drunk.
You hug deliberately now, and the hugs know no bounds.
You hug the (very patient) Faces and Clementine.
You hug Ms. Lisa at baby work, and your friends at baby work, and sometimes the curtains at baby work, too.
YOU ARE REALLY GOOD AT IT AND EVERY TIME YOU DO IT I JUST MELT SO HARD.
Before we leave the house, you take epic delight in being the one to bring Clementine her “going into the kennel” treat. You get SO pissed off at us if we dare take this honor away from you & will make very displeased sounds at us to make sure we know.
You’re convinced you not only know how to put on your own shoes (you don’t), but also that you can put them on me. (Also, nope.)
You just, like within the last week, have figured out how to blow kisses.
This is basically accomplished by you smashing your palm against your face, sometimes while growling, and it’s amazing.
To my endless delight, you have favorite books, which you’ll either point to and announce, “buh,” or pick up, bring over to me or daddy, place in either of our laps and clap to signal, hi, I have brought you these words and it is time to read them at me.
MY HEART, BABY.
MY ENTIRE ACTUAL HEART.
You’re currently obsessed with this book you got for Christmas that has a panel of sound-playing buttons down one side, and you VERY SPECIFICALLY love the button that plays Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
This song is legit 45 seconds long, and if we dare cheat you of its full glory by canceling it out with another button—
say, the one that makes a two-second magic sound—
you will purposefully take the book back, push the Rudolph button, and then make the book dance to it with you.
This past year, I wore exhaustion like a badge of honor.
I’d never felt my heart break as wide open as it did the day I went back to work.
I fought long and hard to be able to nurse you, and I will forever count that victory among one of the greatest and most trying battles I’ve ever won.
I was really, really thankful for Amazon Prime.
I reveled in the way it felt like liquid sunshine every time I made you laugh.
I got to watch your daddy settle so very effortlessly into being your daddy, and I love him all the more for it.
I learned that humans can actually, for-real survive on nothing more than Ghiradelli chocolates, random muffins and a lot of water for weeks at a time.
Really, the only thing I knew for absolute sure this entire time was that I loved you, with every single fiber of my being, and somehow, that single certainty was enough to build an entire first year of motherhood around.
There have been a lot of really rad years in my life, but this one—
the one where I got to bring your bright light into this world—
This year, I learned how to be your mama.
We made it, little dude.
You are here, you are awesome, and you are one.
I love you so stupid much.
Earlier this week, we celebrated your very first Halloween!
There’s such a weird sense of pressure when it comes to first anythings, man, particularly first holidays.
Something about them takes on this impressive Sense of Meaning, because they have Never Happened Before, and you feel like you need to properly document them in order to fully capture the levity of how they were THE VERY FIRST THING.
Your first Christmas was easy, primarily in the sense that you were, like, two minutes old, and the fact that daddy and I showed up with pants on, (reasonably) alive, and with you was all that mattered.
But then you get to First Halloween, where—
and let’s be honest here—
the primary goal is to get cute AF pictures of you being very festive in your very first Halloween costume, not to mention find and/or craft said costume.
And the struggle to make that last part happen was real, because hashtag mama can’t sew.
We were also really limited in our costume selection because you continue to hate hats—
even the really super-cute, really super-soft buffalo plaid fleece ear flap one that I loved at Target.
WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LOVE THAT ONE
YOUR EARS ARE GOING TO FALL OFF THIS WINTER PROBABLY.
Your hatred of headwear rendered 90% of Nixon-sized costumes completely useless, because most of them were these cozy, bunting-style things with giant stuffed heads on them. The idea is that you’d wear the hood-head up and SUDDENLY TAH-DAH, you are a bear.
… except you’d be like,
THIS DEMON HOOD IS RUINING MY LIFE, BE GONE
and pull the head-hood off, effectively make it look like you were wandering around parading a recent kill over your shoulder.
(Which is an idea we could have totally gone with and really committed to, honestly. But I feel like we should save morbid humor until you’re at least two)
LOOK AT HOW RESPONSIBLE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME.
Thus, our costume quest for a non-hooded Halloween began.
The first stop was Once Upon a Child, where we had high hopes of finding you something adorable, warm and painfully cute.
Said hopes were quickly dashed as we thumbed through the racks and our options were basically pumpkin, pumpkin, is that a butterfly idk, that one has a tutu, and pumpkin.
In act two, we hunted for costumes at the actual store of Halloween, which lol forever why are tiny clothes NOT EVEN INTENDED FOR NORMAL LIFE so expensive?
There was this insanely precious gnome ensemble—WITH OVERALLS— that I probably would have attempted to put you in for normal life (because why limit the fun to just one day?), but its key defining feature (the delightful little gnome-beard) would’ve probably just pissed you off and/or been forcefully removed at its earliest opportunity.
So, solid nope.
End scene again.
For a hot minute, daddy & I briefly debated putting you in a dog costume. Because, hey, are they NOT designed for creatures that travel in the same manner you do right now anyway?
And how great would you look as a donut?
But ultimately, and through the power of an immense amount of felt, fabric glue and scissoring, I created you into a goldfish.
And being a fish is very exhausting.
Likely actually for real.
Because in my festive-fueled fervor TO CREATE, I neglected to consider the fact that you were basically wearing two pounds of felt & a metric ton of fabric glue.
Of course, I couldn’t just stop at crafting you into a tiny sea creature.
A…. SONfish….. if you will.
I decided the whole family would get in on the sea-themed fun.
Daddy would wear his waders & be a fisherman, you’d be our goldfishy, and I’d be a mermaid.
Except, as it turns out, waders don’t exactly mix well with dry land, so we got approximately zero pictures of this great idea.
This is what daddy looks like when he goes fishing for real anyway, though, so there’s that.
(Also, who knew they made fishing poles THAT TALL?)
During the day, we took you trick-or-treating around my work, the highlights of which included (1) you so thoroughly enjoying the Fig Newton from Ruth at the front desk that you made loud, ultra-pleased “MMMM!” noises with every bite we fed you; (2) you being offered a bowl of candy, into which you reached, grabbed a shiny Three Musketeers, then proudly dropped it back in because TAH-DAH; and (3) seeing a puppy, because any time any puppy is anywhere in existence, it is the greatest day.
Here’s you on your very first outdoor trick-or-treating adventure later that night, all cozied up in a giant fleece puff because climate:
The thing about having a non-walking human on Halloween is that there is no not weird way to trick or treat. It’s not like those miniature Snickers and shrunken bags of M&Ms going home for you, right?
Thus, we had a lovely time joining our friends (along with their superbly costumed troll doll & Hogwarts-themed offspring) in assuming the Attentive Parental Stand position at the end of numerous driveways, scoping out the assortment of costumes that paraded by.
I already can’t wait for next year, when we get to watch your sweet face come running back to us after every house, glowing with the pure joy of a rattling bucket full of candy.
Ten months old, dude, coming up on one month shy of a year before we know it.
Nine times out of ten, you’re the very first thing I see in the morning—
popping up next to me like little baby toast, your hair a puffy firework in the soft glow of not-yet-sunrise, waiting until you know I see you sitting there next to me before you bust out your first smile of the day.
Your current favorite toys include the plug to the space heater; outlets; Clementine’s food dish; water bowls; and anything small enough that you can push around the house and turn into a car.
Here and there, we hear words—
“mama”, “dada,” and “yeah” are the for-sures, but they’re not super consistent. Mainly you like to yell “mamamamamamamama” to summon my boobs, which you’ve recently decided are hilarious.
Your new thing is to stop nursing, pull yourself up to sitting, and then sit back to laugh at whichever side is exposed.
It greatly pisses you off if I cover back up before this important step is completed.
You are a total sunshine, baby boy, and I’m pretty sure life has never been as great as it’s been since you brought those glorious cheeks into our lives almost 11 months ago.
All my heart, all my life, baby dude.
it’s been nine whole months since the very last time I felt you kick.
Nine months since your daddy & I precariously balanced my phone on the frame inside the porch window, set the timer, and snapped what would be the very last picture of all of us in the “sunset.”
Nine months and assorted days since we brought you home, set your car seat on the living room floor, and looked at each other like, “OMG, we got to take him home and he LIVES with us now. WHAT.”
It’s been nine big, beautiful months of Pink Floyd onesies and striped pants, naptrapped afternoons and motorboat-noise mornings, first fevers and first foods, and somehow, sunshine and cheeks, you’ve now officially been hanging out with us for as long as it took to bake you.
High five and good job to all of us, WE ARE STILL ALIVE.
Back in those sunset days, before you tumbled Earthside and into our arms, everything your daddy and I did was punctuated—silently or otherwise—with, “This is the last time we’ll do _____ without having a baby.“
We were so very aware of that invisible, electric charge that surrounded us those last weeks of November and early December, our toes inching ever closer and closer to this new, divisive line marking “before you” and “after.”
Walking the mall, marveling,
“This is the last weekend, ever, that we won’t be parents.”
Leaving work, thinking,
“This might be the last time I walk out the back door until I come back from maternity leave.”
Sitting in a booth at Shari’s, saying,
“This is the last time we’ll go out to breakfast with this baby belly.”
Even on the morning you were born, I remember looking over at daddy as he started the car to go to the hospital and announcing,
“The next time we come home, we’ll have a baby.”
It’s such a crazy contrast, dude, when you compare the nine months of waiting to meet you vs. the nine months you’ve been in our lives.
As daddy so pointedly put it the other day,
“God. What did we even DO before we had him here to play with?”
At nine months—
and a rather tall nine months, at that—
we’re currently in this weird clothing purgatory where, apparently, there is no such thing as your actual size anymore.
THERE IS JUST A RANGE.
Out of the eight-frillion clothing companies in the whole entire world who manufacture tiny human apparel, it appears only about two of them are down to make clothes that are just labeled “nine months.”
For everyone else, it’s basically like, okay, this shirt can fit you any time from now until the summer, GOOD LUCK GOD BLESS.
All your tiny human clothes to this point have gone in nice, tidy three-month spans, and now suddenly everything is either 6M-12M, 12M-18M, or THAT IS CLEARLY MADE FOR GIANTS
HOW IS THIS EVEN FAIR
WHO DECIDED THAT HALF OF AN ENTIRE YEAR IS AN ACCEPTABLE RANGE FOR CLOTHING TO FIT
Further complicating matters, you still have some clothing marked 3-6M that fits, which doesn’t even make any sense BECAUSE TINY CLOTHING SCIENCE.
But I’m going with it.
Because damned if you won’t wear those cute pants with the monster on the butt until they’ve become capris on you.
THEY ARE ADORABLE.
In other exciting news, your hair game continues to be very strong.
Also, I think if you had the ability, you would happily trade us in and live the rest of your days with only Clementine.
You want to be in her food, while she’s eating it.
You want to high five her water, in the bowl, while she’s drinking it.
You want to be in her kennel with her, while she’s… in-there’ing.
You want to share all of your toys and snacks with her at any and every opportunity that presents itself.
Yesterday morning, you even woke up PRIOR TO DAWN because you’d apparently been waiting all night to shriek some vowels at her & you couldnot wait a moment longer to do it.
Bless her furry heart, for she is the raddest dog ever.
(You later shared this celery with her, by the way.
And by “shared,” I mean you basically shoved it into her mouth and pointedly made cheeks at her until she accepted your drooly offering.)
You’re in this painfully adorable stage right now where, every so often, you shove Wub into my face/daddy’s face/Clementine’s face, very generously offering to share your very favorite thing with us.
(And sometimes with our foreheads/eyes, whatever. Aim is hard.
I hear this is a recurring theme once you start peeing OUTSIDE your diaper.)
Clementine straight panics when you try to share Wub and friends with her, though.
After the Incident where she kidnapped all of your Soothies pacifiers & buried them outside the first week you were home—
… yeah, that was a thing—
she knows that she is not allowed to play with them.
But then here you are, shoving the Forbidden Object in her face with such joy, BASICALLY PEER PRESSURING HER, and so homepuppy will literally dramatically sigh, stand up, and walk away.
Like, she will exit her relaxing and just solid NOPE you.
We read/heard a lot of weird stuff about what we should do to “prepare” Clementine for you before we brought you home (playing a recording of a crying newborn? WHY THO), but apparently the method where we just showed up with a little homemade human & let her walk in to meet you worked out juuuuust fine.
For your very first daycare field trip, we went swimming—
an event to which I neglected to bring your swim trunks, and I didn’t even realize until afterward that I was fully That Mom whose kid was paddling around in just his reusable swim diaper.
BABIES ARE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR ALL OF US, OKAY.
Swim diapers suck for naps.
Do not let your baby nap in a swim diaper. That whole “not absorbent” thing is in no one’s favor outside of the pool, and especially not in a car seat.
Regardless of the fact that you were basically swimming in nothing but your baby underwear on your first chlorinated excursion, you were allabout that swimming pool life.
We floated around together, your tongue casually curled out the entire time, stopping occasionally to slap the water with glee before returning to the Zen Tongue state.
You also only tried to pull off my swimsuit top once, which I consider an impressive win.
Thus, we enrolled you in swimming lessons, the first of which was a couple of weekends ago.
“Lessons” is a loose term here; it’s basically like, six parent-kiddo pairs, ranging from 7 months to 2 years old, all milling around in the water while our very confused instructor tells us things like, “OK, let’s practice blowing in the water!” and encourages us to “help you” push off the wall with your legs.
I mean, her intentions are good.
If nothing else, it’s a rad excuse to go swimming, and you are dapper as all hell in your tiny plaid trunks.
Once upon half-of-your-life-ish ago, we used to attempt bedtime stories.
Being that you were mostly not mobile, this event usually amounted to your daddy & I snuggling into bed with you between us and attempting to get through a book before you got super pissed off that you couldn’t roll away.
BUT GUESS WHAT.
YOU LIKE BOOKS NOW.
You even have a favorite—
which fully trips me out, because you have favorites—
that you’ll pick out from all the rest and, with pointer finger at the ready, pet each and every one of the touch-and-feel pages.
It is so rad.
Consequently, I’ve now stocked you up with, like, 17 “touch and feel” books because AAAAAH AREN’T BOOKS COOL
HERE HAVE ALL OF THE BOOKS
BOOKS ARE THE COOLEST
Of all the months in your glorious little life so far, this is the first one where I’ve had that moment of, “good hell, where did my baby go?”
We were playing on the floor together—
glossy, sun-warmed wood scattered with colorful plastic links, splayed-open board books, the ever-demanding tambourine—
and I looked over at you, sitting up next to the doorway, so proud and confident and beamy.
You, just being this spectacular little human that is so decidedly not an itty bitty baby anymore.
You play peek-a-boo with THE ENTIRE OUTSIDE, using the curtains.
When we wipe your nose, you make motorboat noises with your lips because clearly that’s how mama & daddy do it.
You make “AH!” noises when you hear dogs barking or see the kitties and want to get their attention.
You half blow, half hum, trying to imitate the way daddy whistles to bring Clementine inside.
I wasn’t going to be this mom, you know—
wailing over WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE and WHERE DID MY BABY GO and GOD IT ALL GOES SO FAST.
But one day, it’ll be the very last time we watch you turbo-crawl across the floor.
One weekend morning soon, you won’t need to hold on to the ottoman to do your joy-fueled baby squats.
One afternoon, when I pick you up from baby work, you’ll just casually come strolling over to meet me instead of doing your usual happy-panting crawl from wherever you were sitting when I walked in.
And one very-early-o’clock, we’ll wake up to you saying real, actual words, evolved past your current “abababababa” and “amamamamama”-s.
But no how big, and smart, and good at unassisted squats you get, my little dude—
no matter how much further away you grow from the most beautiful 8-lb. burrito I’ve ever cradled in my arms—
you’ll always, always be my baby.
More than words, little man.
More than words.
Before you were born, we filled your bedroom with books—
little white shelves stacked two- and three-deep with pages full of syllables and stories, adjectives and adventures.
We strung a crocheted pizza pennant across the front of your crib, clothes-pinned tiny hats on a burlap clothesline above your dresser, and hung you a sky of puffy, crocheted stars.
Before you were born, I’d go and sit in your room—
me and the books and the pizza, and the puffy stars and your glossy-grey dresser—
and I’d rock barefoot, back and forth, in our green rocking chair, wondering what it’d be like to rock there with you.
I remember once looking over at the mirror on the door, catching my rocking reflection, and wondering,
how would I look when I was your mama? would I be different?
Would I still feel like me, when there was me plus you?
And how would you look, little light?
Whose features would I find when I traced the contours of your face?
I thought back on that the other night, sweet boy, as you and I snuggled together in that very same rocking chair.
Your bare little feet, peeking out of the green-striped jammies you’ve already out-talled;
your sleepy cheeks, tired-smushed against my chest;
your room around us so quiet and still, the puffy stars gently twirling in your ceiling-sky.
I hummed you back to sleep as we rocked there together, kisses scattered all across your forehead, gentle fingertip circles twirl-traced on your back.
And as you took a big baby sigh and fell back to sleep against my chest, I whispered back to the past version of me—
the one curious about who you’d be, and who she’d be, and what it would be like to welcome this whole entire being into our life—
and I told her,
oh, darling, it’s even better than you could ever dream.
Here we are now at eight months old, ‘Cakes, and you are crawling like it is your tiny job.
You spent weeks testing the waters, leaving the soles of your feet solidly pressed together like a little yogi as you sat on the floor, flung your arms outward, and threw yourself dramatically toward the objects you wanted.
Artistic flinging slowly progressed into tentative rolling, which progressed into this weird stretch of time where you’d more or less try to use your head to propel yourself forward.
It was hilarious.
Ultimately unproductive, but hilarious.
Once you realized you could get up on all fours, though, you went from tentative, slow-motion scoots to OH HEY I CAN GO PLACES, BYE FELICIAS in, like, 15 seconds.
Pretty much any time you’re even partially conscious now, YOU ARE READY TO CRAWL.
Within the first 24 hours of earning your crawling badge, you’d discovered that not ONLY do the cabinets on the TV stand open, but they also close.
AND OPEN CLOSE OPEN!!!! AND CLOSE OPEN AND
And then daddy & I found ourselves in front of the baby proofing section of Wal-Mart, sort of staring at all of it like, Is this our life right now? This is some kind of milestone, right?
We’re now realizing that the hardest part of baby proofing is actually remembering that, yes, we DID babyproof, and we can no longer just open cabinets like normal people.
Consequently, we’re about one Hulk-strong drawer/cabinet opening away from completely destroying our entire kitchen and entertainment center.
In other exciting news, your mouth is growing swords.
Apparently in most circles, they’re referred to as “teeth.”
So far, teething hasn’t been the monumental event from hell that Pinterest has warned me about.
You want to chew on life more then normal, be held a lot more often, and your nose has transformed into an impressive snot-faucet, but overall, you’re basically being a rockstar about it.
Although you give zero effs about those ubiquitous teething keys that go in the freezer (which actually kind of suck and don’t stay cold for very long anyway), you’ve been really into gnawing your bendy banana brush,slightly creepy looking berry teether, and the infamous Sophie the Giraffe, who gets dirty stupid quick and also who we’ve renamed “Spot.” “Sophie” just sounded hilariously overkill for a rubber animal toy, especially one resembling a cheap dog chew that spends 100% of its life getting gnawed on.
Diaper changes are super fun these days, and by that I mean you are an Olympian crossed with a spider monkey & I’m just in awe of the way you can deftly escape my attempts to diaper you.
It’s as though the feeling of the changing pad underneath your tiny bum activates the part of your brain that desperately wants to perform a complicated floor routine.
Changing your butt is especially fun because you’re in cloth diapers 90% of the time, and so not only are we wrestling you to stay still, we also then have to keep you in place while we faff around with 800 snaps.
THIS IS NOT A NEW THING, BRO.
YOU CANNOT WEAR NAKED PANTS
(Also, you have a promising career in gymnastics. If you ever make it to the Olympics, I’VE GOT STORIES ABOUT HOW WE ALWAYS KNEW.)
We officially have legit, “taken-by-a-real-live-pro-photographer” family pictures now—
shout out to aunt Naomi, WE LOVE YOUUUUU—
and I couldn’t possibly love them more.
JUST LOOK AT YOU AND YOUR FAT KNEES.
GOD I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
Daddy and I looking through all the pictures on the computer one night turned into daddy & I looking through pictures going clear back to your first day in life.
There’s us as three, for the very first time, just hours after you were born.
There’s you, all swaddled-up and sleeping; a happy, brand-new burrito with a fuzz-dusting of hair.
Those first smiles at barely a month old, beaming up from your cozy blanket nest.
Your story so far, collected in a digital stack of love & light and topped with glorious, glorious cheeks.
This morning, you woke up like,
WELP I AM AWAKE
HERE ARE SOME MOTORBOAT NOISES I’VE BEEN WAITING ALL NIGHT TO SHARE WITH YOU
And that’s such a perfect summation of you, ‘cakes, right in this moment.
Life is big and exciting and new, and if you’re awake, YOU ARE ALL ABOUT ALL THE THINGS.
I always want you to keep that spark, my sweet light.
To be continuously excited about life, and breakfast, and how the trees look when we’re on walks.
To wake up and see the world with these very same bright eyes, every single day, and to feel like every morning is a brand-new chance to find something new and awesome to be pumped about.
It’s my most important goal in raising you—
to forever foster your spirit and encourage & support you in being you, whatever shape or form that looks like as you start to come into your own.
Here’s to us, and to you, and to all the rad things you’ve still yet to do.
I love you, tiny human.