As I write you are on your belly sliding around the wood floor with your toys. As long as there is something to fascinate you, you can stay quiet and content for a long, long time.
Unless you see me walk away from you, then you turn on the fuss. Your fussing is not crying, these days. It’s almost verbal. I tell you to “stop complaining” often enough that our friend Svana, who plays with us each day, tells you “stop plainin” sometimes.
You are a Mama’s Boy now and sometimes you stare at me until I pause in my busywork to make eye contact and then your grin melts me all the way to my toes. Your face has grown so expressive. We are frustrated with your penchant to fuss when you get handed off from Mommy to Daddy but we know it is inevitable since you spend all your time with me, and we are working hard to teach you to love your daddy. That will come, I’ve no doubt, because he loves you like crazy.
This month you’ve learned to love peek-a-boo and I have learned to love your hilarious giggles. You started sitting up in the bathtub and you can get an unsuspecting parent very wet with all your splashing. The strength of your shoulders as you flap your arms like wings is astonishing. You like to pound on the piano, on the floor, anything you can find. Your mouth is always going and you come up with the funniest consonant combinations as you play with your tongue and your gums. Speaking of gums, you are still adorably toothless and I love every gummy smile, since I know they won’t last forever.
It seems like you’re just minutes away from crawling. When you see something out of reach (it goes without saying that you WANT it) you move from sitting to propped on your hands, you pop your knees out under you, and there you are on all-fours, bouncing your little body back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes you get your hands in on the action, too, and they pat the floor. Keep trying, baby. Keep trying.
You’ve gained a sister of sorts, 18 months older than you and so fond of bringing you your pacifier and telling you “Tesh” when you are too noisy. It’s so sweet that God’s given you a big sister 5 days a week and I know when we run errands around town together people see her blonde hair and think you must be siblings. It always makes me laugh a bit, what they must think of me.
You love to talk to people via video chat and you literally started jumping up and down and laughing tonight when Auntie Becky made an appearance. I love that you will get to grow up fond of your aunts and uncles and grandparents despite the distance between us. You got to see your grandpa (my daddy) last week and he had fun snuggling you and playing with you.
Eating is going well. You are a bottomless pit and protest when we say “All done” and show you your empty bowl, no matter how much we’ve stuffed into you. Some new things: eggs, butternut squash, cream of wheat cereal, and Cheerios… Oh, you love gumming those cheerios. But you still can’t ungrasp them from your little fist when you pick them up, so I feed them to you. You fed yourself a big stick of pizza crust last night while you sat watching M.A.S.H. with Daddy & Mommy. You looked so grown up sitting there sharing our pizza.
We play outside a lot and it keeps you happy for hours. One day I spent the whole day outside reading books with you by my side, and you even took a precious nap there beside me. I love to watch you sleep and I shouldn’t tell you this, but I don’t mind when you wake up sad at night and can’t go back to sleep unless I come and rock you. Now that it rarely happens, it’s one of my favorite things.
My standard for a successful day of mommying you is that I have made you giggle uncontrollably at least once. If you haven’t had the chance to laugh with me, then I haven’t been a good enough mommy to you. I always want to love you so much and treasure you so dearly that you will always be willing to respond by laughing with me, no matter how grown up you get. Right now we laugh at wild games of peek-a-boo and tickle-fests. Maybe in 15 years we can watch old seasons of the Simpsons together.
I’ve been listening to Sara Groves’ wonderful album Station Wagon: Songs For Parentslately and have grown to love every word she’s written there. It is so full of wisdom and perspective. I especially have been loving this one:
I just want a small piece of you
a token to put in my pocket
and I will own that one thing
and it would make me happy
I just want a small piece of you
somethin to put in a locket
and i will look at it daily
and that will make me happy
I guess it’s human nature to want to hold you very still
I guess it’s in a mother to inject a little guilt
Go on son and see the world; I hope you see it all
But please please please don’t forget to call
Free to fly free to go free to not look back
That’s how free I want you though it scares me half to death
Free to wander miles and miles and free to come back home
That’s how free I want you though it chills me to the bone
Go on son and spread your wings; I hope that you take flight
But please please please don’t forget to write
I know you’re just a baby sleeping in your bed
And you probably have other thoughts drifting through your head
I know this conversation’s a little premature
It’s just that I’ve heard eighteen years goes by like a blur
I know that it’s not fair for me to hold you down now is it
But please please please don’t forget to visit
These letters I write to you are my own little “token to put in my pocket.” As the days pass one after the other I see you growing up and changing. We put away your bouncy chair because your only use for it was to try to climb out. Just today I packed away another big handful of your clothes. That amazing jumping monkey shirt from your Aunt Kilby and the obnoxious argyle polo shirt you wore to church all summer. I can’t keep dressing you in these things because they don’t fit. You will grow no matter how much I love you just the way you are. So I don’t want to hold you down. Those little clothes aren’t comfortable for you anymore. I want to let you be free to grow and know that I love you growing and someday you will grow far far away from me and then you will see that I still love you and you will feel free to come back home to visit, just like in the song. Sorry this isn’t very coherent but maybe you will understand what I’m trying to say. I love you as the person you are, so different and distinct from me. I can’t wait to watch your life happen, one piece after another, first teeth and baby steps, college visits and true love. It’s a privilege to be your mommy.