A Letter to Xander at 6 Months

Xander,

It’s wild that 6 months have passed since you came into the world, wide eyed and curious. In some ways it has flown by in what feels like a heartbeat, but you have given our lives such meaning that it also feels like you’ve always been here. My identity is already so tied to being your mother that it’s hard to imagine what I was like before you came along. Who I am and what matters to me revolve around you, little guy.

This is the first picture that was ever taken of you. The unbelievable agony of 47 hours of labor was wiped from my mind the instant I reached down and pulled you from the water up to my chest. I felt like I had known you my whole life. This is the moment I became your mother.

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You’ve had a quiet ferocity about you from the instant you were born that is becoming more pronounced and a little less quiet as you get older. You are so focused and determined when you put your mind to something that sometimes it makes me laugh. And other times it scares the hell out of me because the object of your focus is the road bike that is mounted on the wall, and you attempt with single minded intensity to pull it down on yourself. I thought we had more time to baby proof, but you seem to find something new every day that you can reach from your walker. I can only imagine what it is going to be like once you aren’t buffered by a plastic tray and wheels.

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You still won’t take a bottle, and you nurse every few hours. That means we have never been apart for more than a few hours during the times when Daddy takes you for an adventure to let Mommy get some work done. Sometimes it’s overwhelming how much you need me, but most of the time it’s the best feeling in the world. I know it won’t be like this for long, and the wistful way that mothers of older children look at you tells me that I will miss it when you become independent. Sometimes I just stare at you when you sleep and wish I could hold on to these quiet, warm, snuggly moments.

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But then I see your personality starting to emerge, and I get so excited to watch you grow. I can’t wait to show you our world and all of the imaginary worlds that you have yet to discover. You’ve never been to Scotland where my side of your family is from. I know it will call to you the way it does for me. You were born into a family of gypsies, so wanderlust is in your DNA. You’ve also never been to Middle Earth or Narnia, and in your world Harry doesn’t even know he’s a wizard yet. Woody hasn’t met Buzz. I can’t wait for the adventures we will get to go on…both real and imaginary.

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In the last few weeks, you have figured out how to sit up on your own. We think it’s a big milestone, but you aren’t satisfied. You are determined to stand up, run around, and get your hands on things. I don’t think it will be long before you’re mobile and then the doggies better watch out. You chase them around the house in your walker, running at them with both hands in the air, making sounds like a baby pterodactyl. They have figured out where to hide that your walker can’t go, but soon enough you’ll be able to terrorize them everywhere. They make you giggle and smile, but they’re wary of you because you pull their fur with your little fists and move unpredictably. You have just started to experiment with solid foods, but you mostly like to smash it and throw it on the ground. I’m sure the dogs are about to be as excited by you as you are fascinated by them as you start dropping food everywhere. They will be much more tolerant of having their hair pulled now.

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My favorite time of day with you is first thing in the morning. Since I’m not a morning person, I’ve never said that before, but you make me smile as soon as I open my eyes. You are so happy when you first wake up that it seems to bubble out of you. It’s hard to put into words the joy that radiates from that tiny face. You grin your toothless grin and babble. You gently touch your tiny, soft palms to my face, as though you are relearning its contours, making sure I haven’t changed during the night.

I haven’t changed overnight, little one, but you have! When you were born, you only weighed a little over 7 pounds, and now you weigh 18.5. You look less like a baby every day and more like my little man. You still don’t have very much hair, though, which might be for the best since it prevents me from giving you a baby Mohawk.

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You are learning to like the bath, but you love showers with Daddy the best. You smile and reach your tiny fingers out to catch the stream of water, staring in wonder as it continues to fall. Really, though, you love any time with Daddy! I may get to steal your best snuggles, but he gets your best smiles. You light up when he comes home from work, and he makes you laugh like nothing else does. Sometimes he just has to say any word and you giggle with delight. He used a stapler once, and you shrieked with laughter, so his pages ended up stapled from end to end just to keep you laughing.

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You also love your bricks. We live in a loft that has a few walls of exposed old brick from 1927, and you’re obsessed with it. If you’re ever tired and cranky, we just have to take you over to your bricks to let you stare at them, and you’re happy again. If Daddy strokes them, you get a huge smile on your face. You make little cooing sounds as you crane your neck to see the ones that go all the way up to the ceiling. There’s a concrete column in the house that you love as well. You like to push your walker around it slowly, reaching out to feel the different textures of its surface. You stare at it for minutes at a time. I wish I knew what you were thinking!

You are teething at the moment. We can see your your first two front teeth, but they haven’t fully erupted yet. That means you try to chew on absolutely everything including people’s fingers, the dog’s nose, and Daddy’s beard. When I read you stories, you spend the whole time trying to eat the book. I think you might have missed the point of The Very Hungry Caterpillar just a bit.

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You are just getting used to the idea of object permanence–the concept that things still exist even when you can’t see them. You’re suddenly intrigued by the possibility that there are things behind other things, so you contort your whole body and cock your head to see around people and objects, wondering what may be hidden. New people try to say hi to you, and you lean to look around them as though everyone is playing a big trick on you by hiding things with their bodies. You also like to stare at ceiling fans, smoke detectors, and trees.

You despise your car seat. We’ve tried everything to solve it, and concluded that you just hate being restrained. It breaks my heart when you cry, so it takes forever for us to go anywhere because I have to keep stopping to calm you down. I considered walking the 7 miles to my doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago rather than torturing you in the car. It’s getting a little better, so we’re hoping you outgrow it soon, and learn that rides in the car lead to new adventures.

You have a thing about lounging. You usually insist on being as upright as possible, but if you can prop one leg up, you’ll lean back and lounge. You do it in your stroller, your high chair, when you’re sitting in Daddy’s arms, and even in the bath.

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I try not to form attachments to the things you wear because you outgrow it all so quickly. It’s hard not to get nostalgic every time I retire a piece of clothing (which is constantly!). I bought some of my favorites (the one with dinosaur feet!) in multiple sizes so I wouldn’t be sad when you outgrew them, but you’re about to be finished with the biggest of those. You have already stopped doing some of the things we didn’t even realize were a phase. You used to make a little “eow” sound after every sneeze that made us giggle. We always tried to catch it on video, but never succeeded, and one day you just stopped doing it. I miss that noise and the way you used to repeatedly make an “oooh-ooh-ooh” sound when you were content. I don’t miss the way you always used to have the hiccups, though! You got them multiple times a day when you were tiny, and they made you so mad. Now my favorite noises are the way you try to sing (loudly and terribly!) and the little squawks you make when you want someone’s attention. There’s a note of indignation to them that makes me laugh. You get louder if people (or dogs) don’t immediately focus on you. Luckily, you’re adorable, and people shower you with attention, so you rarely have to seek it out.

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You are surrounded by so much love, and have filled our lives with an abundance of joy. I love being your mother, little man.

Love,

Mama

4 thoughts on “A Letter to Xander at 6 Months

  1. I cry and smile , laugh out loud and Wish I could reach out and you would be there. But these pictures are there for me whenever I need them . How lucky we are to have our Xander in our lives.

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  2. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Watching both Xander and his Mummy and Daddy transform over the past 6 months has been a magical adventure. So much joy and wonder for all of us, and so much more to come.
    I do chuckle though because Xander is just the same determined explorer that his Mama was at 6 months….it’s just getting interesting…

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  3. Thank you for sharing these precious moments. It is so obvious that you love being a mom. I am filled with joy watching you love mommyhood and Xander. I can’t wait for everything the future holds.

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