Full house

20 Oct

Hey buddy,

It’s been an exciting few months for you! First you turned two, and then two weeks later you finally got to meet your little sister.

It was truly love at first sight, for you. You immediately wanted to hold her and began hugging and kissing her, pressing your face against hers. She was pretty much the coolest thing you’d ever seen, until it was time for her to eat.

As your mom explained how she was going to feed Elliott, and got your little sister into position, you began to cry, and called out, “NO, Elliott! No eat Mama’s nipples!” We explained that she wasn’t literally eating Mama’s nipples, but you insisted she stop and that “Daddy feed her!” 

At first you didn’t like other people holding Elliott. Anytime someone would come visit, you would insist that I hold her; but this stage, along with the fear of her eating have passed. You spent a week obsessed with the little bit of umbilical chord on her belly, and when it came off you called out, “Mama, her belly button fall off!”

Over the last month and half I’ve been shocked how much you like your sister and want to help out with giving her baths, getting her a pacifier, or blanket. You even loaned her your night-night before she had a blanket of your own. 

Any time Elliott cries or starts to fuss, you put your face close to hers and say, “No cry, Elliott.” Often times you’ll start to sing to her, “Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Mama’s going to buy you a mocking bird. And if that mocking bird don’t sing, Mama’s going to buy you a…” This last part changes quite a bit. Sometimes it’s a ring, which leads back to the bird, and you get stuck in a little loop. Other times it’s a digger or a dinosaur, occasionally a b-ball is thrown in. 

Every night, before you go to bed, you insist on giving her several hugs and kisses, although often times a stalling tactic to avoid bed, it’s still adorable. The other night you called out, “Sweet dreams, Elliott Mae. Dream of b-ball hoops.”

You are such a sweet big brother, and although there have been a few early attempts to let her know who is boss, I’d say you’re doing an amazing job of sharing the spotlight, and I’m so proud of you.


Love,

Dad

10-20-2014

Happy Birthday, Elliott!

20 Oct

To my baby girl,

Happy belated birthday! You were born around 9:20 pm on September 10, 2014. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to write earlier, but as you can imagine, having a newborn and a two-year-old at home has been quite time consuming and tiring.

The process of your birth, was, to quote your mother, “Fast and furious.” While with Arlo we had no birth plan, with you, your mom was counting on an epidural to help with the pain as early as possible. Sometimes in life, things don’t go as planned, because you were in a hurry to join the human race and then sleep for the next several days.

We arrived at the hospital and settled in for a long evening, believing you’d probably be born sometime early the next morning. I went and got a cup of coffee, and then began walking with your mom to try and help move you along. The nurses instructed us to walk for an hour, then meet back at the room and they’d set your mom up with some pain medication.

By the time we got to the end of the hall, your mom stopped to have a contraction, and her water broke. Everything began moving pretty quickly at that point, and it soon became painfully obvious to your mother that she was having a natural birth, wether she liked it or not.

Your brother had just turned two a few weeks before, and since he’s in the stage where he repeats everything, we’ve made a point not to swear anymore. This was not the case during your birth. We were only at the hospital for a few hours total before you were born, but the entire time your mother only said two things, she dropped F-bombs, and muttered, “Get her out! Is she out?”

When the pushing began your mom filled the floor with blood-curdling screams. Then when the really intense contractions would finish, she’d look up, calm, and with a completely serious look on her face, she would ask, “Is she out?” When she was informed you hadn’t quite arrived, she would then ask, as plainly as requesting, “Can I have fries with that,” if they could just pull you out.

Obviously the level of pain makes you a bit delirious, but your mom was simply amazing, and before long, your little, very-purple head popped out. Just your head was visible, but your eyes were closed and you didn’t make a sound. I was very scared and thought something was wrong, but none of the doctors around me seemed to be panicked. Your mom pushed a bit more, your eyes opened, you let out a little cry, and I broke down into tears. 

You were six pounds, 14 ounces, and the most tiny, fragile little thing I’d ever held in my life. You truly were so sleepy for the first few weeks of your life.

You and your brother truly couldn’t have been more different as babies. You were night and day. So far, you’re night, even during the day. You’re super sleepy and calm, content to lay on your back and look around. Your brother was day, even at night. He was always trying to sit up, squirming, reaching for things…

Arlo meeting you was the sweetest moment of my life so far. He charged into the hospital room and let out a little squeal when he saw you, a smile plastered across his face. He immediately requested to hold you, and then sat wide-eyed, taking you all in before he literally kissed you from head to toe.

You’re nearly six weeks old, now, and you’re still as calm as the day we brought you home. In your short time on this planet you’ve already been to a waterfall, seen a live band, gone on a hayride at a pumpkin patch and had a few colds (sorry about the last one). Arlo still loves you a ton and wants to help out with you as much as possible, always trying to calm you and sing to you when you’re upset.

You’re starting to open your big soft eyes a bit more, and your mom says you’re even starting to smile, although I haven’t seen one yet. You’re mom is also convinced you’re going to be a redhead, although it’s still tough to tell. The one thing I do now, is that you’re very loved.

I love you so much,

Dad

10-20-14 (started the morning after your birth)

Time flies, when you’re turning two!

28 Aug

Arlo James,

Two years ago today, my life completely changed.

Before you were born, I was your mom’s husband. Before that, I was her boyfriend. Before that, a struggling entrepreneur. Before that I was a snowboard bum. Before that stage in my life, I was a college student with no clue what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated. Before that I was an aimless high school student, and before that, I was your grandparents baby boy.

I threw fits, I begged for toys, I tattled on my sisters, I made mistakes, questioned every decision I made, tried and failed, tried and succeeded, got lost, found my way, got lost again, partied too much, regretted it the next morning, got a job I hated, then one I liked,  lost that job, married your mom, got another job, and then before I knew it, we had you. And just like that, the entire world, and everyone in it looked different to me.

I still pout from time to time and make mistakes. And I’m still unsure of some of the decisions I make… I am after all, just a guy.

I know one day you’ll read this, and depending on what age you are, that last sentence might strike you as somewhat of a shocker. When we’re kids, parents seem like these amazing, all-knowing, all-powerful people. But the truth is, I wasn’t a kid that long ago. In fact, at this point in my life, I’ve technically been a kid for longer than I’ve been an adult.

And as for being a parent? Out of my 35 years on the planet, I only have two years of experience. In the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing. But in reality, these have been the best, most rewarding years of my life. And, in that short period of time, according to you, I’ve already learned to heal any wound you have with the touch of my lips, so I’d say I’m off to a pretty amazing start.

I won’t be able to fix every problem you have, or answer all of life’s mysteries for you, but I can promise you that I’ll always be there for you, no matter what.

Happy Birthday, my handsome little man! I love you so unbelievably much!

Love,

Dad

8-28-14

My a worker

22 Aug

Hello my little worker man,

One of the most amazing parts about you getting older, is watching your interests grow. A few months ago, construction equipment and the people who operated them were merely observations in your life, while now they’re a borderline obsession.

It all started when our neighbor’s were having their roof repaired in the spring. We pointed out the workers on the roof, and explained what they were doing. Shortly after, you began pointing out workers on road-side construction crews, spotting them by their orange vests and hard hats.

One day, when you asked why you had to go to daycare, I informed you it was because your mom and I were actually workers, too, and that one day, you would also be a worker. To which you replied, “A b-ball worker!”

But now it seems you’ve traded in your dreams of the NBA for the chance to operate a bulldozer or a digger. Now that you’re interested in diggers and bulldozers, you seem very driven to become a construction worker. Since you currently refer to yourself as “My”, in conversation, we quite often hear you saying, “My a worker! My drive a dump truck! My got a digger!”

You hover on the pages of any books that feature construction equipment, and cherish the few books we have that exclusively focus on work sites. One day I even chased down a bulldozer with you as it traveled through our neighborhood, in order to find where it was working. Since then, your mom, and both sets of grandparents have spent a great deal of time watching the construction crews replace the sewer pipes in our neighborhood.

The site was a bit loud and frightening at first, but now you’re a huge fan, and even prefer to watch “the workers,” as you affectionately call them, over going to the park. You wave to them and excitedly provide play-by-play commentary, “Oh! A ladder! That worker’s got a shovel! Hi worker! Digger dump dirt into the dump truck!”

I’m not sure where this obsession came from, but at this point it’s so genuine, that if it continues, I’m not sure how we’ll be able to avoid buying you an actual bulldozer for your 16th Birthday.

My love you, little man!

Dad

8-22-14

Avoiding the “terrible twos”

28 Jul

Hello Mr. Arlo,

We’re just a month away from you entering into the stage of life most commonly known as “the terrible twos.” While you have not turned terrible, you have become much more intense. But looking ahead at the changes you’re bound to go through, I’m choosing to find the positive side of this situation.

It has become more apparent than ever before that you really know what you want. A few months ago, when we decided to take bottles out of your routine and replace them with cups of milk, you had no problem letting me know you found this change to be completely unacceptable. Way to stand up for your beliefs!

For the first hour you were awake, you lobbied for a bottle, declaring over and over your disdain for milk out of cups. This carried on each morning for nearly a week—way to be persistent! Eventually you forgot all about bottles, and now you’re completely content with drinking out of a big-boy cup. Already learning the art of compromise!

While you’re now fine with cups, your persistence, and belief that you know what is best for you, has not wavered in the least. While you still enjoy story time each night, you have an internal list of who is allowed to reach which book. One night I’m allowed to read certain books—which you’ll hand to me and ask, “Talk? Talk? Read Daddy?”— while the next time you may try and banish me from the room for even thinking of reading any of the books I picked out. No one will ever say you’re not assertive!

Each book has a routine. If a character jumps, yells, or stands on their head, you have to do the same. If someone in a book has hurt feelings or gets a scrape, you have to kiss the character several times and hug the book. Empathy is a great quality to have!

You’re also more into music than ever. Salad bowls are now your personal drum kit, guitar strumming has taken on a punk-like feel, and songs are invented and sung on a daily basis, “Up the ladder, down the slide, weeee, so fun! Tsh, Tsh!” We have the baboon song, the Arlo song, and songs that don’t exist, but you still request. “Sing the boom-boom song, Daddy. Sing it now?” As so I make it up on the spot. Looks like you’re already trying to inspire others!

Each day you’re able to articulate your thoughts a little more clearly, and while sometimes these come across as commands, you quickly clean them up into sweet requests. “Read more books!” you’ll say with a scowl. Then your eyes soften, and your voice sweetens up, “Please, Daddy? Just a few more books? Please?”

I’m continually amazed by you, and I know that will ever stop; regardless of what stage you’re in, and what changes it brings.


I love you so much,

Dad

7-28-14

A lot to learn…

28 Jul

Dear Elliott,

You’re a little less than two months away from meeting your makers, and we couldn’t be more excited. You’re mom has entered into the nesting phase. We’re cleaning, running errands, painting rooms… This morning I opened Arlo’s drawer and discovered it had been reorganized to include some of your clothes.

Your mom loves shopping for you. Nearly every weekend she walks to one of the resale shops and searches for onesies, pajamas, or other cute clothes.

This weekend, friends of ours gave us some bags of clothes their daughter had grown out of. It was interesting, digging through the piles of clothes, trying to figure out which dresses you would like, or wouldn’t. Will you even like dresses? What colors will you like?

We’re at an odd place, right now. We know your name, we’ve got clothes for you, we’ve bought you diapers and wipes, and even a stroller big enough for you and your brother… but we don’t really know anything about you.

Well, one thing for sure. Based on what we’ve seen in ultrasounds, and from what your mom can feel, you’re going to be really active! But besides that, we don’t know much else. I can’t wait to put a personality and face with the name!

So looking forward to meeting you, my little baby girl!


Love,

Dad

7-28-14

Name your path

30 May

Dear Elliott Mae,

When trying to think of girl names, your mom and I were unable to come up with many choices to choose from, and even fewer that both of us could agree upon. Then one day your mom asked, “what about Elliott, for a girl?”

I instantly loved it, and it was pretty clear at that moment that we had landed on your name. Although we are not the first parents to take a name that is traditionally thought of as a “boy name,” and pick it for their daughter, it still seems like you don’t hear it very often. The other night I was convinced—that because I thought it was such a fitting name for a little girl—that it must be getting extremely popular, so I googled it.

What I found, was the wrath of people with too much free time on their hands. I found post after post of people raging about how Elliott is a masculine boy’s name and how people had no right to use it as a girl’s name. People were openly shamming mother’s who said they were naming their daughter’s Elliott. People demanded the mothers choose Ella, or Elle, or some other name that was more feminine, and thus a more fitting name for a little girl. 

I momentarily doubted our decision to name you Elliott. But then I realized, these are the same types of people who think you’re destined to live your life in a pink tutu, playing with dolls, and biding your time until you marry Prince Charming, just because you were born a girl. But let me assure you, that’s not the case, unless that’s what you want out of your life. 

You can wear, play, and date whomever or whatever you like. It’s your life, and although people will have strong opinions about how you should live it, especially because you’re a girl, it does not mean that you have to listen to them. Just look around at the amazing women in your life, especially your mom. When we started dating she was training for an mixed martial arts fight, she’s literally one of the strongest people I know, and she trains men how to box—these are not characteristics that are often thought of as “girly,” but it’s what she wants to do, so she does it, and it’s part of what makes her so amazing.

Being born a girl, and growing up into a woman, does not put you on any particular path, or mean any part of your life is predetermined. The only thing it means, in fact, is that you are our daughter, and that we’ll always love you, no matter what.

I hope you love your name as much as we love you! I love you so much, and I can’t wait to meet you,

Dad

5-30-14

 

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