to my 9 month old Benjamin

My happy baby. You arrived into our family that was already blessed with the joy of a child. You brought more. You rolled into my heart quietly, unassuming, making no demands of my time or attention. Your brother entered my life like a freight train, loud and prominent, shaking the ground of those around him. You are more like a subway, smooth and stealthy, rolling efficiently underground so that sometimes, your moves go unnoticed by those standing directly above you until you roll into the station.

You are happy to just be…

To just be held as a newborn – which we did lots of – no more worrying that we would be spoiling you by “holding you too much”. I don’t believe there is such a thing. We held you and held you and held you some more. Good thing we did, since you are already over being held, preferring to explore on your own.

To just be around us as we move around the house – from laundry in the hallway upstairs to cooking in the kitchen to playing in the front room to hanging out on the couch. As long as there are voices and activity surrounding you, you are perfectly content.

To just be as you sit at the table with us while we fill your tray with more, more, more food.

To just be outside as we chat with the neighbors, ride bikes, play ball and run around in our circle.

Nobody can make you laugh like your brother! I will pull out all the stops with wild gestures and ridiculous noises, only to get a gratuitous smile. But your brother will just walk by you, and you will burst into hysterics.

When you sleep, you shove your blanket in your mouth. No pacifiers – you look at them like they are food, then try to take a bite off the side of it. Instead, you shove the blanket in your mouth, and suck like it is a pacifier, leaving a soggy wet circle on the blanket after you fall asleep.

The newborn phase is long over, you are growing out of infantdom, and moving quickly (too quickly!) toward being a toddler. For now, though, you are still my baby. Squishy cheeks and all.


eighteen months

To my 18 month old son…

I have now had to share you with the outside world for twice as long as I had you to myself. It is much harder than I thought. Each day, I patiently wait for the evening, when I can whisk you away from everyone and everything else, and it is just the two of us, snuggling together in our chair. You used to nestle into my neck, a warm little ball of mush, and I could hold you to me with one hand. You are now a wriggling ball of energy bouncing around, sliding off the chair to get your favorite book, Llama Llama Red Pajama – or as you say, “mama”. Not that you even call me “mama”, just the book. Hmph. When I finally get you on my lap, you are splayed out across my legs, chest, and the sides of the chair. I am happy to have you fall asleep in my arms – completely disregarding the books & rules & advice of all sleep training, but following the contentedness of my heart. Sometimes you do, and after I have refueled my snuggle tank, I hoist us both up out of the chair (you are heavy!) and try to sneak you down the hall without waking up… other times, you point to the door, and we walk to your crib hand in hand, and I will myself to let you grow up a little bit at a time, and let go of me a little bit at a time. But just so you know, I don’t want to.

You are hysterical, with a raucous laugh. Your laugh peppers the air like an automatic weapon, spraying the room with happiness and joy. Running is only done at full speed – I will always picture you running towards me, body forward, mouth in a wide open smile, yelling, with your arms spread out behind you, like the wings of a plane, collapsing when you crash into me, and my arms catch you. When I let you go, you run back to where you started, then take a few steps backward, with a twinkle in your eye, until you gear up and start heading towards me again… and again… and again.

You are rough & tumble – riding your big wheel off the curb, between garbage cans, and over the yellow bumps on the sidewalk. Falling doesn’t seem to phase you at all. I guess that’s good, but I sure do hope you pick up a smidgen of fear sometime soon. Not that I worry too much – I realized that I am already used to your style when we were at a party, and everyone was gasping and running towards you every time you took a tumble. You were pushing a toy lawn mower and ran right off the edge of the patio, and fell down two stairs… everyone went silent, and people stood up out of their chairs… you just popped up with a big grin on your face and laughed, promptly followed by swinging the lawn mower back onto the patio, and you were off and running again. Your father and I rolled our eyes and hoped it didn’t turn into performance art.

Constantly saying… uh-oh
Just learned how to… knock
Want to be… outside
Endlessly flopping on… the dog
Hungry??? ALWAYS!

I waited for 18 months to see the magical plus sign on the test announcing your arrival, and now you have been here for just as long... it was worth the wait.



24 hours???

really? they need to be open 24 hours a day? their poor employees... yes, i know, tough economy... someone is going to say "they should be happy they have a job"... but are toys really that important that we need to shop 24 hours a day? i mean, who needs a set of legos at 3am? a light saber at midnight? don't answer that - i know you are out there, no need to call attention to yourself.

people have been holiday shopping since OCTOBER, for crying out loud. except for you, mom... i know you are panicking about how christmas just "snuck up on you"... again.


In my rear view mirror…

I had the windows rolled down, enjoying the crisp autumn air that I so love about this time of year. A peel of giggles escaped from the backseat, prompting me to reposition the rear view mirror. In my view, I saw a little face beaming with pure enjoyment.

The wind was blowing his blond hair back from his face, reminding me that he is still just a baby, although he often acts like a little boy. He turned his face left, then right, experiencing every angle of this new sensation. When the car picked up speed, and the wind came stronger and faster at his chubby cheeks, he gasped with surprise – as if he forgot how to breathe with the surge of air pressing against him.

I saw a foot come up into view, and a shoe fly onto the floor… then a sock stretching and stretching, not quickly giving in to the hands that tugged it, but finally meeting its fate on the floorboard. One lesson the little dude has learned so far in his short life is the great outdoors are best enjoyed with bare feet.



Mother's day morning with Little Dude (I know, posted late, but he was late, too, so maybe if I apply the laws of cascading time, this delay is actually on time?) Eh, it was worth a shot.

Raspberries on a rock at Folsom Lake. Grey skies overhead, but we managed to get the whole fam out for a quick walk at the lake before the sky opened up. We had to get inside before the raindrops started falling on our head.... might melt, you know.


enjoying the moments

Every night, I sneak into Little Dude's room after he has fallen asleep. To admire my creation. To watch his little being fill with air. To stroke his soft cheek. To check if he is hot or cold. To discover what position he has curled into. To see how far he has burrowed into the corner of the crib.

He looks so peaceful. Quiet. Resting. Re-energizing for the tomorrows filled with growing and learning. Am I that peaceful when I sleep? Or is my mind filled with things that clutter it even when I am resting?

Some nights, he is so irresistible that I am compelled to take him out of his crib, and hold him close. My arms reach out for him before I can stop them. I draw him into my chest, and his warmth covers me like a blanket. I stand in his room, rocking back and forth in the shadows cast by the hall light. I have even been known to take him into my room, sit in our chair, and fall asleep with him in my arms. Usually I can return him to his crib before Scout catches me. But sometimes he finds us there, and I just give him a dreamy smile and say, "I couldn't help it."

Everyone always says to enjoy these moments, that he will grow up too fast. Just so you know, I do. I am enjoying these moments. And when the day comes when I can't hold him as he sleeps, I will enjoy the memories.


he's got the moves

Every day, a new move. Of course we like to name them all...

so last week:

The kickstand - Lie on stomach, push up on hands, get ready to look like you're going to sit up, but not quite... swing one leg around to the side. Leg remains there propping the body up... like a kickstand.

The escape - Roll and roll and roll and almost making it out into the hall ('cause mom and dad didn't realize that they need to keep the door shut at all times), but get stuck on the door frame.

currently debuting:

Butt in the air sleeping - Cutest.Move.Ever. (disclaimer: on babies only). I've tried it. It is no longer comfortable as a sleeping position. Or an awake position, for that matter.

The drag - Not quite an army crawl, no grace, just power. On stomach, put both hands in front of body, and pull/drag body across the ground. Carpet. Tile. Whatever. Aim for anything electrical or shiny, ensuring identification of all childproofing yet to be completed.

The Base Jump - Lean out over the edge of anything (changing table, lap, chair, couch) and wriggle to the edge. Attempt to loosen the grip of those ever watchful parental hands. Drop body down as far as those hands will allow.

The Faceplant - Pop up on all fours, rock back and forth, and back and forth and -- SPLAT! faceplant! Follow with laughter.