Dear Little Mister:
As usual the days and moments pass faster than I am able to reflect and document. The week that you officially turned eight months old, we were preparing for our first extended family vacation with your paternal side of the family. That week turned out to be much busier than expected as Daddy gave and graded final exams, flew for on-site interviews, and I had three phone interviews! Somehow, we managed to pack everything and get all of us to the airport for our 7 a.m. flight.
I was nervous about how you and your sister would do on the flight. Since you are nursing and I am mostly around, I do not pack bottles or give you formula very often. I was worried about how I was going to feed you without flashing everyone. Fortunately, you (your sister and cousin) did great on the flights. You nursed, napped, and then laughed and chatted the whole way down. While we were away, you became more interested in solid food. The importance of dinner being a family occasion and chance to socialize was reiterated as you at the best when you were in your high chair with the rest of the family, checking everything out and making sure you were heard. You also slept really well. I am not sure if it was having your own room, being close to the ocean, or being so tired from all of the fun in the sun. Maybe a combination of all three; I am trying to figure out how to spend more time near the beach :)
Over the past few weeks, you have gotten more expressive. You have a range of facial expressions that change to reflect joy, frustration, and many things in between. We continue to enjoy seeing you interact with your sister and the response to her antics. I am still waited with mostly excitement and some impatience to hear you say some version of Mama, Mom, Mommy. You are so cute and enthusiastic with saying "HI" and I think I heard you say, "yum." You are getting more comfortable sitting up and love to explore and examine things you can reach. Part of this process includes putting things in your mouth. We keep thinking that your teeth are going to come any day now and look in your mouth a lot to see if any have arrived. You are very interested in the food we are all eating and I hope that you will enjoy food as much as all of us do.
The house feels noisy and full of life. In general, you go with the flow and love visitors and being out in the world. We communicate with each other in a combination of words and sounds that we do not fully understand in our (but mostly daddy and my) tired fog, but know means some combination of "I have no idea what I am doing/this is the best thing ever/I love you so much."
On Tuesday, Partner left early for a travel day which meant that I was in charge of getting both kids fed, dressed, and out the door in time to take the Little One to preschool. I was worried about how everything would come together, but the promise of a muffin made the morning go surprisingly smoothly. After I started driving after dropping off the Little One, I realized that Little Mister had fallen asleep. Instead of going home and risking him waking up as we got out of the car, I decided to drive to the library for our baby book group. I treated myself to breakfast that I could get from a drive thru. We got to the parking lot with about 45 minutes to spare.
I took the time to eat my breakfast relatively slowly. I had a book with me and decided to read for a little while with the Little Mister's snores as a nice soundtrack. I fell asleep for about 10 minutes. When I woke up, I saw that the sky was bright blue and there was a beautiful blooming tree in front of me. I smiled and thought, "My life is lovely."
Dear Little Mister:
I feel optimistic about the future. When we knew you were arriving, Daddy and I purchased some things to help transform your sister's room into a space that was comfortable for both of you. One the items was a wall quote: "I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen." While that quote is still in the box, the sentiment has come to life over the past few weeks in a bold way.
You are sitting on your own for long periods of time. I love giving you a toy and watching you play. You continue to love food. We are slowly introducing new foods. You are becoming more vocal. I am a little bit hurt that you have said, "no," but are still not saying mama. I think that you know your name because you sometimes turn when we call you. When you feel like you are being ignored, you make a lot of noise to make sure we notice you. You have started doing some yoga moves outside of class. Your favorite body parts are your feet; you love grabbing and chewing them :)
When you turned seven months old, we were at a conference. I have been trying to network and find my way back to the working world. I know for sure that I need to be in a place that has good work culture and I want to do my best to find work about which I am passionate, that pays well, and gives me energy to be a good partner to Daddy, and a good parent to you and your sister. I care very deeply about reproductive justice; in particular, I have been thinking about how to help create structures that support working parents. I attended this particular conference last when I was pregnant with your sister and presented about the need to transform a culture of son preference. I was excited to return to reconnect with some of the folks I had worked with before, meet some new people, and get energized and excited about the possibilities. Child care was included with registration, so I was happy to bring you along.
I must pause to confess something. I love spending time with you and want to take you for adventures. I am glad for the chance to do yoga, swimming, and library visits. I like breaking up our routine with things that I think you will enjoy. HOWEVER, sometimes I get nervous by the logistics. It is not fun to lug around a lot of stuff. Before we do something new, I sometimes feel stressed about how everything will come together.
In the weeks leading up to the conference, I was worried about how everything would come together. Mostly, I was hoping that you would like the child care providers and that we would both be able to eat and sleep well. I also hoped that I could make connections and get some good ideas for the next step in my career. When I imagined the experience, I thought of your care as something I needed to take care of and keep separate from all the work related stuff.
You opened up another possibility. You were charming and adorable. There were other kids in the child care and I got to talk with parents, not just about kids, but parenting in general. I got a lot of encouragement. Later, I saw the parents at a session and I no longer felt nervous about approaching them. I realized (again) that parenthood is a powerful connector, that you and your sister continue to help me strive to be a better person, and I felt hope that good things are going to come!