Two

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Last night you rebuffed your bedtime. Our tried and true bath, book, bed routine would not appease you like it normally does. My tired eyed toddler. We brought you downstairs, turned off the lights, let you watch half an inning of baseball before you fell asleep tucked between us on the couch. We were tempted to stay there with you, curl ourselves around you to sleep next to the calm metered rise and fall of your chest.  Instead I carried you to your crib, because two years of you have taught me that you’re happier sleeping alone, stretching and moving without our bodies as borders. But those minutes we laid there contemplating the decision were golden.  You will never know how much we marvel at your being. It’s there in every sun kissed strand of hair we brush back so carefully,  every long dark eyelash we watch flutter in sleep;  cherish is too frail a word for our devotion.

At two you are my buddy. My happy guy who loves nothing more than to play with me. I try to oblige as much as I can, pushing everything else off my plate so I can give you the majority of my attention on the short hours we have together. Weeknights I try to do nothing more than feed us and still that’s sometimes too much for you. “Mommy sit!” you say, crying into my pant leg. I spend my evenings on the floor with you, playing with cars, being a chair, tickling you silly. I am acutely aware how small a window we have for these games. Soon you won’t need me to tell you the names of all the animals or the colors of the blocks. Soon you won’t want to sit on my lap for an umpteenth viewing of Winnie the Pooh. I have to collect all these memories while I can, before the winds change and you’re off to the next thing.  I am reminded of this every time you brush away my kisses. It’s ok, I think, I smothered you in kisses so much when you were a baby I’m surprised your cheeks never chapped.

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That’s hard for me to grasp-the fact that you are no longer a baby. You’re my little boy now. I think of it like flying a kite. I carried you close for so long, waiting for the breeze to blow, and now you’re taking flight and I’m letting out the string a little a time. You’ll continue to go up and away from me. That’s the point of this.  It’s my job to let you fly on your own, but please know that I will always hold tight as the wind gusts, try to steer you away from danger, and be your anchor to the earth.

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I know that I am lucky. You have been and are still an easy child. You love being outside, baseball, matchbox cars, animals and vehicles of all kinds. You’re super inquisitive and always asking “what’s that?” You’re learning your colors and starting to get the hang of numbers. You love chocolate and ice pops, and you’re too smart for me to get away with telling you we’re out. Thank god for gummy vitamins.  Lately you’ve had a rough go of things at bed time.   You’ll fall asleep in our arms and scream as soon as we move to transfer you to the crib. There have been many changes in your little world, and I understand you’re having trouble dealing with them all.  A week away from home for the first time ended with a shock to your schedule. My job change has me leaving earlier and coming home later and you’re being transitioned into a new room at daycare. There have been many tears. I think you crave our presence, the consistency of us, and while I am nervous I’m creating a problem by giving in, I can’t deny you that right now. If falling asleep to the blare of a baseball game in between your two safe people is what you need right now, that’s what you’ll get. At least for a week or two, until you get your bearings.  Please get them soon.

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Two is full of temper and tears, it’s true, but it’s also full of tenderness; the hugs and kisses are plentiful, the joy abounds.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy. Mama loves you.

If I Don’t Write It Down I Fear I Won’t Remember

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Every day I am grateful for this life.

There are days where I am in awe of myself. Monday-Friday I manage to get myself and a tiny human up, fed, and out of the house in 30 minutes (thanks to capsule wardrobes, toddlers who love breakfast, and my generally lax approach as to what constitutes presentable hair and makeup). I work 8ish hours. Spend 30-50 minutes at the gym. Play with Quinn. I do dinner, dishes, lunch prep, and the  bath & bed routine. I write my 400 words. I apply to jobs. I prep for my workshops. I social my media. I read the book, reply to the email, sweep the floor, sign the form, buy the birthday gift (with the coupon), drink the water, eat the vegetables, floss, and fall into bed by midnight.

Then there are days where I feel like all I do is push the same boulder up the same hill. Those days include more adult beverages.

Thankfully, there are more of the former than the latter.

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Quinn is a toddler. He’ll be 20 months in a few days, which is sadly not too far away from 24 months which means I’ll have a two-year-old and I should probably stop calling him “the baby.” I have hunch he’ll remain the baby until his position is usurped by a newer, yet to be thought about baby. He’s just so dear. He will give hugs on request (usually). He loves to be tickled, and says “mo, mo” when we try to stop. If you ask him for a kiss, he’ll offer you his cheek. According to his highness, kisses are a one-way transaction.

He loves white cheddar popcorn, eggs, cinnamon raisin bagels, pink lemonade,  and yogurt. He has developed an aversion to vegetables. I can sneak millimeters of broccoli past him, but centimeters are a no-go. He’ll  stick out his tongue, eyes welling with tears,  until I remove the offending vegetable. Everything is a drama with this Leo child.

He would stay outside all day if I let him. He pushes his car and the stroller around the yard and chases “boo-bles.” He wants to befriend every bird, squirrel, and goose and cries when he can’t. We sit on the porch for hours, watching cars and yelling at the passersby. He gets really excited if we see a bus, van, police car or fire truck. Living on a major thru-way has its perks if you’re a vehicle obsessed toddler.

He brings me books to read when he’s tired. He sits on my lap as we finish one after another (“mo, mo?” is his constant refrain) until his breathing steadies and he passes out in my arms. I try, I really do, to stop myself before he nods off, but I am physically unable to deny myself that luxury.

Recently he’s been boycotting bath time and really does not enjoy when the Baby Genius videos cover the alphabet song. Quinn does not have time for your alphabet song, only Old McDonald, please. He loves looking at photos of cows, ducks, dogs, and elephants on whatever computer device he happens to notice.

If he does not get his way, there are tears and tantrums and the whole she-bang. He will give me the silent treatment. He’ll turn his back to me in a huff and pout. He’ll narrow his little eyes at me when I try to talk to him. I’m hoping for second billing during his Oscars speech.

 

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In conclusion, he is the best. I am grateful. Life is pretty good.

 

Joyful Girl

If you’ve known me even a little bit in the last 14 years, you know that Ani Difranco has made up the majority my life’s soundtrack. More than a decade has passed since my friend Sarah played So Much Shouting, So Much laughter while we stayed after school to edit the student literary magazine, and my love for literary magazines, Sarah, and Ani are all going strong.

One lyric from the song Joyful Girl, pops up in my life again and again when I feel unfocused:

“What if everything I do/

I do instead/

of something I want to do more, /

the question fills my head.”

The question does fill my head. It rolls around with the tangled threads of ideas, frustrated creativities, annoying question marked thoughts of enoughness and shoulds.

What are you doing in place of what you want to do more?

What do you want to do more?

How do you get it done?

I can’t answer the first two for you, but I have some advice for the third.

Little changes. Every day.

Set the alarm ten minutes earlier.
Walk 1,000 more steps.
Write 400 words of that novel.
Drink one glass of water before you leave for work.

Do it slowly, with small steps.

Do it for the joy it brings.

18 Months

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Mothering an eighteen month old is like having one foot in the world of toddler and one in the world of baby.

So much has changed. So much is the same.

Last night I was rocking Quinn before bed, the same way I have since he was born, but instead of kissing his tiny toes, I was struggling to pull socks over feet that now hang over my lap. How does it happen fast? This boy, who still looks so much like the photos I took of him as a newborn, clear eyed and chubby cheeked, spent 45 minutes of last night with his back turned to me in a huffy tantrum because I served him noodles in a bowl instead of straight from the pot. The nerve of me.

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So, yea, we’re dealing with a little bit of will and independence assertion these days. He wants so much to be big, to be able to do what he wants on the first try, that our days are filled with quick tempered tears and stern looks. He wants to play by himself, but also be within my reach. He’s clingy and curious and I know he finds the balance difficult to figure out. It is so hard to be one and half.

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However, for every tantrum that results from his attempts at navigating this big world as a tiny person, there’s also an abundance of sweetness. He pulls me to the floor for tickling sessions and tilts his head for kisses. He’s liberal with his hugs and smiles all the time. He brings me book after book to read, turning his little body around to sit on my lap. He loves playing outside and will stay out in the cold until his fingers turn red. He loves when I chase him around the house, especially if I hide, jump out, and scare him. He loves crayons, but mostly he likes to shake them from the box and then put them back in; very little coloring actually occurs. He loves ham and cheese sandwiches, eggs with ketchup, and French toast. At least once a day he pulls me to the fridge and points to the whipped cream. Every time I give in he insists that the dog get some too. Bruno is found of this trick. He can find his nose, belly and hair; identify cows, ducks, sheep and pigs by pointing, and has recently started saying “more,” roaring like a lion, and hissing like a snake.

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He’s still uninterested in any television, aside from puppy videos-which I can now find on any and every television/internet video watching system. I’ve tried to get him to watch some Daniel Tiger, but he’s not yet a fan. I guess this is better than the opposite problem, so I’m not pushing it, but 7:00 Saturday mornings would be a little sweeter if we could cuddle on the couch with an episode of something.

He’s fun and funny, impossible and exhausting, all at the same time.

 

He’s my big guy and he’s my baby, at least for a little while more.

Lately

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“The days are long and the years are short.” -Gretchen Rubin

Oh  yes, the days have been pretty long lately. Quinn is in full-on toddler mode– clingy, whiny, and quick to cry. He wants to be attached to me at all times, but also do everything by himself.  Today he cried because: I put him in the car, we hit a red light, I was ten minutes late picking him up, I put him down, I wanted to eat without him on my lap, I didn’t give him his milk fast enough, I took him out of the tub….sigh, toddlers.

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Of course, it’s not all clingy-crying. He’s also a lot of fun now that he’s super mobile and can follow basic directions. He loves walking up and down the steps and spending time outside, he loves the park and opening and shutting the door of his cozy coup car. He loves sitting on my lap reading books and jabbering. He loves pushing cars around the house and knocking over towers I build for him. Recently he’s started doing some chores, which thrills him. He feeds the dog dinner every night, and throws away all the trash I give him.

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He still hasn’t figured out the English language. He talks all the time in some weird Klingon-babble language no one else understands. One of these days he’s going to start talking in full sentences, I just know it.

He’s also eating like a champ, his new favorite thing is eating sandwiches. He loves little sliders with ham and cheese. His other favorite foods include: raviolis, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, chicken noodle soup, and yogurt.

He’s still a great sleeper, but last night he fussed a little bit at bedtime. I went in and rocked him a little longer. He recently stopped nursing and little by little he’s growing away from me, as he should. I try to remember, even in those trying moments, that I will miss it when he no longer cries when I put him down. As much as he can push my buttons these days, he’s still my sweetest guy and am so lucky to be his mama.

15 Months

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Oh, this boy.

He is my best. I tell him all the time. I can’t keep myself from bragging about him, wondering how I got so lucky to hit the baby lottery. My mother came to stay with us for a week recently and after witnessing his signature no-fuss napping habit warned me, “You will not get another baby like this one.”

Quinn points himself to bed most nights. He gets sleepy, rubs his eyes, and starts whimpering and pointing to the stairs. He actually giggles when I start to go upstairs with him, he’s so excited to go to bed. It is so weird. Even stranger, when he wakes up early in the morning we snuggle and nurse, then I put him back in the crib and tell him “it’s early, you need to rest a little more” and  he’ll hang out in his crib until the alarm goes off, perfectly content.

He’s toddling all over the house now, and much to my delight, has started following simple directions. He still hasn’t figured out how to speak, but he babbles constantly. I’m trying to help encourage both the direction-following and the talking by asking him to bring me book after book to read. Current favorites are the Sesame Street Beginnings books and the Sandra Boynton Doggies book. I’m tempted to hide the Doggies book just so I can go one day without barking.

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Quinn’s second Halloween was a blast. He was a tiny Ben Franklin and I loved it. We even entered him in a costume contest, but he was robbed of his deserved title by a store-bought mouse costume and I might still be bitter about it. I even made him a little Poor Richard’s Almanac to carry around with him. It was rigged, I tell you.

Quinn is my peanut baby, still hovering around the twenty pound mark. He’s recently become a picky eater and I’m trying really hard not to make it worse. I keep offering whatever we’re eating, but because 1) he’d happily live off cheese and breakfast sausage and b) he still only has 4 teeth, we’re still feeding him a lot of pureed veggies and fruits. I know it’s par for the course in toddlerhood, but it feels like a step backwards and the “must feed the baby” part of my mom brain is constantly wringing its hands during meal times.

His current favorite toys are the shape sorter, all my old toys, the buttons on the entertainment system, the dog, and me. Usually during the week we spend some time playing with his toys on the floor after dinner, but lately he’s only wanted to play with me. He lays on the floor and waits for me to tickle him and kiss him up and he laughs and laughs and laughs.  It melts my heart. WP_20151031_013
That sweet baby has me wrapped around his finger, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

 

 

 

 

Day In The Life

The baby wakes up a few minutes before our alarm. We nurse and cuddle and I tickle him just enough to see his sweet smile and hear his muffled giggle. I get him changed and dressed and we go downstairs to let the dog out and have breakfast. He usually eats well in the mornings, a piece of cinnamon toast or a waffle or an egg or yogurt with a side of fruit. I pack our lunches since my little prince has decided he’s too good for the school lunch that’s included in the insane daycare tuition. Zach takes over breakfast duty while I get myself ready, then we all head out the door at around the same time. I drop Quinn at daycare most days because it’s on my way. Quinn’s been better about me dropping him off, he rarely cries, but this morning he was extra clingy. He has grown attached to one of their toys, a soft muppet-like orange ball, and often when I find it and give it to him he smiles and is ok letting me go. I have no idea why the orange ball is his favorite thing, but it’s super cute.

I’m always sad to leave him in the morning, but I go on with my workday. I’m lucky to have a job I enjoy and that allows me some flexibility. I rarely have to rush into the office or stay late, and I can flex my time as needed as long as I work a 40 hour week. I also really like my coworkers and my commute is rarely more than 15 minutes. Honestly the only downside to my current gig is that it isn’t very stable. I’m crossing my fingers the contract gods smile on us again this year and I can keep my job for another 12 months.

Sometimes after work I go to the gym, sometimes I run an errand or go window shopping, sometimes I go straight to pick up Quinn. I try to take a half an hour or so to myself a few times a week. I figure, I’m paying for him to stay there from 6-6, five days a week, I might as well get my money’s worth. I try to take some time for myself, even if it’s just to pick up a few midweek groceries sans toddler. When I do go shopping or to the gym it’s rare that I pick Quinn up after five, I can’t seem to take more time than that, I miss him too much!

Picking up Quinn is always my favorite part of the day. There is nothing like that “oh, you’re back!” smile. I love to sneak up on him and watch him playing for a few seconds before he spots me. I pick him up and collect all his things and we wave good bye to his friends. He smiles at everyone and chatters while we walk to the car, it’s the best.

When we get home we take in the mail, let out the dog and get ready for a walk. We take the dog for a twenty to thirty minute walk every day unless it’s raining. We all need the exercise and the time outside. Usually I turn on “our stories” and we listen to a podcast while we walk. I point out interesting things we see to Quinn, but for the most part we listen to This American Life or The Moth or Radio Lab and decompress. Sometimes I feel guilty about not narrating more of our walks, but I figure he’s been in a room with a dozen other loud, crying babies for 8 hours, he’s probably as in need of some quiet NPR-voiced relaxation time as I am.

When we get back, everyone goes to the kitchen for drinks (Quinn’s new favorite thing is shutting the fridge door for me), and then to the living room to play. We’ve been practicing walking a lot these days; he’ll take a few steps from the couch to me and then collapse into a giggling heap while I tell him how amazing he is. Currently Quinn is really interested in puzzles and putting blocks into slots, or stacking things…he’s really working on those motor skills. He gets frustrated a lot and is quick to throw a little tantrum when he can’t figure out how to do what he wants. It’s hard to watch him struggle but I try not to fix it for him. Instead I tell him not to get frustrated and try again, he’s smart and he can figure it out. About half the time he does and I cheer. The other half he gives up and picks up something different. I’ll build him stacks of blocks to knock down or read him books while he fiddles with another toy until he starts clamoring for dinner.

Quinn usually eats before we do, mostly because I’d rather play with him than cook and we’re never really hungry early enough for him. Instead, Quinn will have leftovers from the night before or basically whatever I can get him to eat. He’s so weirdly picky these days, I never know what he’ll eat and I rely a bit too much on snacky foods. Sometimes I can only get him to eat some yogurt and cereal, other days he’ll eat a whole hot dog. Most days I can get him to eat veggie purees, which makes me feel a little better about my” all pork products, all the time” baby. I wouldn’t worry so much about his food intake if he wasn’t so tiny, he’s not yet twenty pounds, I feel like he can’t afford too many days of light eating, but sometimes dinner is an oreo and a bunch of baby cheese puffs, it is what it is.

After dinner he plays in the kitchen with me for a little bit as I start dinner or wash a few dishes. Zach is usually home by this time and he’ll steal Quinn away to play in the living room for a while. Quinn naps very little at daycare- on a good day he sleeps two hours, so by 7 he’s usually rubbing his eyes. We try to keep him up and playing until then since we once made the mistake of letting him take a late afternoon nap which resulted in a cranky baby and a rough 11pm bedtime. A regular 8pm baby bedtime keeps everyone happier. During bath time I read Quinn a book, then I read or recite another one when we nurse before bed. I turn on his turtle and the mobile, give him his binky and kiss him goodnight. Most of the time he goes to sleep without an issue, once in a while he cries for about thirty seconds then passes out.

Every so often, usually when he’s had a late nap or a rough day, he’ll be a little harder to put down. I am lucky that Quinn’s always been a good sleeper *knock on wood* and so far I’ve only had to do very little to get him to sleep. On the rare occasion that he’s hard to put down I’ve developed an adapted cry it out type system where I only go up for him if he is actually crying. If he whimpers a little or lets out one or two cries, I let him be. If I put him down and he starts to cry I look at the clock and give it two minutes. Two minutes of sustained crying and either Zach or I will go up and attempt to settle him back down. If he still doesn’t settle, we do the two minute wait again, and if he’s still crying, bring him back down stairs. Sometimes he’s hungry or thirsty, or just needs a little bit more time to really be ready for bed. Within an hour he’s back in bed for the night. Yes, I understand we’re getting off annoyingly easy. I fully expect this all to go to hell at any time.

After Quinn is asleep Zach and I finish our meal time tasks, either making, eating, cleaning up or all three. Sometimes I tackle more dishes or sweep the floor. Sometimes I lie on the couch and catch up on internet or television. Most of the time I indulge in an adult beverage and hang out with Zach. We stay up too late and drag ourselves to bed, looking forward to the next day of our sweet little life.

Lately

This week Summer has started to loosen its grip on us. The mornings have dipped below sixty. The humidity has lifted. I made Quinn wear pants over his onesie this morning, much to his chagrin. I have a craving for Nat King Cole songs and sweaters. I am starting to be able to think about things like pumpkin ale and apple cider without my stomach turning. I still don’t feel safe saying we’re officially into fall in Virginia, but we’re at least getting a nice preview. I will say, Hampton Roads has nothing on NEPA in the fall. This is the time of year I feel the most homesick.

I don’t have a lot of news to share these days. Life is humming along. I keep hearing the paraphrased words of Charlotte York circa the Sex in the City Movie in my head, “I’m happy every day. Not all day, every day, but every day.” I feel very contented and I’m not actively working on any sort of internal problem or novelty, which tends to make me quieter. Most of my creative writing is done when I need to work through something, a problem, a question, a worry. Happily devoid of those things, I tend to write less. It’s a common writer dilemma, but I’m in no hurry to fix it.

There are changes on the horizon in the distance, future plans and life events that are still too far away to cause any stress, but close enough to look forward to and feel like we’re still making progress. Of course, there are moments when I want to hurry up and buy a bigger house/have another baby already, but for the most part, I’m happy to let those dreams hang out in front of me in the distance for the time being.

At present my news is thus: I made a pot of mulligatawny soup last night, a recent cooler weather favorite that Zach doesn’t like so I get to keep all to myself and I have plans to go through my closet and change out the remaining summer décor to fall décor. Riveting. We do have plans to go to the zoo with Quinn, we haven’t taken him yet and I want to get him there while the weather is still nice.

We’re all finally (fingers crossed) recovered from the last bout of illness. Quinn’s had a rough go lately. Two ear infections right in a row. Luckily, Grandpa came to the rescue and spoiled our poor sick baby rotten! I wish we had more help closer, but it’s such a blessing to have my dad be able to swoop in and take care of Quinn when he can. Maybe one day we’ll convince the grandparents to move to Virginia.

Quinn is doing well. He took three steps to me a few days ago, but no more since then. I have a hunch he’s waiting until he knows he can do it, then he’ll just take off. I’m not planning on doing any more monthly updates, things will happen slower now and I still struggle a bit with how much of my child’s life I should share without his permission. I wonder how kids his age will react in ten years, will Quinn be embarrassed that I shared pictures of his life on the internet, mad that I didn’t share more, or sigh and tell me I’m so retro for worrying about something so old fashioned.

As far as mothering this little boy of mine, I still love it. Most of the time I feel so lucky I get to do all daily tasks associated with toddlerhood. I get to carry him around the house. I get to snuggle him. I get to wash the yogurt out of his hair at night. I get to read him the same books fifty times and clean strawberries from the walls. I mean that sincerely, even the extra chores are sweet to me. It’s a privilege to be this little guy’s mama. I hope I never feel otherwise.

Recent Happenings

I’ve written a few blog posts in the last few weeks, but due to life and a life-crushingly long internet outage at work, I haven’t been able to actually post much. So, let’s recap.

Beach Week- We spent a week at the beach with extended family sitting on the shore, making big family meals, drinking, and playing board games late into the night. Quinn loved many things about our week-long, multi-family vacation to the Outer Banks. He loved being the center of attention. He loved playing with new toys and new people and having two dogs around. He loved taking walks and having ice cream with his grandparents, and being toted around by his uncles and their girlfriends. He loved the wind chimes and the hot tub and staying up late and eating so many different foods. The only thing he didn’t love was beach itself. He is terrified of the ocean, and I’m not sure he’s made his mind up about the sand.

Birthday- Quinn turned one and we threw a party. There was monster themed party ware, a specially ordered Etsy onesie, a piñata (my first attempt since grade school, and definitely not my last), a sno cone machine and way more food than was needed. The birthday boy ate a whole cupcake and smiled the entire time he was awake, scooting around in his walker and watching all the kids. I was initially bummed that the day started out on the cool and breezy side, but it warmed up and the sun came out just in time. I successfully recreated my new favorite drink, a midnight breeze, (grapefruit vodka, apple juice, lime and cucumber) and served it by the pitcher to many happy ladies. We ended the evening with s’mores and drinks over the fire. My in laws came to help us set up the party and cuddle the baby; it was great having them visit and having their extra hands for the entire weekend.

Book Release-My newest chapbook, Motherland, became available for pre-order in the last few weeks. In an attempt to be a better salesperson, I’ve upped my promotion game. I’ve been posting on social media, sending out releases, doing interviews, creating videos and putting together a contest in order to promote the book. The contest, which ends September 1, gives every person who pre-orders the book within that time frame a signed bookplate from me as well as an entry to win one of three great prizes: a one-of-a-kind calligraphy print of the broadside poem “fingers crossed, cross my heart,” by Ms. Cathy Malley, an author signed broadside, or a Anchor & Plume book bundle! Thus, go pre-order my book!

Camping-In the middle of birthday planning and book promotion, we also had a camping trip to ready ourselves for, which is probably why we went through with it– we were too busy to think about how terribly it could have gone until it was almost too late. The Wednesday before the trip I was debating bagging the whole weekend. I mean, we were going tent camping with a non-walking one year old in August. That just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, the camping weekend went off almost without a hitch. We took our giant teepee tent, which comfortably fit our queen size cot and the pack n play with room to spare. The weather was perfect–low eighties and sunny, our camping spot with shady and about forty feet from the bath house, and I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of bugs. It was an enjoyable weekend for the most part. We hung out with the book club families, took Quinn to the pool, strolled him around the campground and let him push his trucks on the giant tarp we brought to keep him from eating too many rocks and leaves. Then, around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Zach and I found ourselves sick and miserable. I was better within an hour, but he had it rough for most of the early morning. We still don’t know what it was, our best guess is some sort of food poisoning..even though we ate the same things everyone else did. Our middle of the night ruckus woke Quinn up around 3 and I couldn’t get him back to bed until 5:30. Sunday wasn’t the best, but it was still a great time overall.

We’ve had a great summer, I’m sad it’ll be soon coming to a close.

One

Cake!

Cake!


Dear Quinn,
I have spent the last half hour staring at the blinking cursor, daydreaming about you and the past year of your existence, all while holding back tears at my desk. You have made me the sappiest of saps. You’ve also made me a more empathetic person, given me some of my most precious memories, and magnified my joy.

A year ago you came, reluctantly (36 hours of labor, lest you ever forget), into the world. The television in the delivery room was replaying a baseball game. The moment they placed you on my chest, the crowd cheered a home run. What an elegantly accurate metaphor. I have been celebrating ever since.

Of my all my 29 years, this year of you has honestly been my favorite. You are a literal bundle of joy. I have never known such a happy little creature. You are the baby that will ruin me for all other babies: no colic, no reflux, very few sleepless nights. I loved every second of this year, even those awful ones right after you woke up from anesthesia when your dad and I cried and felt so powerless we ached. Even in those few moments where we loved you so much it hurt, it has been an absolute privilege to be your parents. I’m so glad you picked us.

At one year old, you have started pointing with one finger and are starting to mimic more and more. It’s time for your dad and I to pay more attention to the words we use, lest you decide your favorite word is one you can’t say on television and I die from embarrassment. Your favorite activities include: sitting on the porch pointing and yelling at cars (“Cah!” you say, all Boston-like), taking every opportunity to do something you shouldn’t (eat dog food, play in the toilet, pull the vacuum cord, knock over my water glass), stacking blocks, pushing trucks, and climbing on everything. You’re not walking yet, but you’ll stand for long periods of time and you love scooting around in your walker.

You are eating everything, but ham, cheese, and fruit remain favorites. You’ve started drinking whole milk and I think our nursing days are going to be coming to an end soon. I continue to pretend it’s not happening. I’m going to miss it, the last wisp of your babyhood. Watching you smile and giggle while you nurse made me understand why people get addicted to oxyctocin.

The last two weeks have been an adjustment for all of us as you’ve started at a new daycare. I know it will be better for you as time goes by, but it is hard to leave you there in the mornings, with all the crying babies. I trust the staff and I know your needs are being met, just not always immediately. I’m hoping you’ll be moved up to the toddler classroom soon, I think you’ll do well with kids a little older.

Some nights, after you go to bed, I stare at the photos I have of you. I flip through them, watching you morph from newborn to tiny tot, and wonder how it happened so fast. I tried to soak it in, knowing that I won’t get these days again, but I feel like I blinked and now you’re one. This was the fastest, most joy-filled year of my life and it’s all because of you, kiddo. Mama loves you, sweet boy.  Thank you for being mine.