Two years ago this month, the stars quietly began to knit you together.
It’d be weeks before I had any idea, but there you were–
the very first twinkle of our Nixon, sleepily stretching into existence.
One year ago this month, I was going back to work after maternity leave.
You were just a week shy of being three months old;
I was a wreck.
Note this & know it well, my love:
Even though I chose to go back to work, it doesn’t mean that I love you any less ferociously, or that I don’t think you’re the coolest little human ever.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love spending time with you, or that staying home with you wouldn’t have been a grand adventure all on its own–
because all of these things are true.
I mean, look at you.
You are a tiny supernova of happiness.
I knew that our first beautiful, bewildering, bittersweet, momentous and magical 12 weeks together would likely be the only time we’d ever have like that—
and it made that precious, three-months-long pajama party all the more special.
… well, except for the last two weeks before I went back to work, when I was an anxious, terrified mess.
THAT WAS FUN.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night, shaking your daddy’s shoulder, because it was 2:27 a.m. and I just really needed him to tell me that, on your first day at baby work, you wouldn’t think I’d just left you and was never coming back.
I treated Google like it was a crystal ball, typing in a thousand questions about going back to work & waiting for The Perfect Answer That Made Me Feel Better to come up in the search results.
I’d get to the end of each day & feel a heavy, sinking sensation in my stomach, knowing that one more day was over and I was one day closer to everything changing again.
And godddd, change.
That’s always the kicker, isn’t it?
There you were, finally being more of a really fun little human, and less of a tiny, hungry squish with sound effects.
There we were, your daddy and I, all but just adapted to upending life as we knew, learning how to not sleep and how to exist as parents.
We’d established routines, come to peace with the fact that you went to bed at dusk and GOODBYE FOREVER PLANS TO DO ANYTHING—
and then maternity leave went and ended, and we had to re-figure-out every single thing, all over again.
It’s all this stuff you don’t really think about until you’re in the thick of it, and suddenly, you have to make room for the never-ending dance of pumping and cleaning pump parts and packing the pump bag.
For packing your bag for baby work every day.
For pumping at work, and making bottles, and cleaning bottles, and making sure the bottles made it to the baby work bag.
Finding room for making dinner and hanging out with you and hanging out with daddy and getting enough sleep and showering and taking care of the house and loving on the Faces & Clementine.
You know how everyone likes to say, “Everything changes when you become a parent!“
I WISH THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC.
But hey, babe. Guess what?
We did it.
We’re still doing it.
Life has this amazing way of continuing on, even if you’re suddenly tasked with accomplishing incredible feats like getting dressed while taking care of a tiny, angry human who just wants to be held and might actually combust with sadness if you so much as consider putting him down.
Even if you wake up every two hours all night long, and can’t get back to sleep in between, so, hey, you might as well Google some questions you have & now it’s four a.m. and congratulations, you get to learn what life looks like on 1.5 hours of sleep.
Even if you’re not sure you can really, actually do it.
Because you can.
Because we are.
Also, amen I love you leggings and dry shampoo.
This month, you’ve become reasonably great at pointing out body parts.
You know where “Nixon’s belly” is, where “Nixon’s eyes” are, and also, where your head is.
Only, it is not your “head”;
it is referred to only as your “bonk,” usually accompanied by this sort of dramatic bow as you point to it.
Your success rate of finding mine & daddy’s bellies, eyes, and “bonks” is probably like 75%, mostly accomplished through the element of surprise.
I can tell you that it is, in fact, possible to be proud of someone while they’re joyously stabbing you in your eye, for no reason.
Other cool activities you’re recently into:
- Helpfully following daddy or I into the bathroom, tearing off a few squares of toilet paper, and excitedly jutting your arm out at us to help show us what we’re meant to do with it
- Adopting a very chill lean in the bathtub, like you’re taking a thug bath, where you basically sink into the far back corner & have really terrible baby posture
- Yelling/shouting back at other babies or kids when we’re outside (or, more thrillingly, INside) and trying to match their decibel
- Half-shrugging and bending out a “don’t know” half arm, like you’re carrying an invisible tray full of questions, when we ask you something and you’re like, IDK
Our biggest big-big news lately is….
I WORE AN ACTUAL NOT-NURSING-BRA THE OTHER DAY EVERYONE.
… OK, that’s a lie.
Not the part about the bra, because that actually did happen, and it was a pretty damn glorious four-hour event. Kind of the difference between trading out yoga pants for good-butt jeans, where both are great, but one is greater-great?
Anyway, that’s not the big news—
though it comes in a close second, seriously.
The real big news is that you & I dropped our standing lunch date and you, tiny sir, are starting to transition from a two-nap day in favor of one long, late-afternoon snooze.
You’re basically an adult now.
This means that, for the first time since you started baby work, I now have this insane, one-hour chunk of time in the middle of my day, every single weekday, where I can just do Things.
I CAN DO ANY THINGS.
That first week without our mid-day hangout was bittersweet & weird.
I mean, that’d been our routine since basically Ever, you know? Even when you weren’t nursing, it was this great break in my day where I’d get to smush your cheeks & hear your giggle & get in 30 or 40 minutes of Bonus Afternoon Nixon time.
Now, here you are, going down for a nap with all the big kids, and I’m over here like OH MY GOD I HAD NO IDEA I COULD GET SO MANY THINGS DONE IN 60 MINUTES
Consequently, I am so on top of my laundry game right now.
With daddy going to work at Jesus Christ That’s Early-o’clock these days, weekday mornings are just you & me.
Did you know: It is possible to put on every article of clothing you need to (acceptably) leave the house, and do your eye makeup, while holding a small child?
WANT TO ASK ME HOW I KNOW.
The final step in our morning routine is doling out treats to Clementine and the Faces. Once you realized, OH MY GOD I JUST DROP THINGS AND THEY EAT THEM?!?!, giving the Faces their tiny cat-treats has become your new favorite thing ever.
You’ll stand there in front of each cat, treats in hand, and make sure they’re looking before you daintily tip your hand over and let the treat fall on to the floor.
When they eat it, you make sure to clap for them, and then you turn expectantly to me, like, I’ll have another.
You’ve also decided you get to run the show now when it comes to giving Clementine her treat, which is so cute it almost tangibly hurts.
Initially, you’d come to me for the treat hand-off in the kitchen doorway, then toddle your way over to Clementine’s kennel, let her take the treat, and we’d clap together when she took it.
Now, you take the treat and immediately hand it back to me.
You then proceed to lead me to the kennel; point emphatically to the spot where I need to make the drop-off; clap as Clementine takes the treat; then give me a very proud hug after I close the kennel door, because GOOD JOB MAMA DID IT!
Though being the Treat Master is definitely among your favorite parts of the day, the real
highlight of your morning is when we go outside.
Because that is where birds happen.
You are about birds.
You love coming out the door and discovering that BIRDS CONTINUE TO EXIST.
You point out the sky and the trees, but birds? Birds get an excited inhale, accompanied by the exclamation-point version of you pointing at the sky.
The other night, we even looked up bird videos on YouTube (they were meant for cats, but whatever), and you sat there in total awe, turning around to look at us every few seconds, totally amazed that HERE WERE BIRDS, and we had summoned them.
Magic times we live in, kiddo.
As much as I’m writing these letters to you, my tiny love, I’m also writing them for me, too.
Each of these letters serves as a tiny time capsule;
a way to save all the in-between moments of these sweet little seasons;
a way to revisit past chapters of our story, long after they’ve come and gone.
& this one?
This particular season right now?
This one feels like anticipation; of being so excited for an entire spring and summer just inches away from rolling in, and for you to have an entire season to fill with mud & dirt & rocks & exploring.
It smells like lavender baby bath bubbles; like the top of your head, snuggled in against my chest.
And it sounds like your giggles, in all of their forms;
the gaspy, “heh-heh-heh one you make when you’re super-pleased with yourself,
the one that rolls up from the toes up, and fills the entire room with your joy,
and my favorite one… the excited, drooly-smiled one that comes from seeing me through the screen of our open front window, walking up to the house when I get home from work.
I’m so glad you know that I’ll always come back for you, my little love.