Sunday, September 30, 2012

People Who Love You: Nana Amy

I'm so excited to publish the first post in what I hope becomes a long and meaningful series: People Who Love You.
The idea came to me months ago as my husband and I faced the reality of moving away from my hometown and the place we had met and fallen in love. At the same time, some of my best friends made their own plans to explore new roads in their lives, and quickly I watched my tight web of support begin to stretch much further than I was comfortable with.
But here's the thing: life changes. And it's a good thing. The path that my family is on is the right one for us. And the paths that my friends are on are good for them, too. But that doesn't make it sting any less.
So, in the spirit of all that change - and the attempt at accepting it - I wanted to write a series of posts about the people who are in our lives, right now today. The people who have surrounded us and loved us during the best - and worst - times of our lives so far. But, most importantly, I wanted to write about the people who love you, my son. I want you to know all about the people who have been there for you from the start, from my mouth and theirs.

This post feels like the most natural place to start: my mother and your beautiful Nana Amy.
Growing up, I knew that my Mom was special. The older I got, the more clear that became. When I was a nanny at 18, I got in a fight with the mom of the family I was living with because she was failing to live up to the idea I had in my head of what a mom should be. I even have a word for it: SuperMom. That's your Nana. She's the absolute authority on Love and Nurture. She has been my rock throughout my life, and I lean on her and rely on her wisdom now more then ever. Because when it comes to being a mom, I want to be just like her.


Hello my sweet boy Drake,

It’s your Nana - your Momma’s Momma.

There’s so much to say to you! 

I was there the day you were born, for every labored moment of it.  Your Momma did SO well. Leading up to that day, your Momma worked very hard to be sure you grew big, strong, and healthy. And that you did! She was horribly sick with you but she soldiered on and did great!  Your Daddy was a huge support – being sure she ate when she could and slept when she could and comforted and encouraged her during the times she thought she couldn’t take anymore. Then on your birthday, he stayed right by her side doing all that he could to help you be born.  And Nana was right there too. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! 

We were so excited to have a boy again in the family.  All your cousins thus far are girls so you are a welcomed addition into the mix.  I think your cousins will spoil you. Before long though you will be bigger than your youngest cousin, Ashton.  She is petite and you are not!  We call you Michelin Man because of all your rolls which remind me of your Uncle Trevor.  He was like that too but I think you may have him beat at this point!  But I love every single roll on you. I cannot get enough kisses planted on you somewhere.  I hope you will not mind that much as you get bigger.  Your Nana loves to hug and kiss her babies!!

You are now 9 months old and watching you grow and thrive has been so much fun. At times you remind me of your uncle Trevor, then your momma and other times, you are the spitting image of your daddy. You always smile. If and when you ever do cry, it’s such a surprise to us. You tolerate your cousins, the dogs licking your face, hands, and feet, everyone kissing on you, tickling you. You just go with the flow pretty much of whatever is happening around you.  Recently you and your parents moved into a new home. During that stressful time, you were a bit perturbed by all the constant activity and jostling about but still, such a sweet boy.

You love your baths which makes Nana so happy as that hopefully means that you are carrying on the tradition of being part fish.  I grew up a swimmer and so your momma, auntie Becca and Uncle Trevor learned to swim very early on and to this day, all love the water. Someday, you and Nana will have a little swim race ok?

The best part of being your Nana is and always will be watching you grow and change ~ to see the changes from infant to toddler; the boy into the young man; and then hopefully, watch you grow to adulthood and into the man I see in your sweet baby face. Your expressions are priceless as you take in and work over all that your world gives you. I know you are bound for great and wondrous things by all the thinking I know is going on in that noggin of yours and I can’t wait to be a part of them!

You are now a member of a growing, crazy, loud, happy, protective, conversant, very loving family. We don’t always agree but we love each other fiercely. We laugh and cry often. We love to play and explore far and wide. We enjoy music, theatre, reading, writing, arts, the outdoors and so much more. You no doubt will do the same. You will find your spot somewhere in the midst of all of that. It will be a blast and quite a ride of that you can be sure.

Know that to the best of my ability, I will be here for you anytime you need me. I will be one of your biggest fans. I will be the giver of endless kisses. The listening ear when you need someone other than mom and dad. The proud displayer of art work.  The keeper of gum and mints. And lip gloss -though you won’t be interested in that. ;)

I love you beyond words and time.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Summer 2012 Recap, Part 1: Drake

 Labor Day weekend is long gone. Students have been back to school for weeks now (my husband included!). The evenings are starting to cool off and people are excited to bust out their jeans and sweaters. All of the social and cultural factors have been lining up for a while.  And now, it’s official. The Fall Equinox is here. Summer is over.
So I thought it was a good moment to pause, take a breath, and get back to this here blog of mine.
Drake, I want you to know that I didn’t stop writing in your online baby book because there was nothing exciting going on to tell you about or because your development became any less thrilling to me – quite the opposite, my son! We have been so busy living such a full life. And you! You have grown so much and so fast and so profoundly! You are moving and learning and vocalizing.
You have been getting around pretty well all summer – you perfected a military crawl several months ago. It was so effective, I wasn’t sure you would ever care to learn how to actually crawl on your knees. But about a week ago, you got it. And now, you are literally unstoppable. You are getting anywhere and everywhere – fast! You even started climbing the stairs – cute, but terrifying. Sure enough, you rolled down a few steps two days ago. It’s high time for some baby gates. You and I have errands to run later today…

 You are also sitting up incredibly well. This may not seem as impressive as the crawling, but it baffles me possibly more than the crawling does. You just look so big when you sit up so tall and sturdy like that. And it wasn’t even a process! You just DID it. One day, about a month ago, you just tucked your knees under you, pushed yourself up, and then turned and looked at me like, "What? No big deal." Now you crawl where you want to go, slide your legs under you, and sit and play with your desired object – you know, like electrical cords and box fans and dog bowls. Very appropriate toys.
In the world of “firsts,” there has been a lot going on. You said your first word about six weeks ago and haven’t stopped saying it since. What was it, you ask? Well, in a move that melted your momma’s heart yet again, you said “Momma” before any other word. It is so good to be loved by you, Little Man.
You went on your first airplane ride and went swimming for the first time when we visited the Tennessee clan this past July. You did great on the plane – it wasn’t the fun and restful trip that Mom has been used to in her life with the addition of you on my lap – but every stewardess commented on how good you were. On each leg of our trip, there was a baby that screamed and cried and kept everyone awake but it was never you. We were proud parents, for sure. 

 I was equally as proud and excited to see how much you loved the water when we went swimming in Nana and Pampa’s neighborhood pool. There was no fear whatsoever, even when I tried the blow-in-your-face-and-dunk trick. Your eyes got big, but you did great. Held your breath and decided to smile despite the shock. Between that and your very vigorous and strong kicking in the bathtub, I just know you’re going to be a great swimmer. It’s in your genes. 

 On a much less happy note, you were diagnosed with a little “condition” this summer. At the end of an extremely heart wrenching process, we found out you had something called Anal Stenosis. It basically means that your little bottom was too small. After eleven days without being able to go to the bathroom and a trip to the emergency room in Chattanooga that involved an enema and the most heart breaking hour and a half yet, it was our wonderful pediatrician here at home that finally told us what was going on. Mom had been feeling extremely guilty because the nurse practitioner in Tennessee had told us it was constipation from the foods I’d been feeding you that caused the cramping and screaming and pain that I had seen you go through for days. I was devastated that the bananas and rice cereal I had been so pleased to give you had caused you so much pain. Turns out, it wasn’t your diet at all. It was your hardware. That being said, Dr. Reynolds recommended that we go back to a strictly breast milk diet – well, breast milk and prune juice - to keep your stools as soft as possible while the situation sorted itself out. Yes, that was the good news! It was something you would grow out of simply through the process of… well… pooping. It would gradually stretch out, though it would be a slower than normal and slightly uncomfortable process. We had to learn to use at home enemas and mom had to chug gallons and gallons of water to keep her milk supply up to snuff (your appetite had grown used to the bulk of solid foods and it wasn’t easy to deprive you of it). But, I am happy to announce, you are doing MUCH better. Over the past couple of weeks, you have been pooping easily and frequently. I have even been able to reintroduce a few purees over the past week! I mixed in a little prune juice, just to be on the safe side, and – so far! – all is going well. I hope it is something that is behind us now.

 It’s hard to condense the past several months of change into one blog post (if only I had been keeping up with it, right?) but I want you to know it’s been a great summer. It’s been a pleasure to watch you grow and explore and just to BE your mom. I saw a commercial for laundry soap, of all things, today that said “you will have a child forever, but a baby for only one year.” What?! You won’t be my baby after one year?! But that is almost over! Agh. I can hardly stand the thought of how soon we will be celebrating your first birthday (though I am so proud to see you grow). I hereby vow to savor every day of your baby hood from today until it’s over, and then to celebrate the next phase with you too.

(And I hope to write a little more about it along the way.)