Tag Archives: letter to baby

She Says… 10 Months

BOOM! It has been a huge month for you, my little buddy.

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The day you turned 10 months, the very tiny tip of your very first tooth poked through your gums. Bottom left. I know, it took FOREVER for you to get it. As I’ve said before, it certainly has not slowed you down in the eating department. And you took the teething pain like a champ! A handful of fussy days and sad nights, but all in all you continue your general “go with the flow” streak. As long as Daddy and I (or your favorite teacher at school) are there to give you a cuddle when you need it, you are good to go. A few days later the second one peeked through. You’re well on your way to having the cutest little pair of pearly whites punctuating your gummy grin.

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And grin you do. All day long. Especially when your big brother is goofing off.

Which is all the time.

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All of a sudden, your personality exploded right in front of our eyes. You move with purpose now. You have a bubbly, giggly sense of humor. You love to be hugged and kissed, and to hug and kiss right back. You squeeze my shoulder and gently pat my back when I carry you, and sometimes you’ll divebomb my face with your open mouth, gumming and sucking my cheek/chin like a big ol’ sloppy kiss. You are shockingly persistent when you want to grab or touch something and deceptively strong once it is in your grasp. You shout your words (perhaps to get a word in edgewise in our loud family?) and bob your head around to dance whenever music comes on. You make people smile wherever you go.

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Owen’s favorite thing to do at the moment is squish or poke your delicious cheeks and say, “Mr. Cheeks! Mr. Face! I love you little Face! I wanna give you a smooch! SMOOCH!”. The other day you were crying in your crib when you woke up (which is rare), and I was busily making your bottle before I came in to get you. Owen danced nervously next to me, telling me to “Hurry, please”. He grabbed the bottle out of my hand as soon as it was ready and dashed into your room. His voice went up 2 octaves and he cooed, “I’m here, my baby. Here’s your bottle. You want this bottle? Here baby. I love you.”.

Gah! The love between you boys is so strong and palpable I could cut it with a knife. You are so lucky to have Owen by your side and he is so lucky to have a sweet, adoring brother like you.

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Oh! Another huge development this month is WORDS. Well, you know, baby versions of words. But you are very clearly signing and attempting to say “All done!” (“Ah duh!” while twirling your hands in the air). In fact, I think we’ll count “all done” as your first “word”. You also pointedly say, “Daw!” when Schnitzel walks in the room, and “Baw!” for ball. I may have heard the beginnings of “bottle” (“bah buh”), while your chubby hand did the fist-squeezing sign language last night at bedtime. They aren’t decipherable to anyone but us at this point, but words are definitely on the horizon, my little linguist.

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And finally, one of the most momentous milestones is just about here as well. Your first steps. You’ve been cruising for a month or so now, pulling your cute little body up on anything and everything you could reach. Lately you’ve been reaching for things farther and farther away, hanging on to your support with only a finger sometimes. Yesterday at school your teachers said you let go with that finger and took one wobbly step forward before plunking onto your butt and crying because you were so surprised that you were doing it by yourself. I can’t wait to see your skills myself. Doesn’t count ’til Mommy and Daddy see!

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Your early walking skills seem to be following right in your brother’s footsteps (pun intended!). A few months ago I would not have guessed that would be the case. You both took such different paths (sitting and crawling at different times, very different body types, different personalities) to end up at the same spot. Remember that, little one. The road to success does not look the same for everyone, and you never know the route someone else is taking. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, because you are YOU. And do not judge others against your own path, because they are THEM. Just celebrate the successes (yours and others’) and enjoy the ride. The end result isn’t the goal anyway; the “getting there” is.

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I love you so much, Emmett-y. Mr. Delicious. Mr. Cheeks. You bring so much joy and happiness and silliness and comfort to our little family. I can’t wait to watch your personality grow and change as the months and years pass.

We adore you.

Love,
Mommy

She Says… Nine Months

Emmett Blemmett (Owen’s favorite nickname, which sometimes turns into “Emmett Blemmett Kemmett Chemicals”). Chubby Wubby (the nickname that comes out of my mouth most often). Bonky Bonks (your earliest nickname, still hanging on, due to how often you use your head as your third arm and bonk your face on things). Mr. Delicious (your nickname at school that is more perfect for you than I could have ever imagined). Emmett-y.

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Nine months in and nine months out.

Well, as any parent will tell you, it’s actually more like ten months in. And anyone who had to work hard to get pregnant or stay pregnant will tell you it’s actually a whole lot longer than that. But it’s pretty amazing to think that nine months ago you were 7lbs and 14oz of wriggling, snuggling, suckling newborn deliciousness. And 9 months before that, you were but a tiny bunch of cells beginning to join together and multiply. And now, here you are, crawling as fast as your big brother can run, pulling up on tables and couches and anything your little hands can grab and babbling and squealing and waving and blowing raspberries all day long.

You are so full of joy. You are OUR joy. I’ve never met a kid as happy and content as you are. Sure, you have your cranky moments, like when you are tired or put in the car without getting a bottle first. But the rest of the time? The rest of the time you are happy to be wherever, as long as we’re nearby. You’re happy to play with whatever, as long as you can put it in your mouth and teethe on it. You’re happy to eat whatever, as long as you can giggle with your brother from your high chair while you do it. You’re happy to be with whoever, but you’re beginning to have a strong preference for Daddy, me and your favorite teachers at school (you’ve developed an adorable sense of stranger danger around others!).

You impress us every day by eating everything, from soft, mushy bits to hard, crunchy chunks to pieces of food as big as your hand… all with no teeth! Almost 10 months old today and still no teeth. You certainly haven’t let it cramp your style, though. You chow down on everything you’re given (current faves: broccoli, green beans, grilled chicken, veggie or bean burgers, tofu, Cheerios, toast with hummus, rice cakes with peanut butter), but you love MEAT the most. I’ll fill your tray with fruits, vegetables, meat, whatever and you will pick every single teeny tiny piece of meat off that tray first. Thankfully you eat just about everything and reliably knock back every bottle. Your cheeks don’t lie; you love to nosh. I don’t have a CLUE where you got that (hint hint!).

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You crawl, your cute little diaper butt swaying, to follow your brother wherever he is, all day long. I am happy to say he adores you just as much as you adore him. Your face erupts in a grin as soon as he is in your view.

Your little giggle (either one, loud “HA!”, which makes us all hysterical, or a running, “Heh heh heh heh”, like a slow clap that gets everyone around you doing it too) is infectious. You are so roly poly and adorable everyone who meets you wants to hold you and squeeze you. You’re so perfectly squeezable. I know that walking is on the horizon for you (though I’m wondering if you’ll hold off on that milestone for a few more months since you are such a superfast crawler), but I have to admit, I’m holding tight to the stage that you are in now. You are just… baby perfection.

Every night after our busy day and slightly rushed dinner time and hilarious bathtime with your brother, I relish bedtime with you. I zip you up into your fleece “bag” (wearable blanket); we call you our cozy little caterpillar when you wear it. Daddy makes you a bottle and Owen comes in, half-pajamaed and talking a million miles a minute and kisses you on the head before whirlwinding out of the room. And then they are gone. And it’s just you, me and the sound machine. And we rock and you drink and I sing and I breathe you in. You gaze at me and pull my hair and squeeze my arms and hands with your chubby little fingers. You giggle when I say “Night night book?” and lunge for the book pile. We read, you babble along with me and you try to eat the book. Then you rest your head on my shoulder for a split second, and then crane your body backwards for your crib. Ready for bed. I don’t think I’ll every forget your sweet little round face shining in the dim light, grabbing your lovey and cuddling it to your face while your twinkly eyes gleam and smile at me as if you say, “Goodnight Mommy! Love you! Now get out and let me sleep!”.

You are flexible, content and easily amused. I cannot wait to continue to get to know you as you grow. To see what type of toddler you’ll be and what type of preschooler and if these words still seem so “you” in high school and beyond. One thing is for sure, now and forever: You are loved. You are loved so hard in this family and nothing will ever change that. You make me want to have a million more babies, if they are all as sweet and wonderful as you. Or no more babies at all, because how could I ever love another as much as I love you?

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You have stretched Daddy’s and my hearts bigger than we ever thought possible. Nine months ago, and nine months before that, and forever onwards from here.

Love,
Mommy

 

She Says… 8 Months

Emmett-y. Bonky Bonks. My smiley little buddy.

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This was a big month for you! All of a sudden, it seems, you are a mover and a shaker. While you used to be content snuggling into my lap, now you are ON! THE! GO! A day before you turned 8 months you figured out how to get your knees under yourself in crawling position (a skill you had been working on for weeks). You straightened your legs and jack rabbited forwards right onto your face. Not to be deterred, you got right back up and did it again. And again. And again. And boom. Now you’re crawling all over the place.

Lookout world. Emmett has arrived.

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It seems that your personality is blossoming right along with your gross motor skills. You are expressing yourself in all different ways now. You coo and gurgle and grunt and shout. You have already figured out how to match your brother’s insane volume level! I think we’re going to need earplugs soon. You will shout, and Owen will imitate you, and then you will imitate Owen, and before I know it we’re all shouting and laughing. You guys are HILARIOUS together. Partners in crime, for sure. But perhaps we should start to learn the difference between an inside voice and an outside voice.

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You blow raspberries like it’s your job. All day long, every day. Blowing raspberries and giggling your little “huh, huh” laugh. Your teacher at school told me that yesterday you were laying on the floor with one of your friends, doing your little Emmett chuckle, and she was cracking up at you. The two of you just sat and laughed, you laughing at her and her laughing at you, for several minutes. Adorable. I hope you always keep your sweet sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself. It will serve you well, my joyful little darling. For there will be many things in your life that will make you want to stop smiling and never laugh again. But the truth is, in those moments, the best thing you can do is keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep your head afloat. And they will pass. They always do.

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Now that you are moving, your relationship with Owen is changing too. You’re no longer the little blob that he pats on the head as he walks by. You are all up in his business — even if I put you across the room, you lock eyes on him and whatever he is playing with and you gather your strength and crawl straight for him. Lately we’ve been saying, “Ahh! Attack of the Giant Baby!” when you start beelining for him, your eyes twinkling with delight. Your favorite game is crashing towers that we have built with blocks, or getting whatever Owen is playing with and putting it right in your mouth. So far I haven’t seen any frustration from Owen regarding your new mobility. Mostly encouragement. When you crawl, he claps his hands and says, “You can do it, Emmett! Crawl!”. When he does something silly now, like put a toy on his head and balance it, he’ll say, “Watch this, Emmett!”. You giggle obediently. You giggle all the time when Owen is around. You are the best audience that little extrovert could have ever asked for. He’ll entertain you and hand you toys and tell me what he thinks you need when you are crying. “I think his teeth hurt, Mommy.”.

And you are always the most engaged little peanut gallery when he dances and sings at the dinner table. You shake your head side to side bobbling along to his crazy songs. You love it. You love him. And we love you.

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Let’s be honest, though. Amidst the brotherly love fest, there are also many times of not-so-gentle touches and accidents. Oh brothers. We have a long road of “accidents” between the two of you. Owen went to the ER last week after falling into the bookshelf at school. The next day (during the photo shoot for this letter!) he tipped you over into the side of your crib and you hit your head. The next day he made a tidal wave in the bathtub and covered your face in water. None of it was on purpose, exactly. You guys are just boys. Rough, tough boys. I love that about you. But let’s try to stay out of the hospital for the most part, mmmkay?

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You have surprised me by preferring to feed yourself rather than me feeding you. Owen could not control his body to feed himself at your age (or just preferred for me to feed him like a baby bird), so I assumed that you wanted to be fed mash as well, just like your big bro. But no. I was wrong. All you want to do is eat what the family is eating, and you want to do it all yourself. So after I wrapped up our appointments with the GI specialist and the allergist, we started giving you little bits of EVERYTHING (except milk — you’re still allergic to milk) on your high chair tray. Your fine motor skills are impressive and you can get just about anything from the tray into your mouth. Little bits, big chunks, long things you hold in your fist and gum into submission. You’re a fantastic eater. Every day I feel like I need to give you more and more and more food. Your favorite foods at the moment are whole peas, green beans, broccoli, green grapes, bananas & oatmeal and Cheerios. Oh you LOVE those Cheerios.

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Oh Emmett. I love watching you grow into yourself. Getting to know who you are under your fuzzy blonde hair, deliciously chubby cheeks and thoughtful blue eyes. I see the twinkle in your eyes and know you are mischievous and daring. I see the way you are insistent and determined, practicing new skills over and over again. I see you exploring your voice and I love every squeak and shout and babble. I see your lip quivering and your brow furrowing when I disappear behind a door. I am always coming back, little one.

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It is quite clear that we delight in you and you delight in us. We love you so much, Emmett-y.

Love,
Mommy

She Says… 7 Months

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My sweet baby-who-is-quickly-feeling-like-not-so-much-of-a-baby,

You are SO MUCH FUN right now. Seriously. You’re the best. Your chubby cheeks and toothless grin and sparkly gray-blue eyes make everyone around you smile right along with you — your joy is contagious. You still have your characteristic easygoing way about you, but recently we’ve seen more and more of another side of your personality. You are driven and focused and determined.

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You practice new skills like rolling (which you rock at) and grabbing (everything) and getting food from your fist into your mouth over and over and over again with the determination of an Olympic athlete. You love to pull hair right now. Especially mine. Especially when I leave it curly and I’m giving you a bottle and you gaze into my eyes so sweetly and dribble a little milk out of your mouth so that I let my guard down, and then BAM! you grab a fist full of what you had been twirling so gently a moment before and PULL. HARD. I wrangle my hair out of your clenched fist, and we start that little dance all over again. You’re sneaky. And strong. And you have hilarious timing.

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Speaking of rolling, you are a rolling machine. You’ve actually developed this amazing ability to maneuver yourself all around a room to get your hands on whatever you want. Most kids do this with crawling, but your preferred method is a carefully planned out series of rolls and pivots. It’s quite impressive and I’m so glad I finally got a video to show you one day. I have to imagine that crawling is just around the corner for you, my active little dude!

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The other day Owen and I ran upstairs to get him a pair of socks and came back down to find that you had rolled yourself right out of the living room and into the kitchen, and you gazed up at us, giggling and proud, with one foot in the dog’s water bowl and gnawing on a magazine. Watch out, Mommy.

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You are growing like a little weed these days. And it’s not a wonder — you down over 35 ounces of formula (that’s a LOT) plus three solid meals of food a day. And recently daycare started asking me to pack snacks because you were hungry. HUNGRY? Must be all that rolling you’re doing. Favorite foods at the moment are peas, corn, sweet potatoes, blueberries and bananas. The only thing I’ve found that you really don’t like is butternut squash. You’ll still eat it, but you make a scrunchy face and spit most of it back out.

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Due to your ongoing tummy issues and some weird rashes and hives, we’re seeing an allergist and a GI specialist. Currently my instructions are to introduce you to as many new foods as possible in the next 4 weeks, so here we go! I’ve been on a baby food making extravaganza and our freezer is filled with different concoctions. I love mixing and matching your meals and I’m excited to branch out into different grains and textures and flavors in the coming months. I’m so glad to see that you seem to like food just as much as your brother and Daddy and I.

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Your brother. Oh, Emmett. I can’t even put into words how much you adore your brother. And how much he adores you. The two of you are obsessed with each other. I can already see the incredible connection that the two of you have that has nothing to do with Daddy or I, and it makes my heart sing.

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At dinner Owen loves to entertain you by making silly faces and shaking his head around. Physical comedy seems to be your thing at the moment and just about anything Owen does that involves climbing/jumping/twirling/dancing/running elicits the most delicious belly laughs from you. You also have the uncanny ability to laugh whenever he says something silly. It’s like you can understand every word he says. He’ll tell us a story and make a joke, and you’re ALWAYS the first one laughing. It is precious.

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He can’t get enough of you either. He asks me to bring you up in his bed so we can all “pretend to sleep” together and he loves to hand you toys and make you put them in your mouth (which you do, every time). He shakes your head around and bobbles you so forcefully I’m still constantly saying, “Gentle hands!” and “Owen, Emmett doesn’t like that, please stop” and you are constantly making a liar out of me by laughing your little butt off at whatever he’s doing.

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Though I know there are wonderful things on the horizon for you, I wish I could bottle this age and keep it in my pocket. You are just… delicious. Jolly. Sweet. Easy.

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Every day I look forward to waking you up just because I get to hold you and squeeze your beautiful baby chub and cover you in kisses. I can’t wait to see more and more of your personality as you grow. What you’ll be like. What you’ll do with your life.

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We’re so lucky to have you, Emmetty. Bonky bonks. Blemett (Owen’s favorite). Chubs.

Couldn’t love you any more if I tried,
Mommy

She Says… 6 Months

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Oh Emmett. My jolly little dude. My cuddler. My giggler. You, my darling, are the type of baby that makes people want to have a million more babies.

I mean, really. Just look at that smile. The twinkly eyes. The delicious cheeks. The rubberband-like rolls at your wrists, ankles, knees, thighs. It’s literally hard for me to stop kissing you some days. You are just so smooshable. You are calm and content. Chill, to the max.

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On top of that, 6 months is a magical time.

  • You are sleeping through the night. You still cry out once in a while, and since we almost never hear you cry anymore, Daddy and I sit and watch you on the monitor, wringing our hands over if we should go in and hold you. When Owen was your age, if I went in ONE TIME he would expect me to come in EVERY TIME, ALL THE TIME when he cried. Going in once just to check on him made the whole sleeping process take about ten steps back. But you, you, my flexible little friend, you are totally cool if I come in one night and give you time to try to get yourself together the next night. You wake at different times’ always keeping me on my toes. Sometimes you want my help calming you down, sometimes you don’t. You’re flexible, but you’re also confusing. You are helping me to learn how to roll with it and just follow my gut.

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  • You are rolling and sitting like a champ. It seems like all of a sudden you went from laying down all the time to being able to flip/roll both ways, pivot around on your tummy, inch your way towards toys and sit for really long periods of time without falling over backwards. It’s amazing to watch – you are SO strong. I used to joke about how you were so deliciously, perfectly plump that it was harder for you to flip that body over or hold it up for a long time. Boy was I wrong. You are an Olympic sitting champion these days, and believe me, it’s ALL you want to do.

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  • You eat food and it’s super fun. You are loving exploring food these days. Some days you chow down, some days you just want to chew on something “big”, some days you want nothing to do with what I put in front of you. But generally we’re doing 2 “meals” a day, in addition to the millions of ounces of formula you drink every day (seriously, WHERE do you put those 38 ounces?!). As with many things with you, every day is different and we’re learning to follow your cues. You have tried homemade avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, green beans, peas, pears, butternut squash and some red and green pepper sticks (that you like to gum to death). You kind of like everything, except the squash which you only like mixed with apple. Unfortunately we’ve recently noticed the beginning of eczema on your cheeks, just like your big bro, so we’re avoiding rice cereal and other grains at the moment, and also apples. I’m being very cautious with all other allergens as well. As with your brother, I’ll continue my scientific food experiments to see if we can figure out what your triggers are, but we’re not there yet.

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  • You love toys. Everything we hand you goes right in your mouth. I love to see which ones are your favorites (wooden giraffe, banana toothbrush, the twirly corner of a random burp cloth), as you are beginning to develop opinions and show us your personality. It’s so fun to watch you grab things and maneuver them into your mouth. In contrast to your brother’s frenetic, wild motions at this age, you are controlled and steady. Your fine motor skills are quite impressive and you’re already starting to pick up teeny tiny little things between your pudgy fingers.

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The past month has been punctuated by lots of doctor’s appointments. You seem to have inherited your brother’s tendency toward respiratory bugs, and you’ve had a nasty cough for the last couple of weeks. In addition, you also have quite the glass stomach, as you’ve gotten a tummy bug twice and both times the projectile vomiting has persisted for almost a week. Phew! I thought I knew everything about baby illnesses after Owen, but again, I was wrong. Let’s try to keep those appointments to a minimum from now on, mmkay?

You, my precious one, are so. much. fun. You have this new screechy laugh that you do whenever Owen walks in the room, and you seem to be constantly amused with watching the world go by. Owen still delights in contorting your body into hilarious positions and bopping you on the head (he does it out of love, I promise). You guys are two peas in a pod. Watching you interact makes my heart swell to the point of bursting.

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I love you. Times a million.

Love,
Mommy

 

She Says… Four Months

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My sweet baby boy,

This month whizzed by. It flew. You started daycare and I started back at work in the beginning of November and BAM! it’s Thanksgiving already. And judging by the state of our family calendar, it will be Christmas before we know it. The transition back to work could have been devastating. It could have been rough. It could have been rocky. It’s been busy (and still is), for sure, but thanks to you, my little darling, it has been as painless as possible.

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You, sir, rock. You rock at daycare. You rock at sleeping there. You rock at chugging every drop of all of your bottles. You rock at smiling and charming every one of your teachers. You rock at staying pretty calm in the evenings even after super long days so that we can have dinner as a family. You rock at smiling and splashing and making bathtime my favorite time of the whole day. You rock at snuggling into me while I nurse you at bedtime, holding your tiny, pudgy little fingers and wondering how we made such a perfect little dude.

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I’m beginning to worry that you’re going to grow up thinking your name is “cutie pie”. Because that’s what you hear all day long. I’m sure there’s a lot more to you than just your looks, but it’s the truth. You are DAMN cute. People stop me on the street to say one of three things about you:

  1. You have the most perfect, round head. (I had no idea this was a thing people commented on, but it’s true. You do.)
  2. You are SO smiley. (Mmm hmm, that too. Not stingy with the grins!)
  3. You have the most beautiful eyes. (Sparkly. Dancing. Deep blue like the ocean.)

I may be biased, but I wholeheartedly believe that all 3 things are true.

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This month, unfortunately, I’ve discovered something that’s not so easy breezy about you. As much as I tried to avoid going down the road of thinking you have some sort of food allergy/intolerance like your brother and your Daddy, I’m pretty sure you do. At least for now. This past month has been a roller coaster of hypoallergenic formula and me avoiding certain foods to see what the culprit is. Though you’re far from figured out, my best guess and working hypothesis at the moment is that your tummy does not tolerate when I eat milk or eggs. We’ve got a pretty good thing going while I’m off both of those things as far as I can tell, and although it’s hard for me to avoid yummy things like cheese, yogurt and chocolate (and pretty much anything baked now that eggs are off limits), it is worth it for the time being to heal you. Last night was the worst night I’ve seen — arching, crying, poop issues. Nothing helped. You couldn’t sleep and you couldn’t eat, which just left you awake and paralyzed by your own sadness. Which meant I was too. Daddy and I took turns trying to comfort you but all you really wanted was to rock with me, half-nursing, half-pacifying.

We got through it. We’ll get through this patch and we’ll get through the next one and we’ll get through the one after that. I’ll always be here to hold your hand and help you through, whatever comes. I already ache for the day that you come home with a problem I can’t fix, like a broken heart. But trust me, we’ll get through that too.

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Emmett, you fit like a snug little puzzle piece into our family. Daddy and I fight over who gets to hold you and make you smile. Schnitzel is protective of you and bathes you in kisses. Owen, in the midst his totally-age-appropriate-but-nonetheless-incredibly-frustrating 3 year old ‘tude, is totally enamored with you. His normally wild body becomes calm around you. He dotes on you. Sings to you. Contorts your body in hilarious ways that make us all laugh. Sweetly and softly pats your cheek when you’re crying. Gives me the play-by-play of what you’re doing in the car (“He’s sleeping! No! He’s awake! He’s pukin’ up! He’s looking at his toy!”). Though I know there will be times, likely in our not too distant future, when he’s not so kind to you, you must always know that everything he does comes from a place of love.

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Brothers are like that.

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Owen’s new favorite game is to get the whole family under a blanket on the couch and pretend to sleep. He calls it a “love cage” and no one can get out. Guess who he ALWAYS wants in his love cage? You. So far you’re surprisingly tolerant of being smooshed into a pigpile with all of us and covered with a quilt. You’re pretty easygoing about most of the silly games we play with you. You’re the best baby doll.

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I love you, my beautiful boy. We all do. Even in the middle of the night it melts me to see your bright eyes and kicking legs in the dim light. You are one special little guy.

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Couldn’t love you any more if I tried,
Mama

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She Says… 3 Months

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My sweet Emmett (or Emmett-y, as your brother calls you),

Happy 3 month birthday! Three months feels so… significant. The end of the “4th trimester” and into the big, wide world of being a baby. A baby who coos and gurgles and drools and smiles and laughs. A baby who pushes up with all of his might when placed on his tummy and holds his head up high to take in the world. A baby who grabs my finger with such an iron grip that I swear he has adult strength. A baby who smells so gosh darn delicious that I can’t help but bury my face in his neck at every possible opportunity. A baby who is starting to understand subtle changes in facial expressions and gives a shy half-smile to strangers exclaiming over his unbelievable cuteness (and a HUGE! WIDE! OPEN-MOUTH! SPARKLY EYES! smile to Mommy, Daddy and Owen).

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Oh Emmett. If there’s one word I use to describe you the most on a daily basis it is SMILEY. You are one joyful little person. Even when you’re tired or hungry, you often smile through your tears in this adorable I-can’t-decide-if-I’m-happy-or-sad state. I took you into my office last week to visit my coworkers and you charmed every single one of them, smiling and cooing while they oohed and ahhed over you. After a bit of socializing you always look for me, though, and you need some one-on-one time to recharge.

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I get it. I totally do. I’ll always be here to wrap you up in my arms and be your calm. Your home base. Your comfort.

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Usually you are quite the mama’s boy (and I couldn’t be happier about that), but there’s one situation where I always play second fiddle: when Owen is in the room. You are enthralled with him. Totally in love. Entertained. Amused. In the mornings or after naps he climbs onto the side of your crib and opens your swaddle saying, “Good morning cutie pie!” or “Wake up, sleepyhead” or just “Emmett-eeeeeeeeee”. It takes my breath away every time. I love to watch you love each other.

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When we’re playing together Owen is always all up in your business. Patting your head or climbing on your body or making you clap with your feet or do sign language with your hands. Last night he was dead set on feeding you a potato despite my insistence that you are too little to eat food. I constantly hear myself saying, “Owen, please give Emmett space” or “Back up” or “Face away from his face!”, but you wanna know the truth? YOU LOVE IT. You love all of the manhandling and silliness and physical torture. You’re smiling, egging him on. You guys are going to be quite the pair as you grow up together. Partners in crime. I can see it already.

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You and me, though, we’ve got something special too. I know when you’re older you won’t want to hear about how breastfeeding was this special time between us, but it is. It really is. I am so thankful for the quiet times I get to sit with you and rock you and gaze at your beautiful little body. Even amidst the chaos of Owen playing and breakfast making and Schnitzel barking… when I’m nursing you it’s like there’s this force field around us and we’re the only two people inside. (Believe me, sometimes I feel like I need a force field, since Owen always seems to think that nursing time means “let’s climb all over mom and ask her incessant questions”). Every 2-3 hours you get 20 minutes of time with me all to yourself. And I get you. And at night when it’s quiet and you’re swaddled and our bodies are rocking in sync I wish I could freeze time and remember that feeling forever. It’s my happy place (at the same time, I would also LOVE to know what it feels like to sleep for 6+ hours at a time again!).

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You got sick for the first time over the last few days. Daycare germs, no doubt. The raspy, squeaky sound of your “I’m losing my voice” voice just about broke my heart into a million pieces. It was so sad. We’ve been humidifying and nursing around the clock (remember when you used to get up only once a night? Yeah, that was nice…) and I think you’re starting to feel a bit better today. When you had a decent fever the other day I tried to give you some medicine and learned something about you. You are a TRICKSTER when it comes to medicine. You have already perfected the art of spitting out every last drop. I’m going to have to work on my technique. I hope you don’t have the same reaction when we are ready to try solid food in a couple months!

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I’ve started giving you your vitamins and any medicine in the bath so that when you spit it out it doesn’t make a big mess. Owen thinks this is HILARIOUS and loves to watch me. He instructs, “little by little” and asks me if you spit it out after every gulp. Speaking of bath time, you love baths. Love. No matter how tired or hungry or ready for bed you are, you immediately calm when I start running the water. You and Owen splash and play together and I try my best to make sure he doesn’t drown you with his antics.

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I love you so, little one. You are the perfect addition to our family. I can’t wait to watch you grow up and learn more about who you are.

Love,
Mama

She Says… 2 Months

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My sweet Emmett,

Mr. Smileypants. Bonky Bonks (yup, that nickname has stuck, despite my best efforts to give you a nicer one). You are one happy baby.

Seriously. You are the smiliest.

Every day I fall a little bit more in love with you. Even on the hard days.

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This past weekend we took a trip to see Aunt Ginger and Uncle Seth get married (your first flight!). You know how people say you learn a lot about a person when you travel with them? Well, I certainly learned more about you. You are a Mama’s boy so far; and I mean that in the sweetest, best sense of the term. You loved being passed around from aunt to uncle to cousins to friends to random strangers who just couldn’t help but pinch your beautiful little cheeks for a little while, and then… BOOM. You wanted Mommy. Just Mommy. It was really the first time I’ve heard you cry for more than a few minutes. You were just… overwhelmed, it seemed.

And, my beautiful boy, I gotta tell you. I get it. I really do. I used to be a full-on, 100% extravert, very much like your brother. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve shifted to be more introverted, and I saw so much of that part of myself in you as you relished your alone time this weekend (even happily chilling out by yourself in your crib).

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You are easy as pie to put to sleep. Except, however, for your actual “bedtime” at 7:00pm. The rest of the day you are happy to be put down wide awake and talk yourself to sleep. But at bedtime you want to be nursed all the way to sleep and transferred carefully, quietly, gently. And if I dare to leave the room before you are in deep sleep? You’ll cry and fuss and demand that I come back up to your room and rock you some more, starting from scratch. Sometimes I get frustrated because you are so different/difficult at bedtime… and then I realize that you’re only barely 10 weeks old and you are E.A.S.Y. compared to most (ahem, YOUR BROTHER, ahem).

Maybe that’s just what a 2nd kid has to do to get a little rocking time with Mommy. If that’s the case, keep yelling, little one. Remind me to slow down and snuggle you while I can, because the day will come pretty soon when I won’t be able to. And I’ll miss these days, I guarantee it.

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I am so thankful for our breastfeeding relationship. Feeding you has become one of my most favorite things to do. Even when I feel like all I do in a day is nurse you, you still melt me every time I look down at your peach fuzz hair and your big, blue eyes. Your sharp little fingernails clench and unclench my chest as you eat and my skin is marred with tiny little cuts and pinch-marks. But I wear those scrapes with honor. I am so proud of us for powering through when it was tough, as now I feel that nursing you is one of my greatest accomplishments and one of my favorite parts of the day. Still, though, I am so relieved that you are flexible enough to take a bottle with formula or breastmilk. That makes life easy for both of us. Keep it up, Hoover. You’re doing a great job.

Oh, my little dimpled wonder, you fit into our family like a perfect little puzzle piece. Everyone adores you, including Owen. He dotes on you in a way I never saw coming. He loves to tiptoe into your room with me to wake you up. He climbs onto the side of your crib and asks me to pull you over to him so he can open your swaddle. You beam at him and he gives me the play-by-play, “He’s smiling at me! He’s saying he loves me!”. He watches your tiny fists open and close and is constantly telling me what you are “learning” (the sign for orange, for instance, when you were putting your clenching fist to your chin, or the number 5 when your fingers splayed out wide). When you are playing on your mat in the living room he always, ALWAYS, runs over from whatever he is doing to lay there with you. I’m constantly refereeing with instructions like, “Give Emmett some space!” and “Don’t touch his face so much”, “Don’t climb on his body”, but Owen’s response is always, “He likes it!”. And you do. You laugh and gaze at him with an expression I’ve never seen you use with anyone else.

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I can already see how you will look up to him as you two grow together. I know there will be WWF-worthy wrestling and angry words between you (you are brothers, after all), but I hope what you will remember are the inside jokes and the silliness and the LOVE that you share.

Your brother will be your protector, your confidante, your sidekick and your best friend. Treat him that way.

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I love you, Bonky Bonks. And Daddy too. And Owen adores you. And this weekend your cousins (and aunts and uncles and grandparents!) fought over who got to hold you, like the best baby doll they’ve ever seen.

You have stretched ours hearts to make room for you. You’re just so darn easy to fall in love with. Keep up the good work.

All my love,
Mommy

She Says… 1 Month

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My sweet, precious Emmett,

You are one month old. Ok, ok, you are actually one month and 5 days old, but this is just about the first chance I’ve had to sit and write to you since then. And, while I’m being honest, these pictures were not taken when you were one month old — you were really 2 weeks old. We haven’t gotten our act together to pose your monthly pictures yet.

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But please don’t be offended. The lack of pictures or timeliness of my letters is far from an indication that you are any less loved than your brother. In fact, it’s really proof that I’ve been doing a lot more gazing at you without a camera in my hand. I’ve breathed in your baby smell while rocking you in your nursery. I’ve spent my time fending off your brother who adores you so much that he wants to climb all over your body to show you and pat you and touch you. I’ve taken you out on the town almost every day. To see friends, to the grocery store, on walks, to pick up Owen from school. You and I are living symbiotically; it’s like we’re one person. Where I go, you go, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We’ve done so much together already that I can barely believe it’s only been a month.

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I know it may be hard to tell a newborn’s personality immediately, since they all just eat and sleep and poop, but from the moment you rushed out into this world (and I do mean rushed… what was the hurry?) so many people have used the same word to describe you: ALERT. Alert, and, now that it’s been a month and we’ve had a chance to get to know each other, I would add CALM. You are a very content little person. Chill and quiet (most of the time) and happy to be carried around from thing to thing, person to person.

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But, at the same time, you are awake more than any other newborn I’ve ever seen. Your gray-blue eyes are wide, taking it all in. You have a still, quiet intensity about you, like you’re soaking everything in — the sights, sounds, smells. And you’re thinking. Constantly thinking. Processing. Learning. I await the day when you have the words to share what’s going on in that beautiful head of yours. Though perhaps you’ll be a man a few words, revealing only the parts you want others to see. Only time will tell.

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Sometimes, while resting your head on my shoulder, your breathing will slow and align with mine, and your head feels heavy, and I’ll peek at you to see if you are asleep… but your blue eyes are still twinkling. Open wide. Taking it all in.

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This last week you have started smiling. REALLY smiling. We saw glimpses of what your smile would look like in the early days — probably gas at the time, but we marveled at your double dimples and the way your eyebrows raised and lit up your face anyway. These days you often have a bemused expression, like you’re laughing at your own private joke. Or you’re on the verge of that huge, open-mouthed smile I’ve only seen in your sleep. And once in a while, usually right when you wake up from a nice nap, you look me right in the eyes and grin.

Oh, that grin will knock a grown man to his feet. It’s a powerful thing, my child.

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You have a regular flow to your days. You wake up, nurse hungrily as if you’ve never eaten before, and then you’re ready for a long happy awake time. You lay on your back kicking your legs and smile at the wall, the ceiling, Owen, Schnitzel, whatever passes within your field of vision. You stay awake for almost 2 hours most days, just chillin’. Then you nurse again and usually fall asleep while I pat your back. You love to be patted, jostled, bobbled, bounced. Can’t get enough. I can only imagine how much you were wiggled and jiggled in my belly, as I was very active when I carried you around for 9 months. After that I swaddle you and put you in your crib again (or sometimes give in to your quiet breathing and sit on the couch with you on my shoulder for as long as I can). The rest of your day is a cycle of sleeping, eating, pooping (usually while eating), happy awake time, and more sleeping.

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Come 5 or 6pm your ‘tude takes a turn. I’m not sure what it is about this witching hour (ahem, hourS), but you are fussy and hungry and difficult to figure out until “bed time”, which is around 9pm for now. We’re getting the hang of it, but usually calming you during this time involves feeding you and feeding you and feeding you some more, and bouncing you with the noise of the tv in the background. You simply will NOT be in your crib or the quiet nursery at this time. I guess I should be thankful… learning to sleep through noise will serve you well in life, little guy. Especially in this house. And in college. Keep it up.

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I can’t brag about your night time sleep since you’re not really into sleeping long stretches, but I am thankful that you are incredibly easy to put back to sleep. I can almost always put you in your crib drowsy but awake, and so far you really haven’t needed much rocking or swaying or shhhing the way your big brother did. Still, I’d love to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time… mmkay? Can we try that?

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Oh Emmett, I may never have the time to write down all of the reasons you are special and loved and so, so precious to me. And I may not take your monthly pictures on the right day, or even at all. And it is inevitable that you will be compared to Owen as we discover ways that you are similar and different. But you must always know that I am madly, head-over-heels in love with you, and there isn’t a darn thing you could ever do to change that.

From the very first moment you arrived, you stretched my heart in a way I never imagined.

Love,
Mommy

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P.S. You make these hilarious squeaky sounds while you sleep and eat. For a few days we even nicknamed you “Squeaks”. But it didn’t stick. You know what did? Bonky Bonks. For the way you bobble your head around and peck our shoulders like a baby bird when you are hungry. I’m so sorry if this one sticks, my little Bonky Bonks.

She Says… On Becoming a Big Brother

To the one who first made me a mother,

Your life is about to change. Any day now. Dramatically. We’ve been preparing you for this day as much as possible, talking about babies and how fun it is to be a big brother and how you’re going to teach our baby all kinds of things. And you are all smiles and dimples and twinkling eyes; you always say just the right things (“I’m gonna LOVE my baby brother. I’m gonna teach him how to eat and swing on the swings. I want him to sit next to me in the car. I’m gonna kiss his feet and hold him.”). You’ve been asking me for weeks when he will come out so you can play with him.

But really? Really I know you have NO idea how this is going to rock your world.

Frankly, none of us do. And as thrilled as I am for this next big adventure and for this tiny baby to become part of our family, I am also sad. I’m sad that it won’t just be you and me anymore. That I won’t be able to wake up in the morning and climb into bed with you and chatter away without also thinking of someone else who needs my attention. I’m sad that the afternoons where I can wake you up from your nap and say, “What do you want to do this afternoon, buddy?” may be few and far between. I’m sad that there will inevitably be times when you need me and I just can’t be there because there is another little person who needs me too.

For almost 3 whole years it’s been you and me. Daddy too, of course. The three of us have so much fun together. But there’s something special between you and I that started the second you were placed into my arms. The moment that I realized I was a mother and it was all thanks to you. It was built through those long nights of nursing and rocking and tears (for both of us) and strengthened as I learned the patterns of your breathing and the signs of when you were sick and what foods you liked and didn’t like. As you’ve gotten older I hear my own voice in yours, and I see myself in your tiny face. I know what you mean even when your words fail you and I know how to make it all better when things fall apart.

You’re my little buddy. My sidekick. My partner in crime.

I know that doesn’t have to change. You will always be my buddy. My sidekick. My partner in crime. I will always be here for you, no matter how many other people need my attention. I know we’ll both have some adjusting to do over the next few weeks and months. And that’s a little scary. But I also know that although it may not feel like it right away (or maybe it will!), I am certain Daddy and I are giving you one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.

I hope that you and your brother grow up side by side, hand in hand. I hope that you teach him everything you know… because that is a lot. You are so wise beyond your years. You are inquisitive and hilarious and thoughtful. Honest with your emotions. Outspoken. Opinionated. I hope you can be there for him when no one else is, and I hope he does the same for you. Sibling love is such a special thing; it’s a bond that can’t be broken.

There may be times that he knows you even better than you know yourself; trust him then. There may be times when you wish he wasn’t around as much as he is or that he would just leave you alone; try to understand that these times will pass and you will want him by your side again soon. There may be times when you think you know better than him because you are older; open your mind to the possibility that he can teach you some things too. Love him unconditionally, no matter how he loves you back. And please cut Daddy and I a little slack as we learn how to do these things too.

I love you so much and I know that you are going to make the best big brother. And no matter what, you’ll ALWAYS be my first.
Mommy