You are coming up on 16 months 17 days. Our summer is officially over and I’m back to work. Today you were able to hang out with Papa M. He came by on his way to work and played so hard with you. You are napping so peacefully now. Tonight I leave for work right when Daddy gets home. You and he will have a guys’ night tonight and tomorrow. It kills me to not be able to rock you to sleep. I love doing that. At least we had some really nice cuddle time this morning.
We had awesome weather today. The past few days were really rainy. We’ve needed it though. Just now we attempted to walk through the back yard in order to say hi to our neighbor who we haven’t seen since the start of July. I’ve missed seeing her, her family, and her fun dogs. There are way too many prickly weeds and even though I pushed through them, we rang the bell and no one was home. I was sad. Cars were there, but no one to answer the door. When I tried to come back through the weeds I got stuck with some mud and got lots of prickles on me. I hope that everything is ok with our neighbors. It is strange to not have heard from her in so long.
I’m hopeful that once my schedule gets set we can have some nice hang out time together. I look forward to walks and bike rides in the cooler weather. Hopefully we can do a lot of adventures and keep learning and making great memories together. We will have our Mondays and Tuesdays together. I will be working evenings Wednesdays and Thursdays, so that is time for just you and Daddy. Sometimes Aunt D will come to hang out too. I’m not going to make a lot of money so that will be rough, but I’ll still have a good amount of time with you.
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Here we go again with me starting to write something and never finishing it. Seriously!
Tomorrow you will be 17 months old. You are AWESOME! I can’t believe how many adventures you’ve had. Today you went for an indoor swimming class. You floated and put your face to the water in an attempt to blow bubbles. Right now you are napping. Last night you were squirming on me from 11:30-4:30.
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Wow, and I just can’t seem to get the down time to write to you. It is now Friday, September 21st. Ten days ago you turned 17 months. That was followed up the very next night by you waking up around 10:30 only to want me to hold you through the night. This has continued now even through last night. I was reading articles that suggest we are in a sleep regression due to separation anxiety. I can see how that is the case. Even when you are asleep in my arms your little hands are grasping at my PJ collar and you reach up to touch my face as if to check that I am still with you. If I try to move you to put you back in your crib, you will wake up and cling to me. Even though I know this is a phase, I’m a little glad to know that I’m your comfort. Just now when I was leaving for work it killed me to see your happy face scrunch up into tears because you realized I was going away. When we are together you are super cuddly, love to give me hugs and get hugged, and now you do kisses – which is so sweet! We’ve been hanging out watching some Mickey Mouse and Puppy Dog Pals on TV. We read, sing, dance, chase, color, build (and destroy), hug Mittens, and go on adventures. I am just loving this time with you because it is fun to see you learning all the time. You demonstrate that you understand a lot. You can point to things if I ask you, “which animal goes moo, which animal goes meow.” You are learning your colors. You love to build with the Mega Blocks and Bristle Blocks. You can climb up on almost anything, which is super terrifying for me because that means your fall potential is so much more dangerous. You are picky about food and will point to things you want. You’ve also become sneaky about throwing food you don’t want. You know we don’t want you throwing food on the floor so you wait for me to turn my eyes a moment and then you quickly fling it down. There are so many amazing moments that are showing your gains and I can’t believe how fast the days are flying by.
Last Friday night you seemed like you were as happy as could be. We fed you a nice dinner and you snuggled up and went to sleep on schedule like everything was perfect. However, around 10:30 you woke us up screaming and coughing. Your daddy got to you first and then called out to me to hurry. You had thrown up all over yourself, your crib, your blankets…and you were still gagging. You ended up throwing up three more times. You were so afraid and so in pain as your belly kept trying to get the icky out. Finally around 2 a.m. you were settling down. I had gotten throw up all over my PJs. Daddy had to take my icky jammies off of me while I still held you. You had a lockdown grip on my neck and wouldn’t let go for anything. We were able to clean you up, change your diaper, and suck the throw up out of your nose (which was terrible in the moment that we did it, but helped). At 2 a.m. you were just in a diaper, wrapped in a clean blanket, being gently rocked as I looked at your sweet face. The rush of everything had me wide awake. So I watched you and just meditated on the huge amount of love that I have for you and for your daddy. Your daddy was in full on superman mode. He had to clean up everything. He was running a load of laundry, wiping up the crib, and later spot treating the carpet. I can’t imagine how I would have handled that on my own. He is such a hard worker. As I looked at your face I thought about how lucky we are that daddy is able to do so much for us. Then in looking at your face I thought about how absolutely different my life has become in the past 17 months.
When we first brought you home there were a lot of sleepless nights as we fed you frequently, held you upright to help with the reflux, and watched out for your health and comfort in what felt like a minute by minute vigil. The sleep deprivation was crushing, but we soon adjusted to it as our overwhelming love for you provided a level of strength and patience that I’ve never known myself capable of having. Now as there have been late nights stacked on late nights, I’m actually feeling a bit privileged in the amount of quiet time we share. Again, there is this almost Buddhist-meditation like calm that comes over me. I think about calm, slow breathing. I visualize this warm glowing light of love, protection, and connection encompassing us. I pray quietly in my head and ask that you are blessed and continue to grow as a kind, friendly, and thoughtful child. And I watch you sleep, I realize that I’m probably as calm as I’ve ever been in my life. You will sometimes even smile a little in your sleep, which is so adorable. A couple of nights ago you had a very active dream. Your legs were pumping as if you were jumping. Then you sat up suddenly, opened your eyes, smiled and coo-ed at me, clapped your hands twice, and collapsed back down fast asleep. I wonder what you were dreaming about. There are semi-awake moments like that where you will look around, look at me, realize I’m there, grin or smile for a second, then relax back to sleep. I wonder if I was like that too when I was really little. I know I loved being held by my daddy, your Papa M. However, I was a kid who was left to cry it out. And apparently I could cry for a long, long time. I read that one of the biggest contributing factors to success as an adult in feeling truly loved by your mother at a young age. I can tell you that I truly do try to exude love, peace, and security when I’m with you. That is partly why it is so hard to been gone long stretches for work. I am doing well getting back into a client-based career. My players and parents are very happy that I’m doing more. I am good at what I do, but man it is different when I’m wondering what you are doing in the middle of my working. I realize that I’m probably missing some really sweet moments, like yesterday when you helped yourself to 2 Roma tomatoes in the garden. I know that the special memories you have with the other people who are so special in your life will be cherished by you and them, so that warms my heart that you get those times too. I wonder if you’ll remember anything from now. I was trying to think back to my really young years.
I think I vaguely remember my crib, because I remember getting out of it. I remember the smell of my blankey and my teddy bear, which I would cuddle up with on the floor in my nursery. I remember waiting by the living room window to see my daddy come home from work. I’m not sure about much else because my memory is so bad in the first place. I think all of my journaling will hopefully be an entertaining read for me when I can’t recall parts of my life. I’m pretty sure I’ll be forgetful as that has always been something I’ve struggled with. I just want to try and capture all of these amazing moments with you as you continue to brighten and enrich my life in ways I could have never imagined. You are so special!
Now that I’m back to work you are doing the Wednesday Bible Study kid group with Miss Barb again. I’m glad that you are getting around other little kids. You are also in a Monday Tot Rock group at daddy’s work. There are about six kids there. You have been pretty friendly going up to the different kids and waving at them with a kind smile on your face. That just melts my heart to see that. I just want you to have positive experiences with your peers for as long as possible. There will be a point when the whole friend thing will get more complicated for you. Your daddy and I both struggled with peer groups that either ignored, ostracized, or outright bullied us. I hope that you can navigate those rough seas better than I did when the time comes. I’ll be there to listen to you if you need me. I’ll always be present for you, I’ll try to remain judgement free and only offer advice if you ask for it. Sometimes there is a power in just knowing you’re not alone. I tended to feel pretty alone through a lot of my life. I wish that I would have done a better job of reaching out.
Besides having a warm childhood and knowing that you are loved by your mother, the article I read had some additional caveats for predictors of a prosperous and happy life. Education, and a continuing of education equals a happier existence. I can see how that is the case. When I was away from learning for a long stretch I can remember thinking to myself, “it has been days since I’ve really applied my brain to something.” I love to learn so I’ll read, I’ll watch a video on an educational topic, and now I’m trying to learn things all over again by watching you at play. I hope that you will be naturally inquisitive. I am so impressed with your skills so far. Both your dad and I are bookish, cognitive types. Maybe you’ll be a little like that too.
Another aspect that enriches your overall happiness is if you have a generous spirit and contribute to your community. I hope to instill this in you as you start to do more things. I want you to naturally want to help worthwhile causes before you think of spoiling yourself. Maybe we can do a lemonade stand for funds to support an animal shelter.
This Harvard long range study also said to avoid drinking and smoking. Your dad and I are not smokers, and you are probably going to very rarely be around anyone smoking. I was profoundly aware of smoking with your trip to the Ren Faire. Obviously smoking will take years off your life, but it will also age you and impact the quality of your life. So, please baby, never pick up that habit. As far as drinking goes, the study suggests that there is no amount of alcohol that is okay. I grew up in a very dry house. My parents actually still have booze that is older than me. Your daddy’s family drinks more than what I was exposed to as a kid and young adult. I guess if you learn to enjoy a fine wine and/or an occasional cocktail that is one thing, but I don’t want you to lean on alcohol in any way as part of unwinding or getting to sleep. Hopefully we will have taught you healthy habits so that this won’t even be an issue. I think if we can teach you about wine, as your daddy is super educated about it, then you’ll have a respect for the good stuff and savor it as we do rather than throw it back like water.
The study also states that a person with a strong emotional intelligence has a better long range prognosis for happiness. This means that you can identify your emotions and ride them out. I’ve spent years learning to do this, and there are times when I still don’t. I hope that I can help you learn to process and experience your emotions, both the tough ones as well as those really blissful ones. We are quickly approaching the terrible twos. So many of the temper tantrums are attached to this time period because you begin to experience situations where your frustration, fear, and lack of verbal expression boil over into needing to ride out an emotional storm. I hope that I can remain calm, help you identify what you are feeling, and give you the safe space to weather that storm. That is the plan for now.
The ability to cope well with problems is another aspect of long term happiness. Don’t blame others or react with passive aggression when trouble comes your way. Problems are a guarantee in life. Learn to handle them in a mature, responsible, and honest way. Again, that is something that I’ve struggled with. I feel like I’ve let my life go off the rails at times. Sometimes my problems have brought on on more problems due to the poor choices I made in how to handle them. I would have done myself better to admit my fault, seek help, and use the hurdle as a chance to lift myself up rather than try to keep up the appearance that I have my stuff together.
Lastly, the study states it is important to find a loving spouse and develop good, solid friendships as an adult, even in your later years, so always make new friends! You are super friendly right now. It is sweet how you watch other kids and then go up to them to wave a hello. I love that! As an only child, you will need some good friends, and then later you will need a strong spouse who can help you build a family of your own. The study said that adults who had rough childhoods could undo their wounds in childhood by joining their lives with a truly loving, attentive, and nurturing partner. I really hope that you daddy and I are that for one another. Sometimes it is hard when we are both working opposite each other and not getting a lot of time together. Time is so so fleeting. It is careening away from me so fast, especially now when you make new developments each day. I swear your growth is happening right before my eyes. We always have things to do, places we would like to go, and the ever-important sleep to catch. That is why I wish that I could just carve out more time for you and especially for your daddy. Your daddy needs my time very much and I need him.
Speaking of time, wow this has taken me even more time to write. It is now Sunday night the 23rd. What I do want to talk about is this concept of time. I am not getting any younger and I really do wish that I could be a cool, fit, younger mom for you. I see how the different tennis ladies who are in their 50s are off to party with their college aged kids. When you head off to college, I’ll be in my 60s. I’m so aware of time because we got a late start getting married, a late start trying to have you, and then we will be older than so many of your peers’ parents. I hope that you will be okay with that and still see us as good parents despite the age that will factor into things in the coming years. I think about the little music class that we are going to tomorrow. I’m the oldest mom there and when we go from sitting to standing to sitting to standing, I’m the slowest up and down because my body is so sore from the nine hours I spent teaching tennis the day before. I’ve got old people aches and stiffness and it is crazy! I never imagined I’d have that because I took my pain-free years for granted. I want to be able to do so much with you and not have my sore back or creaky knees get in the way of our adventures. That is why I am hoping that I can get some weight off of my core and legs so that I can do more for longer. I also don’t want to set a bad example for you as to body image and fitness goals. I have a feeling that you will be a very strong dude. I want you to capitalize on your potential for fitness and health. After all, your Mimi and Papa’s 23&Me genetic tests said that both of them had the muscles of elite power athletes. Mimi was a fitness and tennis fanatic up until she got sick in her 30s. Papa was never into sports, but has always been pretty strong. Hopefully you will be fit, strong, and have healthy habits to keep you that way for a long, long time.
Right now it is just 9 p.m. Your daddy is asleep on the couch. I was on my feet for 9 hours teaching tennis to a bunch of kids and then a group of beginner adults for the last hour. My body has yet to relax enough to go to sleep so I wanted to finish this. You are stirring like crazy as I glance to the monitor. You sound stuffy. You just cried for a moment, but seem to have settled a little. You have taken to sleeping in that yoga position called child’s pose. Your knees are pulled up to your tummy and your butt is up. Supposedly that is a natural and comfortable pose. I just worry that it is putting pressure of your sinus area and maybe making it tough to breathe. I have still been going in to hold you for long stretches at night. Last night you settled right back down and stayed in my arms from 2-5:45 a.m. As usual, you reach up and just check that I’m there. I’ll be there again for you tonight if you need me.
Well, it is going on 9:05 and we have a big day tomorrow. Happy 17 months and now 11 days. I have not captured all of your amazing adventures, which maybe I can do in a couple of days. I also haven’t written to you about dreams yet. I really hope that you have good dreams and sleep well so that you wake up happy. I love when you wake up and smile and laugh. Take care sweet son. We are now officially in fall! I look forward to sharing all the beauty of this, my favorite season, with you and your daddy!