dear nixon: volume 6

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.

I mean.

(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.

Related:
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
RIGHT
RIGHT?!
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.

 mama.

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About ashley!

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