Archive for the ‘Letters to My Offspring’ Category

Happy birthday, little Raptor.

Today was a busy day, and a lot has happened over the past few weeks. We threw a big party for you tonight, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Right now, though, one occasion eclipses all others. As your party came to a close, I took you up to bed. You did not relent easily, and I spent a long while holding and rocking you before you finally relaxed and drifted to sleep. It was a calm moment in the middle of a whirlwind of activity, and although we have experienced numerous similar moments, it occurred to me that exactly one year ago, at that same time of night, I was holding and rocking you to sleep for the very first time. That night I was stunned by your very existence. Tonight I am stunned by how vital your existence is in my life.

Someday you and I will be at odds, and you will think I am many horrible things. Maybe you’ll dislike or hate me, maybe I will disgust or embarrass you. I know and accept that our relationship will have its bad moments. That said, I also know that there will never be a moment when my heart doesn’t swell at the thought of you, that my happiness will be unaffected by your happiness.

With all that I am, I love you.

Mum

I am so, so sorry Kol.

You just received the very first and very last haircut you will ever get from your parents. Our intentions were good, I swear. All I wanted to do was remove your little baby mullet, which was becoming less cute and more annoying, particularly when you smeared oatmeal, fruit, or scrambled eggs in it. I just wanted it shorter in the back, that’s all. So I attempted to use little safety baby scissors to do just that, and it was going well until you started squirming. The next thing I know, you have patches of hair missing and I’m calling your father to help hold you still. By that time it was too late. We determined we’d use your father’s hair trimmers to even it out a little, which would have been fine except your father thought the plan was to mimic his own haircut, and he shaved a bald strip on the back of your head, right up the middle. Realizing the error, we found a longer option on a different trimmer and did eventually get the rest mostly evened out. But now you have a bald strip running up part of your head.

I’m laughing kind of hysterically about the whole thing. I feel terrible. I feel like the scum of the earth. Next time I swear I will take you to a professional, because your parents are clearly not qualified to trim your hair.  I will make sure you have a hat on absolutely every time you are around other people until it grows back. I am so sorry.

Please don’t hate us.

Mum

Dear Kol,

1. How can such a small body produce so much poop? Where are you keeping it all?

2. I have determined that the weight of the aforementioned waste is slowing you down, because the very moment I remove a heavily soiled diaper, you scamper off and resist all attempts of capture. You are a fast baby anyway, but this is ridiculous. I feel like I should begin a weight loss program and charge people to chase your diaperless butt around the house.

You’re killin’ me, smalls!

Mum

Dear Kol,

You are growing so fast. Already, at only 9 months old, you are wearing 12-18 month clothing and 3T socks. You have slimmed up a lot since you became mobile, and your face looks less like a baby and more like a child each day. If you keep this up, you’re going to outgrow me even faster than predicted.

You’ve been crawling for a few months now, and it’s both exciting and horrifying. It’s adorable because you cannot decide what kind of crawling to do; sometimes you simply roll everywhere, sometimes you do an Army-man crawl, sometimes you inch-worm across the floor with your face smushed into the carpet. In the last week or two you have taken on a more traditional approach, crawling on all fours to get wherever you’re going. You’ve even started pulling yourself into a standing position when you are near something that can support you. I find you standing next to the couch fairly often. You seem proud and vaguely unsure of what to do next.

Teething has been hard on you, and it doesn’t look like it will end any time soon. You currently have your two middle bottom teeth and one top tooth, and it appears that five or more other teeth will be in at any time. You went from no teeth to a mouth-full. Unfortunately this has affected your willingness to eat, which is also frustrating. While before you were eating quite a bit of baby food without a fuss, now it is like waging war to get a single spoonful into your mouth. You are perfectly content to feed yourself, but you resist most of the table food we offer you—it’s as though you don’t recognize it as edible. I swear everything you get your hands on goes into your mouth except when it’s something that actually belongs there.

One of your favorite pastimes is looking in the mirror these days. I think you recognize yourself, because you smile and laugh in a way that comes across as, “Ha! There I am, handsome devil.” You are a cranky butt when you first wake up in the morning, and the only thing that helps improve your mood is looking in the mirror. You are not a morning baby, not at all. You like the middle of the day, and the evening when your father comes home. He’s taken to stopping by during his lunch break when he has a chance, and how you squeal and laugh when you see him unexpectedly! The two of you are like peas in a pod. You ride around on his shoulders, watch cartoons with him, and sit on his feet when he does sit-ups. You speak more to your father than you do to everyone else combined, and you’ve taken to bringing him toys. It’s adorable.

You have your ways of showing me affection, also. I enjoy the occasional slobbery, wonderful baby kiss. You hold my hand from time to time (you do this with your father, also). When you are nursing, every once in a while you reach up and touch my face very gently. When something upsets you, your immediate response is to crawl as quickly as possible to me. When we nap together, you cuddle against me and prop your feet up on me, and when we wake up you chatter at me and play with my hair. I interpret this as you telling me about your dreams, so I tell you about mine too. You like to sit in my lap when I read.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have our days. There are times when we are unbelievably frustrated because we don’t know how to soothe you, but this never evolves into anger. Even when we are irritated, we adore you. There is never a night when we don’t lie down and comment on how fantastic it is to be your parents. There’s never a tantrum that goes unforgiven.

You’re a good kid, Kol. We’re so happy to have you.

Mum

Darling Kol,

If you aren’t acquainted with it yet, look up a song called “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. I find myself humming it to you often lately.

You’re blowing me away with your ability to adapt and explore. The past few days have been rough (we messed with your schedule), but for the most part you’re becoming more predictable and easier to understand. You sit up extremely well and have started standing upright when you have something to hold onto. When we are at the store, you kick your little feet as I push the cart along the aisles. You spend hours at a time sitting on your father’s shoulders; you cling to his forehead or his ears so he doesn’t even have to hold onto you anymore. You’ve been playing video games like this pretty frequently. You sing along with the radio in the car, and you hate your shoes. You are becoming more mobile by the second, which has resulted in some sudden and half-panicked childproofing.

Your environment entertains you now, so you don’t require such constant vigilance as before. That said, you laugh and smile most when we are playing with you. You adore getting tickled and you giggle when you see us sneaking up on you. You like to “fly” and bounce and sing. You turn the pages of books backwards, but proudly. You share your toys with us, handing us a block or a ring when you want us to play too, but when we bring you around other babies you tend to take all of their stuff.

At least once a week you and I spend about forty-five minutes making music. We beat on objects to make different sounds, shake rattles, and sing songs. I hope this is something we continue doing as you get older, because we both really enjoy it.

We also read every day, of course, and we sing your bedtime song when it is time to sleep. You take exactly two naps a day (one between eleven and noon and one around three or four o’clock) and your bedtime is 9:30 sharp. You are groggy and grumpy when you first wake up and you sink against me like a dead-weight. I adore holding you when you’re still waking.

You grow more handsome by the day. While you seem bound to replicate some of my features, your father is coming through your face all the time. You have his hairline, his brow, his eyes and ears. Even your eyebrows are getting bushier, which is actually pretty cute. Honestly, you’re getting more hair in general, which is soft and downy and fantastic. I nuzzle my face against your head when you are in a cuddling mood; I love the way your hair feels.

You’ve generally been pretty cooperative about eating solid foods, though the past few days have been tricky. You want to nurse 24/7 and you want nothing to do with solids. I suspect you might be facing another growth-spurt, which is shocking as you’re already wearing 12 month clothing. Your feet and hands are also enormous.

It is tricky to keep you occupied, despite your increasing independence. You bore quickly and have a curious nature, so if I don’t supply you with adequate options you will inevitably make your way to something I’d rather you not put into your mouth. We have obstacle courses for you, dozens of toys in changing configurations, unused kitchen utensils, empty boxes and bottles, books, and clothing scattered about for you. We keep them stored (generally) in cloth totes, and when you sit down to play you dig through the bins, rediscovering favored objects. You love your music player, your Navy bear, and the lid of a bucket most of all right now. Oh! We introduced you to bubbles lately, and you didn’t know what to think of them. You simply observed in awe, struck out at them, and marveled as they disappeared.

Today we were out of sorts from our late New Year’s Eve party, so we did a lot of sleeping and snacking through the day. At one point, you’d been asleep for a while and your father and I were just lying down for our own nap when you woke up. Your father brought you into our room since you were still sleepy, and the three of us curled up together and napped for about an hour and a half. It was like a dream, Kol. I hope you have this for your own someday. I never realized how blissful it can be to rest with one’s family, held by a partner and cradling a child. Maybe you won’t immediately consider yourself to thrive within a family unit, but trust me, son. We only get so long to live and it is worth it to make moments like this one. You are entirely too young to remember the sense of safety and contentment the three of us shared today, so I hope you seek it for yourself. It is beautiful and distinct. I won’t forget today.

Take care, sweetpea.

Mum

Kol,

You received your six-month immunizations yesterday and for the first time, you cried when you realized what was happening. I felt awful about the look of betrayal on your face, but I’m glad you are up-to-date on your shots. It is my hope that you will be a healthy young man.

Solid foods have officially entered your world, and thus far you are not happy about it. If nothing else, we know you do not care for sweet potatoes. We’ll give squash a go tomorrow morning.

Playtime has become infinitely more interesting lately. You puzzle over your toys and their functions, experimenting with new objects to see how many items you can cram into your mouth at one time. You love the blocks you have in different shapes (the orange star is your favorite) and your stacking rings. You enjoy playing with rattles and books, and you love fingerpuppets. You stole a toy from WalMart recently (didn’t realize you’d taken it until we got home) and you play with it constantly. If you’re curious, it’s a purple snake that makes a clicking noise.

Your speech is developing nicely. You address your father as “Dad” or “Dada” or sometimes “DADADADADADADAAAAAAA.” I’m still “Nee”, but you have been making “Mmm” sounds lately. You pause when you are eating to chat with whomever is nearby; it’s your version of dinner conversation, and it’s adorable. We find your babbling to sound more and more like a language every day. You have a cadence and distinct pauses, and there are times you seem to understand us. You say, “Hey” when you first wake up in the morning, and you answer to your name (except when you find us boring).

You’re starting to grow hair, darling! It’s getting longer and thicker all the time, and you are becoming handsomer by the day. Already your face is changing from that of a round, mushy baby into one befitting a gangly, rough-and-tumble child. It’s adorable.

Oh! You know what else is adorable? Baby kisses! Slobbery, clumsy, fantastic baby kisses! You sometimes finish it off by biting our faces or latching onto our noses, but you’re not fighting our affection so much these days, and have even returned the gesture. In the mornings after your father leaves for work, you and I cuddle in bed together if we are still sleepy. You fought me the first few times I tried this, but now you snuggle up to me and fall asleep right away. Your cheeks are always pink when you first wake up, and you grumble and scowl for quite some time until you shake off your grogginess. You look just like your father when he gets up in the morning.

Bathtime just gets better and better. Now you sit all the way up in the tub, and you lunge after your ducks, whales, and turtles. You splash and giggle and make funny faces; what once took five minutes from start to finish now requires closer to half an hour to allow for all the play.

Finally it seems you’ve accepted sleep as “a thing that happens regularly.” You’ve been sleeping through the night (for the most part) for a week or so now, and you even nap occasionally during the day. I’m befuddled. At times I worry you might be a doppelganger, as the child I’ve known for the past six months does not sleep. And not just “he doesn’t sleep sometimes” or “he only sleeps 10 hours a day”. Oh, no. My child doesn’t sleep out of principle. That phase may be past us, but I’m not counting on it. For the time being, I will enjoy the rest I get and accept that someday very soon I can anticipate functioning on two hours of sleep and granola bars once more.

Speaking of sleep, I should probably be doing that right now, as you will be waking up to eat again sometime within the next five hours.

I still wonder what it is that you dream about. Something fantastic, I hope.

Mum

Dearest Kol,

You are having a rough week, as are your parents. Yesterday morning I had some teeth removed, necessitating some temporary changes to our routines. For instance, your father has been your primary caretaker (and mine). You have been bottle-fed. You have unfortunately been left to cry longer than we like, but without alternative. Your father has done his very best, and I’m not going to lie kiddo, I’d underestimated how very good he is at taking care of us.

My face has ballooned to an alarming size, and you look confused when I cannot smile or talk to you. It’s upsetting. I want to chat and sing with you as I generally do, to kiss your face and make you giggle. I can barely even hold you between the medication and the fear that you will head-butt my face, which you do pretty frequently. Yesterday after we got home, I slept for a few hours and when I woke up, all I wanted to do was sit with your father and hold you. So that’s exactly what we did.

I was concerned that we will not have enough food to last the requisite 48 hours between my surgery and when I can breastfeed again, but it seems like we might actually make it. It’ll be close, and we’ll have used up every last bit that we had stored (I’ve been saving for about two months and all I managed to get was about 40 oz.), but I think you can last. My biggest worry was that you would grow too accustomed to the bottle and would wean yourself from the breast, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. You still pull at my shirt when you’re hungry and when I bottle-fed you for the very first time this morning (every other time you have eaten from a bottle, your father has done it), you were confused and unhappy with me. Well, let’s be honest, sweetheart. You and I are an exemplary breastfeeding team. We are awkward, clumsy, and messy when it comes to bottle-feeding.

Later this week your father is having eye surgery, so he’ll be out of commission too. Hopefully we’ll all be back to normal soon, though.

You’re such a smart and strong baby. You’re rolling more now, especially when you want something, and you’re making huge strides in the learning-to-crawl front. Your ability to grasp items is impressive. You make sounds that sound like words and sometimes you even mimic us. You like to stand up (with a little help of course) and you have begun taking little steps. You and your father like to chase me around the house that way, and we all end up giggling and smiling. You’re almost sitting up on your own, too, and you’ve taken to cramming your feet into your mouth.

We made the mistake of teaching you to stick out your tongue, and now that’s all we can get you to do. In the morning when you first wake up, you greet us with your tongue, usually followed by a smile and a giggle.

The other day you reached out for me with both arms, and we had an “awwww!” moment. It’s so exciting when you hold our hands or wrap your arms around us. We love when your face lights up when you see or hear us. You know who your parents are, no doubt about that.

I wish your poor little teeth would just come in. You are not happy about teething (who is?). You chew and gnaw on everything you can reach, which is unfortunately me most of the time. You like to bite down on my knuckles, and let me assure you it doesn’t tickle. Once, when my hands were full and I was carrying you, you latched onto my chin and left a bruise. It still hasn’t faded yet.

I still cannot believe how big you are! Over 17 lbs. and 26″ long! Your feet are huge, and you wear these little blue and black sneakers that are meant for 1 year-olds. We worried that you might be a little too big, but the doctor assured us that you are happy and healthy and that if you’re heavier than most babies, it’s definitely contributing to how strong you are.

You still love music. We have a number of music-playing toys for you, and they tend to be your favorites. You like when we sing to you, even though I cannot carry a tune for my life. I love that you love music.

Keep up the good work, kiddo! We are proud of all of your accomplishments and cannot wait to see what you learn to do next.

We love you, Kol.

Mum