Archive for the ‘family’ Category

newsletter: month twenty-four

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Dear Nico,

You haven’t noticed this, because you don’t read my blog yet, but this is the first newsletter I’m writing in three months. It’s also the last public one for a while.

You’re growing so quickly, and I want to write to you a ton. But you’re a much more autonomous person now than you were even just three months ago. I’ve already been shaping your online presence with these newsletters. Maybe it’s time to back off and let you craft your own when the time comes. Up until now, I’ve been justifying these letters to myself as being really about me and my perceptions of you. But it’s getting harder to write amusing trivialities without revealing the person you’re becoming. I want to leave that to you.

Twoddlerhood is in full swing. This appears to be the first age of deafness to my questions, but I can hardly stay grumpy at you for that: it’s mostly because of your total absorption in what you’re doing.

I’m slightly miffed to report that one of your favorite activities is rejecting people. “No Sierra!,” you shout. “No Rio! No Romy. No Mary. No Luke. No… mama. Yes mama.” Well, at least you grudgingly acknowledge the hand that feeds you most often.

You need feeding, for all of those major, major growth spurts over the last few months. Feelings are the biggest every time. You’re sucking down milk like nobody’s business, building bones I would think. You’re moody and have strong preferences. In other words, you’re two.

Some of your newest mad skills:

  • You know how to pet the cats so that at least half the time they stick around for it. You also attempt to cuddle the cats and beep them on the nose. Nochka will disdainfully have none of that; Aki is theatrically tolerant.
  • You’re semi pro at spoon and fork wielding for anything that’s not liquid. Super purposeful at experimenting with the “wrong” side of the spoon, which gets you more guacamole than it does soup
  • You zip and unzip your coat with the best of them. Woe unto anyone who attempts to do it for you, whether intentionally or absentmindedly. (Ask me how I know.)
  • Despite all the big feelings, sometimes you ride the emotional wave pretty well. For example, these days you agree to wear scarves and mittens when weather-appropriate without freaking out about it.
  • Huge climbing and balancing improvements.
  • You know all the letters, and all the numbers 0-10.
  • Last week, you “read” (repeated after me while looking at the words, which totally counts) your first two words: FINE and MINE. As in, ooooh, snuggle puppy of mine, everything about you is especially fine.
  • You remember names more or less immediately.
  • You’re all language all the time. Five word sentences.
  • Drawing!
  • This has now happened more than once: adventure walks where you push the stroller (or just walk) farther than reasonable to expect. I can’t wait for the forest to get warm and beautiful again.

In the “notable lack of mad skills” department: first and second person pronouns are hard to learn when there are just the two of us. Our conversations are sometimes like Who’s On First.

Your current favorites:

  • Foods: flavor-wise, most of them, including spicy and minty. In practice, favorites are anything you can eat by yourself. My heartwarming little omnivore.
  • Legos. Just wait till they open that Legoland right near us.
  • Music: what you’ll actually request — MIKA OMG MIKA, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan. Trucks song. Piano song. Dog song. Whoa oh oh song. Rainbow song, at bedtime. Other stuff you will happily listen to — any of Sandra Boynton’s CDs, Elizabeth Mitchell, Patty Larkin, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Franti, Miles Davis, Jason Mraz.


  • You’ve been asking to have your ears pierced. “Nico eenning. Peas.”
  • Speaking of language! Akalilalo means at least a few things: radiator, avocado, alligator. You’ve accidentally figured out that “mixer say whaaaaaa” makes me laugh, and say it a lot now. You slay me with that look of intense concentration while absorbing language from lyrics. Is that why kids like listening to the same song over and over in a row?
  • Words: baloom. Row bot cup (which is an actual cup, not sippy or anything, with robots on it). Row bot juice (juice when served in that cup). Ohgoosus (oh goodness). Tolly (totally). Psyche. Pinano (piano). Kidlee (kitty).
  • Holy wow, are routines awesome. We have a bedtime routine, a coffee making routine (where you are the one pressing the grinder button), and a routine around getting you to do stuff. You know, the one that goes, “I’m going to count to three, and if X doesn’t happen, Y will,” and variations on it. If you don’t choose a shirt to wear, I’m going to choose one for you. If you zip up your coat, then we can go outside to the car.
  • Love is all. You sign “I love you” and triumphantly declare I LOFF OO! You regularly request snuggles. There are spontaneous hugs, transcendent little moments.

The other day we held your second birthday party, themed Trucks and Fans. A smashing success. We colored and assembled “DIY” (pre-cut) pinwheels, we colored little unfinished wood cars with markers made especially for wood (who knew those existed?), we played with Legos. The house was a bustle of joy. The store-bought cake was unexpectedly delicious. Everyone had a good time, and then they were all gone, and you and I giggled our way to bedtime.

I love you so much, Nico. Happy second birthday — and many, many more.


PS pix, as usual.

newsletter: month twenty-one

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Dear Nico,

October was language acquisition month. And as of today, this goes for Russian too. Use the power wisely.

My favorite words are “pinano” (piano) and “keedlee” (kitty).

You delight in naming people you know. Seeyehyah, for Sierra. Mah-shosh for Michel. A couple of weeks ago we were in the car on our way to Delight, and I told you where we were going, and said “yay [for seeing] Romy!” And you said, “yaaaay Wony!,” and then thought a little and said a yay for every denizen of that house, and then everyone else you could think of. Yay people, indeed.

with Carolyn

Pronouns are still confusing, though at least you’re using them like crazy. “My boots!”—”Do you want to wear my boots?”—”Yeah.” Or, looking in the mirror: “Who is that?”—”Youuuu!”

Adjectives are fun. In the bedroom there’s a big light and lalalight (little lights, a string of fairy lights), and that other light on the bedstand—you don’t know “medium” yet. There are many yellow stars in that one book. These shoes are new (to you). One morning you started nursing, then broke away grinning and declared: “boob! yummy!”

You’re increasingly anthropomorphizing everything, particularly stuffed animals. You feed your chipmunk at dinner time. You say bye to a seemingly random assortment of inanimate objects. Today it was the car: why today and not any other day, when you see that thing at least every twelve hours?

hedgehog nose

Your manual dexterity is improving, and with it, your interest in drawing and Lego. The other day I had to shake a sharp plastic block out of my shoe before putting it on.

You LOVE tea. Last week you requested it, and while it was steeping, we stepped outside to see the most surreally lit luminous cloudy sunset with a double rainbow. Then we came back inside, and you drank half a mug of tea.

We went to Maine with family, and it turns out you love hiking as long as you’re being carried and it’s not close to bedtime. You also love the forest, with its sticks and pine cones and trees to hug, on and all the dry crinkly leaves and the mushrooms and the berries and…


Today at your babushka’s house you invented your first dance, a slow rhythmic clap to the ABC song.




newsletter: month nineteen

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Dear Nico,

Every month I sit down to write these missives to you, the thought of finishing one seems more ridiculous. A month is forever. Each month is fuller than the last. These snippets capture a few moments of your world… which may be appropriate, actually, since I only get glimpses of what’s really going on for you.

It’s wild to think about how little you’ll remember of your early life. These windmill-tilting newsletters are better than nothing.

evening playground

You continue to insist on calling all cats “Aki,” all fans “tah,” and milk “mama”—despite knowing full well the correct words. You seem to actively enjoy having your own language that is nonetheless understood by others.

You’ve learned to blow your nose, which is a huge deal, because goodbye the hated nose-sucker and hello agency.

True to toddler form, you’re full of no. Control over your own body is super important: even if you got yourself into a clearly uncomfortable position while sleeping in the big bed, you’re damn well going to get yourself out of it. Any physical help is met by betrayed wailing. This gets tricky when you’re too sleepy to fix a situation yourself.

Luckily for the adults involved, you’re also full of yeah. It means that we can mostly trust the no. More importantly, I think, it means that you trust us to believe what you say. I hope this continues.

Another new discovery: the concept of dirty. The toilet is a potty, and it’s dirty, so you shouldn’t play with it. Toilet “training” is nearing—I have no investment in its timing, but it’s fascinating to watch interests get “turned on” more or less in the sequence that they do for billions of other humans. DNA is crazy. Socialization is crazy. Put them together, and why in the world didn’t I go into early childhood development? Humans are fascinating.

(Remind me to tell you why I did go into my field. It has to do with stories, and humans being fascinating.)

Favorite games these days include hide-and-seek, in which you hide inside a curtain; figuring out the connecting construction blocks; a couple of pretty great tablet games we’ve found; and books. I can’t possibly tell you how much I love that you love books, so instead I try to show you by always agreeing to read one (or three) whenever possible. Anything by Sandra Boynton is automatically the best, but you’ve been branching out.

a favorite book

One of your caretakers put a temporary tattoo of a butterfly on your arm a couple of weeks ago. It made a huge impression. You kept showing it to everyone: “TA-toh!” Now, every time you see a butterfly in a book, you get all excited: “TA-toh!”

Big feelings and tears all over the place, not always predictable, and sometimes inconsolable. On the other hand, you love belly buttons and find mine comforting.

“Adaa!” for “all done!” is pretty freakin’ adorable.

You totally give kisses. To me, to other people, to stuffed toys. To books.

We have impromptu dance parties.




p.s. Pix as usual, and three new videos.

newsletter: month eighteen

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Dear Nico,

The other day you turned a year and a half old. We celebrated by decompressing at home from our three-week road trip to Nebraska. You screamed with and without reason.

Holy hell, it’s the season of big feelings with lungs to match. The feelings have been there for a few months, but now you can and do communicate them on your loudest, shrillest setting. I’m trying to minimize the perceived (by you) effectiveness of this method of communication, but damn, child, I’m here to tell you: it gets my attention every time. Especially when we’re in the car.

That said, I’m happy to report that you’re a fantastic road trip companion. We drove a total of 3,823 miles to the DH2013 conference in Lincoln, Nebraska and back. We took a week to go each way, and stayed in Lincoln for another week. On the westward leg, we were joined by your cousin Tesher. It was a great vacation.

On the way west, we went to Reptiland, where you quite enjoyed the komodo dragons and animatronic dinosaurs. We drove up and down Pennsylvania along state routes, and eventually you figured out how to make your ears stop hurting from all the driving up and down mountains. We went to Indian Echo Caverns, which you liked ok but only as long as your cousin was carrying you. None of this mama nonsense. (Tesher held up well, but come on, man, that was bordering on cruelty to teenagers!) We also went to Fallingwater, which you mostly didn’t see because they don’t allow the under-six crowd on tours—but I’ll take you there again. That place is something special.

Somewhere in there I got strep throat. Surprise! Cousin T hung out with you while I went to get antibiotics. I was terrified that one of you would get it too, but you remained healthy and ate like small horses. Since an easy way to tell a toddler has strep is that they’re not eating or drinking because it hurts to do so, for once I felt my genetically informed impulse to feed you because you’re too thin was justified for health reasons.

We spent a day and a half in Chicago, where we swam in a huge clean lake and you got to try your first Italian ices—and your first carousel and Ferris wheel. You approached all of these with the usual basic-research mindset, and got so engrossed in the carousel motion that you didn’t notice the music stop. You usually notice whether there’s music (and, to my delight, love having it on).

Then we drove on to Omaha, where we exchanged Tesher for our friends Molly and Natalie at the airport. These two joined us for the Lincoln portion of the adventure, and hung out with you while I conferenced. It worked! You visited the Lincoln Children’s Museum, like, five times; I think you might’ve gone to the zoo; you swam in the pool. Several times a day you breathlessly looked out the glass back wall of the elevator and lightly bounced, chanting “up… dow… up… dow….” while most of the adults witnessing this cracked up. I assume those who didn’t, don’t have souls.

Meanwhile, I ran around like crazy from session to meeting to super important atrium chat every day of the conference, morning to early evening, and some later evenings too. This used to be my every day, and things have only picked up since I became an only-occasional digital humanist.

Someday, I’ll be delighted if you find work that thrills and inspires you like this stuff thrills and inspires me.

Then the conference was over, and on the way back it was just the two of us with no particular plans and a week to get back. You road warrior, you. Held up like a pro. Oh, sure, there was some screaming, but I could see the gears in your head whirring and clicking: you actually exercised patience when necessary. You’re a year and a half old; you aren’t supposed to have any patience yet. But you do.

We had rest area picnics. You ate an ungodly amount of fruit and watched ants do their thing. You insisted on playing the on-off-on-off game with light switches in about a dozen hotel and motel rooms. You discovered the power button on a CRT TV.

Swimming! You LOVE swimming. We did it in the Hudson River at the beginning of our trip, and you were beside yourself with joy. We did it again in Lake Michigan, and you squirmed like a happy little pollywog. We went to a hotel pool together, and you actually tried swimming on your belly like a big kid. I may have to get over my extreme dislike of chlorinated pools just to do swimming lessons with you, fish boy.

We visited your great-uncle and great-aunt in Saint Louis, and you saw your aunt and some other relatives too. Never having seen these people in your life, five minutes into the visit you were clearly at home, demanding that Aunt Liza play clapping games with you and turning lights on and off with Uncle Roman. It was a lovely visit, and I missed your grandfather so.

We visited our New York family again, too. And your babushka on the very last leg homeward. And then we were home.

Since we came back, you’ve become that toddler. You’ve leveled up in the scary direction, my friend. Every other word is a carefully considered no. Sometimes it’s “no no no no NO. no.” The screaming has subsided, though, so maybe we have some hope of productive negotiation. Yes? Let’s try for that. In the meantime, I’ll be over there with a glass of wine in my hand, reminding myself that at least now you have the attention span to sit through an entire movie, and that you bring me books to read, and that you invent games, and that all told life with you is full of laughter.

Love you madly,

p.s. Boo.

p.p.s. More pictures still and moving, as usual.

newsletter: month sixteen

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Dear Nico,

Yesterday you turned sixteen months old, but I didn’t write you a letter, because we were busy having brunch with beloveds and then sending you off on your first ever sleepover.

This is what happened: you had a good time, slept over eleven hours, ate four scrambled eggs for breakfast, and generally had a good chill time with a newly-turned-seven-year-old Simone and her family. And mama got to have a date and remember what it’s like to be a grownup. Oh, and sleep without being woken up by a hungry barnacle. I believe we both win the weekend.

Other than this momentous paradigm shift towards more sanity for your grownup, the world is just the same as ever. Ho hum.

YEAH, RIGHT. Like this age is ever ho hum. Let’s see:

You’re walking on your own, a bit unsteadily—and climbing too. Onto the toddler rocker, onto a coffee table. Onto play structures at the playground, with a little help. Today you went up the slide part of the play structure with only a little assistance. My plan to have you running by the time our road trip rolls around is proceeding apace.

You’ve been eating almost everything you’re offered, though some things really aren’t very fun without molars. No molars yet, though teething. Some favorite foods are artichokes, creamed kale, sardines, and chocolate pudding—not all together. Artichokes in particular are satisfying: they’re food you can scrape off leaves with the teeth you have. Fan-freakin’-tastic.

Books are finally gripping. You’ve started bringing them to me for reading. You demand this with heart-rending earnestness.

You say people’s names. Martin is mah’n. Imre is mee-meh. Babushka is baba—you talk about her every day. Every cat is Aki.

You play my guitar and then stand there, shaking in ecstasy.

You recite eeny-meeny-miny-moe: it comes out meeny-meemeeny. You sing along with chickadee-dee-dee. You keep the biggest blueberry in reserve. Sometimes you share.

Tectonic changes, my kidlet. Hope I can keep up with you.


p.s. Life in pictures.

newsletter: month ten

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Dear Nico,

Last week you turned 300 days old. Today, you’re ten.

When do we get to claim you’re walking? When it’s unsupported, I guess. You wobble clear across a room holding on to grownup hands, and still no interest in crawling. I’ll get a photo of that sometime, but it’s hard when both my hands are occupied.

We went to the Aquarium this month, and I’d like to apologize for not letting you swim with the big fish and rays. We didn’t have a swimming suit with us, and it’s too cold to swim, and anyway they won’t let us swim in that pool. Sorry. We did see a bunch of fish, though, and then went and ate fish, because that’s just the kind of awesome we are.


Perhaps your most startling effect on the world thus far: you’ve prompted me to take up knitting. This is something others tried hard to accomplish for years, without success. Maybe their downfall was the reasoning? You’re a girl, you have to know how to knit. No thanks, I’d rather climb a tree. Then, one shiny mamahood day, I was bit hard by the need to make you a scarf. So supplies were got, and then videos were watched, and then it got started and finished. You’re welcome. And: whoa.

We read books. We play with a ball. We dance around, and I think you’re singing. You like Ziggy Marley and Mika and Kris Delmhorst. And drums! We were late to meet a friend one day because you noticed the djembe on the way out, and demanded to play it. Who was I to refuse?

Then babushka came back from vacation with a NAZ-sized drum. This is the BEST THING.

drumming with babushka

Best thing, that is, if you don’t count curtains, cats, playing cards (delicious), clapping, standing, light switches, pull cords, or your stuffed sheep.

We road tripped again, to New York for Thanksgiving. You road warrior, you. Slept like a champ, then hung out for 60-90 minutes at a time watching the world roll by. That’s huge, man. It says things about how you pay attention and perceive time.


That trip, it was unreal. You were the platonic ideal of happy baby pretty much the entire time. It took, like, ten minutes to put you to bed each night. Aside from your being sick for part of it, that’s how the month has felt. Just living. No big drama. Lots of laughter.



ps More pix, and a lemon video.

newsletter: month seven

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Dear Nico,

The seven-months newsletter is two whole days late. I’m sorry, baby, but mold waits for no one. Particularly when it’s mold trying to eat half a bushel of green beans.

Just so you know, half a bushel of green beans is a LOT of green beans. And maybe August in Boston isn’t the best time to leave them sitting there for even only a day, but what could I do? Gods know I don’t have space for 25lbs of beans in my fridge, and there was Back Yard Burning Man, and a housewarming, and…

Anyway. They’re gorgeously brined now, the two-thirds that I saved from a moldy death, and the house is back to a liveable shape.

You spent your seven-month birthday weekend in the arms of well over a dozen people at three different parties. They were charmed and powerlessas you telepathically compelled them to throw you in the air, let you pull on cheeks and beards and dark safety goggles, hold you up as you bounced, make faces as you lolled on a picnic blanket, feed you bits of food…

FOOD, oh my goodness. You like, in no particular order: Os cereal, which you often eat by putting your mouth on the high chair tray; beef stew; soaked prunes; peaches; tomatoes; avocado; a tiny bit of ice cream; and whatever is on my plate. You also think wooden spoons and plastic spatulas are mighty tasty. So tasty that you bit off a little piece of a spatula with your gums. When you have teeth, no bendy spatula for you.

Huge month developmentally. Huge. You’re clearly remembering things better from day to day. Stuffed toys with floppy limbs hold your attention for minutes, and I predict that later on you’ll be loving to cuddle with the downy-soft elephant that Mary from New Hampshire gave you. Or did she give you the lamb? That one is marginally less cuddly, but happens to be delicious. Cats are a little bit like stuffed toys, but they’ll walk away if you’re not gentle. They’re still way fun to watch, though. The foam tile flooring we got from a neighborhood mom is fun to bang on, and the jigsaw edges are fascinating.

Oh, and you’re sitting. On the bed, on the floor, with and without the boppy around you for support. In a special little seat in the bathtub.

And any day now, you’ll either crawl or straight-up walk. (See what I did there? Straight-up… never mind.)

I should probably attach those bookshelves to the wall. Holy sh…arks.

Baths are way more fun in the big bathtub. You can make waves! The splashing is way more awesome! You have floaty toys that squirt water! You never smile during bathtime, though—it’s too serious a business. Your usual devotion to exploring the edges of shadows goes all haywire in the big water. SO MUCH to look at, who has time for smiling?

Speaking of the big water, we went to Walden Pond, and the same scene repeated itself there. Sunshine in shallow little waves, oh goodness. You won’t remember this, but we were there with a friend who proceeded to give birth on your seven-month birthday, and with some other friends who just moved here from California. Our social circle keeps getting bigger.

A tiny fraction of the things that have amused you this month: books (this and this and this); bending your fingers (nice isolation work there!); making raspberries and silly sounds and syllables with your tongue (tatatatatatata); having secrets whispered in your ear (it must feel nice); doing that upper-lip-over-lower thing and watching me melt; patting my back as I pat yours, helping you get the air out after a feeding.

Every time I see your naked little body when you’re trying to crawl, the muscles are more defined. Working, working. Sometime in the beginning of the month, I barely recognized your arms—they were so slender in the night. Toddler arms soon.

Even with all the changes, you’re still a small mammal. Putting my arm on your sleeping body creates a feedback hum. We cuddle at night. In fact, what am I doing up? Time to go join you, for tomorrow is another crazy, unbelievable day at work, and quality time is sometimes unconscious.


P.S. <a href=””>More pix, as usual.</a>

newsletter: month six

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Dear Nico,

Now you are six. Months old.

Yeah, I don’t know either.

A month ago I was in a pretty bleary state when I wrote in my notes for this post: “4am, tiny mammal nestled against my elbow.” Since then, you’ve become about a million times cuddlier. I often sleep with my arm around you now. This is new—until recently I was somehow unsure of how comfortable you were with the weight of my arm on your torso. As of this writing, you weigh a hair over 19.5lbs, so it’s not like my relaxed arm is going to hold you hostage. Ohhh no, you’re scooting all over the place with your butt high in the air and a gleeful expression on your face. Doomy doomy doom.

The sunny disposition that goes along with your cuddliness served you in good stead when we went to Germany last week. That’s right: Baby NAZ, international baby of mystery. You charmed at least half of Hamburg, and a great most of DH 2012. You didn’t even seem to notice the time change—that is, until we came back to the States. Then you crashed hard. But that’s way easier to deal with.

Your first baby-food-in-a-jar experience was in Germany. Aunt Jo bought you some at the fancy little supermarket around the corner from our hotel. When I came back from that day’s conferencing, she showed me the two jars and said: “So… this jar is definitely carrots. And this other one… I think it’s chestnuts?” I took a look; seemed plausible. Just in case, though, we looked it up online. Nope. Beef. Poof! You are omnivorous.

And you like it, too. But mostly you’ll need teeth for that, and this month you’ve been teething like crazy. But no teeth yet. Here’s a pro tip: fast teething is probably better teething. I don’t think your baby teeth got that memo. I’ve now drugged you several times with homeopathic remedies (which did bupkis, as mostly expected, but I wanted to try) and baby Tylenol (which mostly works).

But never mind that you don’t have actual teeth yet. Solid foods are fun for both of us. Not that you’re losing interest in mama milk. Any day now, you’ll be feeding that to yourself from the bottle.

It’s been the month of limbs and lips. You can operate all four of your limbs with purpose and relative grace. Grabby-motor control is developing fast: you’re probably a week or two away from the pincer grip. We’ll see about speeding up that bit of training by getting you Os cereal. For now, you continue to examine your hands, and now also your feet, from every angle daily.

Consonants are the source of this month’s greatest entertainment for you and me both. Maybe next month I’ll sign you up for the Thpfft Championship. That is, if I can distract you from communing with the cats with the newly unabashed glee of conscious recognition.

Oh, what am I saying. You’re still as distractable as ever.


P.S. moar pix!

newsletter: month five

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Dear Nico,

Congratulations, my child! You have survived your fifth month and your first fall off a bed. It was bound to happen, or so They tell me; apparently it takes on average four of these before you start remembering they ever happened. And hey, by the sixth you start forgetting again!

Surviving is hard work, though most days it’s hard to tell from the way you look all cheerful and gregarious. One day I walked into Carolyn’s house after work, and there you were, holding court amid four grownups and two toddlers, squealing with laughter on Michel’s lap. That evening, you continued shrieking for a good hour and a half in a row—as far as I could tell, because it’s fun to shriek. Michel calls this your pterodactyl noise.

This joie de vivre characterizes most of the past month, though not all. To wit: while writing the above two paragraphs yesterday, I went into the bedroom twice to soothe your crying. You were teething hard all day. Physical pain is such a surprise to you every time that I often catch you smiling up at me through tears and quivering lips. The next moment, you register confusion: how can it be that you’re feeling all these different things at once? Welcome to the human condition, little dude.

Lots of big news items this month. Locomotion! Well, sorta. Certainly movement in space—see above re falling off the bed. You roll all the way over. You do that thing where your butt goes way high up and you scoot your legs under you and lurch forward with your upper body. My adorable inchworm zombie. Your back muscles are more defined. You can sit with your back supported for more than seconds at a time, without falling over sideways. You sit in a Bumbo and in a high chair, too.

You talk a lot. When it’s not pterodactyl-moon-language, it’s often an exploration of your own tongue. You make shapes with it and then vocalize. You do this for minutes, often while staring at your hands. Being a baby is some good drugs.

When you’re not working on your development, you’re often sleeping with your butt high in the air. Remember that conversation we were having about having you sleep more than two hours at a time? Well, you’re doing that, mostly. I’m convinced that the frequent-waking pattern is related to the outside weather. This is both fascinating and kind of a bummer, since there’s nothing I can do about it. No matter what the room temperature is, or how humid or dry it is, you follow the weather gods. Maybe I shoulda named you Storm or somesuch. (No. But maybe.)

Or maybe it’s your little body processing the SOLID FOODS you’ve been ingesting. Kid, I’ve been waiting for this for longer than you’ve been alive. Here’s what we know so far:

  • sweet potatoes are awright
  • prunes are undiluted awesome… no really, please, god, don’t dilute them—certainly not with breastmilk, because that combination is vile
  • beets are tasty enough, even though they get your face all screwed up in an I’m-not-sure-about-this way every time you eat them
  • jury’s still out on avocado, but then, you’ve only had it once

It’s getting late, baby, so I’m going to say goodnight to the internet and go sleep. Life is full of work and commuting and books and dishes and blog updates and nonstop craziness and even a little TV, but sometimes you just gotta say forget it all, and get some sleep.


P.S. more pix here.

newsletter: month four

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Dear Nico,

Happy four months, baby! Let’s talk about health. It’s possibly the most important thing we have, you and I. So your Mother’s Day gift to me of a bad sinus cold, though astonishingly thoughtful given your young age, might have been… a little misguided.

Getting rid of a cold when you can’t sleep it off is HARD. For the first time ever, I lamented not having a full-time co-parent, someone who had signed on for the germs in advance. Both of us being sick, I couldn’t bring myself to ask any of our friends and loved ones to come and be with you while I slept; I wouldn’t have wished this cold on anyone, and nothing was dire, just hard and sleepy and discontent.

We did it, though. We got rid of it. It took a sick day (note to self: next time, take two) and a lot of early bedtime, but we’re healthy once again. Let’s try to stay that way, please.

Somerville Open Studios

Taken by Molly Tomlinson at Somerville Open Studios, May 5

It’s WARM! It’s SPRING! You are sleeping longer stretches. Oh, the incomparable joy of it! I credit a combination of warm weather and the breastmilk-in-the-nose trick I remembered to try. Worked like a charm to relieve your congestion. This stuff is magic. Let’s hope I don’t forget it when you get your first pinkeye.

Enough about illness, let’s talk about the adorable. There’s plenty of that. Take the sounds of you sucking on your entire fist in the back seat of the car. Or your extra-fuzzy, velvety head with a lot more hair than last month. Or the way you’re discovering toys—just yesterday Michel reported that you have learned to crinkle the wings of the little stuffed bee.

Speaking of Michel, you have the best caretakers. Three of them, over the four days a week that you’re in “daycare.” You love going to Vanessa’s and hanging out with her and tiny Alex, who is only a month older than you. (I can’t wait until you two start entertaining each other, hopefully in a few months.) You love going to Carolyn’s, who has been packing and unpacking moving boxes and has all the smiles in the world for you. And Michel’s, well. There’s a grownup AND a six-year-old AND a teenager AND a huuuuuge dog who are all fond of you. Pici the great dane, easily seven times your size, likes to lick your hands.


I haven’t even mentioned all our other friends besides the weekday caretakers. I hope that hanging out with all these different people will mean no separation anxiety. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just avoid that altogether?

Your hand-eye coordination is improving. Fingers are tricky to get control of, but darned if you’re not tryin’. A favorite exercise is holding on to my shirt as I put you in the carrier: you’ve discovered that you can keep yourself from falling over to the side. The power! The control! It’s heady.

You’ve definitively found your toes, and are studiously working on holding on to them. Watching you do this, it occurred to me that it’s quite an advanced skill: you have to control your arm and your leg at the same time. I imagine this can get frustrating. But you’re pretty chill about it, and we’ve been talking about practicing.

You’re definitely practicing. Given your increasing love for mouthing everything, most especially your own fingers and my forearm when I’m changing your diapers, it’s only a matter of time until you bring those feet all the way up to your mouth.

Most of your exploration is accompanied these days by a sort of aaaaaohhhhhh. Sounds are fun, even if they’re all vowels so far. An accidental consonant here and there doesn’t count for syllables, but it is cute to practically hear your brain gears turning.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Some of the most entertaining things in the world are: practicing your standing, supported, on top of a grownup’s belly; Baby in the Mirror; the doorway bouncer (you can hang out in that thing for half an hour); having your belly, feet, hands or head nibbled; having me sing to you. Gosh, baby, I hope you continue to be as appreciative an audience as you’re being these days. It may be the best ego trip I’ve ever had.

Speaking of feelings, yours might be growing even faster than your body, which is damn impressive given that during the days when I’m at work you’re eating all the milk I can pump and then some. Thank goodness we had a reserve; it’s depleted enough that I’ve brought the pump home so that hopefully we can build it back up a little. You feel huge to me, though the internet tells me that your weight is average for your age. So when you have FEELINGS, well. It’s a good thing we have a fierce cuddling relationship.

Today, on your four-month birthday, we went out to lunch at a Chinese buffet with babushka, Vlad, and a bunch of their friends—mostly to celebrate my mom’s and a friend’s birthdays now that everyone’s back in town from various travels. You charmed everyone, men and women. I’m told you do this about a hundred percent of the time, no matter where you go. Hang on to your gregariousness, my love. It alone won’t get you many places, but it sure helps to genuinely like other people, and have them like you back.

I like you so much that sometimes, when I have to choose a quiet bedtime for you over an evening with friends, I feel that the consolation prize is way worth it.

Is this how you crawl?