Dear Mom and Dad: A Love Letter From Your Baby


Dear Mom and Dad,

We haven’t met yet, but I am the one down here hanging out in the most comfortable place around. And before I make my grand entrance I need to ask you for a few favors.

Accommodating them may mean parenting differently than you were expecting, but I promise it will be worth it.

First, I will be healthier and happier if you breastfeed me. So please nurse me, whenever and however often I want. This is how my tiny little body works. It needs to nurse a lot.

I know this will be hard for you mom, and that for the first couple of months you will wonder if you will ever have a moment to yourself.

But here I am. And this is what I need.

It will get better, I promise.

Next, please do not leave me alone. Ever.

If you try to and I cry, please pick me up. Hold me, nurse me, sing to me, rock me, cuddle me. Do whatever you have to so that I become calmer.

I breathe better when you are holding me. I am safer.

Where I Am Happiest

I do not cry to bother you, I cry because something is wrong. Horribly terribly wrong.

I know it may not seem like that is possible, when my diaper is dry and I have just nursed. But I am so little and my body is growing so quickly. And I only feel right when I am being held, or nursed.

I have been living in nirvana while I was growing in your belly and now I have to wear clothes and I get cold, or hot, or hungry, and I do not understand it. It has never happened to me before.

You will be frustrated, I know. I hear that it is really, really hard.

But, here I am. I am your baby.

Instead of spending your time trying to make me, a little tiny baby ,behave as you want me to, will you use your resources to bring in help? Family, friends, anybody who offers.

Anybody who will support you while you focus on the most important thing in the world; me.

So that you can just spend all of your time making me comfortable.

I know a lot of magazines and people and books will tell you that you will spoil me, or that you need to make time for yourself. But right now, while I am still so little, you have to take care of me. I have to be most important.

If you are able to do these things for me, we will be closer than you ever dreamed possible, and we will be able to relate. Always.

Even when I am 16.

If you wonder if this is true, please go to the source to find out. Do not talk with people who have done it differently, instead talk with those who have made these choices. Look at the science that supports it.

And try to find the science that does not.

As soon as I am born you will start making decisions about how connected we will be. You will decide how much time we will spend together and I will understand what you are telling me.

If we spend all day and all night together, I will know how much you value me.

If you hang out with me on the floor and play, I will know that you think I am fun.

If you smile at me, I will know that you are happy to be my mom.

If you always try to make me comfortable and stop my crying, I will know that you believe what I am telling you.

And that matters to me. And to the world.

And finally; always trust your instincts with me. That is why you have them.

If anybody tries to tell you that you are doing it wrong, but with every part of your being you believe that your choices are just what I need, respectfully ignore those people.

Soon we will meet. I will be confused and scared and lonely and wondering where I am. Comfort me, love me, do what your instincts tell you, and we will all be very, very happy.

Love,

Your Baby

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Learning To Know You: A Love Letter To My Son


My Beautiful Owen

Dear Owen,

Yesterday we went swimming.You, your dad, Sydney and I. You had been asking for all of us to go for days.  You have been taking lessons and are doing so well, and you love being in the water as much as I do.

We had so much fun.  You smiled fully the entire time we were there.  We all did.

Believe it or not, this is a new thing that I am learning, that some things make you happier than others, and that there are activities that bring you lots of joy.

And whether it is swimming, or acting, or playing superheroes, your smile is always different when we are doing something that you truly love.

Just as my smile is when I am doing something that I love, and everyone else’s is too.

I know that my smile was different each time I was at a Dave Matthews show, or when I am laughing really hard with my girlfriends.

And so I should have understood that some of the ways you spend your time would bring you more joy.  And that I should be creating those opportunities reguarly.

Instead I have gotten into the habit of choosing things that I think you would like, instead of listening to what you are asking for.

And it is not to say that sometimes my suggestions are not appropriate, because certainly they are.  And I do know that part of my role as your mother is to expose you to things that you may not have thought of.

But you had to ask me to sign you up for swimming lessons for two weeks before I heard you.  And I should have listened the first time you asked.

Now I understand how to pay more attention.

But this is my first time being a mom, and you are my first child.

And while I feel fortunate that immediately upon becoming a mother I knew the things that I would not do, learning how to make the best choices to ensure you become who you are meant to be, instead of  who I think you should be will be a long process.

This is a tough thing for me as a parent;  standing back and observing who you are instead of inundating you with the possibilities.

I am glad that this knowledge has been brought to my attention while you are so young, because unquestionably I was headed toward forming you into who I thought you would like to be.

And now, with this new understanding,  I get to know you.

I get to learn about what really makes you happy and what holds your interest.  I get to see first hand how your beautiful and curious mind processes information and what intrigues you.

As I sit quietly, I watch how you play.  I notice how you move action figures, and that you get really frustrated when Sydney does not understand how hard you worked on a block structure.

This shows me how invested you were in your project.  It also shows me how patient and forgiving you are.

And I am having so much fun getting to know you. You continue to teach me new things and inspire me to be better at being patient and intentional and at listening.

Mostly though, I always want to be better at being your mom.

We are finding our way, Owen. And though we are hitting some challenges, we are getting better.

I am getting better.

And that is never something I will stop working on.

I love you Owen.

Love,

Mommy

Bed-Head or Africa: A Love Letter for My Daughter


My Girl.

Dear Sydney,

Last night you stayed up with me long after Owen went to sleep.  You were tired, you just were not ready for sleep.

So we hung out.  We played and chatted, and I did some housework.

And as I sat face to face with you and listened to what you had to say, I became aware that I have not documented many of the adorable and precious thoughts that you share.  Thoughts that have become a part of our family culture.

For example, sometimes in context but mostly randomly, you put one finger in the air just above your head and say “I know!”  Through huge smiles your dad and I ask “what do you know, Sydney?”.  To which you answer “I know!”.

You also often share your self designated title with us.  We are not sure what it means or where it came from (though I suspect from a DVD that we watch called “Backyardigans:  International Super Spy”) but often and with that same gesture of a single finger in the air above your head, you proclaim; “I’m the detector!”.

These two phrases are now used frequently by both of your parents.  Unfortunately for your dad, he spends lots of time with colleagues outside of the home.

I think we use these phrases so often because it is a way to connect with you even when you are not involved in the conversation.

Because we adore you.

As soon as your dad or I recite one of your token terms, an adoring grin comes across both of our faces and we pause.  Thinking of how cute you are, and how very much we love you.

Stretching before Owen and Uncle TJ's most recent race.

It would be too involved to count how many times a day your dad and I look at you or each other to say “she is so ridiculously adorable.”

Because you are.

And loving.  Frequently during the day you come to me or daddy or especially Owen, put your arms around us and say “I love (pronounced wuv) youuuu.”

Melt. My. Heart.

And tears come from my eyes.

Every. Single. Time.

And then you insist that it is followed up with a “kiss, too.”

And while I already regret not recording more of these moments of yours, the reason is acceptable; it is because I am with you all of the time.

Playing or reading with you, or preparing a meal, or clothing for you and Owen.  And as I sit to write another blog entry I think “I should be doing it now”.

However, this time at night is what keeps me feeling grateful to be a mother.  Time to express my thoughts and connect with others.

And if I did not have this luxury, I am not sure if I would be so happy to be at home with you.  So this time is as important to our family as recording your moments.

Because being at home all day without another grown up around can be lonely.  It is easy to begin thinking only in simple terms, and preparing only certain types of food.

I catch myself missing knowing what is happening in the world, and wondering what others think about it.

When I attend something without you or Owen, a strange sensation comes over me. I quickly become aware that knowing how to behave in a group of adults is no longer intuitive.  Because I am with you and Owen all of the time, and you are 2 and 4.

When we are with other families, their moms are in the same situation, and it is acceptable and standard practice to have thoughts interrupted and left unfinished.

And while I sometimes miss being around interesting grown-ups regularly and the life that I had before children, those groups of adults can not elicit the feelings of joy and gratitude from me that you can.

A very Happy Sydney listening to Happy Birthday to you!

When  you wake in the morning or from a nap and I hear that little patter of feet on the floor above me, I am filled with excitement and happiness.  Because I can not wait to see you and say “good morning” and scoop you up to share a hug that confirms that all is right in my world.

Though I want to, I do not immediately come upstairs to meet you when you wake up.  I have learned that you need some time to yourself before saying good morning to anyone.

So I give it to you.

The future of Pondering Jane?

When I do finally come up, I often finding you relaxing in the cuddle corner, flipping through “WordPress for Dummies”, your latest picture-less “read”.

I am not kidding.

And when I see you, with your bed head and cuddly pajamas,I know with certainty that there is no other place I would choose to be.

Not sitting at the UN, or traveling though Africa.  Not at a glitzy cocktail party with lots  of interesting and intelligent conversation, or swishing down the slopes of the White Mountains.

All of that will come again for me, and this time with you is fleeting.  And though I may not record it, I am experiencing and delighting in every moment with you.  Savoring your lips and toes and smiles and hugs.  Inhaling every laugh and request for tickles.

You are my girl, Syd.  I love you so very much and am grateful to be your mommy.

Love,

Mommy

And that feeling is far better than keeping abreast of world happenings, and intuitively knowing how to interact withonly grown ups will quickly come back.

Today you Turn Four, and I am your Mother.


Dear Owen,

I have to be careful about how much of this I say to you now.  You too, are sensitive about leaving toddlerhood behind.  And while I have not figured out what I have done to make you long to stay little, I am now conscious of it, and I am certain it will help.

I suppose that it could be that sometimes when you are standing in front of me explaining the way that a volcano erupts, my eyes fill with tears.  Because like a movie, my mind quickly reverses through several chapters to see you, just learning to walk.  

When you ask me what the matter is, I hug you and say “it is just that I love you so much, Owen”.  And sensing that I need that moment, you hug me too.  Momentarily stopping your thoughts and explanation to indulge your mom.  Which of course, makes me cry harder.  

Or it may be that when you are waking up in the morning and you share your sweet and beautiful smile- while you snuggle right into me, you can sense my gratefulness for the tangible reminder of the first months of your life.  

And when you look up and say “I love you so much, my mommy”, I swear it is only your arms around my neck that are keeping me on the ground.

Or when you and I have a date, and you take my hand so casually while you tell me about butterflies and icicles , maybe it is out loud that I pray for this gesture to always come so freely.   

Even when you are grown up.

I suppose these unintentional betrayals of mine give you the idea that I want you to stay little forever. And of course, there is truth to that.  

Part of me would give almost anything to always be able to pick you up in my arms and comfort you when you are hurt- whether it is your finger or your feelings.  

To protect you and stop anyone who might intentionally hurt you.   

To keep your comfort and safety in my control, and never have to worry about other drivers or choices that might cause you real pain.

To remind you to slow down, because when you do, you will figure things out just fine.  

Sometimes I even let myself daydream that this is an option…

But more than all of those things, I want you to be happy.  I want you to be confident and well adjusted and able to help others.  I want you to be a good mate and friend and self assured and emotionally intelligent.  

I want you to always be able to step outside of yourself and the situation, to see if the things around you make sense.  Both for you, and those whom you surround yourself with.

And I know in order to do that I have to slowly let you grow up. 

And if I really mean that I want you to be all of those things, I have to go further.  I have to make sure that I encourage you, and give you the tools you need to become independent of me.  

So that you no longer need me.

Though I hope that you will always want me.

And maybe this contradiction is every mothers biggest challenge; wanting their child to become a successful human being, but also wanting to keep their baby.

So today, as you turn four years old, I offer you this unshakeable knowledge:   

I am your mother.  

This means that I will always be your biggest fan, and will always take your side.  Probably even if you are wrong.  

You will always have a home to come to, no matter what you have done wrong, or right.  Even if I disagree with it.

No matter how big you get, my arms will always be able to wrap you in them, and my shoulders will always be strong enough to bare your weight.

Nothing that you could ever do will change this, or cause me to do anything except love you as much as I do this very minute.

Happy Birthday to my most beautiful baby boy.  Your entrance into my life four years ago, brought an unimaginable brightness to my world.  

I will always thank God for that, and for you.

Love,

Mommy

To My First Born on his Last Night as an Only.


This is taken verbatim (yes, as in unedited) from the handwritten journal the I keep for Owen.  I sat at our dining room table and sobbed as I wrote this:

11/20/09

I sit here nine days before the due date of our second child.  As with all expecting mothers in this position I reflect on my time with you, Owen.  These 26 months with you have been the most amazing and special of my life.  The bond that you and I share is exceptional.  There are times when you look at me that I can see the stars in your eyes.  When I look at you everything else disappears and your beautiful face is all that I see.  

You awe me every day.  You are not only filled with joy, but you bring joy to anyone you are with- from family to your teacher (who always has the most wonderful things to say about you).  

You regularly say to me now “mommy, you’re my best friend in the whole world.”  The sensation that comes over me when you say that is not describable using the vocabulary that I know.

Being apart from you is physically painful for me, and I only feel “right” when we are together.  Don’t worry though- we make sure you spend lots of time with people other than me!

As I prepare for our family to grow, I pray that I have given you all that I was capable of while it was just we two.  Mostly, I know how much I have loved and respected you as a little human being.

You regularly look at me, gently stroke my face and say; “that’s my mommy” and “I love my mommy” with such love in your voice.  What amazes me is that at only two years old you feel the same about me as I do you.

And you are so patient, understanding and compassionate.  If you ask for something that we aren’t able to give you, once we explain why you simply say “oh, otay” and that is the end of it.  You accept it and move on.  Or, if I am really tired and in need of a rest, you play quietly or sit on the couch with me watching TV or reading books- ok, mostly watching TV!

Logically I know that a sibling is one of the very best gifts that your dad and I can give you and we are filled with joy to be expanding our wonderful family.  It is also hard as your mom to think about how much your world is going to change- and though you seem to understand it more than we thought possible, it is heartbreaking to realize how little you comprehend about the change before us.

The entry stops here because I had to call my doctor.

Sydney was born the next day.