Friday, May 24, 2013

21 Month Newsletter

Dear Son,

So this is l-a-t-e, but May has been CRAZY (more on that at a later date).  We did manage to celebrate your 21 month marker and Mother's Day on the 13th though.  We went to a local petting zoo and I got in free...what more could a Mom ask for? 

But seriously, it is such a joy to watch you grow from a baby into a little boy.  You are now 32 in. tall!! You can say "please" at appropriate times and actually ask me if you can eat geen-beens (green beans) for dinner.  And in the evenings you often walk up to me and say, "Bubble bath?" (you can pronounce these two words exquisitely), even when you've already had one, and I oblige.  Because, hey, why not allow you that joy?  It's not everyday in life that we get to take two bubble baths.  And did I mention that when I say it's time for a nap or night-night you DON'T cry?!  What did I do to deserve this good fortune?  It's the little things amongst all the crazy... 

And your current obsession:  SUPERHEROS.  As soon as you wake up in the morning, you ask not for Mama or Dada, but 'Biderman aka Spiderman.  I showed you the 1960's cartoon theme-song on YouTube and now you are hooked.

Anyways, thanks for being you kiddo!

Bears are still a favorite



Saturday, April 13, 2013

20 Month Newsletter

Dear Son,

The best part about Spring is that stuff you previously believed to be dead and gone--like the craggy tufts of dried debris in our potted plants--are actually alive.  One undetermined day the grass turns from brown to verdant green.  The bare tree branches have brand new leaves--ones so green they look yellow.  Spring is the moment when you suddenly see things, in my opinion, the way they are meant to be seen.  The Spring season lasts for a few months, but the imperceptible act of "spring" seems so fleeting.  I wish I could capture this moment for you. 

Today is your 20 month birthday (woah!).  It's great it falls on a Saturday because you, me and Dad spent all day together.  We hung out at home, outside.  We threw the ball.  We looked at earth worms and you laughed--that infectious one where your whole body shakes like a bowl full of jelly--when Dad showed you how to spit off the deck (so grown).  Now, inside we play with Star Wars and Marvel hero figurines.  Oh, and a cow and a zebra.  We'll probably even eat your favorite food (pizza) tonight.  It's been pretty much (barring your new penchant for rising early on the weekends) the perfect day.   

I often wish I could capture SO MANY moments because you are growing and changing so quickly.  Always smarter, funnier, more handsome, more vocal than the moment before.  And every time I get you out of your crib after nap time you are somehow heavier and more limb-y in my arms than just a few hours before.

That is life son; things they are a changin'.  You will always be our blessing.  It is such a pleasure to be your parent.

And since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few shots from today: 


Friday, March 29, 2013

If Morning Ever Comes

Dear Son,

Remember when I wrote about Dad having a cold?  Well, you and I have just returned from the Pediatrician's office, and you have croup. Again.  Seems it's your regular affliction.  It could be worse.  You've been in good spirits so far and right now you are napping beside me on the couch, peacefully propped-up on a pillow.  Where I can listen to every snore and whistle and determine if intervention is necessary.  I took a picture of you and sent it to your Dad, because you are just too cute when you're snoozing. 

But this is not how I felt at 5 A.M., when Dad and I crawled, on all fours, into your darkened room to listen to you breathe after we were awakened by wheezing and a weak coughing coming from the baby monitor.  We equipped ourselves with an albuterol neb treatment and crept slowly, slowly, slowly into the dark, mechanical whir that is your room at night, with the cool-mist humidifier and the ceiling fan lulling you to sleep in a carefully air-aquality controlled environment. 

And with the flick of the nebulizer's ON switch you were awake.  Cheerfully, so.  You sat and greeted your Dad, who was trying to sneak the child sized mask through your crib railing, with a happy, "Aye!"  We hit the deck,  frozen in terror, like wild animals who have sensed the presence of Man in the woods.  You have impeccable night-vision.  Then louder, almost shouting, comes "Aye!"  A warning, a siren ready to wail. And all hope for a complete, if not good, nights sleep is lost.

So for two dim hours, you and I sit in the recliner in your room, rocking and singing, rocking and singing.  You snoozing fitfully for a few minutes, me enduring knees in my rib-cage, an elbow shoved forcefully under my chin.  Then you startle, sit up, point to something I can't see and proclaim, "Beee!"  The wee hours can make anyone a little loopy.  More rocking and humming, too early to remember the words to anything.  Yes, even the ABCs.  Sweat has matted your hair to your forehead and your batman pajamas are wrinkled and stretched.  Evidence of a fitful night's sleep.  I fiddle with the neck of your tee-shirt, sure that if I can get it to lay just right I can ease your breathing.  We rearrange in the recliner.  Try to sleep.  Elbow. Ribcage. Repeat. 

It reminds me of my favorite Anne Tyler novel, If Morning Ever Comes. The narrator, Ben Joe, is the youngest brother of a large, female-centric, dysfunctional (is there any other kind?), Southern family.  The novel gets its title, specifically, from a scene the narrator remembers: He spends the night before a big Farmers Market/State Fair/Tractor Show next to a farmer and his disabled son who have just set up their stall.  The son is so excited for the big hoopla the next day that he asks his father as soon as they lay down to sleep, and with increasing frequency, "Is it morning yet?"  Over and over again.  Finally, the  boy's father gets up and packs up, exclaiming "If morning ever comes!"  The narrator, less specifically, applies this adage to his own family drama, which always seems to happen in the middle of the night--someone leaving, someone coming, someone fighting, and no one in their bed where or when they're supposed to be.  Oh, how life mimics art!!

So in the familiar dread of the "wee" hours, inevitable with any child (as your kind doctors have said: It's not if they get sick but when...), I find myself thinking that morning will never come, and if it ever does, can't it come sooner?!  Because, somehow, having a sick child seems less daunting when it's light outside.  Maybe for the same reason that kids (like you!) sleep with a night-light; things seem a little less scary when you shed a little light on them.

And all of this happened on Good Friday, no less (not really a "good" day--the day we remember that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross--more of a somber day).  You could take "good" to signify the good news that Jesus died for our sins so that all who believe him may live or you could just have a little faith that morning WILL come and everything will be A-OK.  

I hope you'll be on the mend pronto!

Love you (even in the wee hours),


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

19 Month Newsletter

Dear Son,

Today marks our 19 month anniversary!  For most, a monthly newsletter written to a baby (that sounds a little silly) would include things like important milestones.  Not here.  Milestones, though exciting, are too medical and if you've read anything I've written this far--you know I have a distaste (and that's using kind words) for anything medical.

Yes, this month was the month you learned to kick a ball, shush people, run (head first), and scale things to a moderately terrifying height (the coffee table and couches).  You also got ANOTHER pair of shoes.  And did I mention that you've shown interest in drinking out of a wide-mouthed cup?  At dinnertime, you often remove the straw from your sippy cup, bring cup to lips, and tip the thing upward (just had to brag a little). 

Now, onto the more important things we've been doing this month:  Star Wars.

I spy, with my little eye...a box turtle!!

You, me, and Dad viewed A New Hope a couple of weekends ago and we had a blast.  We had to fast forward through some slow scenes (only to finish before bedtime, because you have an excellent attention span.  There's just so much to brag about).  Result: You are obsessed with R2D2.  And your Dad found some pretty cool figurines that you take everywhere now, replacing your poor old Buddha

You've also developed a unique set of skills.  For instance, you can turn anything into a cell-phone.  I mean, ANYTHING.  It started with a straw, which you attached around your ear and proceeded to march around the house talking into.  You do your best talking while you're walking (me too).  Then, it was a french fry, you picked it off your tray, held it to the side of your face and began babbling.  You got a pretty good laugh out of us, so the french fry phone has become part of your regular shtick, when you're feeling punchy.  Other objects-converted-into-cell-phones include: T.V. remotes, toy cars, rattles, and bottles of baby lotion.  Apparently, you've got a lot to say kiddo. 

You also excel at making car, train, and airplane noises.  Which means you're also really good at making any object into a MOVING object. 

What else?  Oh, the dancing.  Sometimes I turn on the radio so you can run around (mostly stomping and kicking) to the music.  Every now and then you attempt a forward roll just to mix things up.  Slapping your knees is your favorite move. And Ho, Hey by the Lumineers is your favorite song (it has a catchy chorus that you can actually sing along to).  You've got excellent tastes and you've really found your groove.

You have a few favorite games too.  (1) I like to call Knock-Knock.  This entails going around the house and knocking on any closed door we can find and then opening it to see who's there (as you can see, we've gotten pretty creative in the colder months).  Knocking on the bathroom door is your favorite because we can see ourselves in the mirror when we open it. (2) Fetch with the dogs.  Jack Pup is the best sport, but sometimes you throw the ball AT him (with suprising force and accuracy) instead of FOR him.  In which case Jack does the brotherly thing and just walks away, leaving you to play your other favorite game: throw the ball.  (3) Hide and Seek.  In which you hide but also sometimes hide objects of interest, like the remote control or the couch pillows, in your tent we have set up in the dining room. 

You have also developed quite a taste for books (which makes your Dad and I so proud).  One of your favorites right now is "Slowly, Slowy, Slowly," said the Sloth by Eric Carle.  You also like our coffee table books: one, called Smiles because it's miniature and has black and white photos of all sorts of different people smiling.  When we read it we practice smiling, which you are really good at doing (and I hope you always will be).  Another is our wedding album.  I love when you haul that clunky thing off the table and place it my lap for us to read together.  We make up the words as we go along--they're always different--but mostly we practice saying the names of all the family members we see in the photographs.  It's a great reminder of who we are, how we got here, and how lucky we are to be together--the three of us. 

Everything you do makes us proud son--not just the milestones, but everything in between.  Because that's the stuff that makes you YOU.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

L, M, N, O, P = Q

A Post in Numbers and Letters: Mom meets Dad

September 2008…we see each other in a Borders Bookstore

  1  month later…we started dating

14  months after that…we were married:  12.27.09

12  months after that…we were pregnant

  9   months after that…we meet you! (see Bears all things)


Dear Son,

Since I’m on a roll with blast-from-the-past letters, I thought I’d tell you about the time I met your Dad. I’m sure, in few years, I’ll get to tell you in person as many times as you'd like to hear it. But I wanted to write you here too because these are the stories that make us a family.

I first read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers in my first-year seminar class at Mount Holyoke College. The seminar was called “Growing up Southern.” I took it because I was Southern—at least according to all the girls from New England and Philly—and also considered myself a grown up on most days of the week. The seminar was a course in the English department, though, and I really had no interest in reading and writing then.

My memory of Lonely Hunter is tied inextricably to that gnarled New England campus and also to a sense of achievement (don’t worry, the part where I meet your Dad is coming—let’s just quickly skim over several years here, years when I wish I knew him, but sadly didn’t yet). So I finished the book, which I rarely did with books then. I enjoyed it, and my professor wrote some nice comments on my paper that I now can’t remember. And this is how it happened that I became an English major who agonized over many, many more books, papers and comments from professors that I do recall like “pyrotechnic syntax to cover up complete lack of substance.” (We've all got flaws, son).

Somehow after college, I ended up working in a bookstore where I often got lost in the M’s, picking up Melville paperbacks, reading the first lines of McEwen novels, and discovering McCullers’ collection of short stories. In the alcove of L, M, N, O and P is where I met your Dad—who was wearing a ball-cap and wondering what to read— and I recommended, since we were standing in the Ms, that he buy The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. For a moment he seemed put off by the “Oprah Book Club Selection” stamp on the front cover hanging next to a black and white photograph of a sad-looking woman with bangs, sitting in bunch of brush.

“I’ll take it,” he finally said. And I was so relieved, too, when he suggested that after he finished it, we could grab a coffee together (Though, I later found out that he doesn’t even drink coffee, which is just fine).

That night, after my closing shift, I went home and picked up my own paperback copy (without the Oprah sticker) and began reading to refresh my memory.

It begins “In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.”

Son, I don’t think I could have picked a weirder book. Maybe one day you’ll read it too and think the same. But your Dad came back after all, and thank goodness he didn’t wait until he’d finished it!

Your Dad and I must have seen each other before this exact instance in time (and we continued to see each other for many, many more instances), but this is how it will go down in family history. This is how I became an educated woman, a married woman and (you guessed it) a Mom. Thanks to Carson McCullers.

Always remember that you have parents who love each other (and you) very, very much; and that makes you one of the lucky ones, kid.

I hope one day, you find as much joy in books (and sharing them with someone special) as we have.



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Waiting Room Phobia

Dear Son,

Today was your eighteen month checkup.  Boy, do we hate doctors’ offices.  Let me state that although I believe there isn’t anyone who doesn’t hate waiting rooms, WE hate them more. 

You, Dad, and I have actually been in enough waiting rooms in your short time that you’d think we‘d desensitize ourselves by now.  That our heart-rate wouldn’t increase a little crossing the threshold (not touching anything with our hands of course—elbows, knees, and feet are acceptable though), that our palms wouldn’t sweat, that our stomachs wouldn’t turn.  I have to actively fight the urge to just stand (chairs are ripe with germs) at the optimal 6 feet from EVERYONE in the room (sick or well, I don’t care) while clutching you to my body until the nurse calls your name—I’ve done this actually and I think it makes other people uncomfortable, but again: I don’t care.  You see I live in a world where I don’t pretend that the germs aren’t calling the shots.  Think about those tiny organisms invading our much, much bigger human bodies, making us miserable, incapacitating us.  Sure Suzy Q. and Johnny can run around the Well Waiting Area with a snot nose and lingering cough (you’re on my S#*! list parents of Suzie Q. and Johnny.  One day, I’ll explain what this kind of list is—a long, long time from now) and none of the other parents will worry.  No big deal, right? WRONG.  Many nights have your father and I set the alarm for every two hours so that we can give you a nebulizer treatment because you’ve caught a little cold. More than once have we been to the E.R. at 5 a.m. (it’s always 5 a.m.) because you couldn’t breathe.  I stock pile the remainder of any prescription steroids in the medicine cabinets—oldest in the front, newer in the back—in case of an emergency.  No matter how many times you’ve had a cold, a virus, the croup; it never gets any easier hearing you struggle to breathe.  And this is probably the seed of my WRP (Waiting Room Phobia).

But you are such a trooper, kid. Strong, patient, and good-natured through it all.  As you’ve gotten older, you’ve become more resilient (despite my refusal to leave the house whenever I see “Sick baby” trending on Facebook statuses).  So today, I thought I’d take it a little bit easier in the WR.  After checking in (when I couldn’t find my own pen to use—tip: always have your own pen handy, son, no matter where you are), we used hand wipes two times before I’d even made it to a chair in the well area.  There were too many people in the room for me to find a chair that was 6 feet from everyone, so I settled for a chair in the corner, that way I had my back to no one –all threats (thanks again, parents of Suzy Q. and Johnny) were visible.   Now that you are more mobile and curious in new surroundings I worried that you might whine and squirm to get down--which is absolutely OFF LIMITS FOREVER.  But thank goodness, you are an introvert like me, perfectly happy to sit in my lap and observe the absurdity around you. 
Kids rolling on the floor.  Kids coughing and wiping their hands and faces all over the windows—I admit the view of the apple orchards from the 4th floor is pretty cool, but really? Is that necessary!  Kids TOUCHING EACH OTHERS FACES—grossest thing I’ve seen all week.  Parents coughing.  Parents wearing Pooh shirts (this is a double entendre—I’ll explain that one day too).  I tried to think clean thoughts.  I thought of the NICU and the Scrubbing-in sink.  I wondered where I could get and install one of these in our home.

By the time they called our name, which was a good 15 minutes; you had decided that it was okay to talk to the cute newborn baby girl who was trying to sleep next to us.

 Aye, (hi) you greeted her. 

And they told you how cute you were and you smiled for them.

Buh-bye, you waved when we got up to leave.

So, perhaps it’s not me who’s really giving a lesson or saying anything meaningful about my stupid Waiting Room Phobia, maybe it’s you who is teaching your Mom a thing or two.  That maybe it’s OK, to say hello once in a while.  We made it out of there alive, after all, and at least you smiled—if only that once.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Bears all things

Dear Son,

Sometimes we read On the Night You Were Born —mostly because you are enamored with the polar bears dancing under the moon on the cover—because it is a great story about,well, see title.  And the words couldn’t be truer, how miraculous it is, how wonderfully and fearfully we are all made.  But every story is unique; some are happy, some are excruciating, some scary, some confusing, some joyous.  This one is yours—a little bit of everything, with the happiest ending of all:

The evening your father and I checked into the hospital,fourth floor, there was a full moon scheduled. It was a Friday in the middle of a blazing hot August.  There was no room in the Labor and Delivery Wing.  Even more women were laboring away in the Mother-Baby recovery rooms in the adjacent wing.

The influence of the moon is great, son.  It causes the oceans to flood and ebb.  It wields control over the tides, that small, cold rock in our orbit.  Its own gravitational pull is a force to reckon with, causing huge, salty bodies of water on Earth’s surface to slosh, to swell according to her position in the skies.  This is undisputed.  But folklore (and werewolf movies) suggests that the moon has power over other bodies too, namely our own.  Even great philosophers believed that a full moon could induce lunacy (punny, right?) and that night, many moons ago, I believed that maybe it could induce labor, which is only a little like lunacy.

I was no stranger to the fourth floor.  I had been there once a week for the past three weeks for non-stress testing.  You were a handful, kid.  But handing my insurance information through the little glass window for the umpteenth time, I was ready.  I was 38 weeks pregnant,wearing maternity jorts (jean-shorts, it’s a thing) and I was r-e-a-d-y.  I was relaxed and non-sweaty (compared to all the squirmy women being wheeled around me) and excited to think that the next time I left this hospital it would be with you in my arms.

Your Dad left work early and we settled into our room where I was to be induced.  According to the Doctor, it was no big deal that we didn’t have a laboring room ready.  She didn’t expect to see you for 24 more hours,at least, which was when she was on-call again (but she, not the practice’s mid-wife, had to be there anyway because you were what they call “high-risk”). 

“These rooms are more comfortable, anyway,” added the nurse.  Which is funny, because comfortable is not a thing you are in hospitals.  Nope.

So they induced me with some drug, the name of which I can’tremember, not Pitocin.  They stuck me with needles and hooked me up to monitors so they could keep tabs on you.  My parents stepped right off a transatlantic flight and came to visit us.  We watched T.V. and I ate graham crackers and sipped watery juice. 
Sometime before dinner the nurse forbade me to eat anything else and removed the induction drugs.  Something on the monitor had alarmed her and she rushed into our room with a handful of pillows and started rolling me around in the bed.  Your heart rate had dropped, but she got it back up again. The Doctor came to visit and said if that happened again (it didn’t) we would be going into surgery. She also said that if I planned on getting any sleep that night, I should take an Ambien.  I declined, and she said she would write the script anyway—just in case.  At shift change, the new nurse brought me a little blue pill in a paper cup. 

“What’s this?” I said.

“Ambien.  The script was in your chart.”

“Oh, I don’t know…”

“Trust me, you’re going to want this,” she said. 

So I succumbed to the peer pressure, and this is where the story gets hazy.  The following is an account I’ve had to piece together from eye-witnesses (mainly, your father):

Sometime in the middle of night, though in hospitals it’shard to tell what’s day and night, I stumble with all my monitors and accoutrements into the bathroom to g-e-t-s-i-c-k (don’t like any of the words to describe this, so, going into details about labor…well, I’ll just skim over most of the icky). Then I paged the nurse for anti-nausea meds.  Several times in a row. 

“On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your pain?” the nurse continually asked.  I just couldn’t understand this question.  What’s one? A splinter, a stubbed toe…but don’t those hurt terribly?  What is a ten? A missing limb?  And if I’ve never experienced any of these,how will I know?  Two seemed like a good answer.  I didn’t want to be a drama queen about it.  I stuck with a solid two throughout the night.  I’m not impervious to pain but I just have a hard time feeling it in numbers.

Finally, the night nurse got smart and thought that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t feeling this pain-scale of numbers thing.  Give me colors, words: What’s your pain on a scale of purple to silver?  Purple being a happy pain and silver being excruciating? Ok.  Anything but numbers.

The nurse checked to see if I was dilated.  I was 5 cm. F-I-V-E centimeters and feeling two.  You can give me a pat on the back someday for this. 

It was time to roll me into a just-ready-5-minutes-ago labor and delivery room.

“Epidural. Epidural,” I was trying to mumble through my Ambien-coma.  It was around 5:30 a.m.

I got one, but it was too late to feel its sweet effects.  In the time it took the nurse to run-walk me to the delivery room, I was 10 cm and good to go.

(Skimming over the icky here).

Let the record show that your father was a trooper, my rock, and strong through it all.

After an hour of pushing I sobered up a bit and committed to actually holding you in my arms before the nurses had to change shift again at7 a.m. 

You were born, however, on a Saturday at 8:34 a.m. on August13th.  While other people in our time-zone were sleeping-in, or starting the coffee and thinking about doughnuts, (or going to bed in the case of our night nurses), we were welcoming you. 

But you were maybe not ready for all the hustle and bustle,the hoopla, the blazing hot summer, the moon and its tides, the numbers assigned to pain.  I admit, the world can be a crazy place but we wanted so badly to welcome you into it.  Safely. The nurses grabbed you up and I waited to hear you cry.  I waited 10 seconds I turned my eyes toward the table where the nurses were suctioning out your mouth.

Twenty, maybe thirty seconds passed and still, I waited and hoped.  I had seen this before on TLC’s:A Baby Story.  I remember thinking that it always turned out fine.  Fine, fine,fine.  Buttons were being pushed. Rubber-soled shoes were squeaking, hurriedly around the room. Time seemed to pass so slowly.

Reinforcements. Another team to work on you.  A doctor in blue scrubs rushed in, she was wearing red One-Stars for her shift that Saturday morning.

“Out of the way,” I think I remember her saying.  There must have been 20 people in the room,or maybe just 7 or 8.  I remember feeling so helpless.  In those slow seconds, I think Dad and I got to know the Man Upstairs a little better.

Finally, after a whole 60 seconds you came back to us.  I heard a weak cry, as if to test your pipes out, and then you really let loose with the wailing.  When the doctors and nurses were satisfied with your pinkish color, I was finally able to hold you for the first time.

Of all the times I had imaged holding you for the first time, it never occurred to me you'd have no teeth. Staring into a wailing pink hole your smooth shiny gums were so strange to me, so beautiful to me.  You were perfect.

But they took you away after that.  Wheeled you away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  and your father followed.  I had to stay behind for a little bit, until Icould feel my legs again, and the nurse tried her best to get me to eat something while I entertained visitors.  Family members who were on their way to the beach passed through.   Family members who were still jet-lagged stepped in.  Eating and entertaining were not things I felt like doing, son.  That half-hour felt like a life-time, missing you. When everyone had cleared out, and the nurse helped me into the wheelchair, I began to cry.  And that sweet nurse (sadly I cannot remember her name) said:

“Oh, you’re just like me; trying to be strong for everyone…waiting until everyone is gone.” And I cried harder because I was not strong at all.  And then she hugged me while we both cried a little more.  We were worried for you,son.  We were all rooting for you.     

On the short ride to the place where they were keeping you,I thought of the hospital tour your father and I took during an all-day childbirth class.  “And this is the NICU, God forbid you have to go in there,” the guide said. And, suddenly, I was mad because we were the “God forbid” people. 


(God bless you if you ever have to walk in those shoes.  And bless the NICU workers everywhere…theyare special people.)


I was overwhelmed with all the tiny beds and cubes and whirring machines in that room and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to recognize you,my own baby, since we had spent such a short time together. But then I saw all the thick, black hair, and knew it was you; that you were mine, and I was yours.      

Though the good doctors said you wouldn’t have to stay long in the NICU, there were still some things you had to learn how to do before you could leave: breathe without taking any extended breaks and eat (two things at which you now excel).

Sadly, I could not take you with me when we checked out of the hospital two days later.  Imagine not wanting to leave the hospital.  Imagine it.  I wanted to curl up on the floor and sleep next to your little bed in the loud, beeping, rubber-soles-squeaking  NICU.

In the morning, the transporter arrived with a chair to wheel me downstairs.  It was time to go.  It seemed like a million years ago that I had been excited for this moment—the moment where I got to leave the hospital with you in my arms.  I thought that if I could just sit there in that hospital bed a little longer, things would surely have to go my way.  The way I had imaged it. The way I had planned.

The transporter waited.

I crossed my arms.

“Checking out today?” she said.

“Do I have to ride in that thing?” I said.

“I think so…well, you’ll want to anyways.”

And, so it goes. While your Dad packed up the car, I was wheeled down to the lobby carrying not a fat, sleepy baby but a leafy-green potted plant—some congratulatorygift—while the woman in front of me held a freshly bathed baby. 

I will admit that I was so angry, son.  I just wanted you home with us.  Why, oh why did I have to be one of the “God forbid” people? I stupidly wondered. 

But you were right where you needed to be with people who knew how to take care of you, and the people that loved you (who are many) visited often.  Although you stayed in the NICU for only seven days, it felt like a century. Your father and I were there five times a day, feeding, changing and bathing you.  We called every night at 3a.m. to check on you.  We got to do the normal things.  It just wasn’t how we planned it.  There’s a saying that goes, Tell God your plans


And that is the story of the “marvelous, wonderful [morning] you were born.”  I’m sure Dad and I will tell it to you many times.  And maybe the details will become more imaginative over time—the doctors: superheroes, the moon: a powerful force over human actions. Or maybe those things were already true. No matter, this story will go down in family history forever and ever as the greatest, most miraculous and trying, but definitely most rewarding experience.   


I leave you with this passage from another great book I hope you’ll also enjoy reading one day:

Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up,
Does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil;
Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

-1 Corinthians 13


Reading this verse, I always chuckle a little when I reach the last line.  It reminds me not only of child-bearing,but also of polar bears dancing under that big, beautiful moon.

May you always love and be loved,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Favorite Things

Dear Son,

I thought it would be fun to post on here some of your favorite things right now.  I'll show you with pictures and captions.

Nothing makes you happier than flinging all the books off of this shelf:

And, this is your favorite book for us to read together:
Reading this, you point and say "Star" many, many times with increasing volume.


You like to watch silly videos on YouTube.  The ones with singing animals and/or inanimate objects with animate features are your favorite:

You also give plenty of hugs and loving shoves to this furry creature, Abby:


You like to carry these around, point them at the T.V. and grunt, bang them on any hard surface, and sometimes you talk on them like telephones. You love just holding the remote.

You love to carry this little guy around.  He's just your size and, also, he looks kind of like a baby. And also this is really weird...nuff' said.

 One time, I caught you carrying the Buddha baby in one hand and this guy in the other.  Becuase that is how we roll. 
This is Noah from your Little People: Noah's Arc set.  He usually takes the Jeep instead of the arc, if you couldn't tell.
This is another favorite toy of yours, we have several varying figurines like him.
"Skateboard Creeper" Buzz
 Just look at that smile...
 Another thing you love is your Dad's hats.  He wears them often.  We looked for this one in particular for weeks.  You had hidden it in your closet.  Needless to say, it's your favorite hat (Dad's too):

And last, but not least, are these:

When all else fails, have some goldfish. Baby size.

So, there you have it.  Maybe you can look back on this one day (you know, as long as this whole internet thing isn't just a fad) and enjoy reliving some of your favorite things.  Your tastes are constantly evolving though, so I will try to stay current.

Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Taking Back Boredom


I want you to know that some days there just isn't much going on.  As I was thinking about what to bloggity-blog on here, you sat wearing only a diaper and your brand new sneaks (upon your insistence, of course) and endlessly dropping one of your toy tool-box screws through an empty paper towel tube.  I want to save this image in my head forever because (well, in part because as soon as you saw me with pen and paper your contentment with independent play instantly faded and you climbed into my lap to snatch the pen away) I know that someday you are going to tell me, "I'm bored!"

By the way, this is what you drew:

I remember most of my childhood (sans cable T.V. -read: Disney Channel- until my tweens) repeating the phrase, "I'm bored." To which my father would say, "What I wouldn't give to be bored again."  I didn't understand it then, but I do now.  When you are an adult with resposibilities, and perhaps children, there's no time to be bored.
So, does bored have to be a bad word?  Maybe it isn't the right word, but I want to remember the boring moments with you and Dad most.  I'm sure the internet is already rife with ephemera, and yes, I could write about more salient things like your miraculous birth story, your hospital stays and ambulance rides (when I got carsick), countless IVs and leads and monitors, your MRI, the good, the bad and the ugly of pediatric specialists, and all the worrying and waiting.  And maybe one day I will write about that (when I figure out how). 
But for now I will recount the boring moments when you were an infant and I held you practically all day long, when I brought you into bed in the early morning hours and we snuggled until a more decent hour (like 10 a.m.).  Or when you and me and Dad all sit on the floor and do, well, nothing in particular.  But there's laughing. Lots of laughing.  And now, my favorite part of the day when I sit on the couch with you and look out the window into the cul-de-sac and watch the winter sky turn from blue dark to black dark. 
Maybe I was never bored.  Nevertheless, one day, I hope you can find the joy in being bored.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's your Story?

Dear Son,

Today is your half-birthday.  Happy eighteenth month (plus some) on this planet! We are very blessed to be here together.  Me. You. Dad.  You are such an observant child with big, beautiful eyes, that I'm often wondering what you're thinking. You are seriously eagle-eyed with impeccable attention to detail; just the other day you were pointing fervently at a vauge area in the corner of the house.

"Window?" I asked.

You shook your head.

"Hmm, light?"


"Oh, the trees outside!"

You squinted, still pointing.  By the time you gave me a verbal clue to what you were pointing at, I had convinced myself that maybe you had a sixth sense and did it just get colder in here?!  And, OMG, my son sees dead people!

"Hoo, hoo," you said.  Instantly, I saw the cardinal in the bare braches of the tree in our backyard. You have quite the eye, or maybe I need glasses.  I love guessing games, but I'm looking forward to some conversation.  I'm sure I'll hear from you soon enough, though some days it's hard not to let my imagination get carried away.  Anyway, I thought I'd take a little space here to tell you what I've been thinking.

When (if) I have some free-time, between three meal-times, snack-time, juicebox-time (hydration is key), peek-a-boo-time, general-run-around-the-house-time, story-time, laundry-time (you're a big help, really!), N-A-P-time when I pretend to sleep until you fall asleep, and finally bath-time, I sometimes like to daydream (or think about why, WHY? do all the girls on Teen Mom wear VS PINK sweats head-to-toe: coincidental bad taste or what?). But, seriously, I mostly think about us and how our lives have gone and where they will go and if I'm being a patient parent and if I'm living a life that sets a good example for you.

I hope that one day many, many years from now when someone asks you (in a non-awkward, think-y way): So, what's your story?, that you'll have plenty of good things to say.  I want you to know that we are all writing our own stories the best we can.  There is no greater entity like Fate or Destiny holding the ink pen for you, making all the character and plot decisions--that is ALL YOU.  Sure, there will be things that you want to cross out and people you want to erase, but that is the beauty of a story.  If ever in your life things aren't going in the direction you want, remember you are holding the pen.  And even though there are no re-dos, just keep on writing the right way. Can you tell we've been reading Oh, the Places You'll Go lately?

Even at 18 months you are a pro with the pen.  You always try to sneak them out of your Dad's pocket when he comes home from work.  So, I'm sure you'll know just what to do.  I hope you never write us out of your story, son, because we want to share our stories with you and see what all the chapters to come will hold!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stay at Home

I always thought I’d be more successful by now, is a thought many women (and men) sometimes have at year’s end when it’s customary to consider what we’ve accomplished (bought my eighteenth pair of brown leather boots!) and, perhaps, have not accomplished (donated seventeen pairs of brown leather boots to a deserving boot charity).

I had a thought similar to this when attacking one of my New Year resolutions; well, actually, I was sharing a pop-tart with my fifteen month old—not a resolution, I’ll get to that part—and observing our surroundings. See, my undergraduate diploma hangs, there, on the wall above a gigantic teddy bear whose head nods whimsically atop his over-stuffed belly so that he appears constantly slumbering in hibernation.

Dreamy, I think.
Moo, says my son.

Ironic, is what I think of the unintentional design in my Office-converted-haphazardly-into-a-play-room. There’s tents and tunnels amongst ten or twelve variations of the Woody doll and also every size, color, and texture of ball on the market. Oh, and giraffes. Who doesn’t like giraffes? The room is seriously a couple of Duplo blocks away from an episode of Hoarders.

Anyway, I recently scribbled on scrap paper:

New Year Resolutions:
-Organize toy room.
Meaning, I had already surrendered the “Office” part. There it was in black and white: Toy. Room. Trying to create anything in this shrinking enclave of ink pens and a virus-ridden lap-top (due to neglect, obviously) is too stressful. Even the office chair, which served as the demarcation line, a clear symbol of this is office, that is playroom, had to be removed. The residents of Playroom were using it as a climbing wall. Now the desk on which the laptop sits serves as Playroom’s official Place-For-Found-Dangerous-Objects-That-No-One-Can-Reach-For-Now.

It might as well be called “don’t” and not desk: “Don’t pull on that drawer,” “Don’t touch those pens,” “Don’t crawl under there and yank out the computer cable (and all the electrical wiring in the wall).”

Over the months, the “don’t” collects old post-its littered with grocery lists, pen caps, and piles of unused or barely used journals. Leather-bound, floral, large, pocket-sized, lined and blank. Christmas gifts, impulse buys. Sometimes I kneel in front of the “don’t,” carefully open my lap-top and listen to it whirr, perhaps intending to do some vague form of work. But that’s as far as I get. The “don’t" is really just a relic like the Diploma written in Latin hanging ironically behind me.

The good old days?

No, I have the best of days ahead me. The work I do at home—supervising pudding painting (and eating), singing an off-key version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider with a few improved dance moves thrown in for giggles—is the most rewarding work I could ask for. Even the conversations I have at home that go: “Quack, Quack,” and then, “Quack, Quack, Quack,” are way more interesting than any water-cooler chit chat I’ve had the pleasure of hearing friends recount.

If work is not what makes us who we are, then I want my son to know I’m not just a stay-at-home-mom, I’m a stay-at-home-Molly. And, also, it’s not a “don’t,” it's a desk. Really. But let’s, me and you, put that part of life off for as long as we possibly can, kiddo.  To rephrase my opening thought, when I look at you, son, I’m more successful than I ever thought I’d be. And I hope you are too one day.