Author

Katie

Benjamin: Month 6

Ben-

Today you are 6! Months! Old! Half a year. It hardly seems possible that we’ve already had you this long. That you’re now closer to 1 than to birth.

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I’m writing this with you sleeping on my chest, which is a pretty good snapshot of this month, honestly. Last week you had surgery, one that we have known you’d had to have since you were a few weeks old. The fasting part was deeply unpleasant with many moments where you looked at us like we were torturing you. We didn’t tell you that many babies routinely don’t eat between 2:45 and 6:45am. Most babies, really. I’m just saying.

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The surgery itself went fine. But the next night I woke up and saw a spot on my bed where you had been lying. It turned out that it was blood and you had been bleeding for a while at that point. We ended up in the ER for several hours, you were sedated and got a few more stitches, but not until after several more hours of bleeding. It was terrifying. I think often about how grateful I am that I noticed that spot in the bed and that you didn’t continue bleeding for hours without us knowing.

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You’re doing much better now, thankfully, but you’re anemic and every time I notice how pale your lips or palms of bottoms of your feel are, I want to cry a little. It was not an experience I’m likely to forget, but I’m relieved to know you won’t remember it. And hopefully we won’t ever have to do anything like this again.

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Other than surgery, this has been a pretty unremarkable month. You continue to roll a lot, you look like you want to crawl (which, no. You are a tiny infant.) and you’re starting to sit, though you show exactly zero regard for your personal safety and will throw yourself in any direction. You’re finally also rolling from your tummy to your back on occasion.

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Your likes this month include: your brothers, mom and Dad, the cat, snuggle naps, cosleeping, Motrin, rattles, nursing, pacifiers, toys you can gnaw on and anyone who will smile at you.

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Your dislikes include: medicine that is given through your nose, IVs, fasting, when your mother attempts to get you to sleep in your own room, when Mom leaves the room you’re in, being on your tummy when you’re over it.

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Your abundant love for your brothers continued this month. The day of your surgery when you were so uncomfortable your dad offered to pick your brothers up and take them out to dinner to keep the house quiet and calm so you could rest. On a whim I told him to bring them home instead and it was the first time all afternoon that you cracked a smile. Your whole face lights up for them and for your dad. It is my favorite thing in the world. It’s exactly what I hoped having you here would be like, probably even a little better, honestly.

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Things are going to progress quickly from here, I know. You’ll sit and then you’ll crawl and before I know it you’ll be pulling to stand and walking. I’m savoring each milestone and each moment with you because I know how precious and fleeting time is.

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People, strangers, often remark about how happy you are and they’re right. One of my deepest hopes is that you stay this way. That you continue to give your smile freely and frequently and you continue to radiate happiness just as you do now. You’re truly a delight and I can’t believe we ever lived without you. You enhance every part of my life just by being a part of it.

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Happy half a year, my sweet boy. I love you so very much and I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

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Love,
Mom

What a Difference 5 Months Make

This month was peak Ben for his picture. He really is this happy most of the time.

1 day old!
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1 month and 1 day!
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5 months and 1 day!
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Benjamin: Month 5

Ben-

Today you are 5 months old! The four months prior to this one crawled by at a very reasonable pace, but this month absolutely flew. It felt like you went from barely 4 months to 5 months in the blink of an eye. Suddenly we’re so close to half a year old and soon you’ll be a grown up. I am sad that you are already so big.

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You continue to be just completely delightful during the day and especially around other people. You are almost unbelievably social and personable. People comment all the time about your disposition. At daycare, every teacher tells me how you’re their favorite. At your brothers’ schools, all the teachers and parents fuss over you because you are so sweet. Your brothers are perhaps the most taken with you. Elijah has figured out how to make you laugh by reciting a silly line from Wild Kratts and it is THE BEST. William loves to hold your hand whenever you will let him and will remind me all day long that you are SO cute (as if I could forget). William refers to you as his baby and it pretty much renders me a melted puddle of my former self it’s so sweet.

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This month was your first Chanukah and Christmas and New Years. You won’t remember any of it, of course, but you got big doses of fun with different branches of your family. We traveled two weekends in a row, visiting all of your grandparents and great grandparents, all your aunts and uncles and a majority of your cousins. You had a great time, though we were all happy to be home by the end of it.

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It’s a good thing that you’re so cute because you are also the absolute very worst sleeper on the earth. There have been nights where you have been up more than 4 times between 9pm and 7am. There was a night where you cried for 3 straight hours leading into bedtime. This won’t mean much to you now, but someday when you’re a new parent I’m going to tell you about the worst phrase any person has ever spoken to me, which I heard from your pediatrician, who, after discussing your evening screaming sessions diagnosed you this month with something called “late onset colic.” Thankfully you have come, somewhat, out of it now. You scream less and I’m more able to comfort you than I used to be, but son, it was not great.

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Your likes this month include: blankets, nursing, sucking your thumb, pacifiers, chewing on toys, rolling onto your tummy, your brothers, mom/dad/grandparents (especially your Nana, who you just had the best time with over Chanukah), the cat if you can grab a giant handful of his fur, the swing and when anyone talks to you.

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Your dislikes this month include: sleeping, being tired, especially if I then try to get you to go to sleep, evenings in general sometimes, when your thumb/pacifier/blanket falls out of your mouth, when you roll onto your tummy because you can’t roll back yet.

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You learned to roll this month and it hit me hard that it was the last time I’ll get to mark that event. I also went through your clothes to move you from 3 month to 6 month stuff and my heart broke a little bit. I won’t ever get to have another baby in those 3 month sized clothes and oof, it’s harder than I thought. I am 100% fulfilled and content with our family, with you as our end cap, but you’re also growing so fast and no matter how I try to grasp every last molecule of this time and hold onto it, it slips through my fingers again and again. I’m not ready for you to be able to sit up like a grown person. I’m not ready for you to be mobile (for several reasons). I’m not ready for you to eat food. I’m just not ready for you to not be a tiny baby. Because you are my last tiny baby. And I can feel time pushing us forward no matter what I do.

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When I look at our family now, I know we are done. We are this perfect group of 5 people who belong to one another. Even on our worst days, there is so much love in this house that it’s almost unbelievable. The love your brothers have for you is reflected in how much you adore them. I could not imagine being happier than I am to have you because you are the perfect end to our family’s story.

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Sometimes at 2 in the morning when I am deeply frustrated with you for not sleeping, I’ll just hold you and study your face. It helps me to relax and remember how small you are (and how not intentional your terrible sleeping is because I’m not my most patient at 2am). I feel like I know every inch of your face. Your round cheeks and your sweet tiny chin. Your unfairly long eyelashes and your sweet little nose. I can find bits of Elijah (your chin) and bits of William (those puffy eyes that I love so much) and bits of your dad (the apple cheeks) and bits of me (my nose!). You are the greatest blend of all of us that I could ever imagine, as though your little face brings the other 4 of us together.

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I love you beyond what words can possibly hope to convey and I hope you know that we all feel this same way. We are so glad to have you, Benjamin. Happy 5 months, my sweet baby boy. I love you deeply and cannot wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference 4 Months Make!

Ben, while adorable and smiley and generally a delight, was having none of our morning picture antics. We tried again at bedtime with similarly grouchy results, so we will just have to admire his sweet cheeks while not smiling this month!

1 day old!
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1 month and 1 day!
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2 months and 1 day!
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4 months and 1 day!
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Benjamin: Month 4

Ben-

Today you are 4 months old! It’s hard to believe it was only four months ago that you joined our brood. Sometimes the days (and let’s be honest, the nights) feel like they are literal years long, but these four months have moved so swiftly that I feel like every time I blink you’re older.

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The biggest development this month is that you found your voice. You “talk” literally all day long. At me, at your toys, at the mirror. Anything. It’s pretty great. You’ll be nursing, unlatch and just start chatting. It’s hilarious. Your sweet little baby voice is among my favorite sounds on this earth and it reminds me so much of your brothers at this age.

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You have been in daycare for a month and have yet to get an actual fever or substantial illness, which is quite an accomplishment in this family. You had a mild stuffy nose, which caused you a lot of distress for the relatively meager amount of snot you had, but you smiled through it and seem to be on the other side without any long term effects. That said, you are suddenly going through some soul suckingly terrible screaming fits that we can’t sort out and it’s equally frustrating and heartbreaking. Hopefully a reflux med adjustment will put an end to all the screaming before we all lose our hearing or our minds.

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Absent this month is rolling. You just…you are not into it. And probably being the third child who spends a lot of time in the car/car seat isn’t helping, but you do not appear to be even vaguely close to rolling in any direction, to/from any position. You don’t mind tummy or floor time and will hang out on your playmat for a good long while pretty happily, but you have zero desire to move. You want to sit up badly, but rolling just isn’t your thing.

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Your likes this month include: mom, dad, your brothers, muslin swaddle blankets that you can chew/another yourself on, your thumb/fingers, o balls, mom’s bed, when dad sings to you, things you can grab and preferably put in your mouth.

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Your dislikes this month include: gas, sometimes nursing, car rides, sleep, sleep in your own bed especially, when your dad sneezes, big light displays (zoo lights! not for Ben!)

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I wasn’t sure how your brothers would react to you entering our family, but they have exceeded my wildest hopes and dreams. Elijah is quiet and nurturing, which generally matches his personality as a whole. He loves nothing more than to be the person who soothes you and he gets very upset if we try to intervene before he can. In the car he will retrieve or replace your pacifier, he will hold your hand or talk to you to make you happy and you give him huge smiles.

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William just ADORES you. He has zero understanding of how to be gentle or that he could actually hurt you, he just knows he needs to squeeze or hug or hold you because you are SO CUTE. He will remind me of this about a hundred times a day. He also touches or steals all of your toys and he’s way too loud but he loves you and you are just enamoured by him. I think William might get the most smiles of all of us.

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This hasn’t been an easy month. Your dad was gone for several days, you have been miserably sad for days on end without an obvious cause or solution, but despite this you wake up in the morning grinning, you squeak and coo with delight and you generally bring our family a tremendous amount of joy.

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This next month will be interesting for you with your first Chanukah starting tonight, Christmas, traveling to all the grandparents and a series of other changes on the horizon. I hope your sweet spirit continues to shine through and that we get another month filled with your sweet smiles.

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Ben, you are deeply loved and none of us can wait to see what this next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference Three Months Make!

So, I did not post this on time, but I did take the picture on time, I swear. The return to work has only hastened my already impressive memory loss.

Also, in case you wondered, he really is this delightful all the time.

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Benjamin: Month 3

Ben-

Today you are 3 months old! This has been a really great month. Your personality has begun to shine through the newborn clouds and I feel like we know you now. We know what you really do and don’t like and I can make you smile in a millisecond. And you have THE BEST smile. Don’t tell your brothers, but you have the best baby smile of the bunch.

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It was a month of firsts for you. You went to your first wedding, you had your first Halloween (you were a skeleton!), first trip to Disneyland, you were left with someone else for a few hours for the first time (so your mom and dad could see Hamilton!) and you had your first day of daycare. It was really an impressive month. And you smiled through most of it.

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When you werent smiling it was usually because your belly was hurting. We learned last month that you have a cow’s milk protein intolerance, but we added probable peanut allergy, allergic colitis and reflux to the list this month. We got you started on some medication and it has greatly improved things after a couple of rough weeks. Hopefully this will be it, we will keep you comfortable and you’ll outgrow all this stuff in the next few months.

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This month you and your brothers have become good buddies. They love to make you smile anytime they can. William loves to hold your hands and Elijah has become the pacifier master in the car, much to everyone’s delight. They especially love to do tummy time with you and you enjoy the distraction too. I cannot tell you how much my heart swells watching the three of you together.

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Your likes this month include: mom, dad and brothers, pacifiers sometimes, any blanket or cloth you can get your hands on and especially if you can pull it up to your face to try to smother yourself, any person who smiles at you, when your dad sings Les Miserables to you, baths.

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Your dislikes this month include: the car, pacifiers some of the time, bottles (though you’re not super dramatic about it, more like, it’s cool, I’ll starve until my mom comes back), when you are stuck in the car and really want to eat but your brothers have to go somewhere and kindergarten/work start times that require you to get up before you are inclined to do so.

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Going back to work was as heartbreaking as I knew it would be. I no longer get to devote all my time to bond with you, which has been such a privilege. I’m extremely fortunate to get to work part time, though my days off are packed with kids and activities, so it’s not quite the same as our quiet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays these past twelve weeks. I know we will have some sick days coming soon, which will stink for you, but I won’t turn down the quiet and snuggles we will get.

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The daycare teachers have all commented on how lovely your disposition is. You are as pleasant for them as for us and they enjoy having you a lot. Other classroom teachers have stopped me in the hallway to tell me how cute and/or sweet you are, which is pretty great. I know you’re being well cared for and that is the most important thing.

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These three months have not gone as quickly as I imagined they would, but you are growing so much more quickly than I am prepared for. You’re my last baby and I know that no matter how slowly time passes, it will be too fast. That too soon you’ll be walking and talking and no longer a baby, my last baby. It breaks my heart but I also know how much fun you’ll be as you grow and that helps me let go.

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Above all else, you are deeply loved. And while time can slow its pace down any time now, I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference Two Months Make

While Ben is a very happy guy, he isn’t quite capable of following our voices from 5 feet away to see that we’re smiling and reciprocate. This month’s picture was the first one I took as Ben was watching his dad walk away, hence the little smile and head turn.

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Benjamin: Month 2

Ben-

Today you are two months old! It never fails to amaze me how different a baby is at 2 months than at 1 month. You still don’t do much except grow, but you have a personality and clear likes and dislikes and much improved ways of demonstrating the former.

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I’m talking about your smile, if that wasn’t obvious. It’s magnificent. Your whole sweet face lights up and usually it comes with the sweetest little coo ever. Lately your dad is the most frequent recipient of the smile and sometimes all he has to do is talk to you from across the room for you to light up. I cannot tell you how great your smile is. I really can’t. It’s just the absolute best.

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You have no idea how loved you are and by how many people. Your brothers, especially William is just overcome with his love for you literally every day. Elijah loves you deeply as well, but he’s busier and less free with this expressions of it. You got to meet your extended family (on my side) earlier this month and it’s safe to say that the circle of people who loves you is wider than you can imagine.

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You continue to be an eater, gaining about a pound a week right now. You’re sleeping more and for longer periods at a time, but you still prefer to eat about every 2 hours when you’re awake. You pretty much only cry when you’re hungry or overtired and the solution to both is usually nursing. And I’m not complaining because I get all the snuggles. And because your thighs are magnificent.

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To me, you now seem so big. No longer that tiny fragile newborn that you were, but a sturdy baby with questionable head control. Putting away all the newborn clothes made me cry because this was their final use and I’m not ready for my last baby to be grown. I suspect this will be a common emotion I have as you grow. I’ll do my best to not let it hold you back, but I make no promises.

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Your likes this month include mom, dad, William, Elijah, nursing, being held for naps, nursing, the mirror on your playmat, pacifiers but ONLY in the car seat, and when anyone sings to you, but especially when your dad sings Les Miserables to you.

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Your dislikes this month include riding in the car, especially if the car dares to stop moving momentarily, baths when you’re overtired, not being allowed to eat the moment you want to, when your mother attempts to set you down instead of holding you when you’re sleepy.

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There are days where I kind of wish you could be put down more, but then I look at you and remember how small this window of time is. This window where you want to be held, where I am your home base, your safe place. And I know that there will be time for cleaning and for cooking and for the other errands that need to be run. But there won’t always be a baby who wants to be snuggled, who sleeps best on my chest or in my arms. Who wants to nurse themselves into sleep right where they are.

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I came across a poem a few weeks ago called Babies Don’t Keep by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton that perfectly captured this feeling. The final stanza reads,

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

These are the words I’m living by right now. The house is messy. Our meals aren’t perfectly complete or always the healthiest. But you are only going to be small for this moment and a few after and I’d rather be holding you, just like I held your brothers, than doing anything else. The rest can wait, because you, your babyhood, cannot.

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Each day I’m grateful for you, that you are here, that you are ours. I am wistful about how quickly you’re growing, but it doesn’t diminish, at all, the deep and endless love I have for you. I hope you know now and forever how deeply loved you are.

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Happy 2 months, baby boy. We love you so much and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference a Month Makes

The only thing tougher than taking pictures of a 1 month old who wants noooothing to do with said picture and who has no head control, is taking pictures of that 1 month old with a 3 and a 5 year old “helper.” This is entirely as good as it gets.

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