mama magic.

It’s 15 minutes to midnight and I’m awake—
WE’RE awake—
from a combination of spooky dreams and a stuffy nose.

It’s been years—2 of them, in fact—
since I’ve been awake for this feeling;
that sense of late-night calm that comes from feeling like you’re the only one awake in the world;
the only one present for the sensation of walking the tightrope between night and day;
for the bleary quiet that doesn’t quite belong to either side.

A swaying snuggle, a rolled-up towel tucked in under your pillow,
a few forehead kisses wrapped up with a murmured “I love you, sweet boy“—
that was the magic trick that helped you find sleep this time.

Your heavy lashes casting dreamshadows over your cheeks;
your flannel-ruffled hair from rolling away from bad dreams for the early half of your night.

It’s a startling honor, the moment you fully realize your own Mama Magic;
that unique and astounding superpower to infuse tuck-ins with good dreams,
be the keeper of their special song about being a towel burrito;
rock away a bad dream and seal it with a forehead kiss.

I love that I get to have this super power for him;
I love that I get to have this super power because of him.

 

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&! dear nixon: vol. 19

this is you,
moments out of a mud puddle:

You, in our late-summer-lit yard,
punctuated by scattered flecks of mud and sprinkle-sparkles of puddle water.

You backed up your PowerWheel to the muddy banks, sinking in its plastic wheels just enough to stabilize it so you could leap off the back and land smack-dab in the puddle’s center.

By the time you finally emerged—
splash boots bogged down under the weight of half-a-puddle’s-worth of water,
mud-dots dashed to the very tips of your eyelashes—
there was barely a piece of your three-foot-tall existence that didn’t tell the story of where you’d just been.

The summer of two was bare feet on the concrete,
sitting on the sun-warmed porch steps,
watching you and the neighbor kiddos race down the sidewalk and across the yards between Miles’ house, Ya-Ya’s house, and Betty and Gary’s immaculate grass next door.

It was basement Nerf gun wars and front-porch bubble blowing.

It was the sound of roughed-up plastic Big Wheels racing around the parking lot up the street;
of your whispered, “Mama, can we get up now?” at 5:57 on the dot, when you pop up in bed like sunshine toast;
of your deep-belly giggles on the swings at the park.

It was the first season you dove in deep to make-believe and the power of conjuring up whole worlds in your tiny mind—
giving us a front-row seat to the daily specials of your restaurant (complete with a casual, one-elbow lean through the window of your play kitchen, inviting us in to play by asking, “Hi, what you want?”),
dashing through the house to employ your “SUPAH’ GECKO MUSCLES,”
or “shooping” elk in the bathtub.

We end-of-summer road-tripped, you and I,
reading our way through six hours of interstate while daddy was up hunting (or, as you told everyone, “hiking to shoop elk”) in the mountains.
After discovering the exceptional acoustic qualities of a McDonalds bathroom in North Platte, you serenaded the entire restaurant with your rendition of Imagine Dragons’ “Believer.”

With fall stretching out and settling in, I’m already excited for what this next season has in store—
the solid joy of stomping through a sidewalk’s worth of crunchy leaves;
the simple magic of catching snowflakes twirling down from the sky;
the moments of stopping to marvel at autumn-bedecked branches in shades of crimson and gold.

As my brilliant friend Kate put it recently:
Entire lifetimes are built around these moments and here we are, right in the middle of it all.

At two years, nine months old, you are a walking highlight reel.

  • The first day this summer you successfully rocked big-boy undies all day at toddler work, you could barely contain your joy. I’d barely crossed the threshold to pick you up before you ran over to tell me the news, and after I’d appropriately reacted with much gushing & high-pitched joy, you turned to Ms. Jeri and earnestly commented, “She SO excited.
  • Me, while snuggling you in for the night: “I am so happy to be your mama.”
    Nixon: “I am so happy to be your buddy.”
    And then, in the dark just above our faces, I see you raise a sleepy fist—which explodes with a whispered “pewwww” as soon as my knuckles meet yours.
  • Any time you toot loud enough for anyone else to hear, you’ll follow it up with a reassuring, “It not poop! Just fah-ts!
  • Me, whispering: “You’re my favorite boy.”
    Nixon, also whispering: “Can I fly my airplane inside your sleeve.”
  • Your current favorite jams: “‘Dat Feeling in My Pocket song” (Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake); “Pick me up, pick me up, bwee-ber” (Believer – Imagine Dragons); “Glitter and Gold” by Barns Courtney; and a rekindling of a longtime favorite, “Born on This Mountain” (the Benjamin Tod cover), which you request as, “Can we yiss-en to ‘da, ‘I was born on ‘dis mountain a ‘yong time ago, ‘fore ‘dey knock down ‘da timber and strip-mine ‘da hole’ song?”
  • Me, just after you’ve woken up from a nap: “Hi, baby! How was your nap? What’d you dream about?”
    Nixon: (shrugging) “Fruit snacks.”
  • Nixon: “I like your air.”
    Me: “Thanks, buddy! What does that mean?”
    Nixon: “You smell nice in here.”

When the doctor at urgent care asked how you got the popcorn kernel in your ear canal, you shrugged and replied, “With mine fingers.

40 minutes of search-and-rescue later—
including five unsuccessful attempts to flush it out with water,
three failed passes with an ear loop,
and one final try involving glue on the end of an otoscope—
the kernel you’d ever so carefully planted in your ear during nap time at toddler work dramatically popped loose.

Taking a big, deep breath, you happily exclaimed,
It feels SO good to be a brave boy!

That you are, my brave, sweet love.
That you are.

Here’s my promise to you,
from right this second until forever:

I will always leave room for mud puddles and explorations in “shallow wah-tah.”

There will always be time for adventure walks.

As often as it’s possible, I’ll choose to say “yes“—
whatever that looks like.

I will do all I can,
all the time,
to be part of creating magic with you.


 mama

that last piece.

It’s weird, right?
Having an emotional connection to a Command hook?

And yet here we are.

20180828_204811.jpg

First, it was the changing pad.

Rendered completely useless in the wake of a potty-trained, Paw-Patrol-undie’d little dude, and yet—
there was still something about letting it go that felt so much bigger.

Next, it was the cloth diapers.

Those little clouds of fluff represented hundreds, if not thousands, of hours—
of Googling the “right” way to wash and dry them,
of YouTubing how to put them on an actual tiny human,
of washing, drying, stuffing, folding,
of loading into the daycare bag each night like a puffy fabric rainbow,
of dunking and swishing every night and starting all over again.

Now, all that’s left now is that hook;

this simple, otherwise unremarkable detail tucked in between a bookshelf full of stories and a metal basket stacked with nighttime Pull-Ups.

Its existence is literally the least sentimental piece of Nixon’s entire room:
Its entire purpose was to hold wet bags, filled with dirty cloth diapers, in between wash days.

But there it is—
still in the same spot I picked out, somewhere in that hazy fog of early baby days, when I’d legitimately forgotten how to sleep.

Still in the same place it’s always been as we’ve made our way through two-point-eight years of tiny humanhood, falling ever-steadier in love with the greatest light of our lives.

Still in the same room where we’ve picked out bedtime stories and cooked pretend soup, raced tiny metal cars and stacked brilliant, if not doomed, towers from colorful wooden blocks.

… it’s ridiculous, right?

It’s a Command hook.

It’s a tiny, white piece of plastic.

And yet—
it’s the last piece.

Something about taking that hook down represents a transition between chapters that, no matter how closely you’ve been paying attention, kind of punches you right in the guts and creates a sharp, sudden intake of breath.

Life’s so brilliantly weird that way;
how it holds the capacity to channel such energy and sentiment into the tiniest, most insignificant elements.

How, every so often, something as small as a Command hook can remind you to pause;
to reflect;
to remember all the beautiful places you’ve been on your way to this one, and how many more you have yet to discover as you head out to explore from here.

dear nixon: vol. 18

my dearest ham and cheese—

Last week, you turned two-and-a-half.

In the smoky morning light of your half-birthday morning—
all of us snuggled together under the covers, your hair tousled a thousand directions from the adventures in your dreams—
I whispered,
Buddy, do you know what today is?

What IS it?” you asked.

It’s your HALF birthday! Today, you’re two-and-a-half years old.

In response, you grinned that sweet little grin, cheerily replied, “‘tanks! Can I have ‘quare crunchy cereals now?”, and then attempted to catapult yourself off the bed.

This is you at two-and-a-half:
a giant slice of “morning person,”
the very definition of “rise and shine.”

In the twilight of the day, we celebrated you with ice cream—
chocolate, at your request,
the scoop of which you ordered all by yourself, promptly knocked off the cone, then proceeded to use as paint all over the lower quadrant of your face.

This is us, two-and-a-half years into being a family:
messes and adventures,
early mornings and memories.

These days, your brain is up to the very greatest things.

  • You’ve casually renamed the “Little Blue Truck’s Springtime” to Little Blue Truck in Summer, and “Mighty, Mighty Construction Site” to Morning Struck-Shun Site, and will ask for both as such.
  • (in the bathtubNixon: “We need a brench.”
    Mama: “Can you tell me what a ‘brench’ is, buddy?”
    Nixon: “It is something you like. And something you sit on.”
  • This was your morning at toddler work the other day, because chalk is your life now:
  • Scene: Two Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door. Clementine is losing her mind because OMG THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE MAYBE THEY’LL PET ME CAN I GO ASK THEM;
    you’re losing losing your tiny mind because the dog is; oh, and you’re also shouting, “Who ‘DOSE? Who ‘DOSE?” as loud as you can.
    … it’s at this point I open the door.
    Jehovah’s Witness, taken aback: “… is now a good time?”
    Mama: “UH NO, THANKS FOR COMING BY” (door closes)
    Nixon: “… who ‘dat?”
    Me: “They wanted to sell us Jesus.”
    Nixon: “We no have ‘dat.”
  • (on the way seasons work)
    Mama: “… then winter comes after fall!”
    Nixon: “‘dat no sound good.”
    Mama: “Why not?”
    Nixon: “I do not yike dirt.”
  • The other day, you asked to hear “the fcking song,” and I began to die a slow, quiet death, wondering WHERE THE EFF DID YOU EVEN HEAR THAT—
    only for you to follow up with, “The F
    CKING song, mama! Where is f*ckin’?” and I realized you were asking about the “Where is Thumbkin” song.
    … y’all ever want a moment of reckoning about the adjectives you use in your life, go get yourself a toddler.
  • (while getting your diaper changed and staring up at my messy bun) “Mama! Your hair looks like Trolls movie!”
  • At uncle Patrick’s graduation last weekend, we were settling into our seats at the end of a row. I leaned over and quietly told daddy, “If buddy gets bored and starts losing his mind, I’ll just take him out in the lobby to walk around.
    Like 30 seconds later, you calmly hopped off of my lap, held out your hand, and announced, “I losin’ my mind. We have to go.

It’s that perfect part of the day between 6PM and 7PM, and we’re at a BBQ with friends, soaking up those gorgeous, dusky rays of sun that feel like the very epitome of a summer night.

One of the kiddos in attendance announces, “I’m going to do somersaults!”

As she launches toward the grass, you take off toward one of the patio tables—
where you grab an object off the tabletop and triumphantly run with it toward the somersaulter.

I see her confused face as you approach, so I helpfully explain,
I think he’s bringing you… a salt shaker? Just go with it?

It’s then, in a glorious moment of realization, that your daddy grabs my arm and goes, “Babe. He heard her say she’s doing ‘somer-SALTS,’ and he went to get her some salt.

And there you are, beaming so proud because you helped your friend.

… oh, my dude.
I have never been more delighted about the inner workings of your brains.

We’ve been in our house for almost five years now—
the place where, after we’d walked through it with the then-owners for the first time, I ugly-cried in the dining room because I loved it so much.

It was like, somewhere deep in my bones, I already knew it’d be the place we’d bring you home.

I remember sitting in the backyard,
literally barefoot and pregnant,
dreaming about what it’d be like to play in our yard with you.

& now here you are,
constructing a little backyard universe made of sand and water-table splashes,
punctuated with tiny power-Jeep revs and the “plink” of a little metal watering can.

Two-and-a-half years we’ve been doing this thing, sweetness and light.

I’m going to tell you a secret:
I only kind of know what I’m doing.

But to be totally honest?
I think it’s more fun this way.

Where would the magic be if there was nothing new to figure out, right?

All things considered, we’re both still pretty new to this whole gig—
so I say, let’s just keep giving ourselves some grace, do it up big, and figure this all out as we go.

I’m in if you are, sweet boy.

mama

dear nixon: vol. 17

my brave & brilliant little sunshine-ball:

Remember how I thought I was a wreck when I took you to baby work for the first time?

LITTLE DID I KNOW I HAD SUCH UNTAPPED POTENTIAL TO BE FAR MUCH WRECK-IER.

All the way back in January, we found out that our beloved miss Lisa (your “Yeesa”) was going to retire from doing baby work this summer.

Being that she’s the only other person outside of family that’s ever kept you for us, the idea of leaping into a world full of strangers and being like, “Hey, want to hang out with my kid for many hours during the day?” was absolutely horrifying.

Knowing full well how great I am with sudden change (read: absolutely not at all), the Universe threw me a giant, glitter-laden high five. In the space of like, four days, we went from planning to call around and put you on waiting lists, to finding you a serendipitously open spot at miss Jeri’s and setting you up for your first day there.

Switching you to a new place was basically the Second Coming of when you went to baby work for the first time.

You’re my dude, you know?
I’m in charge of making sure you’re surrounded by adventure & awesome & love & good people.

It was one thing to hand you off as a squish when I went back to work;
it’s completely another to have you be a whole little human this time, complete with little manners & a love for reading books & the ability to realize that, oh hey, mama’s dropping me off with a whole bunch of people I don’t know and I’m just supposed to be cool with it.

As an adult, I would not be cool with it.

It effs me up to think too hard about the very basic mechanics of how having other people take care of you works, to be honest.

Like, yes—
I know all the benefits of you being around other tiny humans, and we’d never leave you in the care of anyone we didn’t wholly trust, you’re surrounded by fantastic things to do, all of that.

But.
At the end of the day, the very basic fact is that, at least until you found your tiny groove amongst your tiny tribe, I was basically being like, “Hey, so, have fun with a whole bunch of new people you don’t know; I’m going to bail and be gone for a lot of hours, but it’ll be cool.”

YEAH THAT’S SUPER RAD.

As it turned out, you are resilient and brave AF.

For all my anxiety and catatonic panic, we rolled in to miss Jeri’s for your first day & you were so totally freaking chill I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Before you fully bailed on me to go cook in the play kitchen, you casually turned around & asked, “You go work, mama?

… why are you the coolest human.

Very clearly, my love, YOU weren’t the one I needed to worry about at all.

This month, in “dude, where’d did you even get that“:

  • Mama: My windshield is so dirty! How should we clean it?
    Nixon: … I KNOW SOME’FING!
    Mama: What should we do?
    Nixon: Washing ‘sheen! (washing machine)
    (a few blocks later, when we pull up to the house)
    Nixon: … wait. No washing ‘sheen. It down’tares.
    Mama: That’s a good point, buddy. What should we try instead? Maybe the car wash?
    Nixon: Car washing ‘sheen! YES. YET’S DO IT!
  • “I need crunchy cereals. They feel me better.” (your version of “make me feel better”)
  • (Dada, wearing new shoes)
    Nixon: Ooh, ‘dose nice! Where you get ‘dem? In mail? I got mine at’s grocery shopping.
  • (singing, twirling the stars above your dresser) “Twink-uh, twink-uh, ‘ittuh stahhs…. (song abruptly ends) how you? You good?”
  • (reading, upon your insistence, the “book” attached to the cord for charging your baby monitor)
    Mama: … and the baby was safe because he didn’t play with the cord! OK, buddy, your turn. What happens next?
    Nixon (after a long, thoughtful pause): Brown.
  • Nixon: Mama, would you like some waffles?
    Me: Actually, can I have… three pizzas instead?
    (gently reaching out and cradling my chin in your hand)
    Nixon: No, mama. Only waffles. Only waffles today.
  • (while opening up your Easter eggs)
    Mama: Wow, dude, the Easter bunny sure got you some good treats!
    Nixon, walking to middle of living room and yelling toward front window: THANK YOU EASTER BUNNY I HOPE YOU GET SOME MORE GOOD TREATS

You’re in this weird phase of “almost” with holidays, where mostly you get what’s happening, but not 100%.

Since we’re not religious even a little bit at all, explaining Easter was weird.

Like, seriously—
when you’re old enough to start asking how and why there’s a giant bunny and his sole purpose in life is to hide eggs full of snacks around the yard, and it’s totally okay to eat them & not weird at all… I don’t even know.

This year, though?
This year, all you needed to hear was that an “Easter tie” would be involved, and you’d get to hunt for eggs full of snacks (“Like crunchy sear-uhls?” “Yeah, love, like crunchy cereals! And chocolate, probably,” “Oh! I LIKE ‘dose!“), and you were totally set.

Also, apparently you’ve been practicing hunting for eggs in secret, because you slayed the Easter egg hunt we went to with an astounding level of focus and speed.

Your face, man:

Oh, and ALSO THIS.
JUST SO MUCH THIS:

That delicious amount of melty cheese is 100% in honor of the fact you finally got to wear the “Easter tie” you’d seen perched on one of your bookshelves for weeks, and you were so immensely proud of its existence.

When grandpa found out you were wearing one, he made a last-minute trip to the store, ON THE DAY OF EASTER, just to purchase a bowtie so you could match.

When we walked in their front door, the glee on both of your faces was palpable.

These days, I’m trying to be better about saving space for myself.

I find that space where I can—
in 25-minute, middle-of-the-day slow-rolls through Hobby Lobby;
in nights where the house is quiet and dim and slow;
in post-bedtime Target trips, where it’s barely 8 o’clock but feels like the middle of the night, and I always find myself looking around incredulously like, oh my god, we’re all out so LATE.

I’m also working to get to a place where I can wholly remember that the dishes,
the laundry that needs to go from the washer to the dryer,
the sticky dinner table,
the rice all over the floor under your chair,
all of that—
they’re all just things.

Things won’t remember if I let them sit for a bit so I can focus on something else.
You will.

Even after all this time, I still get totally psyched to come pick you up at the end of the day.

I love that moment when I open the door and you come flying across the room, eyes bright and arms wide, rushing up to announce, “MY MAMA HERE!

If I stay standing, I get leg-hug;
a sloth-style throwdown with your little arms wrapped just above my knees.

But if I bend down?

When I bend down, I get your little arms wrapped around my neck, too.

I get to feel your sweet, smushy cheekies squished up against mine,
and I get to smell your rumpled-up boy-hairs,
and I get to feel the weight of your body happy-smushing into me like I’m the greatest punctuation mark in the entire sentence of your day.

The only difference between those two outcomes is my taking the time to bend down and meet you at your level.

It is so, so much better if only I give myself the room to bend down and meet you where you are, rather than stay rigid and inflexible.

And if that’s not one of the most powerful lessons I have learned so far in this mama life, I don’t know what is.

Always here for the snugs, my love.

dear nixon: vol. 16

my tiniest homeslice —

I keep meaning to write you,
but then I fall asleep snuggling you to bed instead.

… annnd that is basically the most accurate representation of where I am in my life right now.

This month, in “where did you even get that who is in charge of you”:

Me: Okay buddy, let’s get our lives together!
Nixon: Oh, that’s very sad.

– If you inform us you are leaving, and then wave, you admonish us with a stern, “Wave BACK at me,” if ever the enthusiasm of our returned waves is not to your standards

– “I’a big boy. I no scared of mon’stuhs. Or boo-ghost-ses.”

Friend at dinner: Nixon, can I have a high five?
Nixon: No. I very busy.

– Somewhere, you’ve picked up, “No, t’anks. I just fine,” and it’s one of my favorite things in the entire world. I will legitimately ask you questions with the sole goal of getting you to reply with this statement

– “Wow! ‘dat’s magic!” (on the occasion of peaches arriving on your plate)

– You’ve decided that sometimes your name is “Esteban… mag’niff’sint,” a transformation inspired by a character in The Day the Crayons Came Home and usually accompanied by you dashing around the house at high speed. Some kids pretend to be superheroes; you pretend you’re a crayon

– Out of nowhere, you’ll recite passages you remember from Little Blue Truck and Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana. It’s especially delightful when we pass bananas at the grocery store, and you delightedly exclaim, “Mama! ‘dose nanas are NO BAD!

– … you’re really into toe lint right now? It’s a multi-step investigative process, during which time any offending lints MUST be quashed. If they follow you into the bathtub, you’re insistent that we use a tiny teacup to catch them, lest they touch you or similar

– Recent additions to the Nixon-ary:
peenie butt-uh – peanut butter
c’unchy seer-ulls – any kind of cereal
appuh-joos pie – apple juice pie (I have no idea, you just started making it in your pretend kitchen one day and I’m just going with it)
struk-shin’ site – any place in existence that has a large piece of machinery on it

At two years & a dusting’s worth of months old, you are everywhere, all the time.

Every so often, I let you take my phone’s camera along for the ride.

You love trying to position yourself just right so you can “TEEEEEEEESE!” with Clementine or the Faces next to you;
you patiently narrate the landscape of tiny cars, books, and little metal planes as you stroll on by.

You instruct, “Mama! Dada! TEESE wif’ me!

And when you come back from your ecstatic adventures, my camera roll is filled with small snaps of life at Nixon height.

I forget, sometimes, that the world is a lot shorter where you are;
that your vantage point, some three feet lower than where I see life, is filled with everyday magic I could so easily miss.

Thanks for reminding me, wise and tiny one.

When I look back on this season, I’ll remember your little weight on my lap, fresh-‘outta-the-tub warm and wrapped in a towel, listening to “t’wain song“:

I’ll remember the lavender-sweet smell of baby chest rub from the blue-and-white jar, and the warm, oddly cozy scent of Mustela shampoo.

I’ll hear your little voice calling to daddy, “You can’t get dis WUBBY!” followed by your delighted, from-the-toes-up giggles when daddy takes the bait and chases you through the house.

I’ll remember the way you ask me, “Where goin’?” when we get in the car, followed up by “Where IS it?” when I tell you.

I’ll remember scattered living-room-floor treasures, pom-pom puffies in all of your pretend cookware, and how very seriously you consider your options before choosing which books you want me to read.

I’ll remember it for banana snacks in the grocery cart, ketchup with everything, glass straws in tiny smoothies, and your joy at finding a pickle inside your burger sandwich.

I swear, with every season of you, I stop and think, “How is the next one ever going to top THIS?“—
forgetting that, without even trying, it will.

Some days, I wonder how someone so small can be so pissed off;
so kind;
so observant;
so smart.

It’s fascinating, the way you are a living, breathing example of one of the rawest stages of human development;
that so much of what you do right now is driven by the sheer, primal force of “want.”

There are days that you floor me with your compassion; an accidental kick when we’re snuggling on the couch is immediately followed by an unprompted, “I sow’ee, mama; I no mean hit you. I sow’ee.

Other times, you lose your tiny shit, and all bets are off.

Every limb on your person launches into a full-force anger flail, like your rage is attempting to do cartwheels, and your daddy and I are standing there staring at each other like, “Well this is impressive and terrible.

Sidenote? Nothing prepares you as a parent for that first Epic Melt.

To be totally real with you, I think our initial reaction was to just stand there in awe.
I actually remember a moment where we locked eyes and it was clear that neither of us had a solution, but DUDE DO YOU SEE HOW PISSED OUR CHILD IS RIGHT NOW
OMG

We reconvened later and were like, “Yeah, so we should probably figure out something… solid… we want to do next time.

Parenting 101 right there, buddy bro: Figure it out as you go.

Really though, it absolutely blows my mind that you have such strong opinions and preferences already;
that you have much opposition for applesauce, standing requests for your favorite songs on YouTube, will immediately start your half-bent-arm jam any time one of YOUR jams comes on, and will happily select from the same inner circle of favorite books, over and over.

There are a lot of rad things about getting to watch your kid grow up, but simply stepping back to marvel at you, right where you are?

That’s one of my favorites.

I’ve found an unexpected beauty in unplanned days home with you.

Sure, it’s because you’re a snot factory, or coughing your little lungs out, or hurling all over our house—
but also? It’s a little pocket of bonus time where we just get to hang, at a time we usually don’t.

There’s a quiet grace in these days;
these moments of weekday magic where we get to spend our afternoon on the couch, reading books, eating macaroni cheese, and taking it slow.

We always have our weekends, but to get nap-trapped on a random Thursday with your fevery little cheek crashed out on my chest?
Or to spend a Monday late-afternoon all blanket-burrito’ed with you on the couch?

It’s like a weird little balm to this working mama’s soul, getting to be a part of your day in the spaces I’m normally not.

There is an easy, lazy joy in the days where I get more of you.

It happened out of nowhere.

“Hey, mama? You my best f’end. We bes’ buddies. I ‘yuv so much.”

WHERE DID THAT EVEN COME FROM HOW ARE YOU FOR REAL

It was one of those glorious moments where so much good is happening, you basically can’t move a muscle except for your bottom lip to automagically pouf out & your eyes to start filling with tears.

You, having absolutely no idea the gravity of the situation, uneventfully went back to touching your dinner—
that’s a thing you do now, where instead of actually consuming food, you appear to believe you can absorb its nutrients through careful inspection and squishing—
and meanwhile, I’m sitting there making Did You Seriously Just Hear That, I Am Dead Now eyes at your daddy.

YOU ARE JUST THE GREATEST LITTLE HUMAN.

And p.s.?
I ‘yuv you so much, too.
– mama

&! dear nixon: you are 2!

happy two, my little light!

TWO, dude.
TWO.

I still remember the night we brought you home—

we walked through the front door, gently settled your car seat on the floor, and then had this moment where we looked at each other like… oh holy shit the baby is at our house.

See, when you’re New Parents at the hospital, everything that happens only feels half real.
That whole place is weird & unfamiliar, so all that takes place within that space almost feels the same; like it’s all still for real, but only just sort of.

Then you get home, and you suddenly have this brand-new human in your living room, and you’re standing there going, okay but do we have somewhere we can put the baby when we’re not holding him? because I don’t know and I really didn’t think much about that part before we left the house, and I can’t just put him in his crib because WHY IS IT SO BIG WHEN HE IS SO SMALL and it looks like a baby jail

Your first night home, you slept next to our bed in this crazy circular bassinet.

We’d had your crib set up down the hall from for months, but that distance was basically next door as far as I was concerned & ALSO HOW WOULD I KNOW IF YOU GOT COLD OR GOT BORED WITH BREATHING
ARE YOU SURE WE CAN JUST…. BE SLEEPING?
WHAT IF HE WAKES UP AND WANTS TO HANG OUT

I was a delight.

As it turned out, the sides of your bassinet were too tall for me to peer over and spy on you, so I spent most of that first night popping up like manic toast, alternating between checking to see if you were cold (HEY BABY IT’S ME AGAIN, YOU COLD BRO?) and checking to see if you were still breathing.

It all feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago—
the late-night nursing sessions where I felt like the only person awake in the quiet, dark world;
the little squeaks you’d make before passing out in a chill milk coma on my shoulder;
how I gave you Friar Tuck hair on accident like, one week in, because I read that exfoliating your scalp with coconut oil would help cure your cradle cap, and all it wound up doing was ERASING YOUR HAIRS AND I AM STILL REGRETFUL ABOUT THIS.

It’s amazing how clear some of those memories stand out still;
the raw fear, the fierce love,
the tiny triumphs, the tears.

If I could go back and talk to brand-new-mama me?
I’d tell her that all the questions you have, and all the things that intimidate you the most, and all the tiny, important pieces that don’t show up in the books or the blogs—
those are the pieces you wind up knowing by heart.

Because, somehow, all the answers are already tucked away inside of you, waiting to be unraveled and known as soon as you need them.

You spent your second birthday introducing yourself to fish at the Denver Aquarium.

During our time in the magical world of contained aquatic life, you were at first intrigued by the pettable pool of stingrays because you thought they were dolphins, then immediately wanted to bail upon learning they were not;
were absolutely terrified by the pretend “flash flood” exhibit, quietly summing up your experience with, “I scared; da-da keep me SAFE“;
and finished out the day with a nap so epic, it looked like you’d melted into your car seat.

Oh, and in a perfect summation of the kind of tiny human supernova you are right now, you happily replied, “Happy birthday to YOU!” every time anyone told you the same.

I’ve yet to stop being in awe of the fact you chose us to do life with you.

On Christmas Eve-ternoon, you went sledding for the very first time.

You spent the entire drive there making sure we were still, indeed, going (“Goin’ said-in?”) and then asking everyone in the truck, including Stines, if they were excited. (“Mama, ‘cited said-in, too? Dada, ‘cited, too? Puppy, you ‘cited?“)

Then there was a construction site across the street from the spot of said sledding, fully stocked with a herd diggers, and your day leveled up SO HARD.
(You’re still talking about that, by the way; you just randomly inform me, “Struck-shun site, mama! And said-in! Diggers by said-in!)”

My dude, you rocked the sledding hill like such a tiny champion.

The first time down, you went all by yourself, and would’ve continued to do the same on every run thereafter if it wasn’t for me & daddy insisting that we go on a few with you.

This very same bravery fuels your urges to scale the kitchen cabinets (on downward-curved pulls, no less);
to climb the metal laundry rack downstairs like it’s a ladder;
and to park your scooter next to the cat tower so you can stand on it to pet Ella & confidently inform me, “Not fall, mama!” the entire time.

It’s badass & brilliant & also incredibly cool.

… also scary.

Also that.

Right now—
while you’re still little, and while we’re all still trying to figure out this whole “life” thing—
right now is the very best time to start instilling in you what it means to be a good human, and what it looks like to be part of our family.

With that comes trying to figure out the magic & traditions that we want to incorporate into our holidays;
the things we do that make it special, the way we go about savoring it while it’s here, and how to go about keeping you focused on the good that comes from experiences and adventures, instead of focusing on how many presents are under the tree.

It’s about deciding what it looks like to celebrate birthdays,
and every single day, and each other;
how to create for you a safe place to have big Feelings;
how to do the very best job we know how to shape you into whoever you want to become.

With that comes passing on examples of how to leave the world a better place, how to be a kind human, and encouraging you to do the same;
how to prioritize the acts of being present, being positive, and being patient, and giving ourselves grace when we mess up.

It’s a process that’s going to forever evolve and grow, just like we do.

Within that, I’m excited to leave plenty of room to make messes & explore;
to try new things, get rid of heavy things, and prioritize important things.

But most of all?

I’m so, so excited that we all get to do all of this with you.

love and light and smushy stuff,
mama.