dear nixon: volume 5

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.
And close.
And OPEN!!
AND 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.”

Very swordy.

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
STOP ROLLING

(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.

mama

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About ashley!

in love, obnoxiously happy, and up to a lot of awesome.
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