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.