Monday, April 10, 2017

You're almost 15 months old, little guy. I'm sorry I haven't written about you more. You came at an interesting time in my emotional life and, well, I just don't blog anymore, do I? I promise you my lack of blogging isn't a sign of any lack of affection on my part for you. For every moment I didn't blog I spent a thousand more just staring at you with my heart in my eyes, fully feeling the bliss of knowing you and having you near. I have enjoyed you exceedingly, every day. But today I'm making a point of sitting down and writing about you and a few of the special things I will want to remember later.

 Do you know we called you Ollie Bird for the longest time after you were born? Now it's a mix of Ollie Bear and Oliverito. And of course plain old Ollie.

I used to say, "Pobrecito!" whenever you cried and your brother thought I was saying, "Poor besito!" so he would say that to you. 

You love, and I mean looove.. balls. When you were a few months old you started crawling and we took you to a picnic at a park. There were some kids there playing soccer and you took off with your newfound crawl after that ball and we kept having to pick you up and bring you back. You've been obsessed with balls ever since. 

You think it's super fun to be used as a "human weapon." I pick you up and face you out and chase your brothers around the house with you. When we get to them I use your little body to fling kicks at them and knock them over, and when they're down you get on top of them and spasm victoriously. Whenever we play this game you immediately get a huge, giddy smile on your face and pump your arms up and down in sheer excitement while we chase your brothers. 

It seemed to take you a long time before you would agree to take naps in your crib instead of wanting to stay with me/on me. But eventually you did. And then after a while (around 9 months) you would wake up during the night and instead of nursing quietly you would just fuss, like it bothered you to be there with me when we weren't attached somehow. So I started putting you in your own bed to sleep. You were still beside me, but that's when we started sleeping separately for the first time. Now you've only just recently begun sleeping through the night more consistently. Not every night, but enough nights to make it feel real. I'm pretty pleased about that!

You don't like loud sounds. They make you very nervous and scared. You've been trying to escape out of any open door from the moment you could propel yourself into motion, but one time I sat the vacuum out by the back door and for a whole day even when the door was open and I was working outside you wouldn't dare cross the threshold to go outside because SCARY VACUUM THAT MAKES SCARY SOUNDS. I finally moved it and you were freed from your prison of fear.

You make a really intense scrunchy face when you're walking around outside. I think it's part excitement, part lack of sunglasses. That Texas sun, man, it'll get ya. 

Oh, your walk. It is just the cutest. You started walking on Valentine's Day, the day you also started kissing. Before then you only took a rare tentative step towards the toilet from the tub, and rarely gave out kisses. If I asked you for a kiss you were more likely to slap me in the face than oblige. But on Valentine's Day I left you with Aunt Louise so I could go help host a party for Phinny's class. When I went back to get you you were SO happy to see me that you wouldn't stop kissing me. That night your dad came home from being gone a couple of days and he got the same treatment. Lots of lovely kisses, over and over. Then when he set you down to do something, you whined for him until the whining wasn't enough and you moved off the couch and walked right to him. We were amazed and so excited. 

You're a daddy's boy. There's something about your dad that fascinates you and draws you like a magnet. When you see him in bed in the morning you just laugh, knowing he's there. He doesn't even have to be awake. You adore him. One of your favorite things in life is when the whole family is home. You walk around the house squealing like a happy hyena. 

You try to run away from me often when I call you. You're still so little that it's cute. Especially because you can't even run. Your walk is a bit clumsy still, so your attempts at speed are downright ridiculous. They make me laugh.

I guess I had better get to bed now. The house is asleep and I keep yawning. I just.... really.... could go on and on. You bring so much to our family. To quote your daddy, "It's so fun having our own personal baby." and Duncan, "I'm so in love with Oliver!" 

Sometimes I look at your perfect smallness and I wonder, how is this even real? How is this precious creature really mine? Having you in my life feels like having my cake and eating it too, like having a bird in my hand and two birds from the bush, like getting close and getting the cigar, like making my bed and laying in it and discovering it's the coziest spot in the world. I don't know if all that made sense, but it's okay if it doesn't, because you don't either. You're nonsensically delightful. (And it's late.)

Thank you for bringing such sparkle to our lives, Mr. Manchild.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Dear Ollie,

You'll be turning five months in ten days. These past months since you were born have been crammed full of living and growing. I've thought about sitting down and writing things about you so often, but moments of peace and quiet combined with inspiration are few and far between. This morning I had so many words I was ready to spill out, and I sat down at the computer with a full cup of coffee and a full heart, but then you wouldn't go down for a nap and I never got a word written. Now although I have some time, I feel emptied by the day. But I really, really want to write about you.. so I'm going to do my best.

You're my third baby and that means you don't get all the things my first babies got. Like the first few pages of a filled-out baby book, photo shoots, funny hats made especially for you. I don't remember exactly when you were born, how much you weighed or how long you were. I haven't even written your birth story yet, imagine that! But what you do get is special, too. You get my easygoing mommy-of-three attitude, which means I never try to put you on a schedule or stress out when you mess up my schedule. I feed you whenever you seem slightly interested in eating, and try to force feed you the rest of the time (Sorry, I'm still trying to make sure you don't waste away!).. forget the whole "every two-and-a-half to three hours" business. Unlike my first poor child I don't expect you to conform to my life and let me keep my freedoms, because I'm already a slave to your older brothers and what's a little sleep deprivation anyway? If you so much as whimper at night I'm there to save you. Literally. I'm there because I'm never not there. Every night since your birth you've been inches from my face and my heart so I can kiss you and love you and feed you through the dark hours until morning when you wake up and start to twinkle and wrinkle your face in giddy smiles about being alive and next to me. I adore you with complete abandon.

So it's not so bad, really, being the third baby. But I want to make sure I don't slack completely and never write about your cute baby quirks.

First of all, you're strong. The night you were born you laid on my chest and lifted your head to look around at the world with big, curious eyes. Since then you've just been getting stronger and stronger, impressing us all with your mighty little baby strength. You can stand up almost completely unsupported, and you roll from back to tummy and tummy to back without a problem. When I lay you down for naps you get in the "downward dog" position and rock, practicing for what will soon be a crawl. You squirm and toss and turn all through the night and you're constantly kicking your legs and thrusting your head forward until you bump into the wall, not exactly the most restful bed companion I've ever had. Even now while you're supposed to be sleeping in the nursery I hear bumping as your head keeps knocking against the crib railings. Don't worry, though, it's not too hard. I'm sure you're fine. ;)

It's probably been a month or so since we stopped using a shield for breastfeeding. It took two visits with the lactation consultant, one lip and tongue tie release, lots of stretching and suck training, and three visits with an osteopathic doctor to get you this far. We have another visit scheduled next week with a new doctor, and I'm looking forward to it because he's supposed to be really good at working with babies who have body tension problems. You've made a ton of progress, though, and seem to be a lot less frustrated now during mealtimes than you have been historically. Some days (and nights) I swear you still have little razors hidden in your mouth when you eat, because it hurts so much. But I muscle through and it passes.

Your brothers love you and dote on you. Duncan is full of praise for how adorable you are, and Phineas is quick to try and quench your tears whenever you cry. They both act crazy in hopes of a smile from you, and they light up when you do finally grace them with one. Your happiest smile is huge, I think you open your mouth as wide as it will open, and your face scrunches up in happy little creases, dimples, and chins. You have a ridiculously high pitched squeal that you love to use when you're talking to yourself, and it's my favorite.

...You're actually squealing in the background now... ready for me to get off the computer and get to paying attention to you. So I guess I'll wrap this up for now.

I love you with all my heart, munchkin. Thanks for being my baby.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Sunrise sends a bright golden glow through a slit at the bottom of the blinds. I see it accidentally, my eyes passing over it as I adjust the baby on my chest. We've been doing a dance since 2:30am. He wakes and cries, I put him to my breast, he drinks. I wait until I can't handle my own exhaustion and discomfort anymore, then I put him beside me and fall back asleep. He cries, I position him, he drinks. I constantly have to reposition him because he loses his latch and the nipple shield gets thrown about so that I can't find it in all my groping for it.

I open my eyes because I have to, not because I want to.

I sit up and sift through the bedding until I find the shield and lay back down. His cries escalate during the search and as I lay him on me he frantically shakes his head back and forth with his mouth open wide around the shield. I don't have to worry for long about what's frustrating him before my milk lets down and pulses towards him. As if on cue, he gratefully closes his mouth and begins swallowing. He reminds me of a little piglet, grunting and feeling around with closed eyes. Tiny fingers knead my loose post-partum skin, encouraging my body to release all the milk it has in store for him.

The baby is asleep on my shoulder now. My chest is wet and his pajamas are damp with a combination of milk, sweat, and mystery liquid. There is dried milk all over his face and his breath is warm and sweet on my face. I put my face closer to his and close my eyes. It's as if we're held in a sacred bubble where everything makes sense and we are safe in each other's love. His presence soothes my soul and gives my mind a point of focus when everything around us feels confusing and distressing.

I kiss his head and fall back asleep for a few more minutes before the dance begins all over again. This time when he's done nursing the sleep has been chased from my eyes and I look back towards the window. The sunrise is beautiful and alluring, and I wonder what it would be like to be somewhere else where I could watch it in all its glory instead of seeing a sliver of it through my blinds. I would love that, but I love this too.

I hear a knock at the door and my blond boy is asking me to make his breakfast.

This time it's me waking the baby. As I lift him from the bed (he won't stay asleep without me) he stiffens his body in an adorable stretch and cracks his eyes open. He squints and blinks and squints and blinks and finally opens his eyes, not because he wants to but because he has to. As he focuses on my face, his eyes widen and start to twinkle. I can't help but laugh as his mouth puckers over and over, forming perfect little Os, while he continues to examine me. I say, "Hi, baby." and his face breaks into a smile that melts the night away.

He's better than watching the sun rise, and to him I am the morning sun.