I have not gotten your monthly letter done for a couple of months here. I am sorry. Things have been crazy and when there has been time and energy to write I felt so overwhelmed by all there is to say I’ve hardly known where to start. I guess I’m now just giving up on the idea of the full accounting of Christmas… it’s now past Valentine’s Day for goodness sake! And honestly, I need to rethink the timing and format of these letters to you. If I’m having trouble getting them done now, how will it be when there is a new baby in the house? And as you get older, speaking of your age in terms of months is beginning to seem a little silly. Yet I love taking the time to reflect on and record your growth and development. I like having a place to put the pictures that we take of you over the course of a month… and I also need this external reminder to take pictures each month as I’m not so good about that when just left to my own devices.
Aside from the joy of seeing you really interact with the extended family in Tucson, the biggest Christmas development in your life was that you overcame your fear of dogs! I can’t even begin to tell you how huge this is. You now enjoy your time visiting relatives who own dogs. You are no longer constantly on high alert whenever we are outside, constantly scanning your surroundings and overcome by anxiety whenever a dog appeared on the horizon. When we returned from Tucson we wondered how much your new found enjoyment of our extended family’s pets would transfer to other canines we run across in daily life. When we took a New Year’s Day stroll around Laguna Beach and you actually felt slighted and disappointed each time we passed someone walking their dog who didn’t stop for you to pet the dog and have it sniff your hand we knew that indeed we had experienced a Christmas miracle! Your personal little mantra “I be okay” is a powerful thing. And while you are actually not saying it so often yourself anymore you should know that many in our clan are still quoting your phrase to themselves when feeling a need for the reminder.
I expect your little sister will be making her appearance any day soon… if these contractions get any more regular maybe even today! I’ve been so very aware of the fact that soon you will be sharing our attention with a newborn. While I am excited to welcome her into our family and begin the process of getting to know her I can’t help but wonder (and perhaps worry a bit) about how it will change our relationship. I’ve been soaking up extended cuddle times with you, and being on bed rest most of the past month has given me plenty of them, mindful that soon such uninterrupted time will be a thing of the past. And you, my boy, are a cuddle junkie! A year ago when you were constantly showing up the Energizer Rabbit I never would have guessed that I would be blessed with so much time to just hold you along side me. It’s truly the best thing ever! Except for the fact that a goodly part of the reason you are content to do so has been you’ve repeatedly experienced the joys of one strain of the flu after another this winter.
Although I know things will be changing in our family dynamic soon, and that the initially it may be a bit rough at times for you, you have shown me again and again how adaptable you can be when given time and space to work through a new adjustment. For your part, you are so excited to have your sister join us after waiting so, so very long! You often come to me to tell me you think it is time for us to go to the hospital to get the baby out! You’ve been know to try to stretch my belly button open to get a peak inside. A few days ago you took your foot to my belly button and told me you wanted to go into my belly. I wondered if you were feeling to need to be the baby again and asked “Why, Eli?” You gave me that look of long-suffering patience with my less than acute perception and answered, “to play with Zoe.”
Your ability to answer “why” questions is a new development of the past couple of weeks, and you often begin your answer with the word “because”. It is wonderful to finally have you explain to us the reasoning behind some of the things you will say and do or about a reaction you are having. We are often astounded by the connections you will make between ideas! Your language development has become nothing short of amazing. During our cuddle times you love to just converse with me. In fact you like holding conversations so much that you get upset when other people talk to each other instead of with you. “No Mama, no talk to Daddy. Talk to Eli.” It’s a behavior and expectation we really need to work on, but honestly, it’s a great problem for us to have! Today at a donut shop the girl behind the counter remarked at how much you were speaking. Of course, she had no idea that this little boy who now can sit and narrate the minutest detail of his experience had less than 20 words to his vocabulary just a year ago. It was about the nicest off-hand comment a stranger has ever made to us about you… even better than the times people go on and on about how adorable you are!
Lately you ask me, without exaggeration, at least 20 times a day if I am your Mommy. You do so with the sweetest tone of voice, and I don’t think the question comes from any real doubt on your part as to whether I am you mother or not. You often tend to phrase statements in the form of questions and this is your way of marking our relationship. It is often quickly followed by you making the universal sound of melting over cuteness (“Aaawwww!”) and hugging whichever part of me is closest to you. Eli, I am incredibly blessed to be your Mommy. There are few things in this life that make me feel as happy as being your mother does. I will always be your Mommy even when you have long outgrown the use of the word. (Which, I have to say, is not yet. Please stop calling me Mom… you’re not even three yet! Mommy or Mama will do just fine for at least a couple more years. Please?!??)
I love you so very, very much!