Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy Second Birthday, Simon!

Dear Simon,

When you wake up in the morning (ideally not before the sun is up, please?), you will be two years old. That's TWICE the age you were a year ago. That will never be true again in your whole life, and you probably don't even appreciate it. It's not that you don't appreciate things. You appreciate chocolate. You appreciate balloons. And judging by the number of times you've squeezed his paw and made him say things over and over and over again, you really appreciate your new stuffed Daniel Tiger. But the trivia of birthday mathematics is still a little lost on you, I'm afraid.

It blows my mind how much you've grown and changed in the past year. A year ago you were barely walking, and now you're pretty much running this place.

You are still so amazing and methodical in the way you discover the world around you. We have magnetic alphabet letters on the refrigerator, and for awhile, you would bring us one (for example, 'D') and say a letter. Any letter. Maybe 'Q'. And we'd laugh and think, "Oh, it's so cute. He thinks it's a Q." and tell you, "D." But no, you didn't think it was a Q. You just knew that Q was something people said when they talked about these things, and you needed to put the pieces together. For maybe a few weeks you did that, and we thought it was adorable. "No, that's not an F, that's an M." Then, one morning, I was standing with you by the fridge, and you started pointing at letters and shouting them out at the top of your lungs. And you were right about all of them. Any letter I pointed to, you knew. You had been quietly figuring them out for days by trial and error and now you knew the whole alphabet. You were so proud of yourself and I'll never forget my amazement.

You're pretty mercurial, though. Sometimes you'll play with cars or trains in the basement by yourself for literally hours. If we try to play with you or talk to you, you'll put up with us, but it's pretty obvious we're intruding on whatever world you were in. Other times, you will accept nothing less than the undivided attention of both mom and myself and anybody else who happens to be around. You are quick to anger and slow to heal, which unfortunately means I think you got the worst traits of your mother (slow to anger, slow to heal) and myself (quick to anger, quick to heal).

On the other hand, when you are happy, man are you happy. In your happiest times, you're happier than I could ever imagine another person being. The other day, your mom was trying to record a video of you saying something. I don't actually remember what it was, just that you would not cooperate, and instead you kept just babbling nonsense in the video. Then you made her play it back for you and laughed hysterically at your own nonsense. Over and over and over again. You thought you were the funniest thing on earth, and I think you probably were, because we couldn't help but laugh with you, so infectious was your joy.

You're getting better at talking. You have a lot of words, and you can generally communicate pretty well, but you don't like to perform them when asked. In fact, you seem to delight in confounding our attempts. The last time you were at the doctor, she asked if you were talking, and we said yes, quite a bit, but the only word you would say for her was 'pee pee' while grabbing your...well, you get the picture. Your favorite method of delivering words is shouting them as loudly as you can, which can be a little alarming. You also seem to delight in intentionally misusing words. For example, lately you've been calling your mom 'Little Dada,' which drives her insane, but the more she says 'Mama' (which of course, you can and have said many, many times), the more you grin and insist on 'Little Dada'. I would be lying if I said I didn't find this absolutely hilarious every time.

Your favorite food is pizza. Your favorite book is...hmm, that's a tough one. You like a lot of books, but lately the one you SAY the most is "The Digging-Est Dog". You call it "Digginestdog," which you say over and over and over again and I think your mom is tired of reading it and probably hid it because I haven't seen it in awhile. Also, it's a little bit dark, because the other dogs demand that the boy drown the Digging-est Dog in the well. It was published in the 60s, which I guess that was an appropriate thing to have dogs demand in children's books. You love Thomas the train and Sesame Street. I wish I could just sit here and list everything you like, because each time I think of one it makes me smile.

My relationship with you is so unlike my relationship with Maddie. Sometimes I see so much of myself in you, and other times you're an enigma. I'm excited for you to get older so you can maybe explain some of your thoughts to me, but I also don't want you to grow up too fast. You will always be my only son, and I will always love you with all my heart.

Happy birthday, Simon!


Dada (the big one)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dear Cecily Marie

Dear Cecily Marie,

I was just commenting to your mom the other day how strange it seemed that there's a person (you!) who already exists, and who will feature prominently in the story of my life and in every major memory I have from this point on, but that I don't even know you. I don't know what you look like or what things you like. I don't know what makes you laugh or what you're afraid of. I'll learn all of these things of course, but right now you're a bit of a mystery.

So let's talk about the things we (probably) do know!

  1. You are (most likely) a girl.

    We can't be sure, of course, because these things are tricky, but the ultrasound tech seemed pretty sure. Sure enough to make a pronouncement, and that's good enough for us. I guess it's still possible you turn out to be a boy. In that case, I'm sorry for our mistake, but I'll probably just go back and edit this so you never even know we were wrong! Hah!

  2. Your name is (probably) Cecily Marie.

    Your mom and I have loved this name for a long time. As usual, we've been way more certain about a name for a girl-you than a name for a boy-you. I don't know why that is, but it seems like we always come to a consensus on a girl's name first. Well, provided item #1 above remains true, then your name is Cecily Marie, so we'll run with that for now, okay? I hope you like it. You can always choose to go by a hip nickname like 'Snake' if you don't. Your mom said that wasn't an appropriate name for a child.

  3. You have Clinodactyly.

    That means your pinky finger is bent inward. We know this because it showed up in your ultrasound yesterday. This wouldn't really be a big deal, except that it is what's known as a 'soft marker' for certain genetic conditions and is thus worth mentioning, though we're not particularly worried. Your mom and I, as well as your Granny Jill and your siblings seem to have this trait to some extent as well, and it's autosomal dominant, so it's not unlikely you would have it. It's just that it only shows up in something like 4% of births absent one of those previously mentioned genetic conditions, so we're all very special, and that's one way you're like us already! Sorry if you get mom's club thumb, though.

  4. You will (probably) be born in June!

    By most calculations, your mom was 20 weeks pregnant yesterday, making your due date May 31, but you were still measuring around 18 weeks, 6 days. This isn't that strange, because you were also measuring small at your previous ultrasound, so it's very likely our timing is just off and you're a June baby. We'll know better in 8 weeks or so. Your mom is very excited about this, because she really likes pearls.

  5. You are loved.

    Oh, Cecily, how you are loved. Your mom and I love you, of course. Your sister Madeline is very, very excited to be getting a sister, even if it means she has to share a room. She knew you were a sister all along and wouldn't accept any other possibility. I guess she showed us. Your brother Simon is less sure about this whole thing, but he'll get on board. He's been walking around saying "Baby Sisser Sesame Street", because I guess he thinks that's your name. He really likes Sesame Street, so I guess that's his idea of a compliment. Your Memere and your Ooompa and your Granny Jill love you. Your aunts and uncles love you. You are loved like you wouldn't believe and we can't wait to meet you.
So I guess, in the end, it's really just the pinky and the love thing we're absolutely sure of, but man are we sure about that love thing, so that makes up for all of the other uncertainties.



Saturday, December 26, 2015


Dear Baby,

Merry Christmas! You aren't here to actually enjoy it this year (though I got a few decent flutters and thuds from you yesterday, which I interpreted to mean that you were enjoying yourself in my uterus), but you did receive some sweet gifts, and I'll tuck them away for you till May or June. :) Your dad and I bought you a teddy bear that we'll use to photo-record your growth, the way we did with your sister and brother. We also got you a Dumbo, because it's awfully cute. You have a cool plush fish bowl with all kinds of crinkly-plush fish from your Great Aunt Sue, and an outfit from your Aunt Jill, Uncle Luke, and Grayson. Your Memere (my mom) got you a neat plush folding elephant activity mat, and Granny Jill (your dad's mom) got you a great big collection of children's books. You're 18 months gestated, and already very loved.

I'm making a rug for you, but I'm trying to work a little more slowly on it, because we're going to find out whether you're a girl or a boy on January 12th, and if you're a girl, I'll work a little bit of pink fabric into it. For now, it's blue, yellow, white, and gray. What are you, baby?! I can't bear the suspense! Maddie is certain you're a girl, and when I asked Simon, he said, "Baby Sisser." But then he quickly changed his answer to "Baby Brudder," so really, not helpful, Simon.

I'm still taking Zofran, and still throwing up occasionally. (Again with the car vomit. This time I wasn't even in traffic - I had to continue driving while I threw up into a bag of donuts. Not awesome, baby. It was not an awesome time for me.) I'm feeling more movement from you, which is reassuring. I can't wait to see your little face on the 12th! I think I've had the fewest ultrasounds with you, and it's crazy-making! I want to know how you're doing in there all the time!

I haven't been taking bump pictures, but I'll start when I'm about 20 weeks. Your baby book arrived a few days ago, so I'll start filling out what I can (family tree stuff, pregnancy memories), and will look forward to getting your little footprints stamped inside in about five months!

We love you, baby.
Your Mama

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hello, Baby #3!

Dear Baby,

I haven't forgotten about blogging for you. I'm just a little behind. Your dad even beat me to your first post! (Good work, Dad!)

First, I want to tell you how excited I am to meet you in May or June. (I'm hoping for a June 1st birthday, because then all of my kids will have their own birth months. If you come in May, that is also totally okay, but let's try our hardest not to go into labor on your sister's birthday.) Your due date is May 31st. Maddie's due date was May 29th, and she was born May 27th. There may be some double birthday parties in your future, little one, but on the bright side, the weather will be lovely on those double birthday party days. Your poor brother was born in January, and we live in a suburb of Seattle, which means it is almost always raining on his birthday. (Sorry, Simon!)

I am just about 16 weeks pregnant. Rereading these blog entries that I wrote when I was pregnant with Maddie, and then again with Simon, it is amazing to me how different things are! With Maddie, we lived in Rhode Island, and I was working on my grad school thesis. Your dad was working at 38 Studios, and we were newlyweds. With Simon, we had just moved to an apartment in Issaquah, Washington. Your dad was working for ArenaNet in Bellevue, and I was writing as much as I could. We were figuring out how to manage so far away from both of our families, and in a place neither of us had lived before. Now, I'm pregnant with you! We bought a house in Renton, and commute to Issaquah a lot for Maddie's school, for church, for my critique group, and to visit dear friends. Your dad is still at ArenaNet. I'm not writing as much as I should, but I will.

The thing all of these pregnancies have in common is the nausea and vomiting. Oh gosh, the vomiting. (Perhaps you have some memory of this past Thursday, when I threw up all over myself while driving in traffic. It wasn't awesome.)

I bet you're wondering what you are. So are we!! Oh gosh, Baby, I am so impatient. Lots of people have said to me, "You won't even have to find out this time! You have hand-me-downs for either!" People, you clearly do not know how impatient I can be. I've done the Chinese Gender Chart. (It said boy.) I've analyzed every emotion I have. (Based on the amount of weeping I do, I'd say girl.) I have no idea! What are you?! Aaaaauuugh! Well, we won't have to wait long, thank goodness. My big anatomy ultrasound is scheduled for January 12th. I'll keep you posted. :)

Your nursery is Snoopy themed, and I'm really excited about it. (To be fair, I should tell you that you're actually going to spend your first few months in a bassinet in our bedroom, just like your sister and brother did. Then, when you're five or six months, you'll move to the crib in the larger of the two kids' rooms. You'll have a roommate, too! If you're a girl, it'll be Maddie. If you're a boy, it'll be Simon. You'll love them both!) Here's a peek at your cute Snoopy theme:

I bet you'd also like a peek at you.

That was you about two months ago. Now you're the size of an avocado. Good job growing, baby! 

As you can see, we're delivering at Swedish in Issaquah again. That's because I loved delivering at Swedish. It's beautiful, and the food! The food is delicious. It's just over half an hour away, but I'm pretty confident we won't have an accidental car delivery. Wish us luck, just to be safe. 

I'll write soon. Very, very soon. Sorry about the delay, baby. 

Your Mama

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Dear Baby #3,

Hi. I'm your dad.

Today is Thanksgiving, and of all the things I'm thankful for today, the most intense is you. I'm thankful for your mom, of course, and for Maddie and Simon and all of our family and friends near and far. But as I sit here tonight while everybody else sleeps, full of turkey and apple dumplings, all of my thoughts of the past and future are for you.

I want to tell you a story. It's going to seem a bit of a strange story, because it doesn't start out so great for you, dearest third child. But give me the benefit of the doubt here and hear me out. I think you'll like it in the end.

For me, the story of you and how you came to be starts with your pregnant mom crying her eyes out in the passenger seat of a car parked in a small lot behind a Subway in Issaquah while I looked on in awe and confusion. You're going to think she was pregnant with you, obviously, but she wasn't. That was Simon in there. See, while driving to the Subway to get your mom one of the tuna subs she so desperately needed, your mom and I had been having what I thought was a casual conversation about how many children we ultimately wanted. This was a conversation that had been going on since (literally) the day we met. I remarked (casually) that I wasn't sure I wanted more than two, because at the time, even that many seemed terrifying and daunting. Maddie was a handful and I didn't even know Simon yet. Three seemed incomprehensibly crazy.

The conversation continued on its usual course, but by the time we parked, your mother was suddenly sobbing. "What's wrong?!" I asked, in a tone more shocked than anything. The outburst seemed out of nowhere to me, and honestly that wasn't all that unusual while your mother was pregnant. "This just can't be my last pregnancy," she said through her tears.

The thing I had failed to realize will likely be obvious to you: She loved you even then. At a time when I was feeling overwhelmed by the mere thought of raising two children, at a time when Simon still hadn't even been born and all of my thoughts for the future seemed to rest with him, your mom was already imagining you and singing you songs in her head. So deep was her love for you and her need for you that my casual remark had taken on far more weight than I'd intended. To her, you weren't an abstract idea of 'maybe a third someday'. You were real and you were you.

There's more to this tale, of course, because a lot of things happened between then and now, and I'll tell you about all of them, but here we are, two years after that day, and now I can feel what she was feeling. Now you are you and I can't imagine anything else. She's always been ahead of me in things like this.

I love you, whoever you are in there. I love you whether you are a boy or a girl and whatever we end up naming you. I love you whether you're loud or contemplative or silly. I love you whether you're a baseball player or an astronaut or a saxophonist. I love you whether you are all of these things or none of them. You are wonderful and I can't wait to meet you.



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Simon!

Dear Simon,

Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, you will be one year old. A whole year. My baby boy went to sleep tonight, and a one-year-old will be yelling for me in the morning. I'm tempted to say things like, "You'd think I'd be used to this after going through it with your sister!" But that's silly, both because there's no way to get used to it, and because this post is all about you.

Here's the thing, Simon: You are growing up to be an incredible little boy. I want to tell you about all of the ways, but I couldn't possibly cover all of them, so you'll have to settle for a few.

We were talking today about how little and red and scrunchy you were when you were born. Now you are neither little, nor red, nor scrunchy. You are tall and fair and handsome with beautiful blue eyes.

You walk now! Walk! Until very recently it's been more like 'careening' than 'walking'. You would stand up, get up a head of steam in a direction, and keep plowing ahead faster and faster until you ran into something. Not a lot of finesse, but so much determination! The past few days you've walked with a lot more style. Crazy how that happens all of a sudden.

You are asleep right now. In your crib. Where you have slept through the night almost every night since we started trying to 'sleep train' you. 'Sleep training' is a weird term. See, you used to get up like 400 times a night and you would need to breastfeed every one of those times and eventually your exhausted mother would bring you into bed and you would sleep with a boob in your mouth until morning. That's going to be a really awkward thing for you to read when you're 14, but it's the truth. You have to live with the consequences of your actions, Simon. But eventually we realized that couldn't last forever and said, "Okay, tonight he's going to sleep in the crib and he's going to stay there all night even if he yells and the neighbors hate us." And you did yell. A lot. You're kind of a yeller. But the next night you yelled less, and the next night you just slept. Since then, that's pretty much how you've been. I guess you're a fast learner. There is a dark side to this, however. You wake up practically every morning at 5:30am. Well, not every morning. Some mornings you wake up at 4:00am. And once you are awake, you do not go back to sleep. I will admit that I don't always find this trait particularly charming, but it is sometimes nice to get to spend a little time playing with you while the world is still dark and asleep. Just maybe not every morning?

You love to figure things out. It's amazing to watch you get focused on a task. We have a Leap Pad, which is kind of like a tablet computer for toddlers. You are definitely not old enough to use it. But that hasn't stopped you one bit. One day you sat in the middle of the living room floor and just turned it on and off over and over again. Thirty times you turned that thing on and off until you were satisfied with how that particular function worked. Soon after that you were choosing a profile (your mom's) and picking games and playing them. There's one where you have a virtual sheep and you get to feed it apples and carrots and things. Every time you tap the screen it drops one and the sheep walks over and eats it. You think this is HILARIOUS every time. You laugh and laugh and laugh and it's so much fun to watch.

You love trucks and cars and construction equipment, which is funny to me because it's not really something I ever remember being into at all. One of your first words was 'caaaah', which is how people from Boston say 'car'. You like to drive cars (and other things that you pretend are cars) around on the floor. You used to love the book "Good Night, Good Night Construction Site" and I guess you still do, but your favorite book right now is called "Little Blue Truck," which is about exactly what it sounds like. Your mom makes the best 'beep beep' sounds when she reads it to you. I'm not as good at it. But you love that book. You also love a book called "I Am A Bunny," so it's not just trucks. Your favorite part is pointing to the bunny on every page, and you get very excited about it.

You challenge us constantly, because you are so headstrong, and I think you get very frustrated that there are things you just can't do yet. You'll get there, Simon. I so look forward to watching you grow up and figure all of these things out, but it also seems like you're growing up way too fast. I guess every parent says that, but I hope you'll forgive me for being a bit cliché.

Happy birthday, Simon. We love you so much!



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Dear Maddie and Simon,

We haven't written in this blog since June, but we do have an excuse. You both keep us busier than I could ever have imagined before parenthood! And it's wonderful, don't get me wrong. But still. So busy.

Maddie, I'm calling it. You are DAYTIME POTTY TRAINED. We are so proud of you! This really shows us all that potty training happens when toddlers are ready and not before, because we tried a little less than a year ago, and it just wasn't sticking. Then, last weekend, totally out of the blue, you announced that you had to use the bathroom. So we helped you out of your diaper, and you pushed your potty stool over to the toilet, climbed on up, and did your thing. Many, many times throughout the day. You've been doing it ever since! No accidents, just potty time. (Sorry. I'm sure this is mortifying. Twelve-year-old Maddie will read this and say, "God, Mom! Is nothing sacred?!" But I'm writing this because twenty-three-year-old Maddie may wonder what was going on with herself at two-and-a-half years old, and twenty-nine-year-old Maddie may be looking for potty training tips for her own tot, and my tip is not to worry about it. It'll happen.) Anyway, SO PROUD OF YOU. You are just a supremely awesome little girl.

What else have you been up to? Well, school. You're in the 2s room at the co-op, and you love it. Your favorite things are the play kitchen area, the sensory table, and the water table. There's a carton of play eggs in the kitchen area, and you introduce them to the other kids and the teachers as your ghosts. As in:

"Oh, are those your eggs, Maddie?"
"No. These are my ghosts."

That really stops a conversation in its tracks, but your dad and I think it's hilarious. We can't help it. You're weird in the best way.

One time, you drank the water in the water table. I said: "No, Maddie! Don't drink that water! Just pretend!" You answered: "I am just pretending. I'm just pretending it's tea."

You take ballet with Miss Chelsea, and you love it. You love the tutu, you love the songs, you love ballet.

You and Simon are taking another semester of Music Together, because even though I am always worried about over-scheduling you, and even though (frankly) I don't love putting on actual pants every morning, Simon is so into Music Together, and you seem to still really love it, too. The shaky eggs are both of your favorites.

Simon, you are WALKING. Walking! I have two walking children. I can't even believe it. You've grown so much over the last half year, I don't even know where to start. You say "mama," "dada," "car," "kitty," "rolllll ball," and "YAY!" You are cute as a button. I want to chew on your cheeks 100% of the time. You're going to be one year old on January 18th, and that makes me want to cry, but it also makes me really happy, because you're growing to be such a sweet, gentle, hilarious little boy. You make the best faces. You bite, and that's not my favorite thing in the world, but hopefully by the time you're able to read this, you will no longer be a biter. Your favorite book is Little Blue Truck.

You and Maddie had your very first haircuts together on Monday! Here are some sad/funny/adorable pictures.

This is going to be a pitifully short post, but I'll try to get back in the habit of frequent posting. Nay, I resolve to get back in the habit of frequent posting.

Happy New Year, sweet babies.

Your Mama