To Rex, On Your 8 Month Birthday

Dear Rex:

Eight months ago, we met you.  They put you on my chest and you looked at me with the most priceless “What the F***?!” look I think I have ever seen.  It was so appropriate, too.  You had quite a journey to land there and then what do you see? A very sweaty, teary lady with the exact same expression on her face.

Marcus Ramberg via Flickr Creative Commons

We have been through quite a lot since then, you and I and your daddy.  A learning curve so steep it sometimes felt like we would fall off into the abyss.  Numerous comparisons to raising animals, including the unfortunate habit of saying that we were taking you to the vet instead of the pediatrician.  Sleepless nights.  Sleepless days.  Hard work, which was play for you and work for us.  Lots of crying – mostly you, but some me.

And now, finally, joy.  You, simply, are a joy.  Your laugh is easily one of the most wonderful sounds I’ve ever heard and you smile with your entire face.  You are babbling now, saying “mamamama” and “dadada”.  I could really care less which becomes your official first word because I’m holding out for “dog”. It is amazing watching and hearing you acquire language.

You are beginning to crawl – that stomach scoot that is perfected in boot camp by army recruits.  You are inextricably drawn to the most dangerous objects on the floor and make a regular beeline for the animals.  The dog, for one, is becoming more wary of your little grabbing hands since they typically grab for his tail.  On the bed, you immediately head for the edge or the nightstands with their sharp, wood edges.  I can’t tell if its because you are a boy or that they are sending out some high frequency siren call that only you can hear.  You are moving us into keeping-us-on-our-toes territory.

You love to play cowboy on Grandpa’s lap and continue bouncing even when he stops.  You watch what we eat very intently and frequently make a grab for something that appears appetizing.  You love paper.  You love to crinkle it, to wave it in the air and to eat it, especially the light paper they put on the exam table at the doctor’s office.  Daylight savings time has wreaked a little havoc on your wake up time, but otherwise, you are a good sleeper.  You now sing when you wake up and can do it for up to an hour before you get cranky (we know, we’ve timed you).  When we do go in to get you up for the day, you do the worm out of sheer joy at seeing us and shoot us megawatt smiles.

These first eight months of your life have not been easy for you or for us.  But, thank you for being patient with us as we learned how to be your parents.  We’re still learning (and will be doing so for the next 18 years) but you are a joy to learn on.  And, while there are still days when I miss my old freedoms (Teen Mom marathon? Sign me up!), you make us laugh or display a new skill and I can let go of that former life without as much difficulty.

I am so excited to watch you grow, my little man.



Do I Know You?

In those first few years after Mr. X and I were married, there were times when I would find myself looking at him thinking, “Who is this guy and how did we get here?”  For as much as I knew him, physically, emotionally, intellectually, he was still sometimes this strange person in my house who I didn’t recognize from my former life.

Peek A Boo

If I had those moments with a man who I knew for three years before I married him, then you can only imagine how many of those moments I am having with Rex.  Let’s just say lots.  Part of the difficulty is that I have a hard time seeing me in him.  He is the spitting image of his father at this age.  I knew even on the 18-week ultrasound who he took after in the looks department.  Seriously.  The chin, the profile, it was Mr. X, which of course prompted a little IVF humor – at least we know they didn’t use the wrong sperm!

Even now, at almost 8 months, Rex is a bit of a mystery to me.  I’m still having a hard time reconciling the baby I knew for 9 months on the ultrasound screen, and then later through the belly Olympics to the one who is starting to crawl and wants to eat the dog’s tail.  He is his own little person who is slowly, but surely, developing his own personality.  The good news is that it looks like it’s a wonderful personality that is a joy to see emerging each day a little more.  And, he is starting to have a sense of humor, playing peek-a-boo or giggling while being tickled (his baby love handles are a particularly fertile spot for giggle induction).  I’m also starting to see me in him, particularly the eyes.

While this getting-to-know-you phase still sometimes makes me panic – oh my God! I’m sharing my home with this little strange alien creature who shrieks and emits foul smells and it feels like it’s going to be this way for the next 17 1/2 years! – I’m making a concerted effort to take a more positive spin on the situation:  he’s like a gift that we are slowly unwrapping; a flower blooming; a volcano erupting (er, or maybe not).   Each day, we find something new.

We are getting to know each other as people do.  I have to remind myself that he is getting to know us (and all of human kind at the same time), too.  So far, he’s doing a pretty darn good job of it.  I know that sooner rather than later, it will seem as if we have known each other forever and that was the way it was always meant to be.