Archive for October, 2013

11.5 Months

Dear Hank,

You are almost a year old.

A year old!

You are nearly a person now, with an ever-more-defined personality (where you got your people-loving, outgoing charm is beyond us) and a body that moves in ways we were barely prepared for (last week, you took your first steps!). You find joy in a wonderful wide range of things: your cats (first word: “gah!”, which you often say from your crib when I come to get you in the morning, so excited you are to spend another day with your buddies), standing at the window as Dada walks to the door on his way home from work, slapping any surface available (including the side of your head when you are in your high chair — we can’t wait for you to grow up and explain to us what the joke here is!), peek-a-boo, forts, Mama and Dada’s bed, the dishwasher, the fridge, climbing stairs, being held upside down or slung backwards over our shoulders, toe-tickling, drinking water from a straw cup, baths, cars, splashing in the dogs’ water bowl at Nana and Pop’s. You are a happy boy.

We find all of our joy in one thing: you. Watching you enjoy your world is such a pleasure. Sure, we get tired. We look forward to your naps and nighttime sleep, but frequently just a short time after you’ve gone down, we find ourselves missing you and wishing we could wake you up for just a few minutes more. You make our lives better in ways we didn’t anticipate: We get more exercise; we spend more time outside of the house; we eat healthier; we spend more time together. But most important, you make us happy. We share in your joy!

It’s not all a bed of roses, of course. You get cranky; you get sick; you occasionally fight sleep; we get bored. Sometimes we just want to sit on the couch and watch six movies in a row, the way we used to do on lazy weekends. Having a baby is relentless. Yes, you do nap twice a day, but you always wake up. You are always there. We always need to pay attention to you and protect you. We are tired, and we miss the flexibility of our childless days. Money is tighter, too, and that has been a big adjustment for us.

But it’s all worth it. What else is there to do, in the end, but love you and make the best life we can for you? In two weeks, we’ll celebrate your first birthday, with our families and close friends, people who love you almost as much as we do. You don’t care about your birthday, and you won’t remember it, but we will celebrate you and love you and give you gifts. It’s our chance to reflect on the past year and recognize how you’ve changed us. You didn’t do it on purpose — you merely existed — but you’ve made made our lives so rich and happy and meaningful. You are our best thing. You are everything!

My goodness, I just love you so much.





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9 Months

An unfinished post, written Aug. 27, 2013. My goal to write a letter to Hank every month of his first year utterly failed. I was hopelessly distracted by my wonderful, hilarious growing baby!

Dear Hank,

Today is the second anniversary of the day I married your daddy. Our second married year has been a busy one: We moved to a new city, bought a house and two cars and had a baby (that’s you!). Your dad has a new job, and I’m working from home full-time now. Since having you, I’ve lost about 70 pounds (thanks for your help there, hungry buddy!). I barely recognize the family of two we were a year ago — yet none of these changes have felt like huge adjustments. At the same time that we can’t believe that we just up and had a baby — they let you do that, just like that? — we can’t imagine our lives without you. Other parents have said it before about their kids, and it’s true for us too: You are the best thing that ever happened to us.

And you just keep getting better. You were amazing from day one, but it was sometimes hard to recognize your charms back when you were just a squirming, grunting blob of relatively tiny baby. Now you are this big, fat, joyous, moving creature! On your 9-month birthday, you pulled up by yourself (in front of the entire Sahl family — you were apparently waiting for a big enough audience), and the next day you crawled on hands and knees for more than a couple of paces. (You still prefer to tummy-crawl half the time and are more efficient at it than all-fours crawling.) It is so much fun to watch you explore your world.

You have always been a very smiley boy and barely cried for your first several months, but now that you’re older and a bit wiser, you’ve learned how to have other opinions. You fuss when you’re bored, or want your breakfast (more eggs, please!), or bump your head, or get a limb stuck between the bars of your crib. You hate the car. You aren’t a huge fan of rain (but you love a calm body of water, be it pool or lake or bath tub). You don’t appreciate attempts to wipe your hands and face after meals, and you detest baby food. Whereas you used to love lying on your changing table, regardless of the activity taking place there, diaper-changing has now become your worst nightmare.

I’m glad you’re learning to tell us what you don’t like.

You love your cats (we’re not sure you would have learned to crawl had you not had Arthur to chase after), and they tolerate you with patience we did not know they possessed.

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