Dear Little One,
It’s been four months since you were born, and I just now feel like the whirlwind is calming. And that’s kind of not fair because I feel like I blinked my eyes and my fragile, five pound, six week early little boy is suddenly a filled-out, healthy Gerber baby who bears strikingly little resemblance to the tiny person I met on October 24th. The thing of it is, as grateful and proud as your Papa and I are that you are as healthy and hearty as you are, a small part of me misses the early days of constant cuddling.
Your Papa and I like to call you Monkey. This is evolved from “Buddy” which got tossed because it’s the name we sometimes call the dog, and “Bunny” which was jokingly vetoed by your father as “not manly enough for my son.”
I do my best, but sometimes Bunny still comes out, and no matter what we call you, we can’t seem to avoid calling Scout by the same thing. I hope one day I don’t find you both eating out of the same (or different…) dog dish and running toward me when I get the leashes out.
While I loved the Littlest of People you were when you were born, I’m so glad to have you home from the hospital – something that takes a few days in the best of cases, but took a month in yours. You’ll never remember the 37 days you spent in the NICU, but your Papa and I will never forget it. The days we spent at your side, looking when we couldn’t touch, talking to you when we were told you could be awake, helping purple-gloved nurses give you your first baths, take your temperature and change tiny diapers…eating too many meals in the hospital cafeteria – they will be with us for the rest of our lives.
You were loved from the beginning – your Grandmas spent nights with you so you didn’t have to be alone. Your Grandpas, Aunts and Uncle, Great Grandparents visited as often as they could, and the rest of your family and friends held their breaths every day for news of your health.
Try to remember this when you’re five and Mama holds on a little too long before letting you go into your kindergarten class.
But, despite a less than smooth start into the world, you have shown us all how tough and special you are. Someday I hope you read this, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about who you are now:
Lovely Locks. You were born with a full head of dark, movie star hair. Until this last week or two, you managed to keep most of it. What’s left is getting lighter and looking more…middle aged. You have a nice combination of male pattern balding meets Mohawk meets Mullet – and you’re still so handsome strangers ask me for your autograph.
Squeaker. When you were born, we joked that you didn’t cry, you squeaked. It wasn’t until you were probably two months old before we heard sounds of discontent that resembled crying versus that noise that happens when you step on a dog toy. It was the cutest thing, and I could always pick you out of the NICU crowd as soon as I walked in the door.
Peepers. You have your Papa’s blue eyes and have from day one. Babies’ eyes tend to change colors, but most of us are pretty sure you get to keep these Baby Blues. I have been looking into extra-long fly swatters to keep the women away, but I fear it’s a lost cause – especially when you smile.
Smiles and giggles. As soon as you figured this one out, we were goners. You find joy in the smallest of things – at this point mostly when we stick our tongues out at you or open our mouths really big. I don’t know what you see in there that is so hysterical, but Monkey, let me tell you, we are slaves to that giggle. I didn’t realize how people became those parents that embarrass themselves to no end to entertain their children – that is until I regularly find myself sticking my tongue out and showing you my tonsils in public just to see a smile on your face. As you grow, I wouldn’t mind it if you found less…embarrassing things to be funny. People tend to stare at you when you stick your tongue out at infants.
Llamas. It’s been a week since I started writing this letter. Now you think it’s funny when we tell you “L is for Llama,” and make a spitting noise. I have a feeling fart jokes are in your future.
Leaps and Bounds. You take a nap and I think sometimes you wake up an inch longer than when you went down. You’re four and a half months old and I am scrambling to find you clothes in the 6-9 month range. If there are pictures of you at five months wearing a bed sheet – we’ve finally run out of clothes and/or the money to buy them, and we’ve given up.
Bilingual. You roll your r’s like a pro and now that you’ve discovered this – we hear one long trill after another, all day long. You, dear son, are fluent in Chewbacca.
I could keep going, but I am going to leave a little mystery out there for you. Just know that every day we learn something new about you, and it’s just about the most fun your Papa and I have ever had.
Thank you for being you.