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.
I realized while taking William’s eight month photographs that we really hadn’t spent any time on the front porch or in the yard since he was a tiny baby. Those times he was usually asleep. That seems a distant memory now.
We started on the porch swing which led to fast disaster when he spit up everywhere. Brandon graciously offered to photoshop out the evidence on William’s outfit…I thought for the sake of these pictures we would “keep it real.”
Post disaster, we moved to the top of the stairs which quickly led to William wanting to eat the plants, lean over the stairs and otherwise make me a nervous wreck. So, we landed in the front yard. All I had to do was keep him from eating the mulch. It was quite a testament to how different things are once the baby becomes mobile. We shall never rest again.
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 fear that I spend more time writing letters to you in my head than actually putting the thoughts down.
Life has certainly changed for us in the last month. The company I worked for shut down and I lost my job January 2nd. I let you finish the week out in daycare while I got my bearings and figured out what it would mean. The following Monday you started to stay at home with me all day. At first, we struggled to find our routine. I had grown accustomed to my daily rituals at the office and the anticipation of picking you up each evening. You were used to a room full of babies, two to three ladies taking turns with you and solid meal and nap times. You have also been in the throes of some serious teething which I feel certain hasn’t helped either one of us find a daily pattern.
This past week, however, has been different for us. I’m learning to “let go” of the idea that doing more than taking care of you is a necessity. I have to teach myself that the dishes can wait, the laundry will still be there and our house doesn’t have to look “perfect” every day. I’m learning how to live “in the moment” with you and to relish each new discovery you make.
To have all of this one-on-one time with you is a gift. Granted, it’s a gift that came in a way that made life harder for us in certain areas. But, it is indeed a gift. You are crossing milestones and I’m lucky enough to see them as they happen. You are becoming a fast snake crawler. (You wriggle your body across the floor so fast but only using your legs. You haven’t quite put the elbow up on the floor together part yet). You enjoy music in a way that just makes me grin from the inside out. In the morning we listen to the radio or a record while you eat breakfast. You pay close attention to the sounds and often get distracted from eating. When we are playing you are always drawn to this musical turtles that plays different instruments. You love to play with your father’s ukulele and will seek it out from across the room.
This is a time of great stress for our family because of the unknown. But I can say without a doubt, that even in the moments where our future is so unclear – when I feel like I’m carrying a great load of burden – I am so in awe of this love that I have for you. Each day you teach me to be a little more patient with the world – and myself. And I know that when this time has passed I will ache for these days with you.
You are so very loved and treasured, my sweet boy.
I love you.
Here we are at six months. This photograph required some serious wrangling. William is no longer the passive baby who will lie flat on his back while I snap 30 pictures. This go round he was pulling at the sticker, reaching for toys and rolling from front to back to front. After many unsuccessful attempts at the “normal” picture, I realized it made the most sense to just let him be on his stomach. These days, as he is navigating the exciting world of learning to crawl, he is more agreeable when able to make a move. And so my little baby starts to be not such a little baby anymore.
I won’t bore you with the familiar rants of how my baby is growing up and how time is passing so quickly. I will tell you that every day I am more in awe of this little person growing right in front of me. His personality has really come to surface and he is many of the beautiful things of his parents and many of the infuriating. As his godmother and my best friend so eloquently put it, “He is SASSY like his parents.” It’s true. This child lets you know exactly what he wants when he wants it. Lately, he has been letting us know in no uncertain terms that he does not want to go to sleep at the bedtime we have selected. You can walk him from the darkness of his bedroom to the light of the hallway and his crying will turn off and on like a switch. And temper. Oh, my boy has a temper. Sometimes when I’m playing with him or just watching him, I can so clearly see what type of little boy he will be. He is spirited, hilarious, stubborn and smart. He will keep us on our toes at every turn and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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.
William turned 12 weeks on Sunday. This meant that Monday was his first day of daycare and my first day back at work. I spent Sunday evening crying off and on and wishing for more time.
The drive to daycare was spent with William fast asleep and me sobbing into one of his burp cloths. I received many a glance of pity as we walked into the daycare and I struggled to gain composure. We handed him off, left the building and I lost it once I was back in my car. I made the additional mistake of not paying attention to my car CD player as it switched from disk 4 to disk 5….the Bon Iver album we listened to while I was in labor came across the speakers and I feel certain the car beside me at the stop light could hear my heaving sobs.
When I picked him up from daycare yesterday the director stopped to talk to me. All it took was her asking, “Are you okay?” for me to start crying uncontrollably. I went into William’s classroom with bloodshot eyes to find him being held by a woman who was cooing and smiling at him. He was perfectly fine and happy. Meanwhile, I felt like a hot mess.
Everyone who has talked to me about daycare or had the pleasure of running into me with red eyes and a terrified look on my face has said, “It will get easier. I promise.” I believe all of these people but right now it feels like my heart has been ripped from my chest.
The emotional tailspin that I feel from leaving William during the day is compounded by the fact that I turn 30 on Saturday. Time is fleeting and picking up pace and I just want it to slow down.
Now on to the greatest accomplishment of my life. Please excuse the quality of these photographs. The iphone has become my go-to camera for quick shots.
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: