A Letter to my Son: Ten Months

Eli 10 months 3

Dear Eli,

You are right now upstairs asleep in our big king bed. The huge mattress nearly swallows your tiny body whole, and to see you there splayed on your belly brings me so much joy I think I could burst from the effervescent love.

I frequently forget just how tiny you still are. Your eyes are bright and deep; they appear to hold such varied emotional content that I wonder what deep thoughts swim beneath the golden specks.
Eli 10 months

What do you know of this world, little Eli? You seem to grasp so much of life already. There is a steady calm to your presence and wisdom in your good humor. It’s a lightness of being that comes to many only from lived experience. Have you lived before? I wonder… It pleases me to think of you as an old soul–one who has known this world before and walked in many other shoes.

Regardless (reincarnation or not), I see in you the seeds of quiet compassion that will make you a great listener and a true friend. You are observant. You study the voices of strangers, the shapes of tree branches and the emotions that pass across my face. And you are not shy to vocalize your zest for life and love.

Eli 10 months 2
At 10 months old you are eager to explore your world. No matter if it is only our small living room: carpet, chair, basket, book, cat, lamp. Each holds a discovery worth a thousand old world ships sailing to new lands. Where will the wind blow you next?

You are revealing yourself to be a perfectly imperfect human–just like the rest of us. You eat when hungry, fuss when tired (as noted above), laugh easily and often, and above all desire your freedom. I promise to do my best to offer you more opportunities to freely explore this incredible world so that you may discover that which sets your heart on fire. My heart is aflame watching you.

 

Love forever,

Mama

 

 

 

A Letter to My Son: Seven Months

Eli at 7 Months

Dear Eli,

Seven months old…You are at a great age, Eli. I love this age. You are so present and charming and fun.

Whenever someone sees you for the first time they can’t help themselves but to be drawn to your sweetness. They will comment on your handsome face and auburn, reddish hair and tell me that you are the most beautiful baby they’ve ever seen. I’ve got grandkids, they say, but he’s cuter! Of course I agree with them. It would be rude not to!

Eli at 7 Months

You are quick to laugh and spend a solid portion of the day finding reasons to giggle. Your giggle is my most favorite sound in the whole world. I will do almost anything to get to you giggle. But nothing makes you laugh as easily as when Nana puts her head down and lets you feel her hair. You go crazy for her hair! So I had to try it. And…my hair is hilarious too!

We can play peek-a-boo now, and read books–well, I read them, you chew them. CorduroyDr. Seuss, and Baby’s Day are in frequent rotation. When we’re not reading you are playing with your small collection of toys. We’ve placed a basket of them to keep you occupied at the breakfast table and you take them one by one and throw them to the ground. There goes the wooden ring, Sophie the giraffe, the orange chew Q, and all the others. Even the basket itself isn’t immune. Is that really super fun, Eli? I don’t understand it (yes, gravity still works, yup), but I dutifully pick them up and put them back in the basket for you to throw again. And again. Somehow I feel that this scene especially grants me entry into the hallowed halls of Parenthood. So thanks for that.

Eli at 7 Months

But, honestly, there isn’t anything  that I don’t adore about you. Even when you’re upset. Sure you fuss but you always try your best to express your displeasure in a way that we can understand. And I am doing my best to learn your language of coos and grunts and yelps. You’ve just started to babble and it is The Best. Just the other day Dad and I spent a good couple of minutes mimicking your sounds purely to amuse ourselves. Of course we sounded ridiculous–not at all cute. You’re cute. You’re so stinkin’ cute! When you’re not babbling you’re sucking on your lower lip or blowing air bubbles all while making these silly noises. It just kills me.

When you’re not making cute noises you are trying to eat our food. You’ve taken an interest in whatever we’re doing, drinking, eating so we’ve started to give you some food to explore. So far you’ve loved avocado, homemade hummus, smoothie, applesauce, bananas, and mashed potatoes. You don’t have any teeth yet but that doesn’t stop you from gobbling up whatever food you can get your hands on. It’s so fun to suddenly realize you’re in the middle of a growth spurt or taking a developmental leap. I thought I might be overly nostalgic for your infancy but I’m so bemused by the wonder of it all that I’m eager to be present with what’s happening in the now.

Eli at 7 Months

Sometimes when I wake in the middle of the night and look at you under moonlight I am awed by your tiny-ness and largesse all at the same time. You, this tiny human, there beside me…growing…right. this. second. It’s incredible! I’m learning again something so very valuable as your face lengthens and thighs thicken. I’m reminded that the most miraculous of changes occur one small step at a time. Baby steps. You’re my best reminder that a small, daily effort leads to colossal change over time. Its the best advice I could receive right now.

I’m so grateful. I love you, little Eli.

Love forever,

Mama

 

 

Letter to My Son: Two Months

Eli at two monthsDear Eli,

I’m a little behind on posting this letter to you to my blog. You turned 10 weeks old yesterday and each week brings so much change and development that you’re already a different person than you were at eight weeks. But I don’t want to let the opportunity pass us by to share a little more about you for remembrance sake.

Ah, two months. It felt like a milestone to count again in months rather than weeks. Two is not very much of something, I understand. But getting here has already felt like ages. In fact, you stare back at me with the ageless gaze of a soul whose existence is not predicated on a small soft body. Like you’ve known me; like you’ve been here a million times before. My mind tends to think you’re at least six months old already, but nope, just two. Eight little weeks.

We started putting you down to bed at night in your cradle. The one Poppo made for your father when he was born. It’s like putting you back in the arms of your lineage and it eases me. As much as I enjoy stretching out in my big bed without worrying about you under wing, I miss having you always so close. But at least I know that you’re surrounded by the love of your family deep in the woodwork while you dream.

In the morning your smiles come easily to us and as I get up to shower or brush my teeth your giggles keep me anchored for another moment longer. How can I pull away from this pure delight? You now have coos, and giggles, and sighs. I tell you what I’m doing and where I’m going, trying to remember that you’re learning the to identify our language in tones and utterances.

You’re learning so much these days and growing even faster. I like to stare at your head to see if I can catch it expanding. So far, nothing. But you’re packing on the pounds like a champion lifter. We have proof from your Well Child Checkup at the doctor’s office. Already nearly double your weight at birth! I couldn’t be more proud.

Eli, I will always be proud of you. I’ve been thinking… Pride is an odd emotion. It has both positive and negative connotations and taken too far, can be blinding to those who feel it. The pride I feel for you has nothing to do fundamentally with all of the attributes we parents love to fuss over: how handsome you are, how fast you’re growing, how much you respond to our presence. Instead, the pride comes from a deep place of pure gladness in you. I’m proud that your human journey will be linked with mine forever. I feel lucky and blessed. I feel entrusted and empowered. You are making me more of myself.

And for that I am proud of me too.

 

Always yours,

Mama

 

 

A Letter to My Son: One Month

Eli at one month [soultospeakblog.com]Dear Eli,

Last week I took you and your father with me to Connecticut so I could participate in the last session of coaching training for my my graduate program. We drove nearly seven hours from our home in northern Vermont to the southern part of Connecticut and all the while you did great. You slept and squeaked and looked out the window with that now trademark quizzical look on your face like you were really trying to figure out those long green things waving as we passed. I can’t wait until you learn the names of things–trees for one–and can show me with precision what you care about in this great wide world.

I care about you seeing me care about my own life, sweet boy. Graduate school is a commitment I made to myself one year ago and I intend to see it through, even though you appeared one month ago and became the very center of my world. Paradoxically, the greatest lesson I learned last week came through you.

I expected you would be as quiet and un-fussy during class as you had been in the weeks prior and that having you with me wouldn’t be an issue. Most of the time, I was right. There was a particular moment on the very last day when I was participating as a demo client for our instructor in front of the whole class and you suddenly became very uncomfortable not being near me. I took you in my arms and together we managed through the demonstration. There’s too much to explain now about how your pure energy helped guide me in understanding myself it but it was an awakening for me. Simply put, you were an incredible gift during that session.

The important thing, Eli, is that you understand that these assertions about who you are arise from my perspective. As you grow and change and become more of yourself, I hope you feel free to inhabit your identity unburdened by my viewpoint. You are a gift to me from the Universe, but you do not have to own that. You are not beholden to making this always true for me.

Let’s agree here and now that I will own my beliefs about you and you will own and honor yours. I hope by the time you read this you feel that I have always loved you, even if our beliefs have differed

I love you. And thank you.

Yours always,

Mama

A Letter to My Son: Week Two

imageimageDear Eli,

We’re one day away from your two week birthday. How odd to be counting birthdays in weeks instead of years.

And yet, it still feels like only days ago that you were brought from within me to meet the world. How quickly then the sun and moon exchanged places in the sky, over and over and over, while your dad and I stared at you in fits of wonder and breathless amazement at your tiny yet overwhelming existence. Your realness.

Of course everyone wondered who you would look like, mother or father. From the first picture posted to Facebook people said Ah! He looks just like Simeon! But baby boy, I’m not so sure. I think you look like your own person most of all.

I’m not surprised that you came out with hair–I was born with a full head–but that your hair retains a reddish hue woven beneath your light brown locks, well, that was surprising. I expected nothing but inky black.

And your eyes, perhaps they do resemble your father’s, but then, what about those exaggerated creases at the sides? Are those not slivers of almonds like mine?

No doubt that little bow mouth came from the Wieden clan. And your huge hands and feet must mean you’ll grow to be tall like a true Bittman Boy.

Everyday reveals more of your likeness, as your eyes emerge from the swelled cheeks of birth and your lower lip extends outward showing itself, finally.

While I examine your teeny tiny fingers (such long fingernails you had at birth!) your hot breath expires in a quick pant. Your eyes search me and past me with a gray-blue luminosity.

Your level of awareness is astounding. That chair, that blanket, that plant, that window. You take it all in, one thing at a time, patiently.

Until you get hungry. Then your quiet demeanor descends to snorts and yelps, as you search by scent for the breast. Your eyes shut tight and mouth agape, you struggle to find me. I do my best to help a little but not too much. I want you to find your own way. We’re figuring out that dance now as I know we will everyday from here on out. How much do I give how much will you take?

The best is watching you recover as you get what you want and I sigh, contentedly, knowing that within you and within me is the pure instinct that will save us both.

I love you, little Eli. What an honor to watch you grow.

Forever yours,

Mama