Dear Jack, Dear Henry,
Ah. Someday, you’ll understand the holidays. Someday, you’ll understand extended family, and friends, and travel, and (if you decide to have children) you’ll also someday understand what it’s like to have a six-month-old infant in the midst of all of that. And then, multiply that by two, and you’ll understand why your six month update comes a week and a half shy of your seven-month birthday (and also why this update is skimpy compared to others…).
You two are something else. You surprise me every. single. day. with your antics and your development and your– everything! You are both growing up so fast! I say it every month, but still it holds true: I cannot believe how much different you are now than you were just one month ago. Your sixth month had your first major holiday (Thanksgiving) and your first airplane trip (to Texas). You did so beautifully with both! Thanksgiving was a quiet affair, with just the four of us. You both sat in your high chairs, and looked so grown up! You ate the baby version of pumpkin pie (pumpkin with oatmeal and applesauce stirred in) while your father and I ate roast beef. Yes, I know. Most people have turkey. You’ll find out very quickly, though, that your father and I don’t hold out much with tradition, and since we don’t like turkey, we had roast beef instead. I hope someday you’ll appreciate that fact, that we very rarely do anything just because that’s how it “should” be done, or because that’s how it’s always been done. There is a time and place for tradition, but there is also always the flexibility to do things your own way when tradition doesn’t suit. And I hope you will both always remember that and never feel pressured to do or say or think certain ways just because everyone else says you have to…
We didn’t get pictures of your first plane trip, which happened just two days before you turned six months, and I wish we had, because really, all things considered, you both behaved beautifully. There were brief periods of fussiness for Henry, but never loud enough that I could hear it while sitting in the seat directly in front, and some tears for Jack, who hates loud sounds and thus really hated getting a diaper change in the airplane lavatory. BUT, again, all things considered, despite how stressful air travel during the holidays can be, you both proved to be your happy, cheerful selves.
And that’s something that people remark on constantly, what happy, smiley babies you both are. If you both ever choose to become parents, you’ll find that the advice is plentiful, especially from people who have no idea what they’re talking about. And your father and I have chosen to parent the two of you in a way that some people find too different, or too indulgent or whatever. And it remains to be seen whether we’re getting it right with you in the long term (if you’re reading this in the future, and you hate us both, then at least know that we had the best intentions…), but for now, I kind of want to look at every person who encourages us to put you in a crib, or to let you cry longer, etc., and show them what happy, delightful babies you both are. You are very clearly attached to your father and I, but from your perch on our arms, you both reach out to the world and engage anyone whose eye you catch. And I love that.
This month also saw your very first snowfall. We’ve had an oddly early winter this year, and had three snowfalls before we left for Texas in mid-December. That’s a LOT for this area. We took you out in it, and neither of you was particularly impressed. You didn’t seem to care one way or the other. Meh, feh. Frozen stuff falling everywhere. Whatever. And I guess that’s a proper reaction for a five plus month old, since you’re not really old enough to reap the benefits of a snowfall (someday, you’ll know and appreciate the term “snow day”, or at the very least, you’ll learn to love a good snowman!).
This month has also been a challenge. Despite all the good things, it seems there will always be challenges. As you both begin to become more mobile, you aren’t content to just sit and watch the world go by– you want to jump and bounce and reach and bend and put everything (EVERYTHING. EV. REE. THING.) in your mouth. And because you are both such generous people, you also want to put everything in our mouths, too. Awesome.
Additionally, sleep issues still plague us. The doctor has once again encouraged us to be hardline with you, and to quit feeding you or responding to you at night, as he says this only encourages you, that you won’t stop asking for us until we stop responding. And the thing is, I totally believe him. I know we would sleep soooo much better if we could just put you in your cribs, put you in your own room, but the thing is, I don’t want you to stop asking for us. I want you to ask for us forever, anytime you ever need us, and I want you to believe in your hearts that no matter what, we will respond to you. Someday, you’ll be grown, and one way or another, we won’t be the ones you ask for in the middle of the night. And I hope when that day comes, that you’ll feel confident and happy because we’ve tried so hard to give you a strong, secure footing in this world. I hope that you always trust us like you do now, and I hope that foundation of trust leads to a better parent-child relationship as you grow.
And if not, well, what can I say, other than the two of us are new at this parenting thing, and like most other people, we’re grasping at straws, following our instincts, trying to do good by our babies. We will probably get some things wrong (many things wrong…), but at the very least, I hope you both know that our mistakes were made with love.
Jack, darling boy,
You are such a man on the move! You never sit still. Ever. You gladly make eye contact with everyone, but you very quickly move on, darting your eyes here and there, checking everything out (usually looking for whatever is closest to you that is the most dangerous thing to grab…). You jump, bend, flex, chew your toes– you’ve just gotta move! And despite having all the teething activities (crazy drool, chewing constantly, putting anything within reach into your mouth, etc.), you haven’t cut a tooth yet (well, until today, Jan 6th, when I actually got around to writing this).
Your new sound this month is “mumm, mumm, mumm.” It’s adorable. I sometimes think it sounds like “mama”, but I’m being patient and waiting for an actual, discernible “mama”. You are still a fusser boy, letting people know when you don’t like something, but as long as they don’t keep you from mama or papa, you’re very quickly soothed. And yes, you’re still mostly a mama’s boy. And yes, I still love that.
Henry, you are just such a sweet kid! You are a sensitive guy, and so is your brother. However, when you get your feelings hurt, you look like the whole world will just never be right again– your face crumples, and you look soooo heartbroken. But when you smile? Oh, man, you MELT people. You love to smile, and it’s just such a sweet smile.
And this month found your smile with a new addition– a tooth! (And an additional tooth which came through the day after your six-month birthday) You are growing by leaps and bounds, and I love seeing you grow so much. “Leap” is an appropriate word– while Jack jumps and bends and reaches, you like to be held securely under your arms while you leap, up and down, up and down, over and over and over again. I certainly don’t have to do any weight lifting with my arms– you take care of that for me!
You discovered consonants recently, and have been using them to talk to your hands. Oh, hands are a wonderful thing, and while Jack is fascinated by his feet, you are charmed by your hands. You wake up in the morning and hold your hands in front of you, and chatter at them. And you show your hands to other people, too. And you chatter at other people and hold your hands out, and grab their hands and inspect them. Yes, Henry Dear, hands are very cool things (and even cooler to me– you have my hands. I hope you’ll forgive me hoping that you, too, will become a string player. You’ve got great viola hands…).
Forgive Mama’s laziness again, but pictures of you just show what a sweet, funny kid you are.
(OH, and for all those people who keep talking about how you look sooo much like Papa– well, yes, you do, but I submit this picture as proof that you *also* look like me:
This is me as an infant– around three months old, I think–, and I see so much of you, Henry, in my face)
My beamish boys–
I love love love you both, so very very very much. As eager as I am to see you grow, please know that I am savoring every moment of your lives so far, and in spite of all the hard stuff, I am so glad you are our boys. I love getting to know you both– that I love you is probably a given, but that I also like you so much as people has been a real delight to discover as well. And I love how much you both love each other– you crack each other up, and you cuddle with each other (and, yeah, you scream at each other when either of you tries to find out what happens when you grab the other’s nose or eyes… ouch!). I hope your lives continue to be filled with so much love, from Mama and Papa, and from each other.
Love Always and Always,