Category

The Monthly Letters

Elijah: Year 5

Elijah-

Today you are 5 years old! You have been counting down the days until your birthday for weeks now, convinced that overnight you would grow several inches and be as tall as your other friends who are 5. While that was a bit of a let down, it didn’t stop you for long, which is pretty much the best way to describe who you are right now.

You are a delight. Truly, age 4 has been the promised land that everyone said it was. And you were a very easy 2 and 3 year old, but age 4 has just been the best. I have enjoyed every moment of it.

You came out of your shell in a huge way this year. You basically speak in exclamation points and are not the least bit hesitant to share random facts with complete strangers. You want to tell me every fact you know and correct every fact you perceive to be incorrect. “Actually” has become one of your favorite words, much to my not so great delight. There are times where you and I will be having a serious talk about a behavior that wasn’t okay or a choice you shouldn’t have made and I’ll ask you if you understand and you will affirm that you do and then immediately say something like, “did you know that rolly pollies are like trilobites?” like that’s exactly what we were discussing.

You have come to LOVE art this year. This surprised me because last year in school, you did the bare minimum, never really attempting to draw or write anything that wasn’t expressly requested of you, but you have more than made up for that this year. Every Friday when I pick you up from school, there is a massive pile of papers that you have colored throughout the week. Not like coordinated art projects, like, in aftercare when you get to choose your own adventure, you almost always choose to draw. One day a few months ago, I was laying on the couch feeling completely terrible with a migraine. It was your quiet rest time and you crept quietly into the living room and laid a paper on my stomach saying, “mom, I know your head hurts, so I made you these cheetahs.” The picture is now framed on a wall because I treasure it so entirely.

One of the things I love the very most about you is that you are an eternal optimist. Even when our plans aren’t what you want, you are constantly finding ways to make them better. You will often suggest a completely implausible thing for us to do and immediately follow it with, “is that a great idea mom?” Like every kid you get disappointed, and you continue to be sweet and sensitive, but you have a way to finding a bright side when I don’t expect it.

We registered you for kindergarten this winter and you will start in August. We don’t know what school you’ll be at yet, but your preschool teacher feels very certain that you’re ready. I might not be, but you are. I picked up some early reading books and you have astounded me with your ability to sound out words and read short books. It’s not that I doubted you, it’s that this just sort of snuck up on me. I don’t know the first thing about teaching a kid to read, so that you’re already figuring so much of it out, is completely incredible to me.

Your likes include: the color red, chocolate chip cookies (your favorite food according to you today), all animals except skunks, museums, your brother (most of the time), your family, any carbohydrate based food, school, reading, coloring, swimming, baking with me, baseball, tv and being outside.

Your dislikes include: just about any food with protein, the colors pink and purple, skunks (though you’ve never seen one), taking “taste bites” of any vaguely new food, when William knocks you over or steals your paper or does any of the 480249209 different things he loves to do to bother you, that we don’t allow you to say the word butt.

There are a lot of things you’re looking forward to this year, and I am too. The start of kindergarten. A new baby brother. Life in our “new” house. But what I am most looking forward to is really getting to know you. To learn what makes you different from every other 5 year old. To find out what makes you tick, to find out the kind of person you will become.

There are days where the responsibility of raising good men in you and your brothers feels overwhelming. But I see you, I see your sweet, pure, loving heart and I know that the good person I want to raise is already there. You are one of the kindest, most sensitive young boys I have ever met. Your ability to love and to be happy and to choose kindness, never fails to amaze me. Your brother will knock you down 10 times and each time, you will refuse to retaliate. Your friends will tell you that they don’t want to play with you (for typical 5 year old reasons), but you do not throw the same words back at them. While I would like to pretend that I am the reason for this, I know that I’m not. It’s who you are, at your very core. I didn’t mold that, but I am in constant awe of it and I hope in my heart of hearts, that it never changes. That you forever find ways to choose kindness, even when it may not be the easiest choice.

I didn’t think I’d have so many feelings about my first baby turning 5, but I do. You are growing up so very fast and where there was a baby and then a toddler, there is now a little boy. A little boy that I love so much that words to describe it fail me completely. I am constantly amazed that I am the one single person in this world who gets to be your mother, because it almost seems impossible that I’d get that lucky.

I have loved you since the moment I knew you existed and nothing you could ever do will change that. I am grateful every single day that you’re mine. I love you to the moon and back, my sweet boy.

Love,
Mom

William: Year 2

Will-

Today you are 2 years old. My baby. My sweet tiny boy. I cannot believe it. It has gone so fast and suddenly here we are. Two.

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You are loved far and wide and proclaimed by all as the sweetest little boy. And it’s true. You have the gentlest, sweetest heart. You love to snuggle and hug and you would love nothing more in this world than to sleep in my bed every day of your life. You are my tiny buddy and though you have a big personality, you’re also sensitive and cautious and it’s easy to forget that because of your tendency to slip into toddler hysteria from time to time (time being a word for minute).

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You are also just the chattiest. I mean it. You are still a little tough to understand, but you have SO much to say. You regularly confuse strangers with 5-6 word sentences. Your daycare teachers are always astounded at what you say to me at pick up because we have full conversations about your day. You are so very bright and I’m almost afraid of all the things you’ll learn this year. Your capacity for mischief seems pretty large.

Month 24

You love your brother so fiercely that it overwhelms you at times and frustrates him as well. You think he is the coolest and later this month you’ll start preschool (WHY TIME, WHY?) and get to go to his school, too. I think you’re going to like it and I think having your big brother around is probably the best bonus for you.

Month 24

Your likes this month include: Mommy, Daddy, Eyijah, Thomas the Tank Engine and his pal Percy, Toy Story (the obsession. It is a thing.), the cats, bubbles, your grandparents, buckling your car seat buckle (except, funny story, you can’t say k sounds, so you always yell “I DO MY BUTOLE!” and say that several times out loud quickly and you will understand why we die laughing every time we get in the car. You parents are not mature.), pouches, chocolate milk in a cup (never a box, always a cup), having us drape your blanket on you for sleeping, sliding things down your brother’s car ramp.

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Your dislikes this month include: being told no, not getting something you want, walking (“me me up, mom!”) any distance greater than about a foot, when your brother “trades” toys with you, eating (generally), fruit, vegetables, naps, being told to do something you don’t want to do (basically, not being in charge).

Month 24

The past month you have really changed from a baby to a boy. You participate with others, you seem to understand bigger things more than before. I can see the wheels in your head turning, see you solving problems and making connections. You are a lot like me, both as a child and now. You’re easily frustrated and I can see you trying so hard to do things or fix things, but your emotions are just big. They’re just bigger than your sweet tiny body right now.

Month 24

I am anticipating that this next year will be a tough one, even tougher than last year. You are desperately searching for boundaries and I’m trying my best to stay patient and calm while you struggle to understand the world around you. I adore you, even on your most difficult and scream filled days, I love you in ways that would be completely impossible to explain. I remember every moment of your life, the way it felt like my heart would explode with joy the first time I held you. The way I feel each night when I tuck you into bed.

Month 24

Month 24

You are my second baby, my second toddler, but you hold such a piece of my heart that you would never know you didn’t come first. You are not without struggles, but these struggles are more than worth it for all the sweet moments and abudant love you bring us. I feel lucky every day that of all the moms, I get to be yours. That I get to help you grow into a child and a man, that I get to be your cheerleader and your teacher. That I get a front row seat to all the amazing things you’re going to do in your life.

Month 24

Month 24

Please know that whatever next month and next year bring, my love for you, my sweet little love, is eternal. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do in this life, my love is constant, and you can rely on it whenever you need to.

Month 24

Month 24

Happy birthday, my sweet little William. I love you to heights that words cannot reach, in ways that sentences will never adequately describe. I am truly the luckiest because I am your mom.

Love,
Mom

William: Month 23

Will-

Today you are 23 months old. Please know that I’ve never told anyone that you are 23 months old because that’s the kind of age specificity that crazy people use. You are almost 2. Every time I say it my heart breaks a tiny bit because there it is, there’s the end of babyhood. It’s 1 month away.

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Unlike most months, I picked out pictures for this post before I wrote it (my computer had issues) and what I noticed was how many happy pictures we took this month. You were sick once for a few days and that was miserable, but otherwise, we had a great month. We had a ton of family time, which you (and I) love, we celebrated the 4th of July and we started a swim class (well, two swim classes, but that’s a long story).

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Your personality is changing more and more each day. You are becoming less persistently upset and much more independent. You still get frustrated when things don’t go the way you want them to or when you can’t have the exact thing you want, but you are so much slower to get upset. It is a relief, let me tell you. Your speech has improved a bit this month, which I think is helping, and you are receiving speech therapy now, and I think in a few weeks/months this is likely to improve even more.

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Your newest phrases are “I do it myself” and “Weenum (which is what you call yourself and it’s THE BEST) hurt” whenever you have even the slightest discomfort. If you report pain and I ask you where it is you’ll just look at me and go “On Weenum!” like that answers the question. While it’s not very helpful, I secretly hope you never learn how to say William because I think Weenum might be the cutest nickname ever.

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Your likes this month include: your brother, mom, dad, the kitties (much to their frustration), swimming (as long as you get to do what you want), cars, Toy Story, grandparents, Aunt Claire/Uncle Scott, Addie and baby Asher, Thomas the Tank Engine, rice and beans, and Mr. Potato Head.

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Your dislikes this month include: having restricted access to the ipad/phones, not being able to watch Toy Story all day every day, not being able to wear only Toy Story shirts, wearing shoes for almost any duration of time, when the kitties run away from you, wearing a diaper.

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I cannot believe you’re going to be 2. I mean, I can because you already are basically a professional 2 year old, but I can’t believe you’ve been here for almost 2 years. You are suddenly this big kid and you’re starting to engage even more with your brother and with Addie. You follow them everywhere and try so hard to do what they’re doing. Often this ends in disaster because you’re a tiny little bull in a china shop, but it’s always very cute before the big kids get frustrated with you.

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You are the sweetest, snuggliest little boy. You are excitable in the most delightful ways and you speak with exclamation points punctuating almost every word. You have big feelings and you are learning more and more how to tell us about them. You remind me so much of myself and the memories I have from when I was a preschool/elementary aged child and I can only hope that I’m giving you the same love and boundaries that my parents gave me to help me learn to manage the magnitude of my emotions. I know that as you transition from a baby to a toddler, like, full-fledged toddler, there will be a lot of bittersweet moments, but I’m just so excited to get to meet the kid you’re becoming. You are not always easy, but you are always, always worth the work.

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It would be impossible to tell you how much I love you because just like how you have big emotions, this is a big feeling for me. It defies explanation, but I will say that my favorite time of day is when you first get up because you want to snuggle on the couch and you just melt into me. And if you knew me 5 years ago you would understand how insane it is that I am actually enjoying anything at 6:15 in the morning. I know that someday you won’t want those snuggles, and so each day I savor those moments, just in case tomorrow is the day you’re too big for it.

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There is much on the horizon for you, my sweet boy. I’m so excited that I get to go along for the ride. We love you so very much and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

William: Month 22

Will-

Today you are 22 months old. Lest you are worried, when people ask how old you are, I do not say 22 months. I either say 1 and a half or that you’ll be 2 in June. I’m only listing months here because that’s what I’ve always done. But regardless, I cannot believe how close you are to 2 years old. It just seems completely impossible.

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This month I accomplished the seemingly impossible- I weaned you. I went out of town on my birthday for 4 days and that was it. The last time you nursed was May 18th and while you have protested several times, including once today, but mostly it was about as smooth of a transition as I can possibly imagine it being. If we’re being perfectly honest, I equally love having my personal space back and also totally miss the connection we had. I miss our lazy mornings in bed and snuggly post-nap couch cuddles. I know it was time and that you’re fine and I’m fine, but I miss it and I know you do too. I’m not sure either of us are ready for you to be so grown.

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Your hearing is definitely markedly improved this month, though your speech continues to be a bit of a struggle. You have so many things you want to say and you think you’re saying them, but so much of it is unintelligible. At least once a day you just completely break down crying because we can’t understand you. It’s sad for you and sad for us. You have a speech therapy evaluation scheduled next week, so hopefully a few sessions of that will help. I know it’s all from the persistent fluid in your ears and that you will catch up and be fine, but we’ve given it 6 weeks now and it’s just not improving quite enough, so we are ready to help you be heard a little more clearly.

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This month took a major downward turn when you got hand, foot and mouth disease. It was going around your daycare (I believe everyone in your class got it) and you were sadly not spared. You managed to run a nearly 105 degree fever (with Motrin!) before the blisters showed up all over your poor feet and mouth. Your hands were mostly spared, but it was a full week before you could wear shoes again. I cannot say how glad I am to have that over with.

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Your likes this month include: Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Elmo, Cookie Monster (who you call may-may…), mom, dad, Ijah, the cats, nursing (or you liked it, at least), playing on the iPad, veggie chips, pirate’s booty, pouches, having mom or dad sleep in your bed, chocolate milk, screaming as loudly as you can for no apparent reason, taking off all your clothes and your diaper (and usually peeing on the floor).

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Your dislikes this month include: hand, foot and mouth, sleeping alone, the bunny clock (that tells you when you can wake up for the day), weaning, sleeping past 5:30am, napping, when your parents can’t understand what you’re saying.

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We got a kitten this month and you are simply the sweetest with her. I mean, you completely terrify her because you do not possess the ability to be quiet, but you just look at her and go “awwwww” and gently rest your head on her. It’s just about the sweetest thing.

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And it’s really who you are. You are such a sweet little boy. You love to be snuggled and cuddled, especially on the couch. You just wiggle your little butt right into the crooks of our arms and it’s the best. You want us to sleep in your bed with you. You just, you’re a lover in a way your brother never was and it is really, really sweet.

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The fact that you’re nearly two years old is just practically mind boggling to me. You’re going to start preschool in a few months and before I know it you’ll be potty trained and speaking in paragraphs and I just can’t deal with it. The time has gone just so, so very fast and you’re grown right before my eyes. You are definitely still more petite than your peers, but I see you lengthening out all the time.

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I wish I had more to add this month, but between my being out of town and you being sick, it was kind of a whirlwind. We just absolutely adore you. You light up our lives and make every day more interesting. We love you so dearly and despite wanting time to screech to a halt, I just can’t wait to see the person you’re going to become.

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I love you to the ends of the earth and back. And I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

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Love,
Mom

William: Month 21

Will-

Today you are 21 months old. My mind boggles at how close you are to being 2 years old. I think in part it’s because of your size- you are super petite, but also because you’re my baby and babies aren’t almost 2. I looked at you this morning, clad only in your diaper, and for the first time in your whole life, you looked tall. Like overnight you grew these long, lean legs that looked remarkably like the legs of a little boy and not like the short little legs of my baby.

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This was a very busy month. We visited all your grandparents twice, which involved a lot of travel and you had your first (and hopefully only) surgery. Your demeanor continues to improve in general, which is great because a few months ago, the number of hours we spent in the car this month would’ve been nearly impossible to manage, but you were a total trooper.

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The ear tube experience was a lot for all of us. First you went with your dad for an audiogram that found that you had mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears, which was a big punch to my gut. The surgery itself was easy and quick, though the few days after were a lot tougher than I expected. Now that we’re almost two weeks out, you seem happier and you’re sleeping much better. I’m hopeful that this is a huge turning point for you and so far we are very pleased. It was a sort of easy decision, but at the same time, we worried it would be a lot of discomfort for no real improvement. I hope this was the right call.

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You continue to be extremely talkative, but as you’d expect of someone with hearing loss, you are very hard to understand. I can understand or decipher about 50% of what you say these days, people who don’t know you can get about 20%. We expect this to improve but I’m just glad it hasn’t slowed you down. If we’re being honest, I’m going to be kind of sad when you stop calling Elijah “I-yuh” and dinosaurs “dido-roars.” You have also not let poor hearing interfere with your singing. You sing the ABCs, you sing the Baby Bumblebee song and you sing Old MacDonald, kind of. All of these are the Will remixes, but they’re adorable nevertheless.

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Your likes this month include: your family, most especially your brother, music and singing, rice and beans, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dinosaur Train, dinosaurs in general, closing doors, naked baby time and doing things all by yourself.

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Your dislikes this month include: being told no, help, fruit that isn’t puréed, vegetables, being left out of anything and ear drops.

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In three days we are going to be finished nursing. I never planned to nurse this long in the first place and so I also never expected weaning to be so fraught with feelings. There are a lot of things I will not miss (mostly you trying to rip out my earrings or smacking me in the face repeatedly) but I will miss snuggling with you and feeling your body relax into mine. I will miss your little happy dance when I lay you on your side. I will miss the bond that nursing has given us and the ability to soothe you even in your least soothable moments. It has been quite a ride. But it’s time. For both of us. I’m going away for a few days this week and the time is right for a whole host of reasons.

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If I’m being honest, I don’t really want to go on this trip at all, but I’m trying to make sure I have time for my personal and professional life because I think ultimately it makes me a better parent. I will miss you in ways that don’t seem at all reasonable but I think that’s just the way it is with feelings. You are such a part of me, my tiny little sidekick, that the idea of 4 nights away from you feels almost impossible.

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There are a lot of changes on the horizon for both of us. I want to slow down time and savor these last few months before two, but time is cruel that way, so I will just have to make sure I get the most out of these precious moments, for both of us.

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I love you more than words can possibly explain. And I can’t wait to see what this month brings.

Love,
Mom

Elijah: Year 4

Eli-

Today you are four years old. I imagine that someday when you read these you will think I am kind of trite for starting each letter by saying that I cannot believe you are already so old, but each year it will be true. I cannot, no matter how far I stretch my mind, believe that you are already four. It seems impossible because you were just born, I could swear it.

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This year has been an interesting one, for sure. You were a really…mild 2 year old and so it’s only natural that you found your voice and learned to use it this year. Often at very high volumes and in very public places. But even in your worst days, and there were some, for sure, you are still a pretty spectacularly great 3 year old.

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This year you made real friendships for the first time. You have a best friend at school that you absolutely adore and who adores you back. You both had birthday parties in the past month and we were the first to RSVP for his party and they were the first to RSVP for yours. You also adore your cousin Addie and you guys play (and fight) like siblings more than like cousins.

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You are a very smart and very observant 4 year old. I mean that very sincerely, not in the way that every mother says their child is smart because they’re their child. You learn new things literally every day, though admittedly sometimes the message gets a little lost, or altered, in translation. You know that caterpillars become a chrysalis and then a butterfly, but you also think that caterpillars are called “callerpitters.” You asked me last week for some “mennonites” instead of vitamins and you still, delightfully, call flip flops “clip clops.” They are the last few vestiges of toddlerhood and I am clinging to them like a security blanket. The first person who corrects you is going to get a very large piece of my mind.

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You are developing a great sense of humor and also a desire to be the center of attention, particularly in a class clownish capacity. At your last baseball game, four of your grandparents, an aunt and two cousins came to watch you, and boy did you put on a show. You spun around and danced and had the whole crowd laughing with/at you. You just love to make people laugh, which is a quality you get directly from your father.

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This is especially true with William. He is a tough kid and doesn’t always laugh a lot, but all it takes is one look, maybe one syllable, from you and he is giggling maniacally.

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You told me yesterday that you want another brother and a sister, and watching you with William and now with baby Asher, it’s clear that you are a natural older brother. I can’t promise more siblings, or the distribution of gender that you’ve requested, but I hope to watch you grow and blossom as the oldest child. Your sibling, and maybe future siblings, are very fortunate to have you as their first role model and friend.

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Your likes this year include (per the scientific interview I conducted this evening):
Favorite color: red (and orange and yellow)
Favorite food: candy
Best friend: Immanuel
Favorite thing to play with: dinosaurs
Favorite tv show: Kungfu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Thomas the Tank Engine (but only the new videos where Thomas is animated and actually talks, not the ones where he just moves his eyes around- this is a very important distinction), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train
Favorite movie: Star Wars (the very original one)
Favorite book: The Very Hungry Calerpitter (Caterpillar)

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Your dislikes this year include: any food that is in anyway unfamiliar (you are unbelievably picky. Please tell me that when you are 20 and reading this that you eat more than cheese-less pizza, spaghetti with marinara and jelly sandwiches), hand dryers in public bathrooms, rest time.

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I can’t say enough how much it is a privilege to be your mom. You are the sweetest boy. You tell us daily that you love us and I hope that’s because we’ve said it enough to you. My favorite time of day is just before bed when you decide how many hugs and kisses we get. It varies wildly, somedays being 11 hugs and 11 kisses, while other days it’s 1 hug and 1 kiss. But regardless of the number, there is nothing better than having your lanky arms wrapped around me and breathing in your sweet scent.

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It would be impossible to put into words how very much I love you. Raising you has not been easy and I don’t do it all right, not by a long shot, but each day that I get to get up and try again, is a luxury. Each day that I get to tell you how much I love you and hug you and kiss you, is my greatest fortune. I am happier and better in just about every way for having you in my life. I scarcely know who I am without you because you have changed me to my very core in the very best of ways.

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I hope that you know how fiercely you are loved and how grateful we feel to be the ones loving you. You are growing into such an incredible boy and we just cannot wait to see the kid and man you become.

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Happy birthday my sweet, sweet boy. We love you so very much and cannot wait to see what next year brings.

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Love,
Mom

William: Month 20

Will-

Today you are 20 months old! This sounds waaaaaaaay too close to 2. And you can’t be 2 because you are still a tiny infant and not an almost preschooler. Nope. No way.

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While you still have a strong personality, you have softened a bit this month and we have had fewer knock down, drag out, on the floor in public fits. Which I am quite grateful for. You are still very passionate and you are absolutely a tension increaser, so unlike your brother, who we could just speak rationally to, we have to give you space to let your concerns be screamed heard for a while. It’s hard, but it’s starting to work. Every day is a new lesson in parenting for me and every day we do a little better.

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Part of your decrease in fits might also be because your language has absolutely exploded. You’ve always been a talker, but it’s nonstop now. You’re even talking at daycare now, which you have almost never done. Today you picked up a play phone, held it to your ear and said “HEWWO! Hi dada! Good! Bye dada!” and then put the phone down. Some things you say are totally comprehensible to everyone, other things…not so much. We’re starting to think that a bit of it is due to the constant fluid in your ears, but hopefully the ENT will be able to (metaphorically) clear some things up next week.

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The best example of this language burst was a few days ago you walked into the bathroom while I was getting ready and you started singing. It was not the first time you’ve sang to yourself, but it was the first time that I recognized the words and the tune. You were singing “I’m bringing home my baby bumblebee” and it was just about the cutest thing ever.

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Eli is still very much your best buddy. You think he is the coolest kid on the earth and you will copy just about anything he does. If he jumped off a cliff you would not hesitate for a single second to follow him. You desperately want to give him high fives and fist bumps, but he leaves you hanging and you cry and it’s kind of heart breaking. Older brothers can be just as mean as they are awesome, it seems. He adores you too, even if he’s not so great at showing it.

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Your likes this month include: Mom, dad, I-Jah, Aunt Claire and her family, Grandparents, swinging, pouches (fruit based only), muffins, Spanish rice, spaghetti, your blanket and Corduroy bear, Pirate’s Booty, playing on the iPad, Dinosaur Train and generally any dinosaur, wearing exclusively Elmo clothing, the animal magnets on the small fridge.

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Your dislikes this month include: not getting your way about everything, sleeping past 5:45am, weaning, shots in your sweet little thighs, fruit that isn’t pureed in a pouch, protein in general, when you have to get out of the swing.

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As much as it is easy to categorize you just as a challenging kid, you’re so much more than that and I want you to know that I see you. I see who you are, I know that you’re more than just that stubbornness. You are the sweetest little boy. You can’t wait to go places and you are just adorably excited for everything we do. Your challenges are born out of this same passion that makes you so excitable and it’s a quality in you that I never want to dim. I want you to be passionate about the things you love and (manageably) passionate about the things you don’t. Having feelings, even strong ones, is a good thing and I hope that in trying to help you cope with the world outside you that we never make you feel like they aren’t.

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You used to be a total snuggler, but most days, you are too busy for that. And so, while I’m probably supposed to discourage your habit of finishing your afternoon naps in my arms, I can’t help it. It’s my favorite time of day and I know that those days are numbered and I won’t know that it’s the last time until it’s past. And so I hold your sweet heavy (with sleep, don’t be fooled, you’re miniature) body each afternoon and breathe in your sweet baby scent and study each of your magnificent eyelashes. It’s a privilege to be your place of comfort and it’s not one I take for granted.

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I am equally excited to see you grow and yearning for you to stay small. You’re in that amazing age where you learn new things literally every day. It’s so fun to watch you figure things out and achieve things that even a few days before were too hard. I love watching you grow, but my heart aches a little for you to stay small because I know that these days are fleeting and I will miss them when they’re gone.

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Happy 20 months William. You are the sweetest and we are the luckiest for having you. We love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

William: Month Nineteen

Will-

Today you are nineteen months old! I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by. I feel like I just wrote you a letter last week and yet here we are again, another month gone.

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It’s been kind of a crazy hectic month. You have been sick for basically the entirety of the month, which culminated yesterday in a double ear infection and a lot of testing for some GI issues you’ve been having. It has not been a terribly pleasant few weeks, but you have really hung in there like the trooper you are. In fact, if I didn’t know you were sick, I wouldn’t have realized anything was wrong (which is maaaaybe a little bit of a commentary on your tendency towards drama) because you really have handled this better than I ever expected.

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You continue to be a really bright little boy and you’re at such a fun age. You literally learn new things every single day. You speak in 4-5 word sentences, but only when you feel like it (you also refuse to speak at all at times). This week you picked up 4-5 new words like it was no big deal. Yesterday you grabbed a Sesame Street book and said, “Mama! It’s Big Bird! and Elmo! and Ernie! and Bert! and Grover!” and you were correct. You ask me why a hundred times a day and you repeat any word we ask you to.

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You can also be very shy. You won’t speak in front of people you don’t know and you won’t speak at daycare at all, which is kind of hilarious, but also totally ridiculous. Your teachers literally don’t know that you can speak because you are totally silent while you’re there. Most places, if I’m present you will warm up and be social or chatty, but you’re definitely a little slower to get comfortable than your brother ever was. I am learning to give you some extra room and time to find your way so you can feel free to use your voice when you’re ready.

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We’ve been working on gradually weaning this month. The firm end of nursing is mid-May (because I’m going out of town for 4 days) and so far you’re down to only nursing 3 times a day. This greatly displeases you, but I promise we’re both going to survive. It’s emotionally kind of killing me, but I know you’re big enough that you don’t need it and that this was eventually going to have to come to an end. I am unquestionably going to miss nursing you to sleep and feeling your sweet body relax as you prepare for bed, I am less going to miss you constantly trying to rip my earrings out of my ear lobes.

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Your likes this month include: animals, the cat (“meow” is what you call him), Elijah (“Ijah”), mom, dad, grandparents, Aunt Claire/Uncle Scott/Addie/Asher (all of whom you call “Ada”), books, swinging, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Nutrigrain bars, Pirate’s Booty, mom’s phone, being held.

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Your dislikes this month include: when mom/dad walks out of the room, sitting in shopping carts, sleeping past 6am, weaning, any food except exactly what you have in mind, haircuts, not being allowed to play with the phone, not watching Toy Story all day long, getting out of the swing.

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You and your brother have become closer this month than in months past. He still loves nothing more than to make you cry (trust me, I am doing the best I can to stop this), but there have been 3 or 4 times in the past week where you guys will disappear from the room that I’m in and when I track you down, you’re playing happily together and it’s the best.

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There was one such time this weekend where I found you and Eli jumping on E’s bed, which is normally something I’d stop. But when I found the two of you, you were just so joyous that I paused for a moment. You were both laughing and giggling and having the best time that I couldn’t bring myself to stop it so fast. I grabbed my camera and caught this image of the two of you and it’s just, it’s everything I dreamed of my whole life. It’s why I wanted to have more than one child. The love you have for your brother and the love he has back for you, is nothing short of earth shattering. It gets me through each day, it is what I live for. To have this moment captured in a picture is an absolute treasure. I never want to forget the two of you laughing until you cried.

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William, I love you more than you could ever possibly know and I feel grateful for every moment we have with you. I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

William: Month 18

Will-

Today you are 18 months old. Which is almost unbelievable. 18 months. 1.5. You’re closer to 2 than to 1 and I am struggling with this. In the past month you have really started looking and acting like a toddler and the baby in you is all but gone.

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We did get a few days of uninterrupted snuggles when you had roseola earlier this month. It was several days of really miserable high fevers. You were just so so sad, but you bounced back well, which was good because you really had a busy month, including most notably, a trip to New Orleans. The flights were less than ideal (as we expected them to be…) and you definitely had some moments. But, you also enjoyed a big portion of it. You especially enjoyed having Granddad read you the same 3 books four million times. You also enjoyed the parades and most surprisingly, the food.

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned this several hundred times, but you are not an eater. Except in New Orleans, you suddenly decided to eat real people food. You ate 2 portions of red beans and rice and almost a quarter of my burger from Camellia Grill, which should really be the best sign that I love you, because I do not share food. I’m hoping this is an overall trend. Earlier this month we had a royally unpleasant test done to see if you were still having issues with reflux. We don’t have the full results but you are definitely still refluxing some fluids, so we’re hoping to get that better controlled soon and perhaps we’ll see more of these impressive eating moments.

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This month you continued to be absurdly verbal. I’m not really sure what else to say about this. One of my coworkers (a speech pathologist) overheard something you said and informed us that it was a sentence structure of a 3 year 6 month old. I mean. Seriously. You count to 3, you speak in 4-5 word sentences. One day on our vacation, I told you to say goodnight to everybody and without missing a beat you waved and said, “NIGH NIGHT ERRYBODY!” It’s insane.

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We are in the early phases of weaning you. It could be going better. And more quietly. It’s going to be good in the end, but the process is going to suck.

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Your likes this month include: nursing, mama, dada, granddad, mom’s food (sometimes), swinging, running, books especially if they contain Elmo or the cast of Toy Story, “Woody” (which is both Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear), Toy Story 2 and 3 (because we’re good parents), Elmo, balls and dinosaurs.

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Your dislikes this month include: doing anything you do not intrinsically want to do, sitting still for any amount of time, eating most of the time, getting in the car or stroller or grocery cart, when mom touches or looks at baby Asher.

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This will probably sound stupid, but there’s something about canine teeth emerging that really transform kids from infant to toddler. You have the tips of 2 canines and I nearly cried when I saw the first one because there it is. The last baby thing. Soon you’ll have all your teeth (besides your 2 year molars) and you won’t look like a baby at all. I’m just not ready for you to be grown. I don’t know how I’ll ever be.

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You are suddenly running, you’re trying to jump, you’re counting. Just. You’re a toddler. You’re not a baby.

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I am in that place where I am equally excited to watch you grow up and devastated that you’re doing it. I’m just not ready for you to not be my baby anymore. I know you will always be my sweet boy, but soon you won’t sleep in my arms. And soon you won’t want to sit in my lap and snuggle. It’s selfish because I know the fact that you’re not doing these things will be a sign that you’re a healthy, independent toddler, but I can’t help it. I just love you more than nearly anything else in the whole world and I’m not ready for you to stop needing me so much.

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

Love,
Mom

William: Month 17

Will-

Today you are 17 months old! Oh what to say about this month. I hope someday when you are grown and reading this that you know that despite my frustrations, I love(d) you very much. And also I hope that when you are grown and reading this you are less prone to the theatrics of month 17.

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Son. You are…drama. I love you very, very much, but seriously. So much drama. There is no surface too gross, no floor too public for you to throw yourself upon in the pursuit of a tantrum. There is no perceived trauma too slight for you to flop for. You seriously throw a fit in public every. single. day. I’ve learned to roll with it and smile at strangers who are staring at you, but I won’t lie. It’s not my favorite of your many qualities. What’s hilarious is that your teachers at school cannot fathom that you do this. They say that you are the quietest, sweetest little boy and you are just so easy going and WHY. WHY ARE YOU SAVING ALL OF THAT FOR THEM?

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On the less publicly embarrassing side, you are intentionally hilarious much of the time. You have this look, I can’t even describe it exactly, but you get this little twinkle in your eye before you do something to get a rise out of us. You absolutely love to make us all laugh and we love it too. We have had many a giggle fest over your antics.

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You are still exceptionally verbal and when you combine your incredible verbal skills with your small stature, you get A LOT of strange looks in public. While at the grocery store last week we were walking through the produce section when you started yelling that you wanted an apple. The lady next to me was literally slack jawed. She thought you were younger than you were, but she was still surprised when I told her you were only 16 months old.

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You are learning a bunch of cool new skills this month that we are having fun showing them off and making you repeat them. You can identify your nose, hair, tongue, belly, hands and feet and you know what a cat, dinosaur, pig and (sometimes) a dog says. You do hand motions for Itsy, Bitsy Spider and some songs from our music class that are almost too cute for words.

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Your likes this month include: Mom, Dad, Elijah, Elmo, Aunt Claire, Addie, nursing, Cookie Monster (muh muh!), Buzz Lightyear (Buzz Yaya!), airplanes (AIR PANE!), Pirate’s Booty, pumpkin bars, spaghetti, when the cat meows, bothering your brother when you ride side by side in the stroller.

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Your dislikes this month include: Diaper changes, getting dressed after bath, Disneyland, not being allowed in your brother’s bed, holding hands with your parents while walking in streets and parking lots, most food, especially if it contains any nutrients whatsoever, when your dad leaves for work, getting buckled into the car.

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Each day when I pick you up from daycare, the first thing you do when we walk out the door is to say, “E-yi-yi?” (which is how you say Elijah). You just absolutely adore your brother. Two days ago you realized that you could put the caps from your fruit pouches on your thumbs so you spent several seconds getting them arranged and then you yelled for your brother to look. E-YI-YI! E-YI-YI! You were so proud and you didn’t care if I saw, you just wanted your brother to see. Tonight you refused to hold my hand to cross the street but when I said you should hold Elijah’s hand you literally ran to do it.

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I have a tentative plan to start weaning you this month. It’s the last baby thing you do and it’s tearing at my heart strings a little bit to start this process. It’s made tougher by the fact that nursing is your literal favorite thing on earth and you would do it all day long if I would let you. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to completely wean you, but I know that I will so miss our morning and post-nap snuggle and nurse sessions. They are my favorite times of day and no matter how many more days we have to do them, I will never get enough.

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You and your brother are the greatest gifts in my life and even on our toughest days in our toughest month, I know I am the luckiest person on this earth because I get to raise the two of you.

Happy 17 months Will. We love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom