Friday, December 6, 2013

Dear Henry - Month 12


Dear Henry,

It has been a whole year. 

I had been in the hospital 2.5 days by the time you were born.  We had made friends with all the nurses in Labor & Delivery, and we were getting to know the doctors up there pretty well, too.  At least once a day we’d hear “You’re still here?  We were hoping you’d be gone by now!”  - in the nicest way possible, of course.  You took your sweet time, and that’s okay because neither one of us was really ready for you to come out the day I was admitted to the hospital.  By the time you decided to make an appearance, that had completely changed.

You - one year ago.
I will never forget that moment they plopped you on my chest.  I knew that’s what would happen, that’s what we’d agreed to, but I don’t think I actually knew you were HERE here yet, and it took me by surprise.  One moment I was heaving, and pushing, and panting, and trying to get that god awful smelly oxygen mask off my face, and the next minute there you were – squirmy and warm against my chest.  And you were a boy.  I was so sure you were a girl.  So much for mother’s intuition.  Please know that I was not even remotely disappointed.  Just surprised.  In the movies the doctors always make a big deal out of letting the mom know whether it’s a boy or a girl.  They hand the baby over all cleaned up and wrapped in cozy blankets and say in a hearty boom “IT’S A BOY!”.  That’s not how it happened for us.  They just plopped you on my chest and got busy fixing me up and it took me a couple seconds to even think to look – it didn’t really matter.  You were the most precious thing I had ever known either way. 

It is impossible to believe that was only a year ago.

You're still enjoying the discovery of that tongue!
Today you are a little person.  You have a big personality and strong opinions about things.  You hate the carseat and you hate getting your diaper changed (at least until the diaper comes off and then you like to be aired out a bit).  You only eat certain foods, on certain days, at certain temperatures.  You have learned that an easy way to get rid of your food is to throw it on the floor or – sometimes – to simply hold it out in your hand and wait for an animal to come and relieve you of your burden.

Daddy's hat is your new favorite game,
You are learning so much and so quickly.  I watch you study things and know that your little brain is soaking everything in.  You’re a perfect little parakeet, mimicking all sorts of sounds.  You’ve figured out how to hack into my (password protected) cell phone.  The other day I was driving to work and my phone started buzzing.  I pulled it out to see who was calling me that early in the morning, but the screen was still dark.  I hit the button and found that the timer was going off.  You not only hacked into my phone, but you somehow found the timer and set it for 20 minutes.  I don’t want to call you a genius or anything,  but I think your cell phone skills have now exceeded those of several members of your family (*cough*, not naming names). 

Daddy's boy.
You are like your daddy in that you just love gadgets period and the only “toys” you’re interested in playing with right now are the big expensive kind that don’t belong to you.  You love the remote control and we often find things you have recorded on the DVR.  We have found that you have a wide variety and some questionable choices in television viewing.  You’ve also mastered the art of removing the cover from the remote control, and then hiding it in brilliant and impossible places.  I think you may have a gift for spatial relations.

You've already become an expert at ignoring the animals blatantly begging for food.
If there’s anything that can be used as a weapon in your vicinity, you will find it.  You are constantly testing our security measures – whether it’s the gate for the stairs, or the locks on the cabinets.  Sometimes you like to reach out for things you know you’re not supposed to touch, while giving me a sly look that says “what about this?  Is this okay?  Are you going to say no-no?  What does no-no mean, anyway?  I mean, what exactly are you going to do about this?  Bring it on, mama” (apparently you’ve fine tuned one look into an entire one-sided conversation – maybe you are a genius, after all).  Your dad says your main job right now is to find our weaknesses and exploit them. 

Puppy love <3
We think you’re saying a couple words.  I mean, you’ve been saying “mama” and “dada” for a long time, but we’re never quite sure that you have any real idea of what you’re saying or if you just say it over and over again because it’s fun and we get excited about it.  Is it surprising to anyone that one of your very first words is “daisy”.  It sounds like “dee-tsee”, but you say it when you see her and sometimes scream it before pouncing on her.  She’s still your favorite.  She helps us wake you up in the morning and you twist and wiggle and go out of your way to keep her in your sight at all times.  The other word that we’re pretty sure you’re saying is “kitty”.  This sounds like “kee-tee” – and again, is often used when you spot the cats, chase the cats, and occasionally head butt the cats.  We think the head butt thing might actually be a snuggle, but the two look awfully similar right now.

Trying to steal Great Grandma's cane at Thanksgiving.
We celebrated your first thanksgiving this past month.  You did SO good.  Your grandma and grandpa Suhr just had a booster seat for you with no straps, but your dad thought you’d be okay so we plopped you in there and you sat between us like a big boy and mooched all our food.  You ate almost everything and kept leaning in for more!  I think you’re going to be a big fan of Thanksgiving!  In general, your eating habits have rebounded from the regression we had when you were teething.  Now you are pretty tired of your pureed baby food and want to eat all kinds of textures, and especially anything you can pick up yourself.  You are really ready to feed yourself, only you haven’t exactly mastered the mechanics of it yet and so basically your meal times have become very long and extremely messy.  Still, you know that you’re supposed to hold the spoon and bring it to your mouth.  So it’s not a long leap from that point to the point where you manage to keep most of (or any) food on the spoon by the time it gets to your mouth!  We’ll get there.

Must work on aiming while eating.
It is completely unreal how much you have changed in the year since you were born.  I mean, I wrote about it every month right here on this blog, and I still can't wrap my brain around it.  Everyone says it goes fast, but you can't possibly understand what that even means until you're celebrating the first birthday without any idea how it came this quickly.  I know that there's so much goodness yet to come, but so far every month has been perfect in its own way (even the ones where I whine about how you sleep like a jerk).  You are the answer to a prayer -- how could it be any other way?

My heart.  Yes, it's just exactly this cheesy.
Happy birthday my sweet, goofy, playful, mischevious little stinker butt.  I am thankful every day that you were born, and I'll stay thankful every day for the rest of my life that I get to be your mom.  You are our biggest adventure, our brightest light, and - hands down - the best thing we've ever done.  Ever.  I can't wait to see what you have in store for us in the next year.  

Love and kisses all over,


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grateful Heart

One year ago I enjoyed a fantastic Thanksgiving feast with family.  There was a little guy (though we didn't know he was a boy then, and my gut feeling was that he was a girl - so, so much for gut feelings) swimming and kicking around in my belly and I knew that our lives were going to change, but I idea.  This year has been full of "one year agos..."

The sun is barely up on this Thanksgiving morning.  I sit in this dimly lit room surrounded by what can only be described as complete and utter chaos.  I can't keep up with the mess, the toys (baby and dog), the animal hair, and the clutter that seems to follow me wherever I go.  A kleenex is shredded at my feet and I would like to blame the dogs, but the tiny little man of the house also has a fascination with shredding kleenex, so it could go either way.  A dog is barking and a baby is shrieking and while I type this I he crawls up and grabs at my shirt, scratching my chest, and fussing until I pick him up.  Once he gets what he wants he is all goobery toothy grin and boisterous babble and time stops because this -- this is everything.  It's not possible to be more thankful than this, is there a thing beyond thankful?  Because if there is, that's what I am.

This beautiful, messy, chaotic, wholly imperfect life is more than I ever could have dreamed of.  I am so thankful for this past year and all it's taught me, the way it's made me grow and realize how complicated and infinitesimal love can be.  I am thankful for Todd, my husband and best friend - without whom I never would have survived this year.  He is my teammate in life and - I have to tell you, we almost always win so I guess he's probably the best teammate I could ever have hoped for.  I am thankful for my families -- this little one that I created, the larger ones that made us, and the ones made up of friends who have become family over time.  I'm thankful for this home, these animals, our jobs.  I'm thankful for this country, for my freedom, for every brave soul who has served and/or fought to allow me to take for granted the richness of opportunity I am afforded.  This world, and this life, can be brutal and terrifying - so I am thankful to be able to also see all the ways in which it is beautiful, all the ways we take care of each other, and all the ways love wins.

Big, bursting, thankful heart.

Wishing the happiest of Thanksgivings!  Now, I have to go find the TV remote that the baby hid from us....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Henry - 11 Months

Happy <chokes> 11 month birthday!

I'm sorry I choked on that.  I just can't believe how fast this is going.  You're almost 1!  Ay yi yi - I will freak out a little bit more about this later, but first:

This face pretty much sums up how you feel about sleeping.
I’m going to be honest, there were parts of the last month that were excruciating for all of us.  For you because, I think, you were cutting some teeth and possibly growing and maybe also a little sick?  I say those things with a question mark because the symptoms of those things are all exactly the same.  The only proof I have that at least some of those symptoms were NOT due to you being sick, is that you popped out two more adorable teeth (on the top this time!).  The result of all this is that your sleep habits changed on us again – in a way that we have not experienced since you were three months old.  I mean, you started waking for middle of the night feedings again, and then you wouldn’t want to settle back down.  You were screaming and crying and banging on your crib.  One night your dad gave up and brought you out to the living room, plunked you down and said “fine, you want to be up?  We’re up. Now PLAY.”  And you sat there looking so small and confused and tired because you didn’t really want to be up.  It’s just that none of us could figure out how to make you NOT be up anymore. 

Tough guys don't need sleep!
 When you were a newborn, this sleep deprivation stuff was easier because A) we just naturally assumed we would not be getting any sleep ever and B) I wasn’t working so my only job in the entire world was to cater to your every need and C) your needs consisted of three things – clean diaper, full belly, sleep.  Things are more complicated now, and we don’t always weather these sleep interruptions gracefully.  I found myself trying to get back to sleep at 3 a.m. after a particularly frustrating sleep disruption a few nights ago.  My mind dramatically played out this image of how we are a happy, picture perfect family by day, and a snarling nest of poisonous snakes by night.  I told you it was dramatic!  That is what your sleep deprivation causes – weird, dramatic metaphors about snakes.

You guys, holy smokes, have you see how the water gets in the tub?!  MIND.  BLOWN.
 Sleep issues aside, you’ve had a lot of other things going on.  You’ve discovered the joy of being an entertainer.  You like to make sure that all eyes on you and then you do something amazing like drop a ball in a hole, or bang a toy against another toy, and then look up and await our joyous reactions. 

Mom tried to get some yard work done.  This happened, instead.
 You are like, the master expert of peek-a-boo.  You figured it out pretty quickly and now you’ll do it double time just to hear us shriek “PEEEK!!” at you as often as possible.  This is part of how you entertain us.  You also have a hearty appreciation for “patty cake” – although we still mostly play it with your feet because you’re not crazy about us monopolizing use of your hands.  It’s much better if your hands are free to grab someone’s nostril or yank someone’s shirt down. 

This is the look of a boy who is uncomfortably close to standing up by himself.
 You are fearless, which is something I know you won’t hold on to forever, so it’s both incredibly sweet (as a reminder that you’re still my little baby) and also terrifying.   You crawl over things, under things, around things, and you have tried to launch yourself off of everything we have sat you on top of (beds, couches, counters, etc.) and one of your favorite things to do is to launch yourself off the bed while we grab one of your feet and hold you upside down.  You love to be upside down!  Sometimes you’ll crawl up into my lap and then throw yourself backwards, indicating that you would like for me to flip you.  As the flip ends with you drapped across my legs, you lay wiggling and giggling at the ecstasy of it all.

Enjoying the contraband Butterfinger bar you swiped from the candy bucket.
 You are such a stinker.  The biggest little stinker I’ve ever known.  You know when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to do, and you’ve learned how to speed up when crawling away from us (as when we pursued you after you sneakily stole a candy bar out of the Halloween candy bucket).  In the last month we’ve had a report of a hairball in your poo (that was a surprise!), and your daddy says you ate a hairball just this morning that resulted in a wardrobe change when it came back up.  One of your favorite things to do since you became mobile is to play in the dog’s water dishes, and I don’t police you very strongly when you do that because, come on – it’s just water.  And whatever dog germs you’re going to get there, are probably also all over our house (and certainly in the hairballs you apparently insist on eating) and so for months now it’s been no big deal.  Only now it is a big deal because you’ve learned how to splash.  So the other day I let you play quietly (yes, this should have been my first red flag) near the water dishes and when I finally wandered over to check on you – you were soaked from head to toe and there was a one inch pool of water over most of the surrounding floor.  You were a cross between bewildered (how did this wet get all over me?) and proud (look mom, I made splashes!).  And we laughed – because after all, it was only water.  We changed your clothes and cleaned the floor and I spent the rest of the evening bodyguarding the water dishes.

P.S.  Yes, we do need to clean our house.  We’ve begun using your hairball consumption as a house cleanliness gauge and we seem to repeatedly fail. 

Anyway – like your mom and dad - you love laughter.  You love watching it in videos and seeing it in person.  We’ve discovered that if we fake laugh in front of you, it will eventually get you laughing too and then, of course, we’re all laughing for real.  You like to mimic people, you study faces and you can see the little gears shifting around in your head while you try to figure out new noises or expressions. Sometimes you reach out and grab my face like you’re trying to figure it out.  Especially your teeth – you can’t quite figure outyou’re your mouth works now that you have teeth in there.  You are constantly running your lips over them, and your eating has regressed because you haven’t quite figured out that your teeth replaced your gums and you can use them for chewing (although, you have figured out how satisfying it is to use them to take a giant chomp out of a puff).  Your little brain is going 1000 miles a minute most days, which also probably accounts for a little bit of the sleep disruption. 

First haircut!
Your Aunt Margy came to visit you again this past month.  You flirted with her shamelessly and I believe she was utterly charmed.  The possibility exists that she now likes you more than she likes us.  It's okay though, we wouldn't have it any other way.  She also gave you your first haircut. It wasn't exactly a planned thing, so we didn't have all the necessary supplies, but she made the best of it with a kitchen scissors.  The results may not have been perfect, but you're welcome for not letting that baby mullet thing you were working on go too far.  

Cousins in costume.
 You had your first Halloween this last month.  I feel like we need to talk about Halloween, because I suspect at some point you are going to feel like you’re being cheated out of something.  And you kind of are.  Halloween is not my thing.  I have a very hard time getting excited about it and while I was excited to dress you up in a cute costume this year, I wasn’t excited enough to try that costume on you in advance.  If I had, I might have realized that it didn’t fit you just right, and the buttons were all falling off (also, the tail).  On the day we took you out to Grandpa Jerry and Grandma Julie’s for the early Halloween gathering, I had thought to draw a nose and whiskers on you to complete the unbearably adorable “tiger” costume.  You weren’t having it.  And frankly, I didn’t care enough to force the issue.  And that moment right there was when I realized that this is how Halloween will be for you.  Just enough to get by.  Your costumes will likely be second hand (and DEFINITELY not homemade), and the celebration will likely be pretty minimal.  This really is just not my thing, but I promise to make up for it at Christmas.

Scarlett helped you pose for your pictures.
 In any case, you were a tiger.  And we paraded you around at Grandpa and Grandma’s on both sides, and you charmed everyone with all your entertaining, showing off your tricks, and that impish little toothy smile.  You got some candy, that your parents stole, and some baby food that we’re going to let you have.  As Halloweens go, it was a solid first go round, I think.

We've been working on using a sippy cup.  You are such a big boy!
 These months get so much more dynamic as you get older.  You are so much more interactive and one of these days I will probably relay actual conversations that I have with you.  These days you are still only saying mama, dada, and Bob (by the way, your dad would like to know who this Bob guy is.  He would also like you to please stop calling him Bob), but based on the speed with which you’re developing in every other way, conversations will not be far off now.  I know we’re going to have some interesting ones, and I can’t wait to know for sure what’s going on in that little head of yours.

Daddy's boy.
 So, if my calculations are correct (and you’ll recall that math is not my best thing), the next letter you get will be on your first birthday.  You will be one.  ONE.  The countdown to you being one is…one.  You’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little dramatic about this, but we all know that being one is just a gateway to walking, running, jumping, going to school, driving a car and eventually moving out and – generally – not being my little squishy baby anymore.  Can I forbid this?  Is there a veto card in my pile of mom cards?  I’m freaking out!  And yet – despite all that stuff I just said - SO excited!  Because it is a pleasure and a privilege to watch you grow.  You’re becoming this little person with this unbelievably charming personality.  You have opinions on things and sometimes I watch you snuggle (really! On purpose!) the dog and my heart explodes and sends my whole body into meltdown because you are gentle, and sweet in unexpected and beautiful ways. 

My heart.
It’s not perfect – nothing about our lives, our sleepless nights or our hairball infested home is perfect, but man – it is exactly what I dreamed of (well, maybe not the hairballs).  It is exactly just right for us.  It is filled with laughter and noise and chaos and mess and family and good food and good friends.  These are all the things I’m most excited to share with you, the values I’m most eager to impart. It is so much harder than I thought it would be, watching my baby turn into a little boy, but it's also so much more awesome than I ever could have imagined.  I cannot wait for the adventures you have in store for us.

Love and kisses all over,


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dear Henry - Month 10

Dear Henry,

Happy 10 month birthday!

Ugh, double digits.  How on earth did that happen?  Would it do any good to ask you to slow down?  No, I didn’t think so. 

Where do I even start with all the changes?  You – exploded with change in your 9th month.  Last month you were just learning to crawl and this month you took off like a rocket, gaining  a speed and determination that makes your mobility truly terrifying.  Crawling is second nature to you now, and you no longer want to be contained at all.  You’re also pulling yourself up on everything.  EVERY.  THING.  I sat and watched you try to pull yourself up on an overturned kettle the other day.  It was only maybe a foot off the ground, and there you were, feet flat on the floor, legs kicked out straight, body doubled in half while you supported yourself on that little kettle.  You haven’t figured out how to do it without supporting yourself – but that’s not far away now.  In fact, just yesterday your dad and I shared a moment of shocked silence as we watch you stand, completely unsupported for about 5 seconds before toppling over.  We shared a glance that can only be described as sheer panic before one of us spoke "did that just happen?"  Yes.  That just happened. You are moving full steam ahead and we all know what that means : walking.  Soon you will be walking. 

I’m just not even going to think about you walking.  Let’s move on.

Now that you're mobile and confident, you are into everything.  We've come up with some interesting ways to deter you - mostly some makeshift barricades that work with varying measures of success (and do wonders for my decorating scheme). Occasionally, when we mount a gate to keep you from getting into a section of the house we're not interested in chasing you through, you look at us in outrage like we've just taken away your civil liberties and you are contemplating sending us a strongly worded letter.  You like to explore every nook and cranny you find, and the stuff you find in your explorations is usually surprising and alarming.  One day I looked down to find you playing with a bunch of pictures of yourself.  You'd found them tucked in an envelope in some spot we never thought you'd be interested in and you decided those pictures made fine toys.  You were so happy, waving them around in the air and squealing,  I just let you play with them. We probably paid $.30 for the lot of them, and frankly, it was totally worth it to see you so excited and proud of your treasure!

Another big milestone happened this month.  You got teeth!  Hurray!  Your dad said he was relieved because now we know you won’t be a little hillbilly baby with no teeth.  I pointed out that this changes nothing.  You only have two teeth.  It’s still possible that you’ll be the little hillbilly kid with two teeth.  But they are cute teeth, and I'm pretty sure you'd be the cutest hillbilly baby on earth if it played out that way.  I still get a little surprised when I see those peeking out at me when you smile. Just another reminder of how fast you are leaving this babyhood thing behind.

Speaking of making you smile – that’s getting harder and harder to do.  I guess you’re getting more particular about what you find funny.  Our old “make crazy faces and noises” trick isn’t working anymore.  Now we need to resort to technology.  You love to look at my phone – and you’ve figured out how to use your finger to scroll through the pictures on there.  A surefire way to get smiles is to play videos of babies laughing.  Oh man, you LOVE babies laughing.  We play a game sometimes where I show you my phone and make you laugh.  You grab the phone out of my hands and I pull out the digital camera to try to capture your glee.  You notice the digital camera immediately and toss the phone aside and launch yourself towards the camera.  This results in many, many photos like the one above. 

Early in the month you found your tongue and so for a couple of weeks that tongue was out and wiggling at us constantly.  Including the week we took your 9 month pictures.  You were pretty stingy with the smiles, but you gave us tongues galore.  I was worried that we weren’t going to get any good pictures out of that photo session, but when your Aunt Sara sent them to me, I realized what nonsense that was.  Your tongue is adorable.  And someday – someday you might just be mortified by these pictures and I’m not going to lie about how that makes me giggle a little bit.

We’re getting peeks of your little personality these days, and man – you are a character.  You love to be on the move.  You prefer to play with the most dangerous things you can get your hands on.  If there’s an exposed cord in the vicinity, you will find it in seconds.  The torrid love affair you once had with the ceiling fan has been replaced by your new love of power cords.  The other day we had you in our bedroom and you were crawling around and making the little clucking noise.  Your dad said you were using sonar to navigate the room.  Only seconds later you had your hand on the cords in an outlet we had completely forgotten about.  As we frantically grabbed you and pulled you away – we realized that you were using your sonar to locate unsecured cords.  Obviously, you are a genius. 

You think your toys are okay, but the very best things to play with are things we never thought to put on our baby registry.  Socks, pans, the bottle brush, a package of wipes, a spoon.  We even gave you your own (unplugged) cord to play with (it’s not the same, you hardly touch it, much like the remote control with batteries removed.  You're on to our shenanigans).  You’re learning how sound works, so sometimes you’ll take your little toy drumstick and beat it on the pizza pan to hear the noise it makes.  You love any noise and I'm not sure - but I think we've caught you dancing when you catch a tune.  You’re also learning cause and effect and lately you’ve begun to love splish splashing in the bathtub, watching the water run out of the faucet, and the noise the cats make when you grab hold of their tails. 

Everything is a wonder to you.  I was sterilizing your bottles yesterday and you crawled up to me reaching to be held.  I picked you up and we watched the steam rise towards the ceiling for a solid minute.   You kept looking at the pot and then looking towards the ceiling.  Those moments, witnessing your innocent wonder at these seemingly simple things – those are the ones I try to lock away in my memory.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see the world through your eyes.  Someday you won’t remember a time when the world was so new and amazing in every way – I’m hoping, with these locked away memories, maybe we can find ways to remind you.

You’re an affectionate little turkey.  You love snuggles, and I am eating that up because I know it won't last forever.  You’ll sometimes be playing and moving and having a ball and then suddenly you’ll make a beeline for my lap, sit and snuggle for a minute (or a few seconds) and then go back to what you were doing.  You do this in the bathtub a lot.  We splash and play with rubber duckies and then suddenly you are launching your slippery wet body at me for a snuggle.  That’s usually how we figure out you’re tired.  We’re learning how you communicate with us.  We’re figuring this whole thing out. We've come a long way in 10 months - and honestly, it just keeps getting better.  I keep thinking "This.  This is pure perfection.  I want to freeze this time in our lives forever."  And then you keep exceeding that perfection and I have to say that whole thing all over again.  How blessed are we to have these moments of perfection?  How unbelievably blessed are we to have you?

I’m beyond excited about the person you’re becoming.  It’s amazing to watch and be a part of this transformation.  We brought you home 10 months ago and you were just a tiny, helpless little squish.  You ate, slept and pooped on repeat with very little deviation from those three things.  We loved you, but we didn’t even really know you yet.  Now we’re getting to know you and, oh man – you are a delight.  You are strong willed and single minded.  You are mischievous and curious and wondrous.  You are playful and funny – we can see peeks of your sense of humor every day.  You are good natured and tough and not easily frightened.  Simply put, you are AWESOME.  You are, without question, the best thing I have ever done. 

Happy 10 months sweet baby.

Love and kisses all over,


Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Henry - Month 9

Happy 9 month birthday!
Dear Henry,

Happy 9 month birthday!

First, let’s take a minute and talk about math.  Math is something I hope you’re going to be super duper good at because you’re not going to have a lot of help from me on that.  For instance, last month I said something along the lines of making the most out of your 9th month when, really, it was only your 8th month.  I guess an argument could be made that I was just planning ahead to REALLY enjoy your 9th month, but the more solid argument is that my math was wrong.  Oops.

Bright eyes - scored contraband bottle (empty).

 With that out of the way, let’s talk about how awesome you are.
You are.  SOOOO.  Awesome.
You are so much fun!  (Well, except for last night when you didn’t go to sleep until 10 p.m. – that wasn’t as much fun.  But MOSTLY you are SO fun!). You are starting to mimic us and will respond to noises we make with your own noises.  I feel like we’re having conversations in ancient Swahili some days, and I think we’re all taking great pleasure out of that.  We’ve figured out what your happy noises are and what your angry noises are and sometimes it’s just a matter of the inflection you put into those noises, but rest assured, we’re sort of figuring you out.  That said, I have no idea why you wouldn’t sleep last night.  I suspect you’re playing mind games with us sometimes.

This is what trouble looks like.
 You are officially mobile.  It didn’t happen like I was afraid it was going to happen (with the “publish” of the last monthly update).  Well, not exactly.  You’ve been mobile for a while – in a way that looks like a whole lot of effort and your dad pointed out looks exactly like you’re doing “the worm” – but it took you a while to figure out what that meant.  Like, you would flail your way across the room in pursuit of a toy, but you didn’t seem to understand that you didn’t need us to coax you to do that.  Until one day you did.  That day, I looked up and saw you flapping the laptop cord gleefully all around you, just before you shoved it in your mouth.  The next day you launched yourself at the power strip under the table.  When I blocked that off with a basket of Daisy’s toys, you decided that Daisy’s toys would be just fine, thankyouverymuch.  Now some of your favorite toys are Daisy’s food dish, and the water bowls.  If we’ve sufficiently distracted you from those things, you’re perfectly content to destroy some books.  The childproofing has begun.  We expect that you will show us all the areas of the house that present previously unforeseen dangers – in short order. 

Grandma helping you into the pool - you appear to be enjoying yourself, though this won't last long!
 We did lots more camping in the past month.  You are officially an expert and have even made a couple of forays into the pool.  You can’t decide exactly how you feel about the pool.  You always start out looking somewhat pained and then after that mostly resigned.  Although a couple of times you actually started to fall asleep in the pool, so it can’t be all that bad.  Maybe it will grow on you as you get older.

Daisy - guarding you.  You - playing with garbage (your favorite)!
Your relationship with Daisy continues to grow.  She is the one thing guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.  During a recent car trip, you were fussing and loudly complaining about being stuck in your car seat for so long.  Then Daisy stood up to take in her surroundings and immediately your complaints turned into gleeful giggles and cooing.  You delight in her!  And she is so patient with you.  We set you down on the floor next to her one evening and you grabbed her tail.  She patiently watched you grab and play with her tail until you tried to stick it in your mouth. She then jumped up and ran into the other room.  We’ve talked about it, Henry, and Daisy would like you to know that she is not for eating. 

This guy LOVES the camper!
We had to say goodbye to Oliver this past month.  It means nothing to you – you only got your grubby little paws on him a couple times when he accidentally sat too close to you.  He was very tolerant of you – in a way that I never really expected him to be because he was a crabby old man.  But then, he was always good with kids.  It was always such a surprise.  He’d take my finger off getting a piece of food out of my hand, and then turn around and gently nibble it away from the nearest toddler.  In any case, I sometimes think that Daisy handled losing Oliver so well because she still has you to love on.  I realize that is humanizing Daisy, but it sure does seem like she’s crazy about you!

Daddy time snuggles.
 Know who else is crazy about you?  Your dad.  And you’re pretty crazy about him too.  One of your favorite things to do is swap his arms for my arms and then turn around and beam at him.  We play a game in the bathtub – after you’re all scrubbed up and are playing in the water, your dad will start peeking at you in the mirror.  No matter how tired you are, your whole face lights up and you shriek and wiggle like crazy at the unexpected delight of seeing his face in the mirror.  Even after you’ve figured the game out and you sit for long seconds staring at the mirror just waiting for him to appear, the sight of him just fills you up with giggles and shrieks.  Between Daisy and your daddy, you sort of hit the playmate jackpot.

Bath time hair = also epic
I find that these days I am more troubled by what I hear in the news.  I cry more often.  It could be that I’m just WATCHING the news more than I used to, but it’s also probably because my stake in the world has changed significantly.  I still believe that there are mostly good people out there and I want you to believe that too.  I also don’t want to be the kind of mom that raises you to fear everything and everyone, even though that’s sometimes exactly how I feel.  The other day I was driving to pick you up from daycare and found a bunch of kids jumping around waving pieces of paper and shrieking at passing cars.  They were having a lemonade stand.  I pulled over and paid my $.50 (they were having a BOGO sale on the lemonade, apparently.  I was impressed with my ability to sniff out the clearance lemonade stand – but I passed.  There was just one of me.  One lemonade was plenty) and they were so excited and happy.  And I decided that I wanted you to be the kind of kid to get all excited and shrieky about a lemonade stand.  And more importantly I wanted you to grow into an adult who would pull over to buy a $.50 cup of lemonade from a bunch of shrieky, excited little kids. 

Hair.  HAIR.
This past month there was also a lot of hubbub about some music artists who did some scandalous thing on some music awards show (I’d give you the details, but by the time you read this these people will probably be irrelevant and you’ll have no idea who they are.  I mean, I hope.)  I’ve been kicking that around in my brain – how I would want to address this with you if you were old enough to know what I’m talking about.  I mean, there’s an argument in there for keeping your daughters off the pole, and there’s an argument in there for raising your sons to respect women but I’m not sure that’s what I want you to take away from this.  I mean – OBVIOUSLY I want you to respect women.  But I feel like that’s in the day to day of raising you, of being your mama.  If I do my job right, that’s just how you’ll wind up.  It’s also your dad’s job to show you how much he respects me, and other women.  WE are your first and best role models.  So – I guess what I would want to tell you to take away from all of that is that you shouldn’t take things you see on TV (or in video games, or in movies) too seriously.  You will see a thousand shows in your lifetime wherein someone kills someone else – but it’s never ever ever (EVER.  EVER.) going to be okay for you to do that.  That’s not real life. It’s not how real people behave – it’s just a show that they’re putting on.  They’re playing pretend. So please don’t take your life lessons and your view of the world from what you see in mainstream media and hoo boy, if you get everything you know about women from what you hear in pop song lyrics?  We are both in big trouble.. 

Anyway, enough about big world stuff.  Back to how cute you are.

My heart.
 You’re starting to look so much like a real boy.  Not as much like a baby.  Your body is getting SO long, and your face is more expressive.  Your hair is still epic (and I’m not using that word lightly.  Your hair actually defies gravity.), but even that is a little easier to tame these days.  You’re becoming more independent and you need us less every day.  You can feed yourself.  You can move around on your own.  There’s a certain sadness in watching the little squish of a baby we brought home from the hospital 9 months ago disappear, but there’s a tremendous amount of pride we take in the little boy you’re becoming.  Each tiny milestone is cause for celebration.  Eat it up, because someday we will not think it’s that big of a deal that you can pick up a tiny puff with your two fingers, but right now?  Right now it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done.  Until you do the next thing that is the most amazing thing you’ve ever done, and I sometimes wonder if you aren’t just the most amazing baby in the entire world because it’s not possible that there’s a baby any more amazing than you.  I will probably always feel this way, because I am your mama and that’s what mama’s do.  So please remember that when you are 16 and I am hollering at you about something that will seem incredibly important at the time.  You are amazing.  You are the most amazing baby in the world.  I will always feel that way.

Love and kisses all over,