Tuesday, September 13, 2011

newsletter: month 18

Dear Samson,

Holy crap balls, you are 18 months old! I can't believe it. Sometimes you seem much older and other times it seems like you were an itty bitty guy in my arms and I blinked and now you are climbing on top of the table. Time goes by so differently when you become a parent. You are very aware of it and it zooms past you at the same time. Eighteen months of you right in front of me with lots of good times, giggles, and lessons learned.

You crawl, walk, run, and climb. The climbing part is insane to me. I was a very calm child and from all accounts, so was Daddy. And here you are, climbing on anything and everything you can get a foothold on. When we go to eat at home, I take the tray off the high chair and let you climb up because it's actually faster than me setting you in there. I have to take great care in making sure furniture and some of your sturdier toys are not too close to each other because you will climb up on one thing so you can reach something else to climb up even higher. Climbing up on a chair, to climb up on the table and throw your hands up in jubilee is adorable and terrifying at the same time. My current goal is to avoid any major scars until you can at least talk.

We were at a friend's house, outside on the deck and you were playing on a little bike. All of the sudden you rode down the stairs and I watched in horror as you and the bike tumbled head over heels down those stairs. My heart stopped as I ran to scoop you up, trying not to picture the worst. I was sure there was a broken bone or there would be blood. You snuggled into my neck and I calmed you down while my heart pounded so hard I was sure it was going to fly out of my body. And before I could get myself calmed down, you were upset again because I wouldn't let you immediately get back on that bike. The next day, I was trying to change your diaper on the changing table. You wiggle and crawl away (as much as you can on a little table) and that night was no different. Except when you were on all fours, a hand slipped and your face slammed into the edge of the table. I scooped you up, checked for blood, and went to the freezer for your little Elmo gel pack. By the time I had told Daddy what happened and gotten us settled on the couch, you had stopped crying and wanted down. You cried harder as we took turns holding that gel pack on your face than you did when you actually injured yourself. It was pretty much an instant black eye.

The thing that I love about you and that also terrifies me is it doesn't seem like anything is going to keep you down. You are intent on exploring and playing, on doing what you want to do and getting right back to it whenever you face an obstacle. I admire that trait but I hope so hard it moves from physical injuries to triumphs. And I hope this isn't a glimpse of you as an adrenaline junkie!

You have a few words you use sometimes. I thought I wanted to be called "mama" but once you started saying "Mommy" and it was an intentional word rather than sounds strung together, I started to change my mind. You also say daddy, uh-oh, whoa, mine, and hi. None are all the time but all are adorable. You've started to get the hang of manners and when you hand me something, you say "Come" almost as a whisper. It makes taking half-chewed up mouthfulls of food in my hand a little easier, I have to say. You jabber constantly and for someone who doesn't know English very well, you certainly have a lot of opinions you'd like everyone to know about!

I am delighted by the fact you continue to love music and have kind of discriminating tastes for a toddler. The album Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons might as well be permanently stuck in the car cd player. I really like all the songs, but I am kind of tired of it and will try to sneak in some radio time. You will have nothing of it. Since it's a little easier to concentrate on driving without someone yelling at the top of their lungs in the back seat, I usually give in and press play again. You especially like tracks 2-4 ("The Cave", "Winter Winds", and "Roll Away Your Stone") which luckily have become my favorites as well. Sometimes I'm not really paying attention to it and we get all the way to track 7 ("Little Lion Man") which is a song I actually really like but is pretty inappropriate for little ears since it drops the f bomb several times. I think that cussing is sometimes (very very rarely) a really effective way to get your point across and I don't know how to substitute it in this particular song, but we skip it nonetheless. That's a discussion we can have when you're a teenager.

I'm involved in a group at church called Band of Mothers and we meet to pray for our kids and talk about resources to share with moms of kids of all ages. At the last small gathering I was at, we talked a lot about teenagers. It just seems so far away. In some ways, it absolutely is. You are literally over a decade away from becoming a teenager. I'm grateful for the chance to walk alongside some mamas who have kids older than you so I can see what they are going through and also that they survive. There are things Daddy and I are trying to do right now to put in place now so you grow up always knowing that in your life. Family hugs, going to church, socializing with others, reading, listening to a wide variety of music, meeting you on your level as much as we can, and making sure you know we are here for you and will take what you have to say seriously. A lot of it seems abstract right now but then there are times when something we've done for months without it seeming like it means anything adds up into something really cool. For instance, right now you are all about bringing us books to read to you, over and over again. I can't help but think as long as we plod along making the rest of these things intentional and repetitious as best we can, that it will add up into your understanding and it will happen sooner rather than later.

You are a fantastic person, Samson. I am so glad to get to know you and I genuinely have fun spending time with you. I had no idea someone who couldn't really talk could be so funny! I will always do my best to do right by you. One of my biggest hopes is that you always talk this much to me. I want to know what you have to say.

I love you, my little baby man.

Love, Mama

Monday, September 5, 2011

you might be drifiting, and can't find the shore

I spent a good chunk of the morning/early afternoon at a friend's house, chatting, praying, and watching the kids play. I love going to her house because she lives out in the country. It's a commitment to drive over there. It gives me a couple of minutes of the driving I used to do all the time when I lived in Southern California. And, I always leave with a nugget of something. Understanding, peace, happiness. Something.

We spent some time talking about teenagers and some specific struggles of anonymous kids and I found myself alternately missing being involved in high school ministry (something I didn't really think I'd say for at least a few more years), thinking that the teen years are literally more than a decade away for my child, and starting to wonder if everyone is sure there's not a way to freeze your kids at a young age so they don't grow up and go out into that big scary world. 

I'm grateful to know moms who have kids older than mine. They seem to have found their mama groove and it's encouraging to see that the toddler years are survivable. It's possible to have more than one kid and still sleep a little bit. That eventually, I won't have to keep my eye on my child most of the time to ensure he doesn't try riding a bike down the stairs (well, my child may do that when he gets older too, just to see what happens, but today, he had no idea of the consequences).

I hope I can offer that encouragement to a mom with younger kids than mine someday.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

good times, good times

I love my birthday.

I mean, I really love my birthday.

I think of August 28th as my new year. I used to make a big list of resolutions each year and try to get through them all, with varying degrees of success.

This year, I just have two.

1. My yes be yes and my no be no.
2. Choose to be healthy more often than not.

I used to be known as someone who could absolutely be counted on. I don't think this is something I'm really known for anymore. I find myself meaning to do things and either doing them much later on than I meant to or just not doing them at all. I need to be that person who when I say I'm going to do something, everyone can count on it being taken care of. I have a lot of understanding people in my life, and of course having a kid can make it more difficult to try to schedule things out super specifically. But not impossible. And I need to not hide behind S when I say I'm going to do something and then flake out for whatever reason. I'm much harder on myself than I would dream of being on anyone else, but at the same time, I want to be completely dependable.

I have noticed recently that I must work out in order to lose weight and keep it off. I don't eat a lot of junk. I eat some junk, and I eat too much sometimes when I sit down for a meal. But I have noticed that regardless of how much of what I eat, if I'm not also at least walking for an hour three times a week, the scale will not budge. I need to keep making these kinds of observations and then actually following through on them. I want to have cute clothes and be strong and everything but I also just want to be taking care of myself. I don't think I can accurately say I am doing everything I can to take care of myself. So, that's my goal. Eat right. Eat better. Work out. Be strong.

And maybe write more.