My little boy.
My own little boy, just for me, whom I don’t have to share with anyone: not daddy, not Mubby and Skittergramps, not Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa Denny, not Uncle Tyler or Uncle Michael. I mean, I do share you with them, and I will continue to, but you’re mostly mine. Soon I’ll share you with Jessa, your care provider, and later with more teachers and classmates and prom dates and coworkers, but I don’t want to think about that right now.
My little boy.
After a year of life on the outside, your personality is pretty well established. The words people use the most to describe you are bright and curious. Those things are definitely true: your big blue eyes take in the world, and you want to learn everything about it. If there’s a drawer, you’ll try to open it. If there’s a door, you’ll look behind it for a boingy-boingy.
Maybe you get it from me. When I was a little girl, I loved doing experiments. Some of my experiments had an actual scientific basis (these were the ones I copied from Mr. Wizard’s World or the various books of experiments for kids that Mubby and Skittergramps bought me). Other times I just mixed things together to see what would happen.
One of those times when I was mixing together household items with no clear goal, your Skittergramps asked me what I was doing. I said it was an experiment. He asked me what my experiment was trying to prove, and I didn’t have an answer. It hadn’t occurred to me that experiments needed to prove anything. I wasn’t much of a scientist then. I’m still not, really, except recreationally.
This year has been sort of an experiment. I read a lot of books and tried to do things with an actual scientific basis, but other times I just poured a bunch of stuff together and hoped for the best. Fortunately, a lot of what makes you wonderful was out of my ham-handed control. After your bath today, I put you on the bed as usual and started in on our lotioning routine, in which I attempt to lubricate your skin with lotion while you squeal and giggle and try to escape. I was spreading lotion on your back, and as you twisted out of my grasp, I felt the rise of your tiny shoulder blade.
I don’t know why a shoulder blade should feel so miraculous to me. For one thing, I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in science. Second, I see shoulder blades every day. I have a set, your dad has a set; they’re really not exotic. But something about seeing that perfect wedge of bone move under your muscles and skin made me marvel at what a fantastic working machine you are.
Your daddy taught you a trick. If he holds a toy in each hand, then helps you to standing, he can release the toys and you’ll stand by yourself for a while. I tried it with you this morning and you stood independently for at least ten seconds. I keep trying to coax you to take steps on your own, because you’re so close, but in the end (so far) you’re too scared to do it by yourself. You reach your chubby little hand out to mine, and once you’re securely holding onto me, you walk where ever you please.
What makes me think it’ll be so great when you can walk by yourself? Why would I ever want to discourage you from reaching out to take my hand? It reminds me of an anecdote Mubby told me that she heard from Hillary Clinton. Hillary wished she hadn’t let Chelsea skip a grade when she was young because it would have meant one more year with her at home. Maybe if I quit with my efforts toward helping you stand and walk by yourself, you’ll spend a little extra time holding my hand.
Unlikely. You are an adventure boy. I’m sure you’re going to figure it out soon.
This month has marked the discovery a great source of adventures for you: the bathroom. You love to lean into the tub and peek at whoever is taking a shower, to pull the extra toilet paper out of the holder, and to open the toilet lid and reach your hands in. I wish you loved to wash your hands as much as you enjoy other bathroom activities, but mostly you want to fiddle with the faucets rather than actually wash.
You had your first Christmas this month, of course, which didn’t impress you much. You enjoyed taking bows off packages, but other than that, you were just pleased to have so many family members to play with you. You didn’t even complain too much when we put you in an elf outfit that Mubby bought you. You didn’t love the hat, but the little suit was okay.
You have nine teeth. You hardly ever bite me anymore. You laugh and smile and scrunch your forehead on concentration. You shriek sometimes in anger, sometimes in delight, and sometimes just because you haven’t shrieked in a while.
You are better than the experiment where you sprinkle pepper on water and stick a soapy finger in the middle. You are better than the experiment where you dangle a paperclip in sugar water to make crystals. You are much better than the experiment where you mix together ketchup and water and food coloring and noodles. That one is just gross.
Since I now know that experiments ought to try to prove things, what has this experimental year proven?
- Doctors don’t laugh at first-time moms and dads who bring their kids in about totally innocuous stuff. That’s why the doctors make the big bucks.
- Blueberries and cherries are not only high in antioxidants, but also high in comedy value when they end up all over a baby’s face.
- I will always be your mommy. Always, always, always. When I’m 101 and you’re 70, I’ll be your mommy. Please remember all the times I changed your diaper and cleaned up your puke and pretended to understand what you were talking about when it made no sense.
Miles, you are my best experiment ever.
Love today and for the rest of your life,
P.S. You love lip balm.