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Baby's First Year

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Baby's First Year - Page Text Content

S: Cormac Slater Sutherland


FC: BABY'S FIRST YEAR | Baby | Letters to Mac in his first year | Dear


2: My Dearest Cormac, The following pages are my words, my pictures, my memories. I hope you one day fully realize what a blessing you have been to your dad and me. While he may not have documented your every waking moment and his every mundane thought the way I did, doesn't mean that you don't mean absolutely everything to your dad. But for me, this is the best way I could think of to properly document the first year of your life -- a year which passes more quickly than any other year as far as I can tell. I blogged and shared you with the world so that I could better remember my baby Mac. I hope you don't mind. Hopefully this book serves as a reminder as you get older of just how much I love you. I want you to know how you changed my world in the most profound and wonderful way. I want you to know how blessed I felt the moment I knew I was pregnant with you and the journey I took to become the best mother possible. I want you to know the mother I became when they put you in my arms and how proud I am of your dad and me. I want you to know how magical this first year has been for us and how much fun we've had watching you grow. I want you to know our victories, our struggles, our jokes, our stories, and our astonishing growth as a family. Darling Mac, I love you so much and my love for you continues to expand every day.


4: Oct. 15, 2009 Holy Crap. I'm pregnant! It comes at me in waves, but it still doesn't feel quite real. There is a life inside of me and it is growing. My little guppy. It reminds me of when I first got engaged. I kept staring at my ring on my finger, not quite able to believe that I was actually engaged. Now I keep putting my hands on my belly, not quite able to believe that I'm actually pregnant. This is so huge. | Oct. 12, 2009 At 5:15 am I took a pregnancy test. 2 minutes later, I found out that today is the day I am pregnant. I am overjoyed, but reality hasn't quite set in yet. I know that it's happening, but it's still so unreal. Today is the day my life is no longer about just me. Today is the day I've been waiting for. | Jan. 6, 2010 I keep thinking that as I get further along in this pregnancy, I'll stop worrying about whether or not I've kept my baby alive. But I'm clearly not there yet. Just this last week or so I've been a little panicked about whether or not the baby is still alive and kicking in there. I can't really feel it moving around in there yet so I am sustained by these doctor's appointments that prove to me I'm still doing things right. So being able to hear the baby's heartbeat today was absolute music to my ears. To hear that rapid whoosh of my little baby's heart makes me feel capable and responsible once again. It boosts my confidence and eases my stress. I love that sound more than any sound in the world. | Feb. 4, 2010 IT'S A BOY!!! As someone who always wished she had an older brother, I couldn't be happier about having my first child be a boy. And Chris is absolutely giddy about it. At first, he thought he wanted a girl so that he could have a "daddy's girl", but the day before we found out the sex, he confided in me that he changed his mind -- that suddenly he really wanted a boy. So a boy we got. So the next step? Finding a name we can agree on!

5: Dec. 18, 2009 Dear Baby, It's a scary time for me right now. I'm feeling kind of like a bad mom because I went and lost my job shortly after discovering you were going to make your grand entrance into the world in about 6 months. I just wanted to let you know that I promise I'll make this better. I promise I will work my butt off to make sure that you are going to get the best start in life possible, rather than one where your mom is stuck eating ramen every day while pulling double shifts back in the restaurant world. I might feel like a failure right now, but I promise I won't fail you. I will get up, dust myself off, and find a kick ass way to help support us all. And in the meantime, you're lucky you've got a great dad with a good job who's awesome at math and knows how to keep us on a budget. And you know, baby, I think this might just be for the best. I think I may have found a way for us to be together all day every day once you arrive, and that would be pretty darn cool. xo, The Mom | Dec. 31 2009 Dear Baby, It's the last day of 2009. The last year before you come along and my whole life changes. In this decade, so many huge things have occurred. I graduated high school, I graduated college, I married your dad, and we bought a house. It's hard to believe so many life changing events have occurred in one little decade. But none of these events compare to what's going to happen in 2010. So along with all the other typical resolutions (be nicer, get better at saving money, stop eating entire packages of oreos, etc) 2010 will be the year I resolve to be the best mom possible. I'm going to start reading the books. I'm going to start taking this motherhood thing seriously. I'm so excited to meet you and I'm going to do everything I can to be the best mom to you. As my stomach grows, your presence inside of me becomes more real and it hits me more and more every day how important it is for me to be a great mom to you. So that's my resolution, Baby -- to kick ass at motherhood. Bring on 2010, because I can't wait to meet you! xo, The Mom

6: Jan 27, 2010 Dear Baby, Someday, you're going to toss me aside and hurt my feelings over something completely trivial (it could be something as little as your refusal to stop crying in my arms but immediately calming down when I hand you over to your dad) and while trying to choke back tears, I'm going to start going over the laundry list of sacrifices I've had to make while carrying you. First, I'd like to take this time to tell you that no matter what I say, I have considered it a privilege to be your walking, talking incubator, and know that I'll look back and treasure this time together. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, lets go ahead and get this laundry list going. * Raw Eggs: Baby, I really love "dipping eggs" (as I grew up calling over easy eggs) and one of my favorite things is cooking up a big ol' Sunday morning breakfast with bacon and over easy eggs. I can't have dipping eggs, though. Nor can I have eggs benedict since there's raw egg in the hollandaise sauce. And I'm also not allowed to have raw cookie dough. I'm not going to lie to you, baby, these food restrictions really have cramped my style, so you better appreciate it when you emerge from the womb salmonella free. * Diet Coke: Someday you'll appreciate the deliciousness and addictive qualities of Diet Coke. And you'll realize what a sacrifice it was for me to abandon my treasured can of Diet Coke with dinner. Until you make your debut, I'll be content with a sip or two of of your dad's Diet Coke. But know that that kind of self restraint hasn't been easy. | * Booze: Oh Baby, I don't want you to think your mom has a drinking problem or anything, but I'm sure you'll learn soon how much your mom loves a glass of wine with dinner or a cold beer while grilling. And I miss those things. So much. One day, far off in the future, when it is perfectly legal and acceptable for you to drink alcohol, you'll learn why giving up booze has been such a sacrifice for me. Until that day comes, just trust me -- it's been a sad loss. Well baby, that's about it. I've had to give up other things, but they haven't been as big of a deal so I won't hold it over your head for the rest of your life. I think I have enough ammunition here anyway. I just thought you should know all of this so you know what to expect from me when I'm feeling abandoned and unloved by you as you get older. Seriously Baby, hormones to crazy things, xo, The Mom

7: Jan 16, 2010 Dear Baby, Last night for dinner (a dinner that didn't even happen until about an hour before I went to bed) I fed you (okay, us) 3 crunchy chicken sandwiches and a small fry from Wendy's. Years from now, when we're in an epic battle over the dinner table with me pulling out every threat in the book to get you to eat your vegetables, I'd prefer you had no sense memory of the absolute crap I fed you while you were in the womb. Thanks. xo, The Mom | Feb 5, 2010 Dear, Baby, I already know that in a few years I'm going to get in a lot of battles with you at dinner time. I come from a family of picky eaters and have been a longtime picky eater myself, so you're destined to be a picky eater. I've accepted this. But I think it's important you know the sacrifices I'm making for you right now in an attempt to curb your genetic predisposition towards pickiness (not a word, but I have no problem inventing new words for my storytelling purposes). Every single day I've made an effort to eat a vegetable with my meals. This is HUGE, as I am not a big veggie fan (and for the record, your dad is even less of a veggie fan than me). More than that, though, I've been varying the vegetables I eat. And you know what I eat every day at lunch? Carrots. Oh man, Baby, I hate carrots. The taste, the smell, the texture -- hate it all. But I eat them every day because I want you to like a variety of veggies and grow big and strong. I have no problem with green beans or asparagus or broccoli, but carrots are a struggle for me. So just know that because I don't want carrots to be a battle for you, I am battling through my own distaste for them right now. Of course, if you grow up and don't like carrots, don't be surprised if I start weeping uncontrollably. I'd really hate to think I'm eating all these carrots for nothing. xo, The Mom

8: Feb 13, 2010 Dear Baby, I'm watching the Winter Olympics right now and you should know that your Grandma Peggy has long dreamed of being an Olympian. It's not necessarily because she's good at one specific sport (although you should know that she was an amazing skier back in the day, as well as a mean softball player once upon a time), but more because she wants a reason to get the Olympic rings tattooed on her arm. I'm sure it's hard to think of your grandma this way, but she wants an Olympic tattoo somthin' bad. She's weird like that, but you'll get used to it and love it as much as I do. I don't think her Olympic dreams are going to come true given her age, but I guess it'd be pretty cool if you became an Olympian, and I'm sure your grandma would think so too. And I'm certain she'd demand you get a tattoo. Sure, I have high hopes that I'm going to give birth to a son who kicks off the next generation's Manning dynasty (when you grow up I'll tell you all about my adoration of Peyton Manning and how desperately I want him to be my best friend) and with the stellar coaching staff I have in place for you, I think you're already well on your way to becoming an NFL superstar. But I could handle a future Olympian too. That'd be pretty badass. | Just make sure you don't head to the Olympics for curling. That'd be...well...boring, for lack of a less insulting term. Oh, also, no wrestling. I can't sit through wrestling matches and I'd really prefer to avoid cauliflower ears on my sure-to-be-adorable little boy. But feel free to be an Olympian in any other sport. No pressure, though, Baby. I'll be proud of you no matter what. xo, The Mom

9: Mar 10 2010 Dear Baby, I think I should tell you now that I'm probably going to make a lot of mistakes as your mom. I'm probably going to be too harsh with a punishment, or let you eat mac & cheese too often, or pretend I don't see you stealing sips of my Diet Coke. I'm probably going to keep you up past your bedtime every so often because I want to stay for one more funny story and odds are your naps will occasionally get screwed up because I've forgotten about an errand I need to run. But I'm going to do my best. And I will love you. And protect you. And be the best mom I know how to be. So here are a few promises about things I won't screw up: I promise... | always love you, no matter what. give you the space you need to grow, but to always be there when you need me. remember that above all, I am your mother, but if you need a friend to talk to, I can be that too. remember to laugh a lot. tell you I love you as often as possible. hug you all the time, even some of those times when you don't want me to. never judge you, but always guide you. help you grow into the best man you can be. push you to try everything, but not pressure you to stick with it. let you be a kid. support your wildest dreams | I'm sure there are more promises, but that's all I can think of for now and really...that's a lot! Lets not go expecting too much from me too soon. I mean, come on! It's my first time at this mom thing! So, little man, there's bound to be a lot of slip-ups and quite a bit of learning as we go. But no matter what, I am ALWAYS going to do my best. And I'm always going to love you with my whole heart. xo, The Mom

10: Mar 31, 2010 Dear Baby, Today was a good day. I was probably more worried for this doctor's appointment than I have been for any other. There was so much potential for bad news but you totally came through for me. I want to take this time to thank you for cooperating with your mom. Not only did you flip yourself into the right position in the 3 days since we got your last picture taken (aka the ultrasound), but despite being a bit oversized, you also kept your cool in there and helped me pass my glucose test. Mama did NOT want gestational diabetes. Don't worry. I'll likely be rewarding you with and entire package of shortbread cookies or a bag of Hostess donuts. You've earned 'em. Seriously, though, Baby, these last 5 days have made me so excited to meet you. Not only are you an adorable little chubster, but you're a cooperative one! I can't stop myself from gazing at your ultrasound pictures and marveling at all the little features you're inheriting from your dad and me. It blows my mind that I can already see us in you -- that we MADE you. And without even meeting you, my heart nearly explodes with the love I already feel for you. 12 weeks, Baby. In at least 12 weeks I get to meet you and kiss your chubby little cheeks. I cannot wait. xo, The Mom | Apr 11, 2010 Dear Baby, I'm sitting here quietly on a Sunday night after a busy weekend. Your dad has already gone to bed and the tuckered out doggie has gone with him, so it's just me, a laptop glowing in the dark, and a terrible movie on TV. All I can think about as I sit here alone is the feeling of you rolling around inside of me. This feeling never stops being completely incredible to me. And as excited as I am to meet you, I'm going to miss these quiet moments knowing that you're growing healthy and strong inside of me. It makes me sad that your dad will never know this amazing feeling, but at the same time, I relish these moments that are just yours and mine. Only two and a half more months of this until I have to share you with the world. Believe me, I treasure every moment. But don't worry, I know once you're out in the world I'll treasure those moments too. xo, The Mom

11: May 5, 2010 Dear Baby, I'm starting to feel more prepared for your arrival. Is it sad that merely having diapers in my possession is what makes me feel like I'm finally capable of being your mother? I mean, I know there's more to being a mom than keeping your butt covered, but it's a major boost in confidence knowing that I'm able to do that now. I spent all day yesterday washing your bedding and your clothes. Your crib is all made up, spare bedding stored, and clothes are waiting to be folded. Oh, Baby, there's something you should probably know about me: I hate folding clothes. If you wind up living out of laundry baskets, I apologize, but it's been working well for me for the past decade, so I'm pretty sure you'll survive. It doesn't mean I love you any less, it just means I REALLY hate folding clothes. I think everyone else is ready for your arrival too. Grandma Peggy and Bubba have their house decked out with baby stuff -- crib, highchair, strollers, toys, etc. -- and grandma can't stop herself from scouring garage sales looking for more stuff. Grandma Viv and Grandpa Chip buy a new outfit for you every time we see them. Your uncles can't wait to spoil the crap out of you. And there are so many others who can't wait to smother you with hugs and kisses. Your dad and I have some pretty awesome friends who are excited to meet you, and I have a large, close-knit extended family who are anxiously awaiting your arrival. There is no doubt you will be surrounded by love. Things are starting to get real around here. Sure, I still have moments of panic, wondering if I can sufficiently provide for you and give you everything you deserve. But at this point, I'm mostly super excited to have you around. You've got a pretty cool life waiting out here for you. You can stay inside me a little bit longer. We're not quite ready out here, but we're definitely feeling better prepared so that by the time you're ready, we'll ready too. I can't wait to meet you. xo, The Mom

14: YOUR BIRTH STORY | CHOOSING YOUR NAME | After going through literally every page in the boy section of the baby name book, your dad and I created a bracket system for choosing your name. We pared it down from 20 to 16 to 8 to 4, and it was from those 4 remaining names that we chose what to name you on the day you were born. Cormac Slater Sutherland. Named after an author I hate but with a name I love. My maiden name is your middle name so that a part of who I was is always carried with you. | POUNDS 8 lbs | MEASUREMENTS | BIRTH DATE June 24, 2010 | BIRTH TIME 5:04 am at Southdale Hospital | OUNCES 4 oz | INCHES 21 in


16: EARLY MOMENTS | _____________________________________________________________

17: DATE__________

18: July 13, 2010 Dear Baby, For 19 days you've been mine. For 19 days I've gotten to know your little quirks, your preferences, your habits. For 19 days, I've stared at your face for hours and held you as often as possible. For 19 days I've been your mom, yet I still can't quite believe you're real and I'm THIS lucky. It's amazing how much I've learned about you these past 2.5 weeks. I've learned that your favorite place to put your hands is right next to your face and that as much as you enjoy being swaddled, your arms are spring-loaded and the minute we unswaddle you, those thinks pop up right next to your cheeks. Your fantastically chubby cheeks. I've learned that you hate waking up and it usually takes you about a half hour to wake up in the morning or from a really long nap. I've learned that as you're waking up, you make this super sad face like you're about to let out a huge cry, but you never do. You hardly cry at all. You are such a calm and content baby. I've learned that your favorite way to be held is over my shower, and that when you're hungry, you try to suck on my neck. I've learned that even though you fall asleep on my shoulder, your favorite place to sleep is on my chest. I've learned that the best way to get you to sleep is to pat your back. You don't care about rocking or swaying -- all you need is a good steady pat. I've learned that I love you more than I ever thought possible. I've learned that I wish I could freeze every single moment with you because it seems that each moment is more amazing than I can believe. I've learned that I will do anything to make you safe and happy. And I've learned that being your mother is the single most natural thing I've ever done. I'm so happy you're here, and I'm so grateful to be your mom. Life with you is better than I ever could have dreamed. xo, The Mom

19: Jul 23, 2010 Tomorrow it'll be 1 month. How has it been 1 month? I mean, on one hand, time has completely flown by. But on the other, it feels like Mac has always been here. Like he's always just been a part of me and a part of my life. In just one month he has already changed so much. He's so much more alert now -- spending large portions of the day staring right back at me. He reacts to my voice in a way he didn't used to. He can suddenly hold his head up for long periods of time, and can even occasionally raise his head. He has the beginnings of a smile starting. Every so often, when he has a nice full belly, you can catch him almost smiling. There's other stuff about him that hasn't changed. He still has the same hilarious sneeze -- one regular sneeze followed by the most adorable and convoluted grunt/yell combo ever. His arms still pop up above his head every time we free him from his swaddle. He still curls up in our arms with at least one hand resting on his cheek. He still purses his lips and stretches his neck out in the cutest way possible after he's finished eating. And he is still the best cuddler in the whole wide world. I can't believe it's been a month. I can't believe how much my mini Mac is growing. But I can't believe how many milestones are still to come.

20: Aug 13, 2010 Dear Baby, Right now, I'm looking at you in your Grandma Peggy's arms and I'm thinking about how much I love you. You're snuggled up on her shoulder, covered in the softest polka dot blanket, and every so often you let out a little cry. I'm worried that you're having a bad dream, and it takes every ounce of willpower in my body not to go and scoop you out of your grandma's arms and scare your bad dreams away. | I'm sort of afraid of turning you into a mama's boy, though. No one can sooth you the way I can, you're never more comfortable than when you're with me, and it seems you won't go to sleep at night without me. On one hand, I love being so indispensable and -- lets face it -- your favorite person (hey, in 5 years the only person you're going to want to hang with is your dad, so I've gotta take this while I can get it). But on the other hand, I worry that I'm not teaching you the proper survival skills. I want you to feel safe, secure, and loved, but still know how to be an independent kid. | Then I remind myself you're 7 weeks old. You're like a fish. My little guppy. You forget most things the minute they're over. Right now, I can't love you too much or hold you too much. So as soon as grandma leaves, I won't worry that I can't bear to put you down while I vacuum, or that my thank-you notes come out looking like a 6 year-old has written them because I'm only using one hand, or that I won't squeeze in a shower until your daddy gets home. Because I can't wait to have you back in my arms where I can snuggle you tight. You are my favorite little dude and there is nothing I love more than the feeling of your little cheek smooshed up against my mouth as I give you a million little kisses. I'm loving every minute with you, baby, and even though I'm worried I'm spoiling you, I don't plan on changing my loving ways any time soon. xo, The Mom

21: Sep 14, 2010 Dear Baby, You keep changing so quickly on me. Just when I get all your new tricks figured out, you go and develop new ones. You belly laughed for the first time yesterday. We were watching your dad and Uncle Derek (and several assorted friends) play volleyball, just hanging on the deck at Senser's, and you were in such a good mood. I started making goofy faces and saying, "boo!" over and over, and you started laughing. Before I knew it, you were having a complete giggle fit. and I felt my heart get stuck in my throat. It was all I could to keep from yelling to your dad in the middle of his game to make him come up and see this new trick you developed. I swear, not since your first cry has any sound been as beautiful as that first laugh. | But laughing isn't all you do. You seem to be figuring out how to talk too. You lay there smiling, working your mouth around until you figure out how to force sound out of it. And then you're so proud of yourself, you just keep working on it, summoning that sound to come out more quickly every time. You're dying to sit up. If you have even the slightest incline behind you, you do everything you can to sit up. You've still got a ways to go before you can do that trick but you are so determined, I have a feeling you'll be sitting up on your own sooner than I'd like you to. | My infant is disappearing before my very eyes and in his place I'm getting a bright, happy, and alert baby. You're turning into a real person. A person who is figuring out how to express himself. A person who has preferences about the way he's held and who's holding him. I can hardly believe you're the same baby you were just a month ago. | Nothing has been more fulfilling than watching you grow and change right in front of me. You make my heart burst with love and pride. Thank you for being such a gift in my life. xo, The Mom

22: Oct 24, 2010 My baby is 4 months old. When did that happen? Why can't I just stop time for a little while? | 4 months. I feel like it all starts to change now. We're going to start him on rice cereal tomorrow. Fruits and veggies won't be far behind. He'll start teething before I know it. There'll be rolling, crawling, and movement of every kind. I'm not ready!! | He had his 4-month check-up today. I've still got a perfectly healthy baby. And he's tall and skinny -- just the way I like him. He's got a tiny little head, but I'll take that over a watermelon head any day. He is on track, developmentally, which is so very reassuring | considering I feel like I'm slacking in every way possible. Despite his total lack of tummy time, he is still able to lift his chest off the ground and will undoubtedly have abs of steel thanks to all the crunches he attempts during diaper changes. He took his shots like a champ. Yes, he cried, but he settled down the instant I picked him up and by the time we got to the car, he was good as new. And since I gave him some Tylenol as soon as we got home, he wasn't nearly as out of sorts as he was last time. | And now my little guy is ready for bed. Turns out my baby isn't quite so grown up that he doesn't need his mama to calm him down. And here's hoping that phase lasts for at least a little while longer...

24: Nov 3, 2010 Dear Baby, It's been a long time since I've written one of these letters. Now that you're born real person (not just a squishy, sleepy newborn), I tell you most everything I want to say to you. When you were inside of me, I used to think I could communicate with you telepathically. You hear all the time of mothers who talk to their bellies. I never really did that. I thought that you and I didn't need words. You knew what I was thinking. You knew my intentions for you. You knew how blessed I felt (and feel). To a certain extent, I still think that you and I are on the same wavelength. That sometimes, words need not be spoken and all I need to do is put all my energy into my intentions and you'll understand. I recently read a book by Dan Brown called The Lost Symbol. I'm a sucker for his books and this most recent one talked about a science called Noetic Science. I understand very little about it (obviously reading a novel hasn't made me an expert on this -- shocking!) but from what I can gather, it essentially proves the tangible power of thought. Or as your Grandma Peggy calls it, "The Power of Positive Thinking" ("Visualize the parking spot!" she used to tell us when we were Christmas shopping at the mall). So basically, you think something hard enough and you can get the outcome you desire. I think this is sort of what I believe you and I have. Obviously I talk to you now. Obviously I tell you how much I love you and whisper all the good things I want for you. But I also sort of believe that simply thinking things hard enough can make them come true. I know it sounds sort of crazy. I know it's bizarre that I think we can communicate telepathically. But you were inside of me. I grew you! We were attached to each other. That's gotta mean something, right? My point is, baby, I want so many good things for you. I have so many goals for you. But if I don't always say them (I don't want to put too much pressure on you, after all), know that I am still silently willing these good things to happen. I have very powerful thinking. And I've also decided I'm a very good mother. So whatever my thinking can't accomplish, my mothering will. Never fear, baby -- you've got a great life ahead of you. xo, The Mom

25: Nov 29, 2010 My little Macster is just over 5 months now. He learns new things every day. From big things -- like how to roll-over -- to little things -- like how to pull the blanket off his face during peek-a-boo. He is beginning to develop a personality and seems to know when he is being funny. You can already tell he loves getting a laugh out of us and he'll keep doing whatever goofy thing he's doing until we get tired of laughing or he gets tired of doing it. I can't believe that 5 months ago he was INSIDE of me and now he's turning into this real little person. With this growth comes more responsibility. For 4 months, I thought being a mom was easy. I had a happy baby who ate and slept and was a delight to everyone around him. Truly, I had almost no struggles as a new mother. But now I'm looking at challenges like introducing solids and sleep training. It's truly daunting and I haven't had much success with either so I'm understandably anxious about what lies ahead for us. Regardless, I know that Mac will maintain his good natured disposition and eventually I'll stumble upon the solution to help this little boy grow and thrive the way he's supposed to. Next week we're taking Mac on his first plane ride (well, at least his first one out of the womb) out to watch my brother play his last game at Boise. This kid is obviously spoiled. First flight at 5.5 months? Lucky little man. Here's hoping traveling with this baby turns out to be smooth sailing! I have complete faith in his good behavior and charming demeanor...

26: Dec 29, 2010 Dear Baby, On Christmas Eve you turned 6 months old. You are basically a whole different person now. Not only do you barely resemble pictures from when you were first born, but you have so much personality now. You absolutely light up every time you see your dad. The smile you give him is his and his alone. I don't see you get that happy to see anyone else. But you're still a little mama's boy (thank god!). You like being able to keep an eye on me at all times and you hate it when you can hear my voice but can't see me. You're starting to develop a selfish streak. We're going to have to teach you how to share quick because you get angry whenever we take something out of your hands. Sorry Mac, but that wrapping paper has already made it to the roof of your mouth once and we're not making that mistake again. You are SO CURIOUS about everything around you. You're constantly checking out everything and deciding whether or not you can fit it in your mouth. You grab at EVERYTHING in my hands. You're mesmerized by ceiling fans and you love gazing at lights and fires. You do this funny thing with your hand when you're preoccupied but still kind of antsy where you, like, tap on our arms repeatedly. All I can think of is Helen Keller tapping "water" in that stupid movie. You love chewing on the drawstring of our hoodies (a habit you inherited from your dad) and my drawstrings are always soaking wet and uneven. I'm pretty sure you're dying to crawl. Yesterday we had your friend Will over and he has mastered crawling and you were looking pretty jealous. But you're starting to figure out how to scooch on your stomach and so I'm starting to figure out how to babyproof our deathtrap of a home. Oof. You're still not eating solids and you recently decided to give up sleeping altogether because you're teething. I don't mind the lack of eating so much, but it'd be fantastic if you could start sleeping again. Mommy's starting to lose her mind. When you try to rationalize and bargain with a baby in the middle of the night, part of you has clearly gone off the deep end.

27: I'm blown away by how much you've grown these last 6 months, but it's even more amazing to me to think about how you'll change in these next 6 months. I try to soak up every day with you and appreciate every little thing you do, never knowing if it'll be one of the last days you'll willingly cuddle up in my lap or snuggle by my side. I never could have imagined how quickly time flies with a baby. Next month we'll be taking in your friend Will during the days. You didn't seem to keen on him yesterday, but you guys will be fast friends and start causing trouble together in no time. I worry that I'm not going to be able to love you up as much as I want once there's another baby around here, but then I figure it's good for you to learn a little bit of independence. I can't deny that it breaks my heart to say goodbye to our solo days together, though. These last 6 months have been the greatest gift I've ever received, Mac. While I've always felt that being a mother was my "calling", I couldn't have anticipated how truly wonderful it is. And that's all thanks to you. You are the most amazingly wonderful child I ever could have asked for and I look forward to what the rest of the year has in store for us. xo, The Mom

28: Jan 24 2011 My 7-month-old baby is a mere whisper of the newborn he once was. I look at pictures and they barely even resemble the person he is today. And the personality! So much personality! How does a little person who can't even speak have so much personality? Something about 7 months has made me a little weepy and nostalgic. We're on the other side of the newborn line. We're officially closer to 1 than we are to newborn. Before I know it, I'm going to be planning his birthday party (don't worry -- I already know what I'm getting him for a gift). | So much about this little dude has changed. He has a tooth, he can sit up, he's figuring out how to pull himself up on things, and I think one of these days I'm going to turn my back and he's going to figure out how to either crawl or walk... and a big part of me thinks walking is going to come first. He already walks around holding our hands and gets this look on his face like, "check me out...I'm walking! I don't know what this schmo is doing behind me, but I'm TOTALLY WALKING!" He can hug, he chooses when to cuddle, he has books he prefers, music he prefers, and people he prefers. He is the most stubborn little human alive -- still not eating solids, | sleeping in his crib, or taking a bottle. But he has somehow figured out how to drink from a sippy cup and a glass. | He laughs when we laugh, smiles all the time, and causes trouble even when he knows it's wrong just because he thinks it's funny. He dances and tries to mimic whistling, and every so often, I think he even tries to sing. Each month, I feel like I'm getting an upgraded version of this little dude. And just when I think I can't find him any more delightful (and, admittedly, infuriating at times), he goes and gets another month older and I'm more charmed than ever by everything new about him. 7 months. Where does the time go?

29: Feb 24, 2011 Cormac is 8 months old. My little Mickety Mackety Moo has grown by leaps and bounds this past month. Suddenly the kid has two teeth and is babbling (and drooling) constantly. If you ask Chris or me, we'll tell you that he's said "Dada" and I swear he's said "Mama", but I'm pretty sure that it was more like pure luck of random consonants and vowels being thrown together than any purposeful talking. I'm mom enough to admit that. Besides, if I thought he was saying words on purpose, I'd be a bit offended by the fact that what he says most is "blah blah blah". A couple weeks ago, this baby of mine up and crawled. Like, two days before he got up on all fours, tested the waters with a little slow crawl, and suddenly a couple days later he was motoring around the living room. He went from immobile to mobile in a flash. I didn't even have the chance to mentally prepare! Where was the scooching? The army crawl? The worm? Nope, none of those training crawls for my kid. He just heads straight for the real thing. I'm getting a glimpse of his future and suspect we can also go ahead and bypass training wheels on the bike. I feel like he's just weeks away from walking, which of course terrifies me (for the love of god, we still don't have the latches on the kitchen cupboards! Lets not let this kid get upright yet!). He has worn a path on the living room carpet walking back and forth along the furniture as practice. He gets faster and more confident every day. Things are getting REAL around here. We seem to have settled into a bedtime routine that we can all live with and things have definitely taken a turn for the better. He still won't eat baby-approved solids (i.e. the types of purees doctors and experts say babies should be eating) but he seems to enjoy food off my plate. He LOVED waffles (weird -- a food full of sugar? Can't believe the kid would like that!) and lived to tell the tale of his first spoonful of peanut butter. Yes, we eat peanut butter by the spoonfuls around here. I've tried cutting up fruits and veggies for him, but he seems to prefer starches to foods with any real nutritional value. Shocking, I know. I haven't figured out how to get real food with real nutritional value into my baby. I've had enough of feeding him my leftover noodles. He's as happy and rambunctious as ever. He does this funny hyperventilating breathing thing when he gets really excited about anything. I want him to do that forever because I think it's hilarious and ridiculous. It's sad to think it won't always be that easy to get him excited about stuff (I have visions of a surly 16 year-old in my head). He hugs tightly around my nexk at random times throughout the day when he just needs a little mom time. He plays well with Will and they even figure out how to wrestle with each other, which is just about the funniest thing ever. He's 8 months old. He's a real little person with specific wants and desires. I couldn't imagine us here when I first held that tiny little baby in my arms. But here we are, and each day is more fun than the last. Happy 8 months to my zany, mobile, stubborn, goofy, carefree, brave, cuddly, funny little dude.

32: Mar 24, 2011 Dear Baby, Soon, I won't be able to call you my baby anymore. Today you are 9 months old. You've now been growing outside of me for as long as you were growing inside of me. And believe me, these last 9 months have gone a helluva lot faster than those first 9. Every day I'm delighted by the little person you're becoming, but I can't deny that every day I miss your babyness a little bit more. You've turned into such a big boy. You're so determined and headstrong. You're constantly on the move and our cuddle time mostly seems to occur between the hours of 4 and 6 am. Even though I might be having a little bit of separation anxiety, you are loving your freedom. You are constantly looking for trouble. You know exactly what you're not allowed to do and that is exactly what you make a beeline to do. Can you please tell me when you'll finally lose your fascination with tipping over the kitchen garbage? Because I gotta tell ya, I am sick of vacuuming up coffee grounds. But honestly, when you flash that smile of yours with those 4 gapped teeth, it's absolutely impossible for me to be mad at you. Word to the wise: if you want to stay our of trouble for the rest of your life, just stay as cute as you currently are, because your dad and I just can't get mad at that adorable face. You are Mac the Destroyer and you are just about the most stubborn baby I've ever known. But you're also one of the happiest. Yesterday you were crying and you had actual tears coming down your cheeks and I was shocked because I couldn't even remember the last time you really cried with tears and all. You are just the most joyful little man and you bring so much happiness to me, your dad, and everyone around you. It's a small leap from here to the 1 year mark. I'm doing my best to soak up the last of this baby time with you before toddlerhood comes rearing it's crazy head. I'm trying to enjoy the last of the baby babble before you really figure out how to vocalize your demands. I'm cherishing every last snuggle and unexpected hug. I know how quickly the last 9 months have gone and I'm well aware of how fast these next 3 will go. But I've loved every single minute of these last 9 months with you, I will love every minute of the next 3, and I'm pretty sure the coming years will be just as wonderful. Happy 9 months to my little Mickety Mackety Moo. xo, The Mom

34: Apr 25, 2011 Dear Baby, Yesterday you turned 10 months old. As you turn another month older and the weather begins to warm up here, it dawns on me that June is just around the corner. But something has flipped in me this last week. I don't feel myself dreading the big O-N-E anymore. All this time, I've been staring at you going, "how can my tiny baby get so big?! MAKE IT STOP!" But I looked at you the other day, standing in your toybox, humming a little song to yourself, and playing happily alone in your favorite little nook and I was just so proud of who you've become in the last 10 months. I mean, in such a short amount of time, you've become this real person. That sounds stupid to say, but believe me baby, one day you'll grow up and have children and you'll understand what I'm talking about. You never expect the smudgy-faced baby you hold in your arms on the first day of his life to ever become a real person. I just sort of assumed you'd stay a helpless baby forever. But you didn't stay a baby. You've gotten so big and independent, and rather than missing all the babyness about you, I am suddenly so excited to watch you continue to grow up. I'm no longer sad with every milestone; instead I celebrate it. You are so wonderful, and you get more amazing every day. So now, I welcome each change and know that it makes you more awesome with each passing day. So what are the milestones this month? Well, you're officially addicted to peanut butter. It's gotten to the point where if you see a spoon, you assume there's peanut butter on it because that's how you see me constantly eating peanut butter. You are a total fiend, and every time the spoon is empty, you get sad and anxious. Believe me baby -- I relate. You've started doing this funny humming thing whenever you're focused on a task. It's super cute. You also like to turn your mouth into an "O" shape and sort of whistle under your breath when you're intensely focused on a game...or on destroying something in our house. I keep trying to capture it on camera, but every time you see me with the camera you give me your little flirty face. I'll get it one of these days, though... Within the last couple of weeks you've grown a little wary of strangers, but you're still a charmer and much less apprehensive around women who look like me, which is quite sweet if you ask me. You're completely hooked on Cheerios and I'm a little bit nervous you're going to turn INTO a Cheerio. I'm pretty sure that's scientifically plausible. But for real, if I gave you unfettered access to the box, you'd eat it all.

35: Everyone tells me you're on the brink of walking. Yesterday, I heard over and over again that you were going to be walking by next week. I might have to break both your legs, because our house is definitely not ready for you to start walking yet. I'm going to have to rework the whole baby barricade system. You've suddenly turned into a little monkey. You are always crawling your way up me, climbing into the toy box, crawling up and down the stairs at Grandma and Bubba's, climbing up on the fireplace mantle, and flipping yourself upside down whenever possible. You're a crazy man! You get more energetic every day and chasing you around the house as you plot to destroy the world (or just whatever room you're in at the time) is certainly burning a sufficient amount of calories for mama. You were a bit of a shit this past month with your hunger strike, and I recently discovered you've got a bit of a sensitive streak when it comes to your eating habits. But we worked through our issues, and the two of us seem to have come to a bit of a truce. And now you're waking up from your nap (oh, btw, you've started napping wonderfully this past month -- thank you!) and I've got all sorts of fun adventures planned for today that we should get started on. Happy 10 months, baby. My heart grows with love for you every single day. xo, The Mom

36: May24, 2011 Dear Baby, You are 1 month away from a year. What?!?! No. That can't be! First of all, I remember what this time felt like one year ago. I remember being desperately pregnant, feeling like the end would never come. I remember being so hot that it's a testament to me ability to eat like a true glutton, because I should have been sweating off pounds, not gaining like I did. I remember being so hugely pregnant I only had approximately 3 things in my closet that fit me. I remember it all so well! Since I still remember pregnancy so well, it can't have almost been a year ago. The weather isn't anywhere near as hot as it was last year, so it can't have been almost a year. I still have only 3 different things in my closet that fit me (although for entirely different reasons), so it can't have been almost a year. I refuse to accept it. Mac shall stay 10 months forever and ever amen. That's fair, right? Alright, here's the 11-month rundown: | Still not walking. So close, but still not walking. You've mastered the stairs. I don't know how, but you've made the stairs your bitch. And you will climb anything and everything you can. You're holding steady at 6 teeth and they're so cute, you can wander around with 6 teeth forever for all I care.. Plus, I'd be cool with being done with the teething monster. You are finally sleeping like a champ. Two 2-hour naps and sleeping for a 7-hour stretch before your first wake-up, so I call that sleeping through the night. If there were races for baby crawling, I'm pretty sure you'd win. You are crazy fast and you've got this goofy, gimpy crawl where you use one knee and one foot to propel yourself forward. Obviously you are built for speed. We've got big NFL dreams for you, baby! You know how to give high-fives and do "How big's the baby?" I didn't teach you either of these things. What have I taught you? Ummmm, how to be stubborn, ignore me when I say 'no', how to effectively be a picky eater. Oh wait -- I didn't teach you those things, I simply passed those genetic defects along! The things I really want to teach you I've totally failed at. How can you not know how to wave or blow kisses? I think you're withholding just to drive me crazy. | * * * * * *

37: You're just as awesome as ever, baby. You get more fun every day and I'm not even sad that my baby is turning into a big boy right before my very eyes because you're just so funny and fantastic. Oy. 11 months. Where has the time gone? xo, The Mom

38: One Year

39: At 5:04am one year ago, The Mac made his debut. That day is crystal clear to me. A week after my wedding, I would have been hazy on details, but it's a year after the birth of my son and I can remember every moment. That day has been tattooed on my memory, to the point where the day that Mac was born always feels like it was yesterday. He's not a year old. He was JUST. BORN. Wasn't he? Apparently he wasn't. I've checked all the paperwork. It has, in fact, been a whole year. When I gave birth to Mac, I found my purpose in life. And maybe that's small. Maybe that's even pathetic to some people. But loving him, raising him, watching him grow -- that is what I was put on this earth to do. This kid has filled absolutely every crevice of my heart with love. The explosive love I felt for him the minute he was born took my breath away, but I swear my heart grows more every day to accommodate my expanding love for him Motherhood has fulfilled me. It has challenged me. It has rewarded me. It has broken me. It has completed me. It has been the greatest gift I could ever hope to receive. It has been my calling. It has been my passion Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could have a child as wonderful as Mac. He is sweet, funny, smart, crazy, adorable, and wonderful. He has been the baby I hope all my other babies can be like. He is the dream baby. And now, he is no longer a baby. Happy Birthday to my dear little boy, Cormac. Watching you grow this past year has been an absolute joy and privilege. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us.. | Holy Moly, Mac is One! | June 24, 2012

40: * He walks. Like., for real now. Walks more than he crawls. * He blows kisses. OhmygodIdie. Babies blowing kisses? Freaking adorable. * He has said words. Not words that the average human would understand, but I'm riding the same wavelength as him so I'm happy to translate. He says "Dad" (Da) and "Night Night" (Ny). * He waves. Oh man, he has the stupidest looking wave of all time. He's like a penguin flapping his wings. But it's a wave. I'll take it. * He dances. When he hears music he enjoys, and sometimes when he just hears music in his head. He dances. I die. Oh, and he loves watching other people dance too. I've got a little ballerina on my hands (are dudes still ballerinas? Must research this...). * He plays hide-and-go-seed and chase. His hiding basically consists of standing behind you, peeking around your shoulder, then giggling and moving away as fast as he can once you make eye contact. It's hilarious. * He hardly eats anything. I'm not sure if it's because he's picky or if it's because he knows that refusing most food drives me to the brink of insanity. It's a toss-up. * He's a hair under 21 lbs, which apparently makes him a bit of a lightweight.. Just under the 50th percentile. What he lacks in weight he makes up for in height. I've forgotten how long he is (of course, because it's been a whole 3 hours since his doctor's appt, so why would I remember? I suck), but he's in the 75th percentile. His head? It's in the 10th percentile. I'm pretty sure Mac's head hasn't grown since he was born. Such a pinhead. But it's a cute one! * Apparently he's an early walker. I had no idea since Will was walking at the same age, but evidently Mac is an overachiever. Who knew a lazy underachiever like me would wind up with a kid who hits milestones before necessary. * He loves Yo Gabba Gabba. And Sex and the City 2. Which is nice, I suppose. Someone oughta enjoy that crap movie, right? No, but seriously, he was totally mesmerized by that movie. Maybe it was all the shiny objects... * He loves to mimic. And everything he mimics is 50,000 times cuter than whatever original action he's copying. I credit the chubby cheeks and toothy grin. | One Year Skills...

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  • Title: Baby's First Year
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Updated: about 6 years ago