William turned nine months this past Monday. He is certainly at a point where he is keeping us on our toes. He is always on the move and interested in what piece of furniture he can try to climb up next. While he is extremely vocal, he is still not interested in my daily attempts to have him say “Mama.” Mostly he is interested in vocalizing his discontent if I do not feed him fast enough or if I move outside his line of vision. His temper and lack of patience perfectly mirrors his mother. I know Brandon is pleased.
As I write this you are napping peacefully in your swing. Don’t be fooled. It took a solid ten minutes of coercion to convince you that I was indeed making you take a nap. You can’t be bothered with sleep. You are forever on the move exploring every toy, book, and ball you can find. You are boundless energy and I love watching you as you discover what sounds each toy will make, and how you can transfer objects from one hand to the other. It is the opportunity to see how magical every little thing in life is all over again. Except this time I cognitively understand how fascinating movement and exploration really are. What a gift that truly is.
I write to you today because I have noticed your affinity for music. In the morning when we eat breakfast you stare at the record player until I put on a tune. You love for me to swing you in the air and dance. In your playroom I watch you crawl to one of your baskets of toys and take out the drum. You turn it over and start pounding on it. You will hold the ukulele and strum a tune. One day last week you even crawled along the couch, turned over your father’s Strat and starting strumming. It was as if you had always known what to do.
Even if you never take up an instrument or pursue music as a hobby, I hope and pray that you will find as much peace and satisfaction out of a love for music as I have. Your father loves music in a different way than I do. He is a musician (I can play the piano but I’m no musician) and he enjoys the performance and the practice. I enjoy listening, memorizing songs and belting them out when I’m alone. I enjoy getting really fired up while listening to an album. My heart feels like it is beyond full because of how much I just LOVE a song or an album. Music is something that has carried me through my life through difficult and beautiful times. I wish that for you – that you may know music as something that can build you up, heal you and sometimes save you from yourself.
The romance between your father and I started because of music. We worked together in a small, cramped office and it was our shared interest in music that started our friendship. We would alternate playing songs and albums for one another. Your father introduced me to a love for Bob Dylan and I introduced him to a love for Ani Difranco. That pretty much sealed the deal. ;) We fell in love over concerts, late-night album listening sessions and conversation over the merits of artists and songs. Music has defined so much of how we came to fall in love and understand one another.
I see in you an early interest in music and a responsiveness to the different sounds you hear. It is my promise to you that I will expose you to a wide range of music, and I will take you to many concerts. I pray that you may always have the love of music to keep you company when you are lonely, and to drive you when you are moving through the chapters of life.
I love you my sweet boy.
William’s Aunt Dillon (my younger sister) came over and we went in search of a bucket swing so William could try it out. We had no luck but we did have a good time putting him in and on all the other playground toys.
There is something really special about an Aunt or Uncle. Brandon has no siblings so William’s only relationships of that nature will be my two sisters. Aunt Dillon lives in town, and William has a ball laughing and playing with her. He gets really excited whenever he sees her. I’m pretty sure he knows she will pull out a goofy face or two for him.
Aunt Whitney lives in California so he hasn’t had the chance to meet her yet but fingers crossed it will happen before he turns one. For now we send her lot’s of pictures and videos so she can watch his progress.
I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. It’s no secret. While I do enjoy the time with family and I do love food, I don’t enjoy the driving from one house to the next trying to squeeze in every part of the family. My body is also not a fan of the obligatory meal at each house. This year we changed things up. We stayed in town and had a low-key meal and an early night. We waited until the next weekend to go visit all Brandon’s family. This worked out really well for our little family and left us stress-free.
Last Thanksgiving, William was a new and exciting part of me. He was still a secret that I guarded tightly. This year he is everything that is good and right about my life. I am forever thankful that I was given the opportunity to be his mother.
I’ve always been of the belief that it really does take a village to raise a child. I want my child to be well-rounded and adaptable. It’s important to me that our friends and our inner circle play a part in William’s upbringing. Brandon and I want William exposed to all types of people and families in the hopes that he will be open-minded and resilient through life changes.
Since the first week we brought William home from the hospital he has experienced the loving arms of many friends and family. There is something powerful and earth-moving in seeing your child be so loved and adored. It is a beautiful experience that I do not take lightly.
I have had the same best friend since I was 12 years old. This means I have also had a built-in second family since I was 12. Susan has always been there for me. She is my free-spirited, hippy mother and I adore her. Even better – she adores William. I loved watching the two of them check each other out. It didn’t hurt that she has magic hands that instantly soothe my baby’s gas and lull him to sleep.
My sweet boy,
This has been the hardest week I can remember experiencing in years. It’s not a lie to say that leaving you in daycare and coming to work has been FAR harder than giving birth to you with no drugs. Don’t get me wrong – when I think back to giving birth to you and recount the pain and horror that it was physically, I start to feel a little sick to my stomach. It was that intense. Even so, it’s still not as intense as the emotional pain I feel from leaving you in the arms of someone else. If I had a choice…and believe me when I say that we don’t if we want health insurance…I would be at home with you. I would cuddle you and nurse you and play with you all day long. Instead, I will soak up every last-minute I get to spend with you in the evenings. Our time together will be that much more precious.
Tomorrow I turn 30 years old. 30 will seem an eternity away when you read this letter. You will think 30 is old. Right now 30 does feel old.
This birthday has led me to be reflective about where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s easy to look back and say, “I wish I had done ______ differently.” I wish that was unavoidable but it’s just not. We all have those things we can see in full light once they become our past. The thing is …. every decision, every path and every horrible mistake has brought my life to this exact moment -this moment that has brought me you.
You are going to get tired of me telling you how important, special and beautiful you are to me. I apologize in advance for the way I will smother you with kisses, ask too many questions and be interested in every aspect of your life. I can’t help myself.
Tomorrow while I toast to this next phase of my life I will hold you tightly in my arms. And I will know that everything is exactly as it should be.
I love you.
Kendall and I often used to remark that we are the gassiest people we know. I’ll let you use your imagination here for clarification, but for all intents and purposes, let’s just say we burp a lot. And we’re remarkably fortunate to have found one another, as we both find this commonality hilarious…most of the time.
Unfortunately for our child, our digestive traits have coalesced in his tiny little tummy to produce what is commonly referred to as colic.
I don’t know what exactly colic is, and after consulting at length with not only Dr. Google, but a licensed pediatrician, we’ve come to learn that no one knows exactly what colic is. Apparently “colic” is more of a catch-all term for what Kendall has come to refer to as “fussy butt”. She has even composed a song:
William is a fussy butt,
William is a fussy butt,
As Wikipedia will tell you, Colic can be a pretty serious condition leading to all sorts of horrible outcomes, and for those parents whose newborns are crying inexplicably for hours at a time, I truly feel for you.
We’ve been fortunate to be able to attribute William’s bouts of fussy butt to severe gas pain. We then like to measure the severity based on his level of wigglyness (not a medically or scientifically accurate term).
At baseline we have moderate kicking with grunts, interspersed with short cries. This is common after a feeding and fairly easy to “pat out.”
Often times, William will get “the bubble.” You can feel hardness in his little tummy. Both legs are kicking in tandem, arms are stretched out and he is wailing. Still we can usually pat it out, but I will often have to take it up a notch. This will require some added bouncing on the birth ball or doing laps throughout the house. He’ll typically calm down after about 20 minutes or so, fall asleep for 10 minutes, then awake suddenly to start the process again.
At critical mass, it’s hard to even position him on your shoulder to burp him. That’s when the hitting starts. It looks like this:
This can usually be a sign of a long night to come. We start a cycle of feed a little, burp a little, nap; feed a little, burp a little, nap that will go on into the morning with crying at every stage. Sometimes this can go on throughout the day as well. These are the days that I am in awe of Kendall’s patience and strength. I’ll come home to hold him for an hour while she takes a shower and gets something to eat, but then I’m back to work where everyone’s screaming and crying is quietly contained.
We’ve been theorizing that these days are the products of growth spurts. He can be really uncomfortable for two days and nights and once he’s calmed down, suddenly it’s harder to snap the buttons on an outfit he’s been wearing all week.
Those are the moments that are hardest for us. Every day he gets a little bigger and we begin to realize what our parents were talking about when they say it seems like yesterday that we were that small.
We’re going to feel that way as well someday soon. Then I’m sure we’ll hardly recall his fussy days to save room for the memories that looked like this:
This particular photograph of William perfectly captures the wonder in his eyes while he stares at the curtains in the living room. Watching him explore whatever room we are in with his eyes is like seeing the world for the first time. I now understand what people meant when they would say that one of the great joys of parenthood is watching your child develop and grow. Every day I watch William see something new or explore a new color or texture with his eyes. His grip is getting stronger and he can now successfully pull a large chunk of my hair during a crying spell. The other day he rolled over twice – at only four and a half weeks old!! Of course, by the time we got the video camera to capture this momentous occasion he was done!
Yesterday we had a crack in the Summer heat. It was one of those beautiful late Summer days where you can almost smell Fall around the corner. We took advantage of the weather and had our first stroll just the two of us.