dear nixon: volume 4

you are officially seven beautiful months old, ‘cakes.

Seven whole months of sniffing your head, making fart noises on your cheeks, singing you songs about changing your butt, and marveling over what a rad little human you are—
and we’re still just getting started.

It is so cool to mama you.


In the past month, you’ve mastered the impressive art of sitting up unassisted.
Consequently, I am now having THE best time putting you places and watching the magic happen.

Like, you don’t even know how great it is that we don’t HAVE to haul your car seat in & out of places if we don’t want to.

I can buckle you into the cart at Target, and THERE IS ROOM FOR PURCHASES.
I can actually make use of the impossibly small Hobby Lobby carts (which, seriously, whose idea was that to make them so miniature when the majority of the store’s wonderful wares are the size OF the cart?).
I don’t have to perform random acts of child-carrying CrossFit just to enter and exit the grocery store.

IT IS SO GREAT.

The best part of this whole “sitting” deal is that you’ve convinced yourself that you can lift up into a sitting position, from laying down, without any help.

You’re SO thoroughly convinced of your own sitting-up abilities, in fact, that you attempt to invoke them the second you wake up.

We can gauge when you’re officially-actually awake & not just bridging sleep cycles, because you’ll go from eyes closed, fully baby-crashed, to flopping around like HI CHECK IT OUT I AM BABY TOAST and trying with all your tiny might to pop up into a sitting position.

It’s pretty freaking cute.

EXCEPT when you were doing it the other night at like, 3AM.

That was not cute.

While mama loves you and fully embraces your excitement about developing motor skills, there is a time and place for them and I assure you, it is not 3AM.


Here are your very favorite things about being seven months old:

  • bath time in your rad inflatable tub
  • panting when you’re excited, usually accompanied by waving arms and legs to fully punctuate your joy
  • green beans, marinara sauce and sauteed mushrooms
  • your Manic Tambourine Toy, the singing lady inside of which will frantically demand, “Shake, shake, SHAKE!” if you it sit still for too long (the last “shake” sounds like suspiciously like homegirl is on the verge of losing her shit)
  • developing a power arm juuuust as you’re falling asleep and launching your Wub across the room at like 60MPH
  • watching videos of yourself, during which you’ll be very pleased and occasionally offer commentary
  • randomly shouting and/or shrieking, then holding the last note for longer than I’d ever imagine your lung capacity could go

It continually blows my mind that, every afternoon, the chubby-cheeked, beautiful-eyed sunshine droplet sitting in the middle of the rug at daycare is lighting up because he sees me.

And reaching out his joyous little arms because he wants me.

And kicking his legs with glee because he just realized I’m there, and I am his, and he wants nothing more than for me to snuggle him up.

Have I told you lately that I love you so much it makes my breath catch?

28441606872_c88ae0ddbb

Or that I live for being the cause behind one of your joyous, full-body giggles, and for the way it feels when you snuggle in & happysigh against my shoulder?

Because dude.
I do.
A thousand times over, I do.

You are sheer, wonderful magic in its most pure and fascinating form, and I love seeing the new ways it manifests with every new stage.


Recently, you’ve discovered that (1) my boob does not actually disappear once I’ve covered it back up after nursing and (2) if you dive-bomb at said boob while you’re sitting on my lap, you can nurse sitting up.

I know.
You were pretty impressed to figure this out, too.

The first time you landed a “bullseye,” you immediately popped back up and gave me this huge, gummy grin—
like, OMG DID YOU EVEN SEE THAT THOUGH—
and then went proudly and deftly back in for round two with the stealth & speed of a pouncing snake.

Or a striking snake.

Whatever the thing is called where snakes just rear back & then go in for the kill really fast, THAT.

In short:
Life with you will never, ever be boring.


The closer & closer you’re getting to crawling, the more and more intentional I’ve become with savoring you at your most peaceful and still.

I soak in those little lashes, falling like feathery curtains over your tiny baby dreams.
And the way your sweet breaths sound.
And how those precious cheeks smush with such reckless, melted abandon.

My primary goal in parenting you is to fully embrace every single season, and to live in each moment of it as fully as I can.
I don’t want to look back and realize that I wasn’t present enough;
that I didn’t seize each season’s most magical parts as often as possible.

This season won’t last forever, tiny love.

So in the meantime, while we’re right here in this season’s halcyon, I’m soaking up every golden second—
and then it’s on to the next one, where we’ll do it all over again.

See you there, squishy love of my life.

28568307515_820c1cee63

I love you more than pizza.
mama.

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dear nixon: volume 3

Holy cow, sweetcheeks—
has it really been six whole months since we first met?

I remember the feeling of holding you for the very first time;
seconds new to the world, wrapped up like a tiny burrito, laying in my arms on top of the very spot where you’d been hanging out for the previous nine months.

That part always floors me the most, man.

Like… I grew you.
I sort of suck at flowers, but I grew a you.

In the space of seconds, you went from being a blurred, curious little entity that we’d wondered about for months, to this living, breathing, tangibleyou.

I remember the way it felt to look over and see you, the most beautiful dreamer, fast asleep in the sunlight of your very first morning.
It was the weirdest and most beautiful feeling, having it sink in that you were mine—
you were ours
and here we all were in a brand-new chapter, where we got to figure it all out together.

Six months going on forever, cakes.
This chapter is pretty cool.


The last month has been one of big-deal milestones for you, including going from “I can roll, probably” to “I EFFING LOVE ROLLING”;
being able to sit up on your own, without immediately folding in half like a little yogi;
and, much to my personal delight, sitting in an actual restaurant high chair for the first time.

I still dork out super hard because LOOK HUSBAND
LOOK HOW THE BABY IS AT DINNER WITH US

You particularly love Chick-Fil-A because they provide you with a little plastic place mat—
sidenote; hi, chikin people, you are the greatest for stocking each & every high chair with said place mat and a pack of sanitizing wipes, I love you
anyway, that little plastic place mat apparently tastes fantastic.
You plunge your hand into it like it’s a puppet and proceed to eat your fists with renewed fervor.

As for the whole “actual eating” thing, we’re just getting started on that now that you’ve hit six months.
So far, you’ve had (and by “had,” I mean “gummed the hell out of and then rubbed all over your face”) banana, cucumber, a biscuit, some green beans, and a few of the weirdo Chick-Fil-A fries that come out looking like baseball mitts.

Your general reaction is DAFUQ IS THIS.


So, I have boobs now.
MUCH TO MY ALARM AND SURPRISE.

When the nice saleslady at Victoria’s Secret informed me exactly how much boob I’m now responsible for, I may or may not have laughed in her face.

And then I went into the dressing room with the new bra size she gave me, and WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT.

I then proudly proclaimed, “I have BOOBS now!” to which—
without missing a beat, from the other side of the dressing room door—
your daddy (equally proudly) replied, “Oh, I KNOW.”

And that, darling boy of mine, is just one of the many reasons I know your daddy is a keeper.

(Also? I’m pretty sure these are just “loaner” boobs until you’re done nursing, so I’m mainly recording this for posterity.

THERE WAS INDEED A TIME THAT I WAS STACKED, AND IT WAS NOW.)


The other weekend—
after we’d tucked you in, and after I’d spent my requisite five minutes appropriately marveling over what a beautiful little sleeper you are—
I was sorting through a massive basket of all your too-small baby clothes.

There was the plaid, fleece-lined lumber-jacket aunt Naomi sent you last summer, when you were still the size of handheld food.

There were the overalls that you out-fatted, like, one day after you wore them.

There were the little sheepskin-lined booties I tucked your feet into when we’d go on winter walks with the Ergo during my maternity leave.

There were some serious super-cutes I was sad to see go—
THIS ONE GOES OUT TO YOU, FLUFFY ONESIE WITH LITTLE FOX FEETS—
but I’ve gotta say:
At six months, your onesie game is quite possibly at its strongest so far.

I mean…


You are a tiny beacon of glee;
a glee-con, if you will.

Your smile comes on like a slow burn, with a 100% success rate in melting old ladies in line at the grocery store.

You wake up & turn on the sunshine.

Even the other night, when you decided, hey, you know what would be SUPER fun is to wake up every 45-ish minutes—
I’d lean down to pick you up, and IN THE FREAKING DARK, I could see you smiling.

You’re something else, kid.


You do this thing now where you reach out your chubby little hands and pat my cheeks, and oh, sweet everything, it is good.

There’s just something about how very deliberate it is that slays me;
that you’re purposefully reaching out to cup my face and shoot me one of those sunny, poky-tongued grins, and then you’re right back to doing life, like, okay mama, I’m going to go put some more things in my mouth again now.

Those are the very sweetest seconds, little love, and I’m so thankful you give them to me.


Things I am obsessed with right now:

  • the way your tuftyhair feels like it’s made from puffy dandelion wishes

  • the way your baby chubber thighs look in shorts, so much so that a lot of times I’m just like EFF OFF SHORTS, THE GLORIOUS CHUB MUST BE FREED

  • this hilarious face you’ve started doing recently if you wake up in a different place than where you fell asleep, like you don’t want us to know that you’re confused as all hell that we’re not at Target anymore.

In all fairness, this is probably also the face I’d make, too, if I went down for a nap in the mecca of all things good and then woke up at Murdochs.

I mean, they sell chickens and horse vaccines there.

This face is so amazing, though, dude.
Your little eyes fly open and you fully freeze, face locked in, for at least a solid minute.

It’s like your inner dialogue is going,
OKAY, BE COOL
BE COOL
WTF HAPPENED
BE COOL


I’m exhausted, yo.

Sometimes, you hork in my hair;
on really special days, you hork all down my side at daycare, and then I get to wear you to work.

You’re really excellent at grabbing, and also pinching, and also pulling, AND ASK EVERY PART OF MY BODY YOU CAN REACH HOW I KNOW THIS.

You’ve never slept longer than four hours in a row, ever, in your whole entire life.

You still think your own farts are really funny.

You’ve discovered that, if you baby-yell into the plastic Dickies cup we use at bath time, it magnifies your voice.

You’re thrilled when you’re naked.

Your feet continue to amaze you, like you sometimes forget you have them only to look down and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THERE’S A WHOLE EXTRA SET OF HANDS DOWN HERE

It greatly upsets you when we do terrible things like remove your shirt or refuse to let you eat the channel changer.

You’re starting to mimic noises, which sometimes means that you, your daddy and I will spend an entire car ride making “eep” noises back and forth.

And you’ve absolutely, absolutely made the past half-year the most fun one I’ve ever had.

Stay rad, little buddy.

love your face forever,
mama.

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me, too, mama.

Because you were up feeding your tiny human at 10:34 p.m., 1:37 a.m., 3:28 a.m. and somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 a.m. this morning, and you still made it to work with actual pants on.

confidence

Because you’re staring down 1,000+ “suggested pins” about baby-led feeding, leading you down this insane, puree-ridden path lined with baby food mills, Montessori tables, mesh feeders and ice cube trays.

Because the most you’ve done with the vitamin D drops the pediatrician said you’re supposed to be giving to your exclusively breastfed baby… is feel guilty about how you’re not giving them to your exclusively breastfed baby.
And then you can’t decide if telling yourself, “Meh, they’re probably old anyway; they’ve just been sitting there, open, for over five months,” is based in actual logic…
or just a way for you to feel less bad about throwing them away.

Because the pediatrician gave you judgy eyes when you told her you’re still nursing your baby to sleep.

rude

Because you just really, really need to know that, regardless of how the label on Hyland’s teething tabs says you’re not supposed to use them for longer than seven days in a row—
which, apparently, IS SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER A TIME THAN TEETHING ACTUALLY LASTS—
that people have, and do, and their kids are not, in fact, poisoned, damaged or deceased as a result.

Because every so often, mama guilt sneaks up to sucker-punch you about the fact that you’re working instead of staying home with your baby.
And then you compare the amount of hours in a week that you see the baby vs. the amount of hours your (fantastic) daycare lady does, and the mama guilt stabs you directly in the face.

Twice.

With sound effects.

Because you know people mean well when they ask, “Is he sleeping through the night yet?”, which makes you feel even worse about wanting to throat-punch them in response.

Because every “Your Baby This Week” email since month three has been pushing “sleep training” on you, and you feel simultaneously guilty that you have no desire to do it and also worried that you’re ruining your baby’s entire life by making this choice.

Because you swear the motor of your breast pump sounds like it’s saying actual words sometimes.

Because you’re totally down to have a monstrous Pack and Play crammed into all the available real estate next to your bed—
blocking access to 90% of your dresser drawers and also your primary means of exiting the bed—
because you’re not ready, at all, for the baby to move all the way down the hall to his room, to sleep alone, all by himself, in his crib.

Because you brush out your hair with a comb, and then follow it with a second, claw-like brush-through with your own hand to grab all the postpartum sheddy hairs.

Because you still haven’t figured out the perfect “pajamas-to-space-heater-temperature” ratio that keeps your baby from waking up with ice-cold hands but also doesn’t turn your bedroom into the temperature of hell.

Because you occasionally find yourself #blessed with a four-hour stretch of sleep, at which point your body (trained for three-hour stretches) wakes up in a panic and immediately dives to feel the baby’s chest for movement/delicately hold a finger under the baby’s nose to feel breathing.

Because you still sometimes count on your fingers, in your head, to determine which size your baby’s going to be in which season.
And then you curse the brands that size things “6-12 months” because REALLY WHAT SORT OF SORCERY ARE YOU HOPING TO ACHIEVE HERE

Because any activity that takes place beyond 8 p.m. is basically the middle of the night.

Because you’re vividly aware of becoming “that person” whose social feeds are like, AND HERE IS ANOTHER PICTURE OF MY BABY BEIN’ BABY, and you acutely give zero effs because this is your life right now, praise the lawd and pass the throw-up blanket.

Because you’ve felt the very specific sense of defeat when you carry your heavy, bulky, giant-ass bucket car seat into the store, only to discover they’re out of/don’t have any of the cool carts & your child is now the entire contents of your cart.

And because sometimes, you just need a “me, too“—
a voice resonating in the great wide-open of motherhood that hears you, nods, and replies, “I get that.

Hey, mama?

I hear you.
I get that.

(And, P.S., you’re doing a really good job.)

self_high_five

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dear nixon: volume 2

dear squishy sunshine—

Last weekend, I celebrated my very first mother’s day, which initially felt super weird… sort of like I was trying to steal someone else’s birthday and insist that it was mine, or like I’d shown up to a party & wasn’t entirely sure I was supposed to be there.

Like… have I even mama’ed enough yet to qualify to celebrate?

Have I been in the club long enough to be able to participate in events?

IT’S ALL VERY NEW.

But then we went out to eat, and when we stood up to leave, I realized I’d been wandering around all morning with a nice, colorful swath of your poo down the side of my shirt.

It wasn’t even subtle, dude;
it was solid, ribcage-to-hip, how-did-I-miss-this, what-is-my-life status.

And nothing quite affirms mamahood like having some form of your baby’s bodily fluids on you at all times.
(Today, for example, I’m wearing your dried post-breakfast hork on my left shoulder. Thank you.)

To further legitimize my mama status, I also scored my very-first-ever mother’s day craft from you.
Glitter was involved and I was appropriately proud.

JUST LOOK HOW FAT AND GLORIOUS YOU ARE, BABY
JUST LOOK AT YOU

In summation:
Glitter and your poo legitimized my participation in mother’s day.


Here is my current all-time-favorite picture of you:

That baby shade is real, bro.

It’s also really hilarious that someone with cheeks THAT WONDERFULLY SQUISHY could ever be so pissed off.


Your fourth month of life has been a big one, cutie cakes.

For starters, legitimately the second you swapped month three for four, you dove headfirst into The Four-Month Sleep Regression.
(It is a Thing.)

Did you know you can exist and NOT DIE on sleeping no more than two-hour stretches at a time?
YOU CAN
ASK HOW I KNOW

The thing is… your daddy and I? We signed up for this.
On purpose.

Bodily fluids, the minimal sleep, the diapers, the tiny laundry, all the way back through nine months of sleeping in a complicated pillow arrangement—
all of it.

& like so many other things in this parenting gig so far (you know, because we’re CLEARLY experts now, having kept you alive for almost five entire months), it’s all about perspective.

Yeah, so we’re not sleeping a whole lot these days.
We’re living on a super-weird timeline where your 7:30 p.m. bedtime reigns supreme, and OKAY WE HAVE TO PICK, DO YOU WANT TO MAKE DINNER OR GO OUT AND BUY TOILET PAPER BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY TIME FOR ONE.
We wash your daycare bottles & my pump parts & your diapers & your mini clothes, stuff your diapers, fold your tiny clothes, put them all away, and repeat.
We have to bail out early from parties & places at which we’d love to stay an extra hour or two, or three.
We don’t see as much of our friends, or attend as many events, or have the same time to devote to as much beyond our little three-person universe as we used to.

But.

It’s all simply part of the short, precious season we’re in right now.

Even the poop-covered parts.
Even the 2:30 a.m. parts.

Daddy & I high five in the mornings, celebrating another successful night of tag-teaming you back to sleep.
We stand over your crib, after you’ve baby-crashed in the Pack and Play down the hall, and Daddy separates out your diaper shells & inserts on one side while I stuff them and fold them together on the other.
Side by side, we fold your itty, fresh-washed onesies, your striped jammies and the pants with little embroidered animals on the butt, tucking them all into the dresser we painted for you before you arrived.
We sit in the living room after you’ve gone to bed, pulling up pictures & videos of you on our phones to show each other. (God, were you really that little just a couple of months ago? I miss those dinosaur jammies.)

We only ever get one baby Nixon—
one season of those baby chubber thighs,
of that gummy smile with the little tongue poking out,
of the downy, stand-up-straight hair at the back of your head that matches the color of afternoon sunlight.

I marvel over this fact all the time, like it’s some revolutionary thing that you’d grow and be not a baby someday.

And because of that, my love, you are the very greatest exercise in being present.

We’re smack-dab in the middle of living the days that we’re going to look back on and miss like hell when you’re older, and I fully intend to make the absolute most of them.

Including, and especially, by reading you books full of expletives you don’t know how to repeat yet.

Right now, your favorites list includes:

  • mirror baby
  • seeing Clementine, petting Clementine, watching Clementine intently any time she’s within your view because OMG COME OVER, PLEASE COME OVER I LOVE YOU
  • not wearing pants
  • sudden noises that would startle most other humans (see: daddy popping up over the side of your bed and growling)
  • yoga’ing your bare feet into your mouth
  • attempting to eat anything and everything you can grasp in your hands
  • running spontaneous 5K’s on your back, your little legs going a million miles an hour, the most concentrated look on your face

You’ve also fully discovered your ability to noise, which is amazing.
Your current library ranges from an assortment of short, one-note vowel sounds, to a delighted, variable-pitch chirp that sometimes takes you by surprise. You’ll occasionally hit new decibels with it and then stop to look around like, SWEET BABY JESUS WHO EVEN IS THAT

And also, oh my god, you giggle now.

If you thought daddy & I did intensely idiotic things before for your amusement, OH BRAH.
We have upped our game SO hard now that there’s the potential there of making you laugh.

Life is basically a series of events where the primary consideration is whether or not they’ll delight the hell out of you.
Current front-runners are “Watch as Mama Jumps Into the Air and Whips Her Hair Around,” “Daddy Can Make His Mouth Sound Like a Popping Cork” and “Mama’s Hands Are Also Weird Birds.


Absolutely are the stages yet to come going to hold their own magic, but there’s nothing in this whole world like baby you.

I’m so, so excited for all that’s yet to come; so, so thankful for all we’ve done together so far; and so, so delighted that this is only the very beginning.

Thanks for infusing our lives with so much awesome, squish.

Love you, love you so.

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dear nixon: volume 1

my darling little light—

Right around a year ago, you were the greatest secret I’d ever gotten to keep.

& now, here you are.

… this delightful little being who wears plaid, and exudes joy, and sometimes smiles so hard that his shoulders instinctively come up to get in on the action—
almost like they’re worried that the sheer force of your delight is going to make your fuzzy little head fall off.

You, tiny sir, are a total trip.


It’s amazing to me that, even all the way a year ago, you were already interwoven with all the strands of magic that would make you a Nixon.

You were like the size of an M&M, but there were already all the makings of your squishy cheeks and daddy’s eyes;
the strands that would make you incredibly delighted by your own farts;
the strands that would give you the little freckle on your toe, and your crop of tiny-fluff hair;
there was even the strand that would make you really super-hate hats.

Bro, you have SO MANY cute hats.

And you hate all of them.

You hate all of them SO MUCH.

You hate them to the point that you actually try to RUN AWAY from them WHILE THEY ARE ON YOUR PERSON.

You still allow hoodies, though, thank everything.
You probably wouldn’t actually be ours if you couldn’t hang with a hoodie.


So far, in the four months you’ve been here, I have taken approximately 70-frillion pictures of you sleeping.
Because, dude, you are ridiculously precious when you’re all crashed out.

Sleeping you is this beautiful mess of squished-up cheeks, and little puckered-up lips, and your hands all folded up under your chin, and I can’t get enough.

Right when you fall back asleep after a mid(dle of the)night snack, there’s this little sleepy-pleased face that you make & I will literally just sit there and wait for it, every time.
No matter how dead-tired I am, I’ll sit there in bed, like a total creeper, staring down at you in my arms and waiting for that moment.

See, someday, darling light, we won’t have our 2-a.m. hang-outs anymore.

You won’t just be a few feet away, dreaming in your little taco bed, and that little sleepy-pleased face I love so much will go from “present” tense to “past precious” tense.
It’ll be one of those fantastic life bookmarks I’ll tuck away in this early chapter of you and I.

And so, for now, while the sleepy face is here & available for the viewing—
I’m taking in every single one that I can.


Toward the end of my maternity leave last month, you fell into a fairly predictable-ish nap schedule and, right after your late-afternoon boob snack, you’d curl up on my chest & have yourself a nice little milk coma.

This was always your longest nap of the day, and initially, I felt pulled a thousand different guilty ways about it.
I couldn’t just let this glorious, at-least-an-hour-long stretch go un-used, could I?
I could-be-should-be doing the dishes, or stuffing diapers, or dust mopping, or throwing in a load of tiny onesies, or DOING ALL THE THINGS
ALL OF THEM!!!!
AND MAYBE EVEN WHILE WEARING REAL PANTS!!!

But then I’d remember the promise I made to myself at the beginning of my maternity leave.
A plaid-jammie-pinky-swear that I would govern the entirety of those 12 precious weeks with you by asking myself, “Am I going to regret that I didn’t do more of this when I go back to work?

And if the answer to that wasn’t a resounding, “OH HELLL YES I WILL,” it didn’t happen.

As it turned out, my entire life did not, in fact, fall apart and burst into flames because I let things go an extra day or two.

I WAS PREVIOUSLY UNAWARE OF THIS.

I don’t look back on my leave and feel even a little bad that I let dishes pile up in the sink, or laundry spill out of the hamper, or that I let go of a thousand other little household things that felt SO pressing & huge.

At the time, oh my god was it tweaking me out to see the fine layer of dust coating the DVR, and the tiny fur-tumbleweeds collecting around the furniture, and to know that the yard was, like, 85% dog poop and 15% mud—
but I absolutely don’t regret that I chose you over them.

I don’t regret a single second of those late-afternoon, late-in-my-leave naps when I did nothing but snuggle you.
Or a moment of the multiple mornings when we were in bed until lunch.
Or the days when I was still in pajamas at dinnertime.
Or the 600 times we’d go to Target and Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx in the middle of the day, just for the sake of being out AROUND PEOPLE and in somewhere that was NOT THE HOUSE.

It was a really big deal for me to put cleaning & organizing & keeping up with—if not keeping ahead of—life in the backseat for a change, and this realization is one I’m keeping with me as we navigate the next thousand years together.

Today, tomorrow, and day after day:
Am I going to regret that I didn’t do more of this?

And if the answer to that isn’t a resounding, “OH HELLL YES I WILL,” some serious reconsidering is going down.


Hands down, the hardest part of this first four months was the first morning I dropped you off at daycare.

What if you were sad?
What if you missed me?
What if you thought I left you there forever and wasn’t ever coming back?

What if you forgot about me?

That first morning, I snuggled you goodbye, slowly shut the screen door behind me, and proceeded to bawl in the very nice daycare lady’s front yard.

Like, we’re talking full-on ugly crying, complete with those really, really weird noises that sound like someone is kicking your soul in the tights.

HELLO FELLOW PEDESTRIANS
NOTHING TO SEE HERE, I’M JUST WEEPING IN THE BUSHES CARRY ON

When I made it to the car, I called your daddy, and I wailed about how it felt like I was giving you away; like we’d just gotten to borrow you for the past three months and now our time was up, and WHAT DO I EVEN DO I MISS HIM ALREADDDDDDDYYYYYY

That first day was the longest you & I had ever been apart since the day we met, and my heart twisted in on itself every time I thought about you.

Blessedly, I have the most incredible, caring and uplifting tribe & they all reached out to love me up.
Your daddy, of course, because he’s incredible.
Your aunt Naomi, who left a message on my voicemail that showed up like the best kind of magic, right as I was parking at work on my first day back;
Kate and Alice, who left us dinner AND A TINY PIE on the front porch that first night;
and all my amazing mama-friends who messaged words of encouragement and texted just to see how things were going, who commiserated and sympathized and reminded me that, at the end of the day, it was all going to be all right.

It also doesn’t hurt that your tiny daycare BFFs think you’re the greatest thing to ever exist, and I know you’re getting no shortage of loves while I’m gone.

See:

Like, that is tiny daycare homegirl’s precious baby Ariel, and her favorite blanket, and SHE NEEDED YOU TO HAVE THEM.
She came rushing over, all, CAN NIXON HAS THESE, and then the tucked you all in, and stood back to survey her work, and my heart splooshed around a bit.

It still sucks to say goodbye to you every morning, even for as much as I love our daycare lady & know you’re being taken care of beautifully—
but now I get to be part of the tribe that encourages and comforts the other new mamas crossing into this brand-new territory, too.
I get to be a voice that can say, I’ve been there, too, sweet girl, and I promise it’s all going to be all right.


I never thought that my absolute most favorite parts of being your mama would happen in the smallest, most seemingly unremarkable of moments.

Like when I see the face you make when we go to unbuckle you from your car seat.

The way your little hand reaches up to rest against my chest when you’re nursing.

Hearing your daddy talk to you.

How sometimes, you literally get so happy that you fall over.

I love the too-early Saturday mornings when you wake up for first breakfast, then fall back asleep against my chest;
when the entire world is still, save for your sweet little breaths.

You are 80% sunshine, 20% cheeks, and absolutely the most fantastic little human I’ve ever met in my entire life.

I knew I’d love you some ferocious sort of fierce,
but I never knew how HONORED I’d feel that you chose me to be yours.

Of all the wonderful things I’ve gotten to to do in this life so far, being a mama—
your mama—
is the absolute greatest privilege of all.

I love you, love you, love you, sweet boy.
Happy 1/3 of your very first trip around the sun.

 

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tiny splendid everything

Those early days, man.

We’d wake up, my little light and I—
him cozied in the fluffiest puffs of fleece jammies, me in plaid flannels & hair undone in every direction atop my head—
and I’d snuggle him straight into my arms for his third (or fourth, sometimes fifth) breakfast.

Breakfast in bed, me leaned against the pillows with a tiny swaddle-burrito in my arms;
breakfast in his room, gently rocking in the glider and willing the furnace to kick on just a little faster;
breakfast in the living room, enveloped in the big, puffy arms of the big, red chair.

Mornings rolled into afternoons rolled into twilights rolled into two-hour stretches of night.

There’s no schedule with a newborn, you know?

He’s tiny and hungry and snuggly and sleepy and wet again,
covered in spit-up again,
needing those itty-bitty clothes changed again.

& lord but he is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever, ever done.

His entire world happens in your arms;
against your chest;
with his cheeks comfortingly squished against your shoulder;
in naps punctuated by the sweetest baby sighs and grunts;
in two-hour intervals,
in quiet-late hours, softly lit by the faint glow of the bedside clock and a streetlight through the bedroom window.

There were days where the house felt suffocating, like a self-imposed prison;
when leaving the house
(and loading the baby into his carrier, and getting the carrier to the car, and driving with him in the car, and making sure there was everything we needed in the diaper bag and making sure THAT was in the car, and what if he got hungry/needed a diaper change/wouldn’t stop crying while we were out?)
… was this giant, looming Scary Thing, rife with black holes of “what if”-s.

There were days when nursing was so, so hard.

When I’d hold my small, sweet boy in my arms and cry because feeding him hurt so, so much, and his mouth was so, so small, and it was so very, very hard to be gentle on myself.
Because I felt like I was failing him.
Because it wasn’t clicking.
Because everything hurt.

Nursing was supposed to be this beautiful, natural, easy thing, and there I was—
on the couch,
in the big red chair,
in the rocker at the hospital’s lactation consultant office;
sometimes with a Boppy and a pillow stacked on my lap,
later with no pillows on my lap,
once with the hulking beast that was the My Brest Friend pillow on my lap, before it was unceremoniously sent back—
each time with my tiny, angry baby burrito tucked into my arms, both of us just trying to figure it all out.

I felt like I was in an endless version of that magnetic fishing game, waiting for that second when the baby’s mouth was exactly wide enough to latch on.

I sat awake in the middle of the night, huddled over the glow of my phone, watching video after video & scanning article after article on proper latch, waiting for the just right, just perfect piece of information to make it all make sense.
I visited the lactation consultants at the hospital so often that I started referring to them as “the boob fairies.”

I cried.
A lot.

But we made it.

& every day is a new small victory to celebrate.

Every diaper,
every nap,
every time I watch him sleep,
every time I realize he’s grown out of a 0-3 onesie or sleeper,
every time I notice something new this beautiful little being is starting to learn and understand—
these are the itty victories weaving the story of our life together.

It’s all just one big process of getting to know each other, you know?

One day, you come home with this incredible, homemade human, and the entire epicenter of your universe shifts.

They’re learning life.
You’re learning them.

And you love them so, so much.

The way I love this baby of ours makes my heart fill up so big, I can practically feel my chest jut out a few extra inches just to make room for it.

I adore him in ways that settle straight into my soul & between my bones.

I could kiss his fluffy head, those squishy cheeks, the edges of his fingertips, that perfect little nose—
all of it, a thousand times over, and it still wouldn’t feel like enough.

I never want to forget the precious weight of him fast asleep in my arms.
The way the top of his little head smells.
How it feels to watch him sleepy-stretch in the morning.

His sounds—
oh, his sounds.
The bright-thrilled chirps, the almost-giggles;
the sleep sighs when he unlatches after eating and raises his head just enough to settle in for a boob-nap.

I love the way you can see his smiles rise all the way up from his toes and burst into the brightest, most intense sparkle of joy at the top.

Some nights, I sit on the couch with him in my arms, in the very same spot where I’d sit with my arms wrapped around my pregnant belly—
and I marvel.

Because he’s here;
that this brilliant little light is ours to keep;
that this is the spirit that chose us to be his.

Oh, how we adore you so, our tiny Nixon James-Michael.

Our tiny, splendid everything.

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on the day you were born.

dear sweet, tiny, wonderful human of ours—

You were born on a Sunday afternoon, beneath the glow of a brilliant, bright-white winter sky.

The moment you were snuggled in to my arms, you felt just like home.


We’d gone to the hospital around 10:30 a.m. that morning, and by 1:30 that afternoon, the contractions were coming in hard and fast, one after another, with barely room for a breath in between.

What I remember about your labor was the feeling of your daddy’s hand.
Every time I felt you crashing your way closer to us, I’d bury the side of my face in your daddy’s cupped palm and breathe breathe breathe my way through.

That hand—
with the fingers I’d been intertwining through mine since I was 13;
with an ampersand below the spot where I’d slid on a ring & promised “I do”;
the hand that had been held up to twirl me across dance floors and strummed countless air guitars in the car and high-fived mine the night we found out about you;
that hand, cupped against my cheek, was my feeling of home & safety & calm in the storm.

Your daddy was the anchor that kept me afloat.

What I remember about your labor was the quiet dark where I retreated, closing my eyes to turn off the world as I felt you getting closer.
It was you and I, my love, doing the biggest and most important thing we’d done together yet.
One breath at a time.
One crashing wave after another.

What I remember about your labor was the way the entire room was lit up with the most beautiful, encouraging energy.
The way a radiant current of joy wound its way through every molecule in that room, sparkling from the ceiling to the floor.
I remember hearing everyone gasp with joy after a particularly strong push, and I knew you were almost in our arms.

And then, my love, you arrived.

Nixon James-Michael.
We’d known your name since even before the stars began to knit you together.

You were welcomed into our arms at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, December 13th, weighing in at 7.8 lb., measuring 21” long, and looking every inch the absolutely most incredible thing we’d ever, ever seen.


On your very first morning, I couldn’t believe you were real.
There you were, this gorgeous dollop of sunshine and tiny velociraptor noises, and you were ours.

Every perfect little baby-puff of breath that crossed your lips felt like a miracle.

There were the little feet and fists that woke up to rave under my ribcage every night at 10 o’clock.
There was that tiny, kissable nose.
There was the perfect crop of tiny, downy babyfluff hair on top of your head.

We (and everyone else we ran into on the labor and delivery floor) toasted your arrival with a gloss-frosted round of grandma Bridget’s dark-chocolate ganache cupcakes;
grandpa Mike went out immediately for packs of celebratory candy canes, which he joyously passed out (along with a proud declaration of, “I’m a grandpa!”) to his fellow holiday shoppers in line at Menards, every person he ran into on his way back to the hospital, and all the nurses on our entire floor.

Everyone adored you from the moment you arrived, little light.

And rightly so.


For being such a very new human, you’ve already collected quite the impressive array of expressions.

You’ve been glee-ing your little face off since you were all of two weeks old, particularly when you’re getting your diaper changed—
extra particularly when said changes include explosive poos that warrant daddy announcing, “Babe, you have to come see this. It’s impressive,” and an immediate need to take a disinfecting wipe to the wall.

You love your hands, even though you punch yourself in the face with them.

A lot.

You’re also a big fan of stopping midway through eating to smile at my boob;
giving us a very pointed look before cramming an entire fist in your mouth and venge-sucking on it if boob is not produced immediately upon your hunger;
and pointedly arranging yourself into this position, hands fancily arranged under your chin, for post-boob snuggles:


Clementine adores you more than we could have ever expected.
Like, AY-dores you.

The night you came home, she strolled up to where you and I were sitting, peacefully and purposely licked your head, then laid down contentedly next to us and hasn’t stopped loving (or licking) you since.
She gently army-crawls into bed with us if she knows you’re in there; beelines to check AND JUST MAKE SURE THE TINY HUMAN IS OKAY IS HE COOL HOW’S HE DOING every time she comes back inside from going out or we come back from taking you somewhere; and she regularly brings you her favorite toys, then waits patiently for you to befriend them.

Ya’ll are going to be some impressive kind of cute when you’re old enough to love her back.


I never thought that I’d cry this much over how big and stupid I love you.

I never knew how big my heart would swell to see your daddy as your daddy, a role that’s come to him so naturally that there’s no doubt he was always meant to be yours.

I still don’t know how to do the Moby wrap thing very well, or entirely understand why using the Ergo with the infant insert & burrito-thing takes so many steps.
I dropped some salad on you yesterday while you were nursing and I was trying to eat at the same time.

It still takes me, like, 25 minutes to put you in anything that isn’t a sleeper and/or requires going over your head.

And I had no idea that figuring out breastfeeding would be such a long, hard and painful process that we’re still perfecting, even now, four weeks down the road.

But we’re learning together, little light.

We’re getting there.

Every day, we’re figuring out this new chapter together—
one diaper change, one 3-a.m. feeding, and one re-washing of your changing pad because you peed on it, again, at a time.

We’re learning you.

And there’s a lot I still don’t know yet—
but what I do know is that I love you with a love so fierce and ferocious that it could move the stars, and that, my darling, will get us through anything from here.

How wonderful life is now you’re in the world.

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