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Friday, April 30, 2010

13 months

27 April 2010

(wishes really do come true)

Dear Asa,

We are starting to communicate! And I couldn’t be more excited about it. And really, we’ve been communicating for a while now, in one way or another, but this is markedly different. You know a few words: mama, dad, Pa (for Papa John), and of course “no” is one of your favs. You like to repeat the first sound of words too, a big “bbbba!” when you see your stuffed bear, or a funny “ssssssstt” when you see Steve. Just recently the sign language started to kick in and I think this has helped us both out a lot. You can now tell me that you are hungry, that you want a bottle or that you want more. You can tell me that you are hurt, and (sometimes) where the hurt is. You also understand a whole bunch of words now, even if you can’t yet repeat them. You know people by name (if we ask you “Asa, where is grandma?” you always turn right to her) and you know your favorite toys (Asa, where’s the ball?). It’s all unfolding and coming together. The world is opening up love, one syllable at a time.

(one happy, messy boy)

You have a wonderful wealth of tricks now. Your headstands have evolved into handstands now. Your hands planted firmly on the ground you lift one leg in the air, still a bit unsure as to how to get the other one up there too. You like to look back at us from between your legs while you do this. I don’t think I have to tell you how freakin cute that is. Even so, I’d have to say my current favorite is “How bigs your belly”. When someone asks you “Asa, how big is your belly?” you immediately stick it out as far as you can, bending your back at impossible angles, and growl as loud as you can. Then you clap for yourself. It’s the best thing ever, I’m pretty sure.

(you love to share your food with anyone brave enough to take a slobbery bite from your grubby hands. Grandma is brave)

This month has been full of teething again, your 9th tooth, a nice molar, has popped up and you’ve let us know you are not pleased about it. Number ten is on the way. You’ve been eating and eating, new things this month were grapefruit and cheesecake (thankfully not together). You are also becoming pretty darn good with a spoon. A few weeks ago you started to refuse anything that came on the end of a spoon, didn’t matter if it was yogurt, cereal, potatoes, whatever. You’d turn your head away and screech, while reaching for the spoon. So I gave it to you, ready to throw you in the tub when the mess was done. You are so determined with that utensil love, it is absolutely endearing to watch. With very concentrated efforts you squeeze the blue plastic handle and extend your arm towards the bowl of applesauce. Your first shot misses, the spoon lands on the tray, but it’s near the bowl. The second and third tries miss the bowl as well. But you keep at it, stubborn now that you have decided what you want to do. I left you there for a good 20 minutes with that spoon and the applesauce and, by the end, you actually did get some in your mouth. Now we let you practice daily and you end up with about two thirds eaten and the rest on the tray or in your hair. Needless to say love, I am impressed.

(baba time on the couch)

The best new game in your world is to play in a fort. Grandma started this with you, making a tiny fort under your highchair. Since then anything can be a fort. You try to put blankets over everything and get under it, even me. When we play on the floor now it doesn’t take long for you to find one and try to get it over my head. To make a Mom-Fort, of course. Once I get the blanket draped over us you laugh and laugh, rolling in and out of the Mom-Fort. It gets a little hot under there, and my arms get tired holding up the edges, but it brings you so much joy I can hardly even think of taking a break.

(you LOVE to play at the park)

You also love to be outside. You love to dig with your dad and I in the garden, play with your grandma in the back and help Papa John build the planter boxes out front. Every morning you go right to the sliding glass door and press your face longingly against the glass, just wanting so badly to be out there running around. Summer is coming my love, and soon we can play out there all day long. Days filled with grass and sun and watermelon. Our first summer in Ashland together, as a family. It’s going to be another great adventure love, and we’ll all play outside together everyday. We can even make a fort. I promise.


(you always remind me to take a little time to smell, or eat, the flowers. Thanks baby)

Monday, April 19, 2010


A few photos from the shoot with lovely Miss Abby and her family...

Monday, April 12, 2010

1 Year!

Dear Asa,

A year: Three hundred and sixty-five days. Fifty-two weeks. Twelve months. Four seasons. One full rotation around the sun. Is it possible? Can we already be here, celebrating your birthday?

Here I am, my love, awe struck by your progress, your growth, your evolution. A steep upward incline, you have rocketed through this first year. Rolling over, sitting up, cooing, eating, walking, talking - and this is just this beginning! This is the tip of the iceberg, just a sliver of your life.

And it's been this fullest, biggest and busiest year of mine.

You are not the only one to have done some growing. I, like all new mothers, jumped head first into this ocean of parenthood. Some days I could only doggy-paddle, just barely keeping my head above water. Struggling for the patience, the energy and the perseverance. Some days I cried, some days I felt insufficient. Some days I wasn't good enough. And other days I glide through glassy seas, backstroking through the waves. Surfing on swells of pure love, higher than I've ever been. Some days, the answers come easy to these fingertips, some days I don't even search for them, they're just there. But not a single day passes, that I do not grow to love you more.

We've spent the last month of your first year in Australia. Here you've met your grandparents, four cousins, two aunts, two uncles and many friends. It's strange to think that you won't remember this time. You won't have memories of running on the beach with Uncle Hamish, doing headstands with Lily and Grace or being chased around the kitchen bench by Dawnie and Dave. You won't remember your first swim in the ocean, your first taste of Vegemite or your day on the farm. You won't recall your first camping trip, or your first sight of parrots and kangaroos. But I will tell you, love. I'll tell you all the stories, over and over, so that they become a part of your memory, a part of your experience.

Every single day I look at you and I cannot really believe that you will ever be any bigger than you are in that exact moment. How could it be? You're so big already. I've seen all the moments from the first until this very one; and to think that there will be thousands, millions, trillions and billions more is....nearly unfathomable, really. Sure, sometimes I catch a glimpse and you look so boyish. The curve of your cheek, the gap in your teeth, the speed in your step - you could almost be a little boy, a kid, a toddler. But then the light changes, the clouds shift, and my baby is back. I see the baby still when I change your diaper, when you grip your toes and pull them towards your mouth, laughing. I see my baby still when you cry, when you're tired, when you're upset. The baby is there (and I suspect that he always will be, in some small, motherly way), if you look. But the boy emerges, the toddler toddles out and the little babe starts to fade away.

You have many tricks now, and you seems to learn new ones daily. Lately you like to dance, play the air drums (like dad and Guy taught you), show off your headstand and "smell" the flowers. This smelling involves more licking than anything else, you scrunch up your nose, put the flower (or leaf, twig, clump of grass, etc) in your mouth and breath in and out exaggeratedly. It's wonderful.

You love to eat bananas still, and strawberries are quickly making their way to the top of the list. Lately you won't let anyone feed you. Nope, you can do it all by yourself, thank you very much. You screech and holler at me every time I try to stick that spoon in your face. So I put pretty much everything in front of you and let you go. You are a great eater, refusing nothing (unless it's on the end of a spoon, in my hand of course). Squash, pickles, watermelon, yogurt - you name it! You are especially interested in anything that comes from someone else's plate. As we sit for dinner you are quickly under foot, begging scraps off any who will offer.

Your birthday celebration was a total success. There was family, music, laughter and love. Cake, presents, champagne and sunshine. What more could one wish for? Letting you go at that cake was probably more fun for me than it was for you. For as long as I've imagined having children I have pictured that moment. Setting the pristine cake in front of you, waiting for silent seconds as you contemplate your choices, your odds. Is it really mine, you look up at me and ask with your eyes. Go for it love, I encourage you. Then wait, wait....wait....and pounce! The cake is yours! All yours! Fingers digging in, hands and palms smashing, spreading the cream and the crumbs everywhere. It was gorgeous. Just like I always thought it would be. Thanks for that one love.

Sometimes, when you are sleeping in my arms, I gaze down at you and the tears just pour out. I simply can't help it. It's as if all this love, all this joy and pride is overflowing inside me, and there are moments when it spills over. Your face still and serene, breath gentle, rhythmic. The curve of dark lashes, the curl of blond hair and the clean breezy scent of you. I am overcome. All these features, all these small bends and mounds, they will become the body, the face of a man. This thought rockets through me with equals parts joy and apprehension. What a task, what duty. And what a privilege.

Happy birthday my love.



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