M: Trapezoids? Why do they not trap you even if they’re called trapezoids?
My dear little Tobin,
This month you’ve shown strong evidence that you are beginning to understand language. We’ve seen signs of it before, but it was hard to tell whether you were responding specifically to words or to gestures that went with them. Well, in the last week or so, you’ve been doing something heart-meltingly adorable. If you’re in your bouncy seat or Exersaucer or lying in bed, and I say “Do you want to come see Mommy?”, you smile, wiggle, and sometimes even squeal. This happens even if I don’t stretch my arms out to you or use any particular intonation, so I’m pretty sure you understand and are connecting the words to being picked up and cuddled.
You’ve gotten kind of Mommy-centric lately. Not most of the time, but sometimes (especially during your usual evening crabby time) you cry if your dad is holding you instead of me. This can be very tiring. By evening I usually need a break, and I really appreciate your dad’s efforts to give me some time to myself, but it doesn’t always work. Part of me is a little thrilled, though. A mom has to give a lot of herself, and in some ways it’s rewarding to know that my efforts aren’t going unnoticed. It’s nice to see that you’re growing fond of me. I’ve been fond of you since before you could turn your own head.
Nothing has changed in your fondness levels for your brother. You always want to be where he is, and you’ve started grabbing for his face and hair. He’s very patient with you, and lately we’ve spent a lot of our time together in the afternoons all cuddled up in his bed, reading or telling stories.
You mastered and then promptly lost interest in rolling over. Now when I put you on your tummy you just want to try to crawl. There was a period there when you’d immediately flip over onto your back, but once you realized that with just a little support on your feet you could move forward, that became your favorite. You didn’t roll for at least a week, and I thought you’d forgotten how. But yesterday you proved that you can still do it. You just prefer not to. You haven’t mastered crawling yet, not by a long shot, but you grunt and strain and scootch forward the best you can. Something tells me you’re going to be hard to keep up with once you become mobile.
This is your last month of being 100% breastfed, as we plan to start you on limited solids next month. It shouldn’t be too difficult, since you already love to grab anything in your reach and shove it into your mouth. I didn’t realize how much we’d been chiding you about it until I heard your brother say yesterday, “I don’t know how clean that is, Tobin.” I bet you’ll get a kick out of having something actually digestible in your mouth. It is one of the first truly tangible steps toward independence, though, and naturally it tugs at me a little (or maybe the tug is just moving from literal to figurative). It will also mean grosser diapers, but that’s all part of the process, I guess.
Your sunny disposition remains sunny, and you’re so easygoing and pleasant. The only thing you really don’t like is to be left out of the action, which means that we eat most of our meals one-handed with you on a lap. Sometimes you’re okay with sitting in your bouncy seat, but not usually for long. As soon as you’re up there with the rest of us, all is well. That’s yet another reason I think you’re going to like being an official part of the family dinnertime experience. You still sleep pretty well—not straight through the night, but you go back to sleep quickly after nursing a bit, and you spend most of 8 p.m. through 7 a.m. asleep.
There are a lot of pregnancies and new babies in our sphere lately, and while I am thrilled for those families, I must say I’m glad I have a 5-month-old. Newborns are great, but it’s even nicer to be past that exhausting early time and into the really fun time. Your smiles and giggles and growing awareness add happiness to every day. Even these bleak winter days are brighter with you around.
I love you, my little meatball.
Miles was preparing a clementine to have for a snack. He got a little frustrated.
M: The trouble is the peeling will never end.
I’ve posted this elsewhere, but for my own personal records, here it is again:
I was featured as a caller-inner on A Way with Words, and this is a link to the podcast.
I’ve also perma-grabbed the mp3 in case they go out of business or something.
I was opening a package I’d gotten from UPS.
A: I’ll try on this dress I ordered and you can tell me if I look pretty or not.
M: What color is it?
M: Light black or dark black?
A: Um…dark black.
M: I guess it won’t be pretty then.
I tried it on, and he stuck to his guns. I’m hoping he likes it better once I’ve ironed it and added some accessories.
My little Miles,
Are you really still little? Can I call a four-year-old little? You still have a little butt, that’s for sure. Your size 3T jeans are getting high-watery around the ankles, but you still rely on the tightening power of the adjustable waist to keep them from falling down. You still have a little boy nature in some ways: you like lots of cuddles when you’re sleepy, you have a hard time regulating your moods, and you eat the same four things over and over (for the record: pasta, hot dogs, rice, and pancakes/waffles). But you’re making progress in so many ways, too. You are excited about your growing independence, which has manifested itself in improved bathroom skills, getting your own water from the fridge, getting yourself dressed, and of course your progress at school.
This year, you had your first birthday party with friends. Several of your school friends and Lucy from across the street came to your party, where you painted ceramic magnets, ate cake and snacks, and ran around like crazy people. The video I shot of you and your friends hugging each other is some of the most heartwarming I’ve ever seen, especially when I think about how shy you were when you started at Willowwind. You still have a somewhat shy personality, particularly in new situations or around strangers, but the huge smile on your face as Opal and Tessa hug-attacked you is proof that you are growing.
Oh, how you’ve grown. A year ago, you were still in diapers, still climbing into our bed at night, still scared of the slide at the playground. A year ago, you were an only child. I’m so proud to say that you’ve made that transition beautifully. You’re not always patient or well-behaved with your dad and me, but you are always kind and gentle with Tobin. He is lucky to have you for a brother, and he adores you. You were the first person to elicit huge belly-laughs from him, and if you’re in a room, that’s where he’s looking.
You were crazy-excited for Christmas this year, and reliving that kind of joy through you is reason enough to have children. You helped me with lots of baking projects, including the ever-important task of making and setting out cookies for Santa. You picked out a special present for your brother, and you were sure to test it thoroughly for him. That’s pretty much what happens with all his presents, which is okay for the time being, but eventually he’s going to want to have first crack at his own stuff.
Photo by Gary Clarke
We have lots of fun in our afternoons together, and you especially enjoy doing art projects. That’s been a lifesaver this winter. It’s been really very mild, but it’s still a lot of work to haul the baby out to the playground, and I can’t play with you as well as I’d like to with him in tow. Luckily, we still manage to have a lot of fun together around the house. We’re at a point where we need to decide whether you’re going to keep going to school half days or whether you’ll switch to full days. I admit I hope you stick with half days. Due to a change in the Willowwind preschool setup, that will mean moving to a different classroom, but I think you can handle it. You still seem awfully little to go to school all day. I didn’t do that until I was a first-grader. Besides, I’d miss you.
It’s not easy for me to let go of you. I’m not planning on doing it in any serious way for quite some time (and maybe not even then. You know about the excellent university just across town, right?). The night your brother was born was the first night in your whole life that I spent away from you, and I was more scared about that than I was of giving birth (and let me tell you, giving birth is no picnic). You did fine, though. As far as major challenges go, getting a sibling has been the one you’ve handled the best.
You still make me laugh out loud every day with the things you say and do (for example, just now you looked up from the game you’re playing on pbskids.org and yelled, “NUTS! Hacker wins.”). Sometimes you make me turn around and take a deep breath to keep from roaring like a lion, but that’s not most of the time. You have soft hair and sweet cheeks, and you still let me stroke them. I love the special things we do, just the two of us, like our trips to HyVee and reading stories at bedtime. I can hardly believe it’s been a whole four years since you joined our family—really, made us a family. Seeing what a good father your dad is makes me love him more than I did when I married him. As Skittergramps noted, after witnessing your dad handle you during a spate of bad behavior, he’s always patient with you and never loses his temper. Who knew tantrums were good for something?
Photo by Gary Clarke
Four years of Miles. Miles and miles and miles and miles of Miles. Smiles of Miles, tears of Miles, witty rejoinders of Miles, scrapes and bonks and dinosaurs and Play-Doh and backpacks and cameras and winter coats of Miles. The tough moments will fade, and the person you are becoming grows more apparent every day. As I say when you’re cuddled on my lap, mostly in jest, “My Miles, only for me. I don’t even have to share you.” I want to trap you in time and keep your long eyelashes and tiny, perfect teeth all for myself. I don’t want to share you.
But I will, because the world needs you.