Category

The Monthly Letters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benjamin: Month 1

Ben-

Today you are 1 month old! I’ll probably say this many times in the future, but this has been both a long and a very short month. I can’t believe my last baby isn’t a newborn anymore, but your birth also feels like a light year ago. Time is very strange that way.

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We are still getting to know you and every time I think we’ve got you figured out, you change things up. It certainly keeps life exciting.

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You still have your gorgeous soft baby hair, which strangers comment on all the time. But you are no longer a teeny tiny guy like you were at birth, now you have cheeks and chunk to spare. A mom of a kid in Elijah’s class stopped me today to comment on how much you’ve grown in just two and a half weeks. She’s not wrong.

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The cheeks are abundant because you are a nursing addict. I’m typing this with one hand on my phone because you will only stop crying tonight when you’re eating, which is a pretty common occurrence. Thankfully you have a great latch and we’ve had a lot of help because nursing all day does not lend itself to multitasking very well.

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You have the sweetest eyes in the world and I swear you see more than every textbook says you can. Even before you should have been able to see basically anything, you would look at us with such focus, like lock eyes with us. It was like you might start a conversation at any moment. There’s something about you that I just can’t put my finger on. You even looked me in the eyes and smiled right at me last week, even though you shouldn’t be socially smiling for another few weeks.

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Your likes this month include: nursing, being held, nursing, overhead lighting and/or fans, being held, nursing.

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Your dislikes include: car rides, baths, pacifiers (unless you’re super tired), being swaddled, being put down.

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For a lot of this month, it’s just been you and me. First because we were both recovering from your birth. Then because your brothers went back to school and your dad went back to work. You’re just my tiny buddy- you go everywhere with me and I love nothing more in this world than snuggling with you. It might seem like I wish you’d nurse less, but the truth is I’m more than happy to feed and hold you every moment I can. During the day especially.

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The time is going so fast already and I know in a few short months, these snuggles will be replaced with proper naps and reasonable bedtimes and while I won’t miss the intensity of the sleep deprivation, I’ll miss having my snuggle buddy.

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I’m so excited to get to know you and to learn who you are. We’ve waited a long time for you and we’re so glad that you completed our family. We love you in a way that defies words, in a way that someday you will know when you have your own baby and you realize how inadequate words are for describing this kind of love.

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Happy 1 month, my sweet baby. We love you so very much and can’t wait to see what next month will bring.

Love,
Mom

William: Year 3

Will-

Today you are three years old! I will not pretend for one second like I can’t believe it because honestly it feels like you’ve been two for much longer than a year (not because of behavior, just, this has been the longest year ever) and you are so perfectly 3.

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This year has been a big one. You started preschool at Elijah’s school, we moved to a new house and a few days ago you became a big brother after months of anticipation. You have changed so much from last year that when a video popped up I was sure they had mislabeled it 1 year ago when it was really two. But nope. You’ve grown almost an unbelievable amount.

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You are smart. Like super clever, tricky and difficult smart. The other day I was helping you into a pull up and you were intentionally lifting the wrong leg for the leg hole I had open for you. After 10 times or giving me the wrong leg and laughing maniacally, I turned the pull up around, you flashed a grin and lifted the other leg. This is classic William. We laugh with you every single day.

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You are the sweetest little boy when it comes to small things. You adore small stuffed animals and care for them so tenderly. When you met your baby brother in the hospital you just wanted to pet him and immediately told me that you loved him and that he was SO cute. It’s one of my favorite things about you- for as strong willed as you can be, you’re also extremely kind hearted.

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You do continue the streak of strong willed behavior. We potty trained you in May, which was not great. You were acing pee and doing okay at school and then one day you were just done. You decided you would not be peeing at school with any teacher no matter what and so far you’ve been true to your word. We tried to tell you that all your friends are moving to a new class and you can’t move until you pee in the potty at school and you shrugged and said, “I don’t want friends.” I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that?

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Your likes right now include: puzzles, PB&J, dinosaur chicken nuggets, Wild Kratts, The Lion King (especially Hakuna Matata, which you sing allllll the time), Aladdin, Elijah, baby brother, mom, dad, Ritz crackers, yelling “no! never!” whenever I ask you to do things.

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Your dislikes include: pretty much any food other than PB&J, Dino chicken and ritz crackers, napping, rear facing in the car, when Elijah very intentionally does things to make you mad, stopping what you’re doing to pee, anything you don’t explicitly choose for yourself.

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This year has had its ups and downs and there have been points where I have felt totally out of my parenting league when it comes to raising you. But we made it and we’re both better for it. Your passions continue to run deep and it’s not a thing I want to change. I love that you have strong emotions. I love that you know what you want. I don’t think these are bad things and with a lot of effort on your part and ours, I think we’ve been able to encourage and harness your passions.

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I want, above all else, for you to be whoever and whatever you dream of being. I want you to use the passion you have to take you somewhere great in this life, to do something that matters. I can see a spark in you that burns brightly and I know it will lead to amazing things down the road. We’ve only begun to learn about what you have planned and I am so glad to be along for the ride.

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It would be impossible to tell you how much I love you because words cannot describe such a tremendous thing, but know that I could not be who I am without you and that every day is better for having you in it. No one is as fortunate as me, because I get to be your mom and there’s just absolutely nothing better.

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Happiest of birthdays, son. I love you so very much and cannot wait to see what next year brings.

Love,
Mom

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.

Month 24

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).

Month 24

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.

Month 24

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