sick and tired.

that is 100% how we feel around these parts.
between my cold,
olly's cold,
olly teething,
and my mastitis,
it has been one rough week.


six months!!! (?)

Dear Oliver Fox,

Today, you are one half of one year old. I am overwhelmed by how quickly time moves since you have arrived on the planet. Though we have had our tiny little rough patches, you have been an unbelievable joy to our lives. You have brought so much new perspective to our lives: I may fail myself, but I will not fail you.

You don’t have your six-month appointment until October 7 (I’m a terrible procrastinator—a trait I hope skips a generation) so we won’t know your official stats, but I will say that you are wearing 9 month clothes, are poised to wear size 4 diapers, and I have had to readjust the straps on your car seat twice this month!

Though we started out with the rice cereal last month, we have kind of slowed down on that. Part of that is because you are so touch and go with your enthusiasm for solids, but also because I really like nursing you. Is that selfish? Once we get the go-ahead from your doctor, we will move forward with fruits and veggies, which should be more fun.

You love playing in your excersaucer, bearing weight on your legs, stamping your feet, SCRITCHING (your favorite), slapping your mama while eating, grabbing handfuls of your brother, SCREECHING (my least favorite), and still bath time. You also yell, “dadadada,” “babababa” and “mamama” which makes me cry when you are wailing it and sobbing. I don’t know that you know what it means (or rather, I know you don't know) but we melt! You've started reaching for things like: brother, my cell phone, the remote, drinking straws, and us when you are done with your saucer. Precious!

Can you please always stay this sweet and this in love with us?

I love you, handsome boy. You are my most favorite person on earth!

Love, Mama


family business.

Dear Bable, [pronounced just how you’d think—to rhyme with “table”]

Before this turns into some absurd family secret, let me say this: your daddy and I aren’t married. For better or worse, on a scale of one to wacko, this is pretty low on the weird-scale these days, but I need to address this, if only for myself.

We love each other and hope to be married by the time you read this [although, if you are anything like me, you will be reading in the very near future, obviously, you brainiac] and considered going the route of the shot-gun wedding, but we decided to hold off. I was spotted perhaps wearing a ring on my would-be wedding finger when I became extremely pregnant, I don’t know why I do these things [the answer to anything pregnancy-related and crazy will always be attributed to hormones], but I would like to be the first to tell you this is actually nothing to be ashamed of.

A family, to me, and to many who are not interested in or not able to be married, is a unit of people who love one another. This can be a family of friends, or a mom, a dad, and a baby, like us, or dads and a baby, or parents and pets, or a million other combinations. We are for sure a unit, Olly, whether or not we all have the same last name, and the binder in this case is you. Daddy will always be your daddy and I will always be your mama whether or not we are ever Mr. & Mrs Mommy & Daddy. And we will always love you, and in a very legitimate way. And that is all you, or anyone else, needs to know.

Love you,
Your Mama


cutting teeth.

Dear Olly Fox-Fussy,

On Saturday morning, you woke up with a tooth that you did not have on Friday night. Predictably, you had been rosy and drool-y for the week leading up to this big event, but as you recall, the pediatrician had prepared us for the tooth's arrival for the past two months. You have been a sad little sweetheart these past few days, sleeping for hours at a stretch and burying your head in my shoulder and rubbing your eyes with exasperation. You have not been biting anything inappropriate, much to my relief, if you know what I'm saying. Just your hands and toys and handfuls of tee shirts.

It is kind of like life with you, to be honest. There was the life that your daddy and I had before you, and then March 26 arrived, and then there was no looking back, full steam ahead, new adventures await. As you grow older, you are picking up speed with these milestones and everything we thought we had figured out goes flying out the window. We love every new place these changes bring us, and we very nearly forget the way things were before each new development. That is why I have to write everything down, Olly. Time is literally flying!

There is an expression that people use, "to cut one's teeth on something." It means to get your first experience of something, or to learn the basic skills of something. Believe me when I say that we've all been cutting some teeth around here, you literally, of course, but your daddy and I figuratively. But I read something cool. Even though we say you are cutting teeth, your body actually releases special chemicals in your gums that allow the cells to separate. Your body just knows what to do and your daddy and I can only hope for the same.

Babies are wonderful, amazing things, and you are no exception.

Your Mama


time capsule.

september 19, 2009

dear baby,

so much has happened since i last wrote. first of all, you are about 15 weeks and getting bigger all the time. you are starting to show a little bit inside my belly. my clothes are getting tighter and my stomach is poking out a little. i'm excited to have a big pregnant belly.

second, i finally told my parents and brother about you. everyone is so excited! i was a little bit nervous to tell them, only because you were such a surprise and i knew i would catch everyone off guard. alex was so excited! he calls me all the time to ask how you and i are doing and if we know if you are a boy or a girl. (everyone is really excited to find out about this so we can start planning your room and your name and buying you stuff!) my parents are getting used to the idea of being grandparents, but they are happy and are getting excited. they are moving to hilton head, south carolina at the end of the month and alex moved to west virginia, so i think more than anything, everyone is just bummed they are going to be living away from you.

everyone who finds out about you asks how i've been feeling. i haven't been throwing up at all, not once, but i am tired. all the time. growing a baby is hard and exhausting work! i literally come home from work, get into pajamas, eat dinner, and fall asleep by 10 pm.

i also cry all the time. for example, this morning around 6 am, i was eating a bowl of cereal (i'm also hungry all the time) and russell jumped up and knocked the bowl of milk all over the place. normally, i'd just yell at him, but today i was sobbing. your dad woke up and was very confused.

it will be all worth it though. i'm so excited to be a mom and to meet you and teach you all kinds of things. there are so many things i want for you and things i want to be able to provide for you. i love you very much already, just about 6 more months until we can hold you!

<3 <3 <3 your mom


olly, olly, bo-bolly

Here is a list of names you almost had:


Just thought you would be interested in what might have been once you decide you hate your name when you are a little older.


unaccompanied minor.

It is way too easy to sit this child in his activity center.

Luckily for him, he loves it.
And I love having three seconds
to half-clean the bathroom,
et al.


the fox and the hound.

Dear Olly Pie,

Did I ever show you the pictures of Russell before you were born? He used to curl around my giant belly [thanks to you for that], I think he liked to feel you moving around in there, or maybe he could sense that you were his brother. I cried the night your dad and I went to the hospital to have you because we just moved in and did not trust him on the loose in our new apartment, so we put him in his crate. This [and those end of pregnancy horomones] moved me to tears, because before you were born, he was our baby and there was just this horrible feeling of shared dread that he was about to be replaced.

[This is not a cautionary tale for when you eventually have a little brother or sister.]

When Daddy stopped back at home to let Russy out while we were still at the hospital, he brought home one of the blankets you were wrapped in for him to smell. I was nervous about how he would react: would he be too jealous? too wild? too rough? It was kind of like I projected all my fears of inadequacy as a parent onto your dog-brother.

He was curious, and clumsy, but he could just sense how to be around you. He still would not come when we called to him, and he still licks for an inappropriate amount of time, but he strove to be gentle with you. I think it was instinctual.

This is not unlike how we felt our way through being parents to you. It's one day, riding your bike, your hair floating on the wind, only one hand on the handle bars as you skim down the pavement that you forget how much you had to concentrate on peddling, and steering, and balancing in the beginning.

Incidentally, one day Russell stopped being part of the scenery to you and you just can't get enough. There are two things that you reach for: your water bottle, and Russell. There are never enough delicious bulldog cheeks, or ears as reins, or pathetic tail stump for your two little hands to hold. To be fair, he is more patient than I gave him credit for five months ago. He endures as much as his ego allows, and then he retreats. But sometimes he'll indulge you and you laugh and laugh when he licks your belly.

[And I hope you remember his example when we one day bring a new little "puppy" home from the hospital for you to love on.]

Love you, little man,
Love, Mama.


never leave the nest.

Dear Punky Pie,

Most days I wake up to you staring at me and smiling, which I think is very polite, considering the alternatives. We all sleep in one bed together, you, me, Daddy, and Russell, which I was kind of embarrassed about, and definitely afraid to tell your pediatrician about until I found out that it actually has its own movement centered around the practice. It is actually part of a parenting philosophy. But I will be honest with you, since you are my baby. It has more to do with the fact that you still eat yourself to sleep and it is easier to do this when I'm lying down [since we both have roughly the same bed time these days] and that I think I would miss you if you slept away from me. So there you have it, a parenting decision centered around laziness and selfishness. PERFECT. We're off to a great start.

Your dad, however, is not so lucky. Not only does he come to bed later and therefore get last dibs on the available space, but you like to wake him when we get up [approximately 8 am, since you don't know how to tell time yet] by slapping his back and arms, and also scritching at him. It is not quite scratching, as in you don't leave claw marks [a whole nother story about this later], but just a light and gentle scritch, like maybe you are trying to get something you spilled off of your sweater. I think it is very cute.

Then you whip back around to face me again. I don't know if you've mastered the concept yet that even if you can't see us both at the same time, we are still in the room.

Then you check on Daddy again.

Then you reach for the camera and say, "Leave me alone already, I just woke up."

But seriously, you don't say that because you don't know how to talk yet, or even understand English all that well outside of your own name. But that's okay, because you are a baby.

Awhile back, me and your Daddy were having a small turf war in the middle of the night, each of us insisting the other [and our respective posse] was taking up entirely too much room. I threatened to get a twin bed and sleep with you in your room. This is how serious I am about sleeping with you. I will try and limit myself to an appropriate length of time for this, but I can't make any promises. The boundaries are not as clear for this as, say, breast feeding, which in my opinion, is obviously once the child has a name for your breasts and can ask for milk, the time has come. I figure by the time you are in grade school we will have this all hammered out, don't you?

Love you, little cuddle bug,



Dear Oliver Fancy,

Don't worry. You are not six months old yet. As you may or may not know, each month, I talk about what you're up to these days, include some stats, and your latest hobbies and developments. But not today. I just felt like saying hi. And to let you know a few things, because I'm sure I'll forget by the time you are old enough to understand.

First of all, everyone says that with parenting, the days are long, but the months are fast. This is completely true. You are more interactive these days, which allows for a little more variety and FUN ACTIVITIES each day, but for the first four or so months of your life, every day was nearly the same, played in slow motion. This doesn't mean I didn't like it, but I kind of felt like you were hazing me until I could be let into the club of truly fun motherhood, replete with FUN ACTIVITIES.

I don't know if told you this, but I like to think of myself as a writer. I don't know if I am that good, and I don't know if I am brave enough to do anything about it, but it is my hope that writing about you, practically my favorite person that ever existed, will at least give me a little push in the right direction. I don't really have any preference about what your passions in life happen to be, but I want you to know that it is important to have them, and to pursue them, and that they are worthy of tending to and improving upon.

In other news, you have been rolling over with real vigor these days, to the point where I cannot leave you unattended. You have graduated from your sea monkey stage and on to the hamster stage. If you for some reason get loose, you won't do much damage, but I can no longer trust that you will be where I left you when I run to the bathroom or mix up your cereal.

Speaking of, we are working on this whole cereal thing. Some days you really tear into it, so much so that I have had to make you a second serving, but other days its a bite or two and you are over it. Similarly, some days I forget to feed it to you all together. According to baby books, it should be offered to you as a snack or supplement to breast milk. As inconvenient as it may be, I think you are going to nurse forever. Just kidding. But I may make you sleep in my bed with me forever. (Just kidding?)

In closing, you turned out just about as awesome as I could have ever imagined. You are pretty much like the best blind date ever, except the anticipatory build-up was a long ten months, and this courtship lasts forever. We got glimpses of you and could only speculate what you would look like and what sort of personality you would have and what kind of family we would make, and though we are a work in progress, we totally hit the jackpot.

[Here is a very sweet picture of you sleeping. Note your very long and enviable eyelashes. At night, I like to get my face very close to you and stare at you like a creep.]

Love you,