Letter to Oscar: Month Five

You were once my tiny button-nosed baby, a tidy package swaddled in your receiving blanket, and I could hold the lightness of your being with one competent arm while I went about my day.

Then I closed my eyes and dreamed for one moment that life with a baby was easy and could be managed.  That time would stretch out endlessly like a childhood summer.  When I opened my eyes you had grown into a long-limbed boy, reaching with your arms, grabbing with your hands, kicking with your legs, determined to explore and carefully dismantle the world around you.

You were once content to sit squat on my lap like a baby buddha, sucking on your fists and studying the world around you in quiet contemplation.  Now I can barely hold your squirmy little boy body.  I can no longer eat or drink while I’m holding you, because you are determined to upend my glass and grab my food.  The computer keyboard has become much more exciting than any of your toys, and you will yell out loud if I don’t let you bang on it.  You think the funniest thing in the world is grabbing hold of Mama’s hair and not letting go.  You have officicially become what they call a handful.  Yet how can I regret these changes when it means that you reach for me in recognition, that you beam at me when I come to get you in the morning, and that you laugh out loud when I blow raspberries on your tummy.

You are outgrowing your clothes so quickly I will reach for an outfit that fit you yesterday only to find out that it doesn’t fit you today.  You have already outgrown your baby carrier and are now in a “big boy” car seat.  You are so heavy that Mama’s arms are sore from lifting you out of your crib.  Where rolling over was a once a big deal, something your Mama and Papa cheered and got very excited about, it is now so boring and mundane.  We all yawn everytime you do it. Except that we can’t leave you unattended anymore, and life with a baby is suddenly no longer as easy as I thought it was going to be.

The next few months will bring many changes.  You will begin eating solid food.  You will try to sit up on your own.  You will eventually crawl.  I’m excited and I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that someday you will learn that the world is not always a good place.  I am afraid that someday you will be hurt, either physically or emotionally, and I won’t be able to protect you.  Most of all I’m afraid that I will forget what it was like to hold you for the first time, that I will forget the newness of your baby smell and the softeness of your baby skin.  I wish I could freeze time forever, but then I would never see you stand up and walk with your arms outstretched toward the world.

Letter to Oscar: Month Three

Dear Oscar,

Yes, this letter is overdue by two weeks.  Your mama has gotten very lazy!  You, on the other hand, have gotten very busy, and you’re learning to multitask.  You were once content to sit on Mama’s lap and suck your fist, now you want to sit and suck your fist while looking at it, reach for Mama’s hair/book/tea/keyboard, kick mama, punch Mama, and voice your opinions about the world.

You are developing a charming little laugh, especially when I give you Eskimo kisses.  I feel like a comedian with an audience of one, trying out all my new material on you.

There is now baby fat on your thighs and under your chin.  Yummy chunk that Mama likes to nom nom nom nom nom….  This is especially gratifying to see in what the La Leche League refers to as an EBF, or exclusively breastfed baby.  You went from being a tiny fragile newborn to a sturdy little boy, having never had anything but Mama’s milk.

I am just beginning to realize how much you have changed my life.  A couple of weeks ago we went walking in the woods, the same old woods that I have walked in for over a decade.  The wind started to blow, and instead of burying your face in my shoulder, you turned toward it and went oooohhh, and it became a new wind, a wind that touched your face for the first time.  I see you looking at the world with your huge blue eyes and I realize that my adventures in this life have only just begun.

 Love, Mama

Letter to Oscar: Month Two

Dear Oscar,

You’re kind of an old guy now, growing and changing so fast that I want to stop time and freeze this moment and the way you are now forever.  Never again will you be so tiny and new.  I will miss your wobbly head and your crossed eyes and your tiny feet.  I will miss your newborn clothes.  Already you have outgrown most of your hats, and I’m afraid you’re going to have an enormous head like your mama.  Things change too quickly and time goes by too fast.  I think you better pick your major soon, because you need to know that by your sophomore year in college.

But, OH! the smiles…I have died and gone to baby heaven.  I really had no idea that I could love you so much.  I hate to tell you this, but you have me wrapped around your little finger.  You smile a lot now, when we place you on the changing table, when we give you a bath, and when you wake me up at 3:00 A.M. for a late-night snack.  You’ve also started blowing bubbles with your saliva, and I’m sorry, but that kind of manipulative behavior won’t be tolerated for long, I don’t care how cute it is.

Your sweet, soft hair sticks straight up now, even when we brush it down after your bath.  I’m afraid you have Mama’s hair, too.  Your eyes are still blue, and we wonder if they are going to change color.  Right now they are so big they have their own gravitational pull, like little planets, and your father and I are the moons orbiting you.

You’re talking in little coos and gurgles.  You also have this annoyed little yell, like a grumpy old man trying to summon the waitress (Hey lady, can I get some milk over hear ASAP?).  For entertainment you like to suck on your fists, punch yourself in the eye, and scan the ceiling looking for enemy planes.

I love your soft little body and feeling your warmth and your weight when you fall asleep on my chest.  I love nursing you when the sun rises and it’s just the two of us and the world is silent except for your little snuffles and swallows.  I love the little sighs you make while you sleep.

I look forward to all of the amazing changes that are coming and I mourn the time that slips away.  When I’m tired and don’t want to get out of bed to feed you or change you or rock you, I remember that a time will come when I can’t lift you anymore, so I pick you up and hold you in my arms, and keep you close for a little while longer.

 Love, Mama