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Saturday, November 28, 2009

8 months

Dear Asa,

On the day after Thanksgiving you turned 8 months old. As we cleaned up the destroyed kitchen, ate leftovers and stashed away more for later, you got just a teeny bit older. It's happens slowly, minute by minute, and yet here it is, rushing by at lightening speed. Weren't you just crawling? Just cooing? Just born? Shoot, sometimes my belly rumbles and for a split second I think that I am still pregnant! You are zooming through infancy, tumbling forward towards toddlerdom and hurrying us along with you.

(Peek-a-boo view from under the highchair)

You are weeks away from walking (if that!) and it is terrifyingly awesome. You are in such a rush to be big, to do things on your own. You've been able to pull yourself up to a standing since just after 6 months and now you're been cruising for a few weeks. You crawl over to the couch with alarming speed, hips rocking side to side as you slide your knees along the hard wood floors. In seconds you're at the love seat, hoisting yourself up to your feet. Not a moment later you are sliding along the front, tiny fingers outstretched - that remote control is yours. You even know that it is likely I will take it away from you, so you give it a little extra energy, an additional boost of speed, so as to at least get it in your mouth once before all fun is squashed my mean 'ol mom. It's amazing to see those tiny toes taking steps, moving forward with purposeful motion. The only thing you love more than walking along the couch (or a chair, the pack n' play, unpacked boxes, etc) is to hold some one's hands as you walk around the room in circles. Over and over again. After taking 50 or so laps around the room, I stop and try to get you to sit. But your body becomes rigid as you flex your entire being, refusing with every muscle to sit down. If and when I finally get you on your butt, you crumble, totally and completely fall apart. Because the world has ended, life is over and everything sucks. To see your face in these moments is to know real heart ache and feel true despair. Tears stream down your little crumpled cheeks as you lament your woes. Thankfully your dad is back from the road and can swoop in to save the day.

(Who you lookin' at?)

One thing that seems to bring you as much joy as walking is to rifle through the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen. Oh, what fun. When you first realized you could open them I designated one large drawer in the kitchen to you. I thought I was so clever, giving you your very own, filled with toys and plastic measuring cups. As if something that was already yours would remain interesting. As if you’d be content to be limited to one lonely drawer. Ha! For less than one day this drawer held your attention, until you realized that there were many other drawers and cupboards you could reach. Ones with far more interesting things in them, things that cut and slice, things that break and pinch. Dangerous things! I’m still working at getting the child proof latches installed, but something tells be they will not keep you out for long…

(They're ALL Asa's drawers)

Your auntie Marleigh is in town and it is one of the best things in the world just to watch you two play and laugh. I'd be hard pressed to find two people in this world that I love more, and to watch you make each other so happy is exponentially gratifying. She holds your small hands, taking you on your 500th lap of the living room. She patiently sits on the floor with you after you've finally given in to examine a toy more closely. She holds you while you drink your bottle, eyes sleepily gazing up into hers. She picks you up when you cry, and laughs with you when she tickles you. Some day, I imagine, she'll let you have too much ice cream in the park, or stay up too late watching scary movies, or back the car out of the driveway. She will always be your Auntie Mar, and for that we are both truly blessed.

(Asa helps with laundry)

One of my favorite things you do right now is this funny laughing smile. You squinch up your nose, wrinkling it as much as is possible, smile at the same time, and breath in and out of your nose real quick. Your lips are pulled back when you do this and I can see all four of your tiny white teeth. The gap between the two on the top make this strange snorting smile all the more endearing. Really, it is just the cutest thing in the whole, wide world. And you know this. If someone does it to you, you will do it right back, delighting in the back and forth of the game. Apparently I use to do this exact same thing when I was you age - now how cute is that?

(Squinchy face)

Another ridiculously adorable thing you started doing this month is kiss. At least we are guessing that’s what it is. It’s usually when I’m holding you in my arms, straddled on a hip. You lean in towards my face, mouth already open, and place your drool soaked lips on my cheek (or chin, or forehead or temple, whatever is within reach). Though it leaves drool dripping down my face, I just love the sweetness in that moment. I’ll take all the kisses I can get.


You are moving fast my love, in a hurry to get somewhere. This often leaves me in such a strange little quandary. Of course I am awesomely proud of you. I just beam as other people marvel at your strength, your intelligence, your speed and agility. I am admittedly delighted when we are walking in the park, your small legs stepping one in front of the other and someone stops to ask how old you are. Only 8 months?! They exclaim. Impossible. Fierce mama pride shows in my face, to be sure. But as proud as I am my love, I am also just a tiny bit sad. So quick, you are, a little speed racer, zooming through these first eight months. Soon enough I will count your age in years, drop you off at school, teach you how to drive. It’s all happening so fast, milestones passed in a moment, and sometimes I want it to slow down. So I take way too many pictures, and I write these letters each month to remind me to stay right here in the moment. With you. Always.


Friday, November 20, 2009

8 pictures from our hew home

(We followed fall across the country all the way home)

(Angus and Asa in Lithia Park)

(Asa plays in his new park)

(Fall's colors in black & white)

(One of Asa's favorite new pastimes - food painting/eating in the highchair)

(Beautiful dahlias from the weekly Grower's Market that just happens to be right across the street from our house)

It turns out you can go home again - and it never felt so good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

7 months

Dear Asa,

You are seven months old now and quite the seasoned traveler. With a four day road trip and international travel conquered, we thought we’d tackle a cross country move. Eleven states, six days, five hotel rooms and one enormous U-Haul later, we are here in the Pacific Northwest. I am more than a little impressed with us all.

What brought us all that way? From Upstate New York all the way to Southern Oregon? Simple. It was family. Not until starting my own did I realize the importance – even the necessity – of having friends and family around you. It takes a tribe… Our beautiful home in the Catskills was the stuff of adventures. We braved blizzards and hiked mountains, built fires and tended garden. We had a wood stove and a gourmet kitchen, a claw foot tub and forest of a backyard. I learned how to build a fire and how to properly cut back the blackberries. Your dad pruned the apple trees and learned the differences between ax, maul and hatchet. But most importantly, we made a baby. In hindsight it seems so obvious. We moved to the mountains to have a baby, to bring you into this world in the best possible way for us all. And I wouldn’t change it if I could. Your first earthly home was thousands of miles away from family (except “auntie” Bess and “cousins” Monty and Griff!!) and, by many accounts, we were alone. But there was beauty in this isolation, something full of grace and light. Being alone with you in those first days, weeks months was like a dream. everything fuzzy and beautiful. The time of a newborn is like no other, days and nights washed together, colors bled into each other like mis-washed clothes. Your brand new scent and sounds all around us. Profound newness. Outside, it was spring, with crocus' blooming and snow melting. We were heated by the fire, but truly warmed by the magic that is co-creation. I could not imagine a more perfect place to come into this world. And so it seems New York was for baby making – and Oregon is for baby raising.

Your grandmother has been an invaluable part of this big move – I don’t even know how it could have happened without her. In this last month you have become completely mobile – crawling, scootching and now even cruising along the edge of the couch – and that extra set of hands was more than helpful. It is amazing to watch her with you, my own mother, the same hands that fed and diapered me, loving you with the same tenderness, the same motherly dexterity. And 24 years later, she still has the touch.

Less than a week before we piled into the truck and headed West, you broke your very first teeth. Yes, that’s plural. Two of them came through in the same night, and you certainly let us know about it. I can only imagine that pain, as it’s one of those things that we blessedly don’t remember. After teething tablets, biter biscuits and frozen teething rings, I think you found the most relief from chomping down on your finger while sort of humming and moaning. I imagine the subtle vibration was soothing and making a lot of noise was just an added bonus. Now these two small teeth punctuate your smile. It is astounding how something so small can make such a change. Your gummy grin is no more, replaced now with the beginning of a little boy’s smile. Now your two top teeth are hiding under angry and swollen gums, sure to break through any day now.

Your teeth have been a part of your new favorite activity – eating. Man, can you put it away! I am still surprised when you finish that entire banana, all mashed with rice cereal and formula and even more shocked when you top it off with some avocado AND a bottle. Where can it all go? A hollow leg? A trap door? You are in constant motion, so you must burn through those calories like wildfire. It is not an exaggeration, you are literally moving every moment you are awake. And quite a few when you are sleeping too. You are active, and eager - to say the least. And you love to play in our new living room. With a wide and open layout, you have the run (or crawl) of almost the whole house. Lately I will walk by, busy unpacking, washing diapers or cooking dinner, and you will ask me to come and play with you. “Dadadadaaaadadaa!” You shout. Roughly translated as “Hey mom! Come play on the floor with me, it is awesome!” And you smile so happily that I could not dream of refusing. Down on the ground, a living room away, I bang a toy on the floor boards. Loud and possibly destructive, this is appealing indeed. You waste no time in getting to me, starting out with a rapid crawl from your sitting position. But after a few paces this feels too slow, so you drop to your belly and assume the commando crawl, pushing with your toes and dragging yourself, alarmingly fast, with your forearms. You are on me in seconds. And climbing me like a human jungle gym. Completely upright, your hand on my knee for balance, you fearlessly reach for the toy in my hand. Mine, your eyes say. And pride washes over both our faces.

More teeth are coming soon. Then talking. Walking. And all other manner of minor miracles. As your dad would say, blow my tiny mind. You astound me daily. And I can’t wait for tomorrow.




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