Thursday, August 23, 2012

For the Children

Why, hello there. Do you want to know what I’m doing right now? I’m glossing over the fact that it’s been roughly six months since my last blog.

*Gloss Gloss*

Okay, now that’s out of the way. How have you been? Me? Well, I had a baby. His name is Desmond, and he’s ridiculously cute. He’s just over three-months-old, and he’s sort of why I feel the need to start blogging again. His big sister Charlotte has two years worth of posts mostly dedicated to her, and it just didn’t seem right not to properly embarrass honor him in the same way.
See what I mean about the cute?

Also, since Des was born I have developed this paralyzing fear of my children growing up too fast. I was never really like that the first time around. I welcomed each new milestone with excitement without ever really looking back too often. I might let out a plaintive sigh as I packed away a favorite outfit that Charlotte’s chubby frame had outgrown, but I never really lamented that my baby was gone. I was has having way too much fun watching her grow. The difference, though, is that with Charlotte I assumed I would be having another baby. I would get to do all that baby stuff again. Now that we’re done (so very done) having babies, things are different. All of a sudden I’m collapsing in sobs because Des has outgrown his newborn onesies or while watching Charlotte’s lithe body running through the sprinklers, looking like a CHILD, with hardly a trace of my first baby left.

I will entertain the slightest possibility that hormones may have been involved in all that weeping. But, in any case, I have an intense need to remember everything about them the way they are now. And a month from now. And, so on. But, of course, that isn’t possible. Just like certain details of Charlotte’s infancy have faded from my mind, so will some of my favorite habits of my children disappear some day. I could cry just thinking about it. Instead, I will do my best to memorialize their childhoods here. So that I can always come back and be reminded of the way my sweet baby clasps his hands together while nursing. Or how my daughter’s silky hand feels when she sleepily strokes my arm.

No time like the present I say! Okay, I don’t really say that; I’m a huge procrastinator.


It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. And, we’ve had some big changes since my last letter. We lived with your grandparents for a while, and though it wasn’t easy for everyone involved, and you certainly didn’t always seem to appreciate so many adults in your face, you adjusted very well. In fact, considering I was pregnant with your little brother, AND we were getting ready to move again to our new house, I’d say you handled it amazingly well. Speaking of your brother, you were a tad skeptical at first. You spent most of my second trimester telling us that you didn’t want the baby to come out. And, who could blame you? You are a smart kid. You knew that your three-year streak of getting all the attention was ending. But, then, all of a sudden, you got on board in a big way. You started talking about how much you loved the baby, you proudly called yourself a big sister, and you even hugged my massive belly to “give the baby a hug.” We started getting hopeful that maybe this baby wouldn’t be as devastating to you as previously thought. But, everyone liked to remind us that it would probably be a different story once he was here, and I tried to prepare for that very real possibility. But, your daddy kept saying that you were constantly surprising us, and to not give up hope. And, sweetie, you exceeded all our expectations. You are a brilliant big sister. When I left for the hospital to deliver your brother, you cried. You didn’t want me to leave. So, when it was time for you to come visit, I made sure the baby was in the bassinet so that you wouldn’t get jealous and so my arms would be free to hug you. I imagined that you had missed me so much you would come flying into my arms. But, you came into that hospital room on a mission. You wanted to see your baby brother.

And from that moment on, you have been in love. You hug him, kiss him, talk to him, teach him things, share with him, and miss him when you’re apart. Sure, sometimes you cover your ears when he cries and suggest that maybe he could be left in another room while we play. But, other times you admonish me for leaving him playing happily on the floor while we sit at the table. You don’t like him to be alone, and you request I bring him to the table with us. And, there was the one time where he pulled your hair so hard it made you cry. That time you yelled at him to “go far away.” But, still other times you excuse his hair pulling and kicking by saying that he is pulling your hair “for play.” You’ve even gone so far as to place your hair in his hands so he can pull it. We do try to convince you that this isn’t necessary, but you are a strong-willed girl. I know there is a lifetime of fighting over toys, bickering, and hitting in your future, but that will never change the fact that you love your brother. And on those dark days, when I’m wondering why I deliberately gave birth to someone for you to fight with, I will try to remember you telling me that you love him “too much” and the time you leaned in close to his face and said softly, “Desmond, I will always protect you.” No, I am not making that up. See how awesome you are?

You guys look like you're plotting against me already

I couldn’t possibly sum up everything that makes you Charlotte in one letter. I think the mantra you made for yourself is a good start, though: you like to say that you are “Strong and brave and smart and tough.” You are indeed all of those things, and more. You have a wild imagination. You like to make up the rules of your own games. You love to learn things. You love even more to teach us. Especially about dragons. You are a cat. Usually an evil cat named “Black Cat,” but sometimes you are a “regular cat.” And sometimes you are an ice dragon. You can fly. Just yesterday you were practicing different methods of flying. You have magic, and you can use your magic to turn people “into stuff.” You love water. The siren song of running sprinklers is too much for you to resist, and you will be drenched within a matter of minutes, usually in all your clothes. Your clothes are almost always seasonally inappropriate. Since it is summer, you want to wear long sleeves and sweatpants. You wear a Spiderman shirt very often, and while your dad and I would love to see such a beautiful girl wearing more flattering clothes, we think it’s pretty bad ass that you like superheroes. And I am proud of you every time you wear that shirt because one day a little girl made fun of you for wearing a “boy’s shirt.” You ran to me crying that day and asked to leave the playground. But, the very next day, you picked that shirt to wear all on your own. You are a wonder, Charlotte. You drive me absolutely bananas, but I love you. Just the way you are.


Hey, little buddy. You’ve been with us for three months now, and I’m starting to forget that you were ever not here. You were cute from the moment you were born, and I mean that sincerely. Not all babies are cute as newborns, including your sister (Sorry, Lotte!) but you were. I thought perhaps you were going to be my dream baby. The one that never cries and sleeps through the night at five weeks. Instead you got a mild case of colic, and I wanted to send you back every night around 6:00 P.M. for a month or so.You still don’t sleep well, but now that the incessant crying is a thing of the past, I think you’re pretty damn close to a dream baby. You smile constantly. You let people hold you. You sleep in the car almost every time. You’re pretty cool.

Sometimes I feel guilty that you don’t get the complete attention your sister got when she was a baby. We had nothing else to do besides read her books, talk to her, play with her, and just generally obsess over her. We do those things with you sometimes, but more often than not, you are getting schlepped around the house while we take your sister to the potty, brush her teeth, or play in her room. I worry that you aren’t getting the same stimulation. But, then I realize that while you may not get the same undivided attention she got, you get something pretty great. You get a big sister who loves you. Charlotte can make you smile instantly. You love to look at her, and you can’t help but grin whenever she talks to you. You actually get three people to dote on you, which hopefully makes up for the time you spend squawking at us from the floor mat when we don’t come pick you up as soon as you would like.

I went through a lot to have you, Buddy, and you more than made up for my troubles. You can keep spitting up on me and growing out of your clothes too quickly. I don’t mind. Just keep smiling and being chubby, and you’re alright in my book.