6 months

Every night, Jackson wants to go outside and look at the moon. Hours before it’s dark, he will ask, “moon come to Jackson’s house?” Besides the fact that him thinking the moon comes to visit him is just the cutest, and the smile that overtakes his face when he sees it, this two-minute nightly affair means more than just going to look at the moon. Some nights the moon is breathtakingly beautiful, and some nights we are happy to see a sliver. Some nights it’s so cloudy that we can’t see the moon at all, but we know it’s still there. (these moonless nights remind me that the love is still in there, somewhere, as i struggle to dress/wrestle Jackson/a hungry bear coming out of hibernation every day). Seeing the moon change from small to big to small again, to watch it appear and disappear and appear again, is a reminder that we too have phases and grow to become new moons every so often.

This is certainly true for Davis. In six months, he has gone through many phases, and through them all I have come to learn, love, and obsess over him. I’ve learned just the right place to tickle him to make him laugh and how to kiss him to make him smile. I know that he is happiest standing on my legs, and that he loves jumping of any sort, being outside, music, and baths. He is now eating foods, sitting up, and playing with toys. But his love for Jackson is the most consistent, sweetest love, and a love that was born even before he loved Michael and me. Jackson is his entertainment. He watches him all day long, and he is fussier when Jackson isn’t around. To see Jackson love him back just as fiercely has been one of the greatest joys. The first word out of Jackson’s mouth every morning and after his nap is “Dee-Cee”. The second I open the bedroom door he pops up and says Dee-Cee, and he falls asleep repeating mama, dada, dee-cee every night.

The happiness I feel when I see a big moon at night, or hear the garbage truck in time to run outside and watch it, or catch the school bus every morning at 7:09 during breakfast with Jackson, or sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider to an open-mouthed grin, or play peek-a-boo with sheer determination to become invisible before the boo, pretty much solidifies that I am in a different phase of my life right now. I might have to go to bed at 8:15 because Davis thinks his day should start at 4:45 a.m., but I will squeeze those chubby little cheeks and even chubbier legs all day long. And I might feel like I’m bartering with Kim Jung Un as we negotiate how much cereal Jackson needs in a bowl at any given time, but I’ll take him outside to see the moon and give him his nine kisses before bed every night. And as every phase passes, for them and for me, I can only hope that we become the best new moons we can be.

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Happy 2nd Birthday

 

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Jackson,

You have grown into the most independent–yet dependent–, easily pleased–yet beyond stubborn–little boy. Not a day goes by that you don’t make me laugh, cry, smile, clench my fists, beam with pride, question my sanity, and thank God for choosing me as your Ma-Ma.

Our days always start the same way. For you, it’s two bowls of “Dada’s Cereal” or Cinnamon Toast Diabetes. For me, it’s the long “huggie” you give me when I am taking you out of your high chair. I like to watch the Today Show, but you insist on watching golf. In fact, golf is the only show you will watch any time of the day.

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You refuse to leave the house in anything other than your Pete the Cat blue (Nike) shoes. Whether you’re going to school, swimming with Grandma, music class, the park, Bapa’s house, church, or Honey and Pappy’s, you insist on wearing your Pete shoes.

We sing “Landon on the bus” more times in a day than I can count. The first thing you say when you wake up in the morning (and the last thing you say before you go to bed) is Landon, Emerson, Greyson, Hall, and Henry. It’s almost as if you can’t complete simple tasks without help from your cousins. “Landon on the bus says eat your blueberries,” or “Emerson on the bus says jump up and down”, or “Hall on the bus says change your diaper”. Round and round the wheels go, task after task and cousin after cousin I sing. All. Day. Long.

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You like things done the same way every time. Most things, like picking between two colors for spoons in the mornings, aren’t a big deal. But letting you out of the stroller at the end of the street to touch the fire hydrant once means an additional 18 minutes for you to touch the fire hydrant and walk the rest of the way home every single day since. This also means that we have to bring the trash bin and the recycling bin to the street every Tuesday despite the fact that recycling comes every other week–because you just can’t bear to let the recycling stay behind.

You are my little helper. Related to the above, I can no longer start the washing machine myself. Or transfer the clothes to the dryer myself. Or hit the button on the Keurig for my coffee myself. Or get the mail myself. Or unload the dishwasher myself. You have duties, and I better respect them.

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But your best duty is your new duty as a big brother. There is no one that you are more excited to see in the mornings than Davis, and he is the only person or thing that makes getting you up from your nap slightly tolerable. You constantly try to snuggle with him (steamroll him), kiss him (slightly bite), and rub his head (poke his eyes out), and i know it won’t be long until you teach how to throw rocks and trucks down the slide almost decapitating many of children.

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Possible decapitations aside, these two years have shown me that you are the sweetest, most gentle soul there ever was. You love everyone. Nothing makes you happier than trucks and blocks and puzzles and books, other than your family. And no matter how many times I sing [Insert cousin] on the bus, it will never compare to how many times I thank God that I was chosen to be your Ma-Ma.

Happy 2nd birthday.

The Last Time

Do you spend your days saying “bus” and “truck” at every passing bus and truck? If not, it’s quite eye opening to see just how many there are. Luckily, I have the Bus and Truck Patrol to point and grunt and make sure I acknowledge all of them. Early morning walks on Wednesdays are prime Patrol times. We walk early enough to see lots of school buses. AND it’s trash day, so we see the trash truck every street. We stop. We wave hi. We stop and wave hi every time.
 
Then, if you can believe our luck, we make it home in time to chase squirrels before I have to shower. Again we point and say hi, and he chases them, through the pine needles and poison ivy, all the way to our neighbors house, where they have failed to pick up their paper from yesterday. We stroll up their driveways and collect all of them. Happy to help. 
 
Then it’s shower time. He pretty much roams while i shower (post-taking everything out of the cabinet). But the second, and i mean second, the shower turns off, he sprints to help me open the shower door. I then have approximately 2.6 seconds, but absolutely no more, to jump out of the shower before he closes the door on me. It’s like sneaking through a closing elevator door. Then another 3.4 seconds before he hands me my lotion that I must promptly use so he can put it back in the cabinet. Drying off is apparently not acceptable. It’s gotten to the point where my heart beat literally starts racing as I’m rinsing out the conditioner if he’s not in the bathroom. Maybe, just maybe, I can turn the water off and dry off without feeling like I’m a horse being cajoled by his jockey to the finish line…Nope, not this time. Not ever. 
 
And then it’s 9:15 a.m. And we have ten more hours of fun to fill before bed time.

 
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Luckily though, the nice weather has made it so easy to find fun things to do. We have been loving our days lately, and it’s so fun to watch him try new things and develop a little personality. 

 
Every so often though, the number of times I’ve sung The Wheels on the Bus, Down on Grandpa’s Farm, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider starts to rival the number of glasses of wine I wish I could drink, and I’ve read (rather, recited) the same five books at lunch one too many times. When this happens, I think about this poem. And i cry, every single time, because I never want these times to end. I know this because about once every two weeks I take a shower alone, and I miss my little horse jockey racing me to finish line.  I sing his favorite songs even when I’m alone. I take note of every bus and every truck no matter if he’s there to help me or not.  And i know that I never want there to be a last time. 
 
The Last Time- Anonymous 
 

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …

There is a last time for everything.

There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time. 

They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.

They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.