Jacob: 12 Months

Dear Jacob,

In all the hurry and flurry of your birthday I forgot to write to you! I have been one sleep-deprived Mommy the last week or so and I really couldn’t even offer an explanation for it. I just never seem to get more than 6 hours and that makes me into a very spacey person. Probably it’s just that Daddy has been working seemingly around the clock the last few weeks trying to keep up with all the demands of the end of the semester and the Easter season, which is such a busy time for church musicians. I think often of all the ways you will be shaped by the vocation we’ve been given by God. Sometimes it makes me worry. Will we be in a church we’d call ideal? Will there be enough evenings to be together as a family? As I was writing this I started to write “the vocation we’ve chosen,” and thought back along our journey to this point and realized it was not our choice. God sent us down this road every step of the way. So of course he has a perfect plan for how you will fit in and how He will shape you into exactly who He wants you to be.

This month just whizzed right past. The weather was beautiful, even summery, and you and I spent as many moments as possible outside. Sometimes we even coerced Daddy into making the picnic blanket our dinner table. It was great for me for awhile because you were afraid of the grass. You simply refused to touch it. Consequently, you were my prisoner on the picnic blanket and I got so much reading, laundry-folding, car-washing, resting done on that blanket. But last Sunday night as we sat outside, having stayed home from church because you were miserable with a cold, you decided you were ready, and now what am I going to do? Your only mission is to get to the parking lot, and you can see – well, I guess you can’t see! – how that is a problem.

So now we are enjoying your bedroom a bit more than usual and I have spent the last week transforming it into a happier place to play. Previously, it’s been doubling as our storage space for tools and luggage and all kinds of junk. No more! I have cleaned out the closet and the next task is to assimilate all that stuff into Daddy’s half-empty office closet. Your whole room has gotten a makeover to make it ready for a second occupant, and to make it a little more inviting for you. You have your very own corner by your crib now, with a bean bag, a cozy blanket and pillow, and a big sheet of metal sold as an oil pan at Walmart, now against the wall to hold lots of magnets. You love your spot!

We are getting ready to welcome a sister this summer and I am so excited to see how you will love her. I have been surprised just in the last week since we found out we were having a girl and it began to feel so real and imminent, how my love for you has grown fiercely. I think it’s pretty common for a parent of one child to worry about whether they would find their love divided by the addition of a second. And it seems like almost magic, how instead it’s multiplied and I just love you to pieces. I can’t get enough of you and you are my best, best buddy. We have established a naptime ritual of singing and reading a story, snuggled in the rocker under the blanket I made for you before you were born. It’s fun to imagine that even amidst the chaos of life with two, we will still have these moments that are ours.

I shouldn’t tell you this, but sometimes after you’ve gone to bed and I’m finally gloriously free to just be a grown-up, instead I sit and look at pictures of you or sneak into your room to peak at you. The other day I wasted 20 minutes of my free time during naps by spying through your just-cracked door to see what you do as you get ready to go to sleep. It was pretty entertaining. You clamber to your feet and throw everything out of your crib as you giggle, then just as your bear-mobile comes to a stop you have finished the Great Purging except for your final masterpiece, so you crawl to the end of the crib and reach as high as you can on your tippy-toes and give the bears a tug. They fall into the crib and then you chuck them over the side, too. Finally satisfied, you lie down to fuss a bit as you flop from spot to spot trying to find the perfect place. This particular day, you had saved your “nap blanket,” the one I crocheted for you, from the purging, and you settled down on top of it and started snoozing. Fascinating stuff, I tell you… Really, you should be ashamed, using your cuteness to make your Mommy so ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, you think that word is a RIOT. I tell you you’re “Ridiculous!” and you just howl with laughter. Just about anything can strike your fancy like this, honestly, and the other day as you perched in Daddy’s arms while he practiced conducting an excerpt from Mendelssohn’s Elijah he exclaimed “Baal!” at a dramatic downbeat and you just about died of giggles. Yes, we routinely shout “Baal” at you now. I love your sense of humor. I love how you just get tickled at random things. And I love how you get this knowing look in your eyes and begin a steady “kkkkk” in the back of your throat as you do something mischievous like pulling the books off the shelf or the blankets off the crib rail. It’s as though you’re saying, “Watch this, Mom! I’m a stinker!”

Your communication skills are improving and you’ve masted the “Hi/Bye” wave, much to the delight of all our passing neighbors as we sit on our blanket outside. You also like using this one on the choir as they sit at the front of the church and of course they wave back, much to your mother’s great embarrassment. You’ve also got “All done” down nicely and now we are trying to teach you “hungry” and “thirsty.” You have a distinctive, sustained, mono-syllabic fuss which means “help,” and usually that means you are stuck or your toy is out of your reach. What a wonderful delusion you are under, than anything in the world can be fixed by your mom. But at the same time, I’ve been seeing your capacity for fear develop. A few times in the last couple weeks you have been given a serious fright, either by a loud noise or by something you didn’t trust, like the closed space of an elevator. You just scream in terror and cling to Mommy or Daddy and then you bury your head on our shoulder and weep a bit before you’re ready to move on. I realize that with your capacity for fear, mine is growing, too, as I see what it looks like through your eyes, and I constantly have to discipline myself to let you be an adventurer instead of hovering too close.

You finally have two tiny slivers of tooth poking out on the bottom and I think this might improve the food fussy situation we’ve had on our hands lately. Your preference would be to eat nothing but fruit at all times, and maybe some American cheese now and then. I’ve convinced you to try animal crackers. In an effort to get a balanced diet into you I’ve concocted an apple-zucchini-carrot muffin recipe which you love. I still try to give you whatever we’re having, though usually it’s put through the Magic Bullet first. If it’s just the right warmth and consistency you will have it, but usually only for half a bowl. Yesterday for your birthday we had blueberry pancakes topped with strawberries before Daddy went to school. You decided you didn’t like blueberry pancakes between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 a.m., ate all the strawberries, and then came back at 9:00 to take down the pancakes. I’m not getting in a fuss about this because I know your growth and appetite has slowed down a lot and I know as you grow you will get the message.

You grew a MILE over the last couple weeks. You and the spinach on the back porch. Amazing. You’re so confident on your feet now and you gravitate towards walking as long as there is furniture to support you. Your little knees and feet are all scratched up from time outside but you don’t seem to notice. Yesterday, on your actual birthday, you took your first step. To call it walking would be more than a stretch, but there is no other way to describe it than your first step, clearly motivated by a desire to get somewhere. I was appropriately, ridiculously, foolishly proud.

Last weekend Grandma and Grandpa Powell came to visit and brought lots of birthday presents and now you are one sharply-clothed dude. For your birthday we had a little party with your best buddy, Svana, and her parents, and I made black bean mexican lasagna, one of the few grown-up dishes you seem to enjoy served as-is. I’m not sure you were convinced, but the banana monkey cake was a hit for sure. You seemed extra happy yesterday, like all the work we put into making it a fun, special day for you was getting noticed. I could hardly tear myself away to go to choir at 7:00 and leave you to spend bedtime alone with Daddy. I do have to say, though, birthdays are wasted on babies. It’s not a bad thing at all. It’s a joy to me to see your unspoiled sense of what’s fun and worthwhile. You haven’t learned to want shiny, flashy, gimmicks yet and so you adopt a cardboard box that one toy came in to entertain you all weekend, and then this morning you turned your back on all the new toys strewn about to spend some quality time playing with the squeaky door. Don’t ever change, little man.



One thought on “Jacob: 12 Months

  1. Thanks so much for these, Susan. They give me a window on your and Mike’s and Jacob’s life that’s really wonderful. I laugh at least once or twice while reading each one, and usually something brings a tear to my eye, as well. Love you! Give Jacob a hug and kiss for me, will you?

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