Dear Grayson –
We made it! Hooray for us!
A year ago, we were meeting you for the first time after a very, very long few days. You were in no hurry to exit, even after 42+ weeks.
Truly, child, we couldn’t have asked for a better indicator of your personality. You are the stubbornest. But you are also smart and funny and loving and curious and adventurous and…oh, kiddo. You already know me too well.
Let’s talk about this month.
We spent most of this month sick. Boooooo! You and I are still getting over the cold, which is probably the same virus that Daddy had earlier this year…which would explain why he didn’t catch it from us.
He did get the stomach bug, though, and boy, was that one a doozy. I was just back on my feet from the onset of the cold; I was getting ready to go to work that Monday, and you…you didn’t want to get out of bed. (You ALWAYS want to get out of bed.) You weren’t just clingy — you were limp against my shoulder, and you threw up your morning bottle. It was a little weird, but we didn’t know then if you’d thrown up or spit up, and you didn’t have a fever.
Then, before naptime, Daddy was getting your bottle ready, and he turned around to find you lying face-down on the kitchen floor, motionless. When he said your name, you raised your head a little to look at him, then put it back down.
And that’s when we called the pediatrician and Mommy left the office. You are never motionless, buster. Never, ever. We’re so grateful that it was only a stomach bug, even if it did rip through the house.
Oh, but then you got your first ear infection, which came with amoxicillin and diarrhea (probiotics helped). Then we had our first Children’s Hospital ER experience when you toppled into the door jamb and put a dent in your forehead (you were fine, but they had us go in anyway). So many firsts! You were just wobbly on your feet for a while after being sick; it’s only in the last few days that you’ve started eating anywhere near your normal intake, kid.
We’d almost forgotten how much you eat…and by “eat,” we still mean “drink.”
You down at least 32 ounces of formula in a day. At least. You’ll nibble on peeled apples or Puffs or veggie sticks or crackers, but your true, unbridled anti-foodie joy is reserved for freeze-dried fruit yogurt bites, which we refer to as “melties” or “crack.” (Please, dear sweet baby Jesus, don’t let the wrong people overhear when your father says, “I gave him some puffs and crack at lunch.”) The other day, you ate a bit of waffle for the first time in months and I almost cried with relief.
You also like kettle corn, and you prefer red Pedialite to orange. You do not like Cheerios, you adorable alien baby.
We basically offer you whatever we’re eating as well as a few of the things we know you like…but you have no interest in what we’re eating, so it’s hit or miss. Your doctor was going to send us to occupational therapy at 1 year if we weren’t further along than this, but she has since decided that you’re just stubborn and will get around to eating solid food when you’re damn good and ready.
She’s probably right.
This week, you’ve been actually sleeping through the night, rather than sleeping through the night as defined by doctors (five hours at a clip is their rule, but what good is that when Mommy’s still up for the first three of those hours?). You’re in bed around 7 and we don’t hear from you again until at least 4:30…at which point you down 6-8 ounces and go back to sleep until 7ish. If you’ve chowed down during the day, you’re out cold until 7:15am or so, and HOLY GOD IS THAT AWESOME. Don’t get me wrong, buddy, I love spending time with you, but the middle-of-the-night stuff is rough, and you are so much happier in the morning if you get the extra couple of hours.
And a happy you is a very fun you.
You like to play peekaboo, but what you love most right now is to bring us book after book so we can read to you. You do not necessarily want the pages read in order and we can’t count on you to wait for one story to end before you move on to the next. Most of the time, if I ask you for your favorites by name — “Brown Bear,” “Click Clack Moo,” and “Dear Zoo” — you’ll go get them and bring them to me.
This is the best thing ever, even though Mommy has been hoarse and congested for three weeks.
Today, we gave you your birthday present — an activity table that does a frightening number of things. But it turns out you didn’t need a new toy. You’re old enough for the “I’m gonna get you!” version of “chase,” apparently, and NOTHING is more giggle-worthy than running up and down the basement hall, no matter how many times you fall over (laughing and running at the same time seems hard).
You’re learning the names of many things. You know where your head is, and when asked where hats go, you will press the hat against your head…okay, usually against your face, but it counts and is hilarious (for the last eight months or so, you have heard “Hats go on heads” from me pretty much every day). You also know where your feet are, and I think you know where your nose, ears, and eyes are, too, but you’re just messing with me so I’ll know you’re not my trained monkey.
Last week, when I was folding your diapers on the dining room table, I wanted to see what would happen if I handed you a diaper cover and asked you to put it away. You did it! You toddled into your room and put it on the proper shelf. Then I gave you another one, and you took it in your room and threw both of the covers on the floor, because “NOT A TRAINED MONKEY, MOMMY.”
See also: stubborn.
Before (or, possibly, somewhat during) the Whirlwind of Sickness, we held our breath, packed the car, and drove down to San Diego so Daddy could row in the Crew Classic with his team. For a kid who has hated the car since day 1, you were a champ. You handled it all gracefully with the exception of the last 45-60 minutes of the drive in either direction.
It was an 8-9 hour drive on both ends, buddy. You were, as Daddy said, “entitled to a fucking meltdown” after that. Especially with an extremely full and disgusting diaper. The first night, you would only fall asleep in my arms, but after that, you settled right in and greatly enjoyed running in circles around the little condo we rented.
Pro tip, junior: When traveling with kids, try to rent an apartment or condo. How do people do this with one hotel room and kids who are pretty particular about bedtime?
(Also? It was nice to hold you while you slept again. I’ve missed that.)
You and I had lots of quality time together while Daddy was doing Rowing Stuff. We played on the swings and ran around on the grass and avoided napping. We picked up groceries (again, yay for condo rental!) and coffee and smiled at strong, beautiful girls who cooed over you. I got hit with a cookie thrown by one of those girls at a boy to whom she had previously refused to give a cookie as we were strolling past. The wind caught it, and it bounced off my head. I know I should’ve caught it and eaten it, but the best I could manage was shock that she couldn’t have seen that coming.
Seriously. Rowers should pay attention to wind.
We took you to Pacific Beach one morning, but you were not digging it; you were much happier at Fiesta Bay, where you stomped in the water and got mad at me when I wouldn’t let you wade in deeper.
The other thing about the San Diego trip is this: The best way to calm you when you started to get bored and fussy was to put in an old Stanford Harmonics CD. This is entirely my fault — it’s an easy sing-along CD and I used to drive a lot, so it’s lived in my car for over a decade and you’ve heard it pretty often. We listened to clever but questionably mixed covers of 80s and 90s pop music over and over and over again, and your father hasn’t quite recovered yet. (He much preferred Hookslide, but you didn’t.) He’ll still let out a disgruntled “…and gave me a Vegemite…sandWICH” from time to time.
Everyone told us to treasure this time, that it would go by fast and you would never be this little again. That last bit is true, but you know what, buddy? We’re okay with it. Our experience wasn’t that “It all went by so fast,” at least not for the first six months. I think it’s more that, as they say, the days are long and the years are short.
I’m not going to lie — this day last year was pretty long. But it was worth it. We’ve had one year to get to know you so far, and you crack us up every day.
I love you, little man. I love your laugh and your scrunchy face, your dirty little feet and your amazing little hands. I love your cuddles, and I love when you look at me and deliberately turn and run the other way because you’re not done doing whatever it is you’re doing that I’m about to make you stop doing. I love when you try to tickle me, I love how you cross your legs at the ankles when you eat, and I love how you’ve figured out that I will kiss blanky goodnight if you ask me to. I love how you play with Rodney, how you look at Daddy, and how you shriek when it’s time to go outside.
I love you through and through, buddy. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, too.
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