Author

Katie

Benjamin: Month 11

Ben-

Today you are 11 months old! Son. It is going too fast. I’m sending out your birthday invitations today and I want to cry. How is this year almost over? How are you so close to toddlerhood? It feels impossible, though I know it’s right.

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You and I have become good buddies as we navigate my new role as a stay at home mom. You’re napping on a (flexible) schedule and you can play on the floor for a good long time with your piles of toys. You love to come to me for snuggles and to bite me (which, why? Why son?) but you’re quick to return to independence again. I think both of us are happier without the daycare and work hustle and bustle and it’s been a privilege to get this time with you.

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You absolutely adore your brothers these days. You won’t sleep in the car anymore because you are afraid of missing something they’re doing and you spend the whole time craning your head to watch them. Your first word popped out this month and it was Elijah (which is unsurprising when you consider how many dozens of times a day we say it since he seems to have some selective hearing loss involving his name). Elijah was out of town for a few days earlier this week and when we FaceTimed him he always wanted to see you and when he got home yesterday you practically lunged at him. The way you and your brothers love each other is exactly what I always hoped for.

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Your disposition continues to be delightful much of the time. You have a dramatic streak that shines mostly when you don’t get what you want right when you want it. Or when I tell you no because you’ve bitten me. And listen, I don’t feel sorry for you when you are the biter, buddy. I have literal bruises on my legs and shoulders and let’s not discuss what you do when nursing.

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Earlier this month, I set you down when you really, really didn’t want me to and you held your breath in one of those silent screams until you were unresponsive. It was nothing short of fully terrifying. I will never forget what it was like to hold your lifeless body while we waited for you to breathe again. I feel like it’s possible that someone forgot to tell you that as the 3rd baby, you have to be able to go with the flow. And breathe. Always breathe. Please.

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You have become very proficient with mobility this month. You made the switch to hands and knees crawling this month and only very rarely drop to the belly drag now. You can pull to stand on almost anything and you will occasionally let go for a few seconds at a time. You especially love to crawl around on the big step in the pool right now and heaven help a grown up if they try to stop you.

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Your likes this month include: Mom, Dad, Elijah, William, the cat, a plastic pretend bottle of ketchup you take everywhere, your small blankets, the play kitchen, eating tiny morsels of food and non-food items off the floor, swimming, baths and about a thousand other things. You are so happy.

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Your dislikes include the baby gates that keep you out of the tiny toys, being left in the baby gated room, sleeping through the night, when William steals your toys and when you try to kneel but instead tip over and bonk your head on the floor (which happens and unusually large number of times a day).

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It seems impossible that you will be 1 in a month. It seems impossible that my tiniest baby with the surprise head of dark brown hair is so close to walking and to talking and to being a person instead of an infant. It seems unbelievable that soon your age will be measured in years instead of months and the big milestones will be behind us.

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You have brought joy into our house in ways that I did not expect and could not have predicted. You get excited when we walk in the room even if you’ve just seen us. You love being held and snuggled and you can’t help but dance to music and clap your sweet little hands no matter what you’re doing when you hear it. You were the final piece to our puzzle and you have brought us happiness we didn’t know we were missing, but now that we have it, we could never be without it again. I smile each day because of you, laugh more and love harder than I knew I could. You’ve changed every person in our house just by being here.

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Benjamin Andrew, you love and are loved far beyond what words can convey. We are so, so lucky to have you. Happy 11 months, my smallest love. I can’t wait to see what this next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference 10 Months Make!

I feel like this month perfectly captured Ben at 10 months. Sweet and a little sassy and mostly really, really adorable.

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Benjamin: Month 10

Ben-

Today you are 10 months old! Ten months! That’s awfully close to being 1, son. I’m not sure how I feel about this (sad, I feel sad).

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You had a really good month. You were generally healthy (today being an exception to that) for the first time in a while, which was a refreshing change. You embraced mobility this month meaning no more short distance crawling, you crawl absolutely everywhere. You pursue toys and specs of dust that you think could be edible and especially the poor cat, who you love most of all. We left you with Grandma T on Saturday and apparently you dedicated your day to learning to pull to stand. Now you are some sort of standing machine. You cannot be stopped.

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You also got three teeth this month, and you’ve started using some baby signs (more and all done). It almost sounds like you say Elijah whenever we call him, but it’s not consistent or clear enough to call it an actual word yet. You clap with gusto, but you’re not waving yet. As with each of your brothers, this is the age where I realize that we just don’t wave that often. So we are working on it and I suspect you’ll get it soon.

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Your personality continues to be generally very sunny, especially when you’re home or with people you’re familiar with. This month ushered in some intense stranger danger and not insignificant separation anxiety, so instead of smiling at strangers, you tend to give them suspicious side eye. You remain uncertain about your Grandad, who, trust me son, loves you very much. You’ve got to let him love you.

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Your sleep continues to be terrible and likely 10 months will be the age we sleep train you because buddy, your mom is tired. Often you wake up 4 or more times a night, which, no. It’s just not a thing we do. Sleep is great. Honestly, some mornings I can’t even remember how many times you got up because I’m that tired. So just brace yourself, because we are going to sort this out this month.

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Your likes this month include: the bath, Mom, Dad, your brothers and the cat, Cheerios and some puffs, purees, standing, balls, books especially if you can eat them, any chewable item you can hold and gnaw on, nursing.

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Your dislikes this month include: when Mom leaves the room, when Mom tries to substitute nursing at night with a pacifier, when the cat moves out of reach, diaper changes, when Mom sweeps the things you’ve grabbed off the floor out of your mouth (which I would not have to do if you’d stop trying to eat fuzz and blades of grass).

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I’m noticing that you’re starting to babble the same sounds consistently for certain things and while it is so cool to watch you learn things, it’s also breaking my heart that your babyhood is almost gone. That soon those syllables will become words, just like your brothers. I have done absolutely nothing to encourage you to stand or walk because I’m not ready for you to do that, but you are so determined. Babies don’t walk and you are a baby. My last baby.

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Somewhat unexpectedly (from a grand scheme, it was planned) I stopped working this month and am now staying home with you and with your brothers when they’re not at school. It’s not the plan I had for life right now but I feel really lucky to get to do it. The time I’m getting with you is irreplaceable and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We go everywhere together now and it’s really pretty great. I feel like I know you more now than I did a month ago and hey you’re pretty great (but I already knew that).

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As the countdown to your birthday comes screaming towards us, I’m trying to savor these days and these memories. Of a time before you were kid like your brothers, of the last days and weeks of infancy. This time is fleeting, really it’s almost gone, and it is also the most precious. I know I won’t always be your favorite person or the place you are most comfortable, so I’m doing the best to savor every snuggle, even the ones at 2am.

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It really wouldn’t matter if the first year was 12 months or 100, it would never be enough. There’s never enough days with you, never enough smiles, never enough time. The love we have for you, all of us, could fill any amount of space or time. It’s infinite and unfailing. Your heart is so intertwined with mine that without yours, I don’t know how mine would beat.

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Benjamin Andrew, I love you more than (almost, your brothers and dad are also great) anything in this whole world. And I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference 9 Months Make!

Listen, it’s a miracle that we made it to 9 months before being late on one of these, so I’m feeling a little less bad about it than I probably should. Honestly, I don’t think you did a lot of changing in those 2 extra days anyway.

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Benjamin: Month 9

Ben-

Today you are 9 months old! It’s been a really crazy month and I kind of feel like I’ve been tapping my feet waiting for you to hit this number just because I think you have been 8 months for forever now. At the same time, a year is dangerously close and I am not ready. My last baby is scarcely a baby anymore.

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The biggest accomplishment of this month is mobility. You can get onto your hands and knees and rock and push yourself backwards all around the house. In the past few days you finally figured out how to use your arms to drag yourself forward and suddenly you are everywhere. You’ve also very nearly got pulling to stand figured out, despite severely lacking the safety awareness to stand alone for any duration of time, so I suspect next month will involve a lot of lumps and bumps.

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You’ve got the tip of a second tooth now and you are a champion eater. You love all savory food, though your enthusiasm for the sweet stuff isn’t particularly vigorous. You’d rather have chicken and green beans over peaches or strawberries any day of the week. You do love carrots a whole lot, though newly discovered puffs are definitely the absolute favorite. You also mastered a straw this week, which is the best because now you can drink water anywhere and I can resume forgetting to bring waters with me (listen. I can only remember so many things).

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You are very possibly the most adored baby that there has ever been. Even if we only take into account your younger older brother, who loves you more than air and Ritz crackers, which is a lot. People routinely stop us and tell us how cute you are. At baseball you are everyone’s baby and you will lunge to see your mom friends. To say you are doted on would be a vast understatement.

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Your likes this month include: mom, dad, Jacques-Imo, food, especially puffs, water, when William makes you laugh, seeing any of us after a period away, touching mom at every waking moment of your day, snuggling, your pacifier but mostly the pacifier leash that you chew on all day long, standing all the live long day.

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Your dislikes this month include: strawberries, being put down, seeing me from across the room but not being able to actually touch me, when you crawl backwards instead of forwards, sleeping without touching me, any food or snot on your face, but also having your face wiped and having your hair brushed.

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In two weeks, I’m going to work my last day for a while and stay home with you. It was a hard decision we came to, but part of why I decided to do it is because this is the last time I will be afforded this opportunity and it felt too precious to pass up. I am so excited to get this time with you and your brothers, to be “just” a mom and to be more present for and with you. I learned this week as I watched your brother blow out 6 birthday candles just how fleeting this time is and I am excited to get to savor it for a while.

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You bring so much joy into our lives each day, Ben. You wake up smiling and your smile could light up the sun. All of us feel so happy to have you, to get to know you and we are all so much happier with you here. I love you so very, very much my sweet Ben. I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

Elijah: Year 6

Eli-

Today you are 6 years old. Son. How. I could swear that it was just last year that you were born and we took you home. I could swear it was just last month that you learned to walk and talk and just last week that you started preschool. And somehow, here you are, nearly finished with kindergarten. And six. You need two hands to hold your age. My heart feels like it could burst.

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You have grown so much this year physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since you turned five. You became a big brother again and you are just the best at it. You love Benjamin, but you are gentle and sweet with him and very protective. You love when he smiles at you and you were so entirely delighted the day he cut his first tooth, I will never forget it. You went to school and told EVERYONE that “your baby” had a tooth. I could’ve died.

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You are truly enthusiastic to a fault. Someone will tell you something, you will respond with a “cool!” or a “yea” and then you will tell them whatever exciting news you have, regardless of whether it makes any sense in the context of the previous statement because you are just. so. excited. You love things deeply and passionately and you have little regard for what others think, which is a quality I especially envy. I fear that this is also a quality that will be soon lost to the peer pressures of other little boys in your life, but for now, I’m savoring your uncensored excitement about things because it is perfect. You share in the excitement of others too and it is delightful.

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You are going through a bit of a boundary testing phase. I truly think that 6 might be the new 2, just with a lot more words. You are pushing back when we ask you to do things, not because you really want to be defiant, but you seem to want to see what will happen. You test out new words, often knowing they aren’t kind ones, to see if we will stop you. It’s like kindergarten opened up your world and you are looking to us to help you navigate all the new parts. It’s a privilege we could not be happier to have, though I’d really love to hear the word wiener a lot less. I’m just saying.

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Your likes at age 6 include: Pokemon, your brothers, your parents and your grandparents, Lego, Ninjago, Ninjago Lego, reading (especially Dr. Seuss), sports in general, playing with your dad, drawing, “creating” things (this usually ends terribly. You recently lost your cool because you just knew you could make a bow and arrow out of a paper plate and you felt that I was not assisting you enough. A paper plate bow and arrow), jumping in puddles, animals of any kind but especially Jacques-Imo, any sweet treat.

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Your dislikes at age 6 include: Writing, vegetables of any kind, meat of any kind except bacon, sausage and hot dogs, eating at restaurants except Red Lobster, things you perceive to be girlish (we’re working on this), waiting for anything, not being allowed to say the word wiener.

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I was recently at an event with you and your brothers and I was marveling at you. As I held Benjamin it was as though I could feel you when you were an infant, like the muscle memory was there, but then I could see this kid. This fully grown, not a toddler, not a preschooler, just a kid, kid, right in front of me and it seemed impossible. I must have blinked because here you are, a person unto yourself, and I don’t remember when we decided that was okay.

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The thing I like the most about you right now is how kind you are. When William gets in trouble, which is a lot, you are the first to try to get me to “give him a second chance.” When you get in trouble at school (usually for talking), you apologize the instant you see me, even though it’s not a big deal to me. You are kind to your friends even when they aren’t kind to you, which happens more than is fair. You have a big personality, but you have an even bigger heart and watching you give kindness to others, even just in your words, is the absolute greatest. I want you to lead a big life if it’s what you want, but the things that matter most to me is that you are happy and that you are kind.

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Mother’s Day is just a few days away and I told you recently that you specifically are what made me a mother. And it blew you mind. To you, I’ve always been a mom because I have been for your whole life. But I lived 29 years without you, waiting for you, for the day you would make me something new. You turned my whole entire world upside down in the greatest possible way and you made me into who I always knew I wanted to be. Without you, I truly don’t know who or how I’d be.

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Just yesterday you got into some of the biggest trouble of your life and after we had a long talk, I held your chin and made you look into my eyes while I told you that I loved you more than anything in the world. As the words came out, both you and I started to cry. I think it was a relief to you to know that despite the choice you’d made, nothing had changed. And I want you to know that now and forever. There is nothing you ever could do that will change how much I love you. I am your mother now and forever and the love I have for you can only grow, if that is even possible. It is my greatest privilege to be your mother and it’s not a job I take lightly. I am undeniably lucky to have and love you.

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Happy birthday my sweetest, oldest son. I love you more than words can ever begin to capture and I cannot wait to see what next year brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference 8 Months Make!

Nothing like a set of brothers to get smiles. Ben is not even remotely looking at me in this month’s picture. He only has eyes for his brothers.

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Benjamin: Month 8

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Today (fine yesterday. I remembered but frankly son, I was too tired because a certain son of mine never sleeps and I’m so chronically tired that functioning after 9pm is impossible, but I’m going to change the time stamp so it looks like I wrote it on time) you are 8 months old! Listen. 8 is awfully close to 12. I have some feelings.

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It’s been A Month. You had a virus with intermittent fevers for a week, followed by a pair of ear infections. This was on the heels of mumtiple bouts of inconsolable screaming, mostly at night, and frankly I’m sort of glad that month is over. It wasn’t kind to you and you shared your germs with all of us, so the rest of us didn’t enjoy it much either. You do seem to have turned a corner so hopefully you’re on the path to health.

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When you weren’t sick or screaming, you were your adorable, charming self. The other day you sat in the cart at Trader Joe’s like you’re a person and you were absolutely delighted. There were so many people to smile at! so many things to try to grab! It was the best for the world’s most social baby. You remind me very much of your biggest brother in that regard.

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Speaking of which, you continue to adore your brothers more than almost anything. They can get you to smile light years faster than I can. You love when they interact with you and they get so excited when you smile at them. I know it won’t always be like this so I’m trying to savor the pure love and adoration you guys all seem to share. Your smaller big brother is pretty much the worst at being gentle, so hopefully you’ll only remember the sweet parts. Not the parts where he tries to launch you out of things.

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You aren’t crawling yet because you are super devoted to sitting, but it’s on the horizon. You are great at pushing yourself backwards until you’re under things and you can pivot on your belly better than your brothers ever could. You aren’t stationary by any means, just alternatively mobile. All too soon you’ll be everywhere and none of us are quite ready.

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Your likes this month include: Mom, Dad, Elijah and Benjamin, bananas, carrots, peas, water from a sippy cup, baths, baths with your brothers, snuggles with mom, the exersaucer, tags, crinkle paper toys and music.

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Your dislikes this month include: being stuck in your car seat with no one to look at you, being put down if you can still see me, being set down for even a moment after 5pm, sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time and strawberries.

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It hasn’t been the most fun month and you and I have both been above average tired and cranky, but I see a light ahead (possibly through a tunnel of sleep training, for which I am pre-emptively sorry and also, kind of not). I’m hopeful that things will calm down soon and that we will have answers to the screaming fits that have plagued the past few weeks.

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People frequently ask me if we are going to have any more kids. I often give joking answers about us being tired or it being too loud, or the risk of it being a girl and ruining the streak, but the real answer is, we’re done because you completed our family. You were the final piece to our puzzle. You made our family complete and there’s no way to explain that except that it happened and I can feel it in my bones and in my heart. You were what we were waiting for all that time and now that you’re here, I can’t imagine adding another baby. You’re our end and you were worth the wait.

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No matter what, we love you so very much. We are all better and happier for having you in our lives. Happy 8 months, my sweet buddy. I love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

What a Difference 7 Months Make!

This month’s picture would have been 100 times better if I realized the autofocus was off more than 30 seconds before Ben ran out of steam for the whole process. But I do have like 25 super adorable but way too blurry to use pictures if we ever need them!

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Benjamin: Month 7

Ben-

Today you are 7 months old! Seven months! Weren’t you just born? It feels like you were just born.

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The big news this month, this week really, is that you can now sit independently. You still tip over a bit, but you can sit up and play for like 10 minutes at a time, especially if your brothers aren’t distracting you and making you turn your head (which then tends to make you topple). You aren’t crawling yet, but you are definitely realizing that movement would get you things and it’s not far off. I am not ready, son. This house is a giant infant death trap, so it’s probably fairer to say that the house isn’t ready and I’m not ready to make it ready.

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You had your first legitimate illness this month. You were fine at bedtime and woke up at 4am congested and sad. By 7 you had a fever. Your 6 month well check was scheduled for two days later, which was good because you had an ear infection and honestly, I never would’ve known. You were kind of sad, but you’re just delightful to the point that I didn’t think it was anything more than a virus. Oops. You seem to have recovered without any major events, though your tummy did NOT enjoy the antibiotics.

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Last week you got your very first tooth. You’d been not quite yourself for a few days, but I was still pretty surprised when I spotted it on Friday. Again, that sunny disposition has a way of making you seem to feel better than you apparently do.

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Your personality continues to shine. People come up to you ALL the time and you just grin and coo for them. I literally cannot go to the grocery store without being stopped on every aisle and you’re generally here for it. You love to smile, love when people smile back and would very much like to be the center of everyone’s attention. It works well in a crowd, though it’s not always so great at home when I have to care for your brothers and dad. You’re learning to cope, but there are some tears.

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We started solid foods this month and you’re a fan of most of them, but especially of water. You will cry if you see it until I give it to you. And then once I start helping you take sips, it cannot be stopped unless there’s something else to offer. It’s hilarious and silly. At least I don’t have to worry about your hydration.

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Your likes this month include: chewing on ANYTHING you can find, your brothers, your parents, any adult who will smile at you, grabbing the cat, the giraffe on your play mat, being tickled, getting kisses, when mom picks you up from daycare (this is my like too), bananas, sweet potatoes and water from a sippy cup (which you cannot do without assistance).

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Your dislikes this month include: pears, green beans, being left alone for even a moment, when I stop shoveling bananas into your mouth, sleeping in your own bed (sorry son, this is one of my likes) and when I take your water away.

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Yesterday I was watching you while you sat on your play mat and it was just so strange. For your whole life, you’ve been on the ground. You’ve been dependent upon the floor or a person or a chair for support. And now, as if out of no where, you’re a person. You’re independent of the floor, the chair, the people. It sounds so silly, but I saw you, just you, for the first time. It was both the sweetest and the saddest because you’re not a tiny baby anymore. You’re growing and changing and becoming an independent person and that is a big deal. And as with every milestone, it feels so much bigger since you’re the last baby. Your babyhood is flying by and it’s harder than I imagined.

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It would be impossible for me to love you even the tiniest bit more than I already do. Even when you’re not delightful, you’re still just the sweetest buddy. You love to snuggle and to smile and to cuddle. You continue to love your brothers so much more than I ever imagined. Elijah has the flu right now and is quarantined to the office. You’ve scarcely seen him in two days, but the few times he has popped out, your whole face lit up. William loves you every bit as much, but he struggles with what “gentle” really means, though I know the two of you are going to be such buddies someday very soon.

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Another month has come and gone and I have done all I can to savor every moment of it. Babies don’t keep and I’m acutely aware of how fleeting this time is. I’m so lucky to get to spend so much of it with you. My sweet baby. I can’t believe our family got so lucky. Happy 7 months my sweet little boy. We love you so, so much and cannot wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom