35 months

dear hugo,

IT SNOWED THIS MONTH WHAT THE HELL.

i have to tell you that this has been a fairly miserable winter, even if it hasn’t been full of snow like last year. i knew those handful of beautiful days in march were too good to be true – this month has been rainy and cold and dreary and just the pits. everyone is cranky and ready for sunshine and springtime.

after not napping more than once every 7-10 days, you’ve decided now is the time to nap again. perhaps it’s due to the fact that we have been staying at the playground and forcing ourselves to go outside even in the miserable, dreary weather more than we managed in the winter. or perhaps whatever speed you were taking in december has finally worn off, but these days you seem to be napping more and more frequently. you are at least going to bed at a decent hour – but 8-8:30 at the latest instead of 9:30-10 and so papa and i don’t really mind. it makes it easier to do evening things as well and honestly it’s great timing considering soccer is starting and it would be impossible to take your brother on a night when you haven’t napped.

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touching rays at the mystic aquarium

in fact you seem to be generally more sleep overall – at bedtime you know the whole routine and will often climb into bed and turn on the reading light and get snuggled up while i am grabbing my book and glasses. it’s a lot nicer than fighting you to go to bed, that’s for sure.

even so, we are making the best of things as we can. you have finally started to enjoy going to little sprouts on monday mornings. that is – you have always enjoyed going, but you have finally started talking about it and looking forward to it. you are still slow to warm up to people and places, which is very sweet considering how obnoxious you are once you feel comfortable! it’s fun seeing you connect with other kids your age.

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hiking with nana and grandpa

you have a few youtube movies you like to watch – a bad habit we developed during the winter months when mama had to work and you weren’t napping. clash of clans commercials (‘cwash of cwams’ and minions, along with some taylor swift and bruno mars ‘videos’). and now if you do nap and i have to wake you so we can pick up the brothers or so you aren’t awake all night long, they are a good bribe for getting you to forgive me for being disturbed.

because your naps are spotty and unplannable and because you are awful when i work, i have decided that this month you can start having a little bit of iPad time instead of waiting a few more weeks until you are 3. you LOVE this of course, and we have been working hard on ironing out the rules (after lunch, just when mama is working, once a day, you can’t have a tantrum when time is up). it’s not so easy for you to give the iPad up when the time is over, but you are getting used to the routine of it, and now that you have realized that you do get another turn the next day, it’s even getting a little easier to give up to. i have mixed feelings about giving you iPad time “early” but desperate times, i guess.

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if you don’ wear yo scarf yo neck’s gon’ get cold

you love blueberry pouches, those gross gross baby food in foil things. long ago i considered buying some silicone pouches and making our own, but for whatever reason(s) that never happened and now they are your favorite treat. whatever. they cost less than $2 and they are a great purchase to keep you occupied while we are at the grocery store and they are actually healthy too. the amusing thing is that even though you love the blueberry flavor, you still won’t eat actual blueberries. i’m curious to see if that will change this summer when they are fresh and delicious.

you are delight to watch play the iPad, even as conflicted as i am about allowing you to use it. when you play the construction game with grandpa (or whatever it is called) and “grandpa” asks if you “want to play again?” you always whisper, “yes” and i die every time. you also like the “game with the birdies” and you will point excitedly to all the silly things you can make the birdie do.

 

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big helper

although you also eat most things, you can be particular about other treats as well. you like bunny not bear crackers and you would really always prefer star wars crackers (but alas, they no longer sell them around here). you will only eat the short fat pretzel rods, not the skinny pretzels or the “hug” shaped ones. you will eat certain kind of orange slices but not others. you DO still love apples, and will eat them sliced or whole. one of my favorite things is watching you eat a whole apple. it’s still so heavy in your hands and getting a good bite out of it is tricky. still you persevere and it’s adorable. papa would prefer if you would stop taking bites of his apples, however, and he’s often arrived at work appalled to find his morning snack has already been nibbled many times over.

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everyone loves the iPad

we’ve also talked about weaning some this month, and it’s going ok so far. we’re not in a rush, but i’ve been working on nursing you not at all at night anymore. i was thinking that because you are the same age as your brothers were night weaned that it wouldn’t be much of a thing for you either, but it turns out that being pregnant means a lot less milk and therefore a lot less fight about it all. but you know that as you are getting tall and taller there will be less milk and you are ok with that in theory – in practice you are not so sure. still, we are making slow and steady progress at night and that is the most important thing. you still occasionally nurse other times – for nap and bedtime, for example, but mostly that’s it. it’s definitely bittersweet for both of us.

 

happy 35 months, baby! i can’t believe how big you are getting so fast!

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thirty-five months

love,

mama

34 months

dear hugo,

you have started to realize that you are growing and you are not sure how you feel about this. it’s a tricky thing. on the one hand, you are ready to be big and big and bigger, because that means you can play more games with the brothers and do more cool things. it means you are getting tall and taller and that makes you proud. but it also means that you are not a baby anymore and maybe you aren’t ready for that. you often ask me, “i am the baby, right?” “yes, you are,” i tell you, because of course you will always be my baby.

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honey mustard chips and oj snack for the strep patient

even so, you continue to strive for things that the big kids do. you like to get things and do things for yourself. putting on a back pack and taking a lunch box places, getting out your shoes and coat (WINTER COAT, MAMA, even if the weather has decided to feel pleasant for a change). you can take your pants and underpants fully off, if they are not buttoned too tightly, and you can even sometimes pull them back up. you can take off your shirt and socks and sometimes, the opposite, pull on your shoes. you can get your own snacks out of my back or the cabinet (honestly, i love when you get your own snacks out of the cabinet because i am terribly lazy).

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when it’s been too quiet for too long

you love to be read to, but you also love to read to yourself. if i am working and won’t read to you (oh WHY did you have to give up your nap so soon?!), you will sometimes sit next to me and declare, “FINE! i will read it MY-SELF.” and then of course it is impossible to work because i love listening to how you tell yourself the story.

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snuggling with a sick mama

your pappy was here a few days to visit and to help us with yet another project. you, like your middle brother before you, absolutely delighted in helping out when you could. you found the work half fascinating and half painfully boring, which is actually a pretty accurate assessment of the project.

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movie break for the construction assistant

you, also like your middle brother before you, continue to w-sit with your legs. supposedly that’s not a big deal, but since your auntie used to sit like that and wound up with knees that make her a little crazy, i have been disinclined to let you or your brother sit like that when i can see it. you find it amusing that this bothers me, and you won’t put your legs into a more gentle position for your knees until you’ve gotten me to yell at you. as in, if i say, “fix your legs, hugo,” you will say, “YELL IT! FIX YO LEGS HUGO!” and will not comply until i do. similarly, if you have to use the potty, you sometimes tell me about it, but then encourage me to hustle you, “say ‘let’s go let’s go let’s go!’ mama!”. weirdo.

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dyeing eggs for spring!

you are learning how to be a pain in the butt from your brothers. all their obnoxious sayings and insults are absorbed by you like a sponge. your favorite is to you, “STOP COPYING ME!” which must be a real issue for the kindergartners this year, because it’s a favorite protestation you have picked up from calum.

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when you couldn’t bunk with the big kids

this month we had an actual taste of spring – one weekend morning we went to brunch with friends at 9:30 and didn’t get home until almost dinner. it’s not that the winter was so cold but it’s been so very dreary. we’re trying to soak up any good weather that comes our way, and you are no exception. we haven’t been to the playground in ages, because it has been too rainy to do anything, and you’ve begun to preemptively tell me that we needn’t even bother to check the swings and slides because, “they are wet, mama.” please hurry, spring, we need more sunshine!

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thirty-four months

happy 34 months, beautiful!

love,

mama

 

 

 

33 months

dear hugo,

i cut your hair. i was tired of all of the tangles and i wanted to get some kind of different hairstyle ready for your birthday photo in a few months. i cut it shorter than i wanted but it’s still pretty cute. you look so different! and too big all of a sudden.

2016 01 31 haircut

where’s your hair?

not that you aren’t acting too big anyway. if you need a snack you will tell me, “yes we [do have some] – i’ll show you!” then you drag a chair over to the counter and climb up and open the cabinet and get whatever it is you wanted. i am sort of appalled but also relieved. finally a child who can just serve himself, my goodness. you’re 9 yr old brother still doesn’t know how to do that (or rather, he’s too lazy do it).

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mama c’n-i eat your chips?

your play is bigger too. when we went to visit your cousins in pennsylvania recently, you and your cousin liam were inseparable. you played super hero and trucks and cars and you played house and kitchen and took care of babies. you play with gus and calum is many of their games. you join the kids in calum’s class for part of their routine (without being a distraction!) when i am helping the K2 kids check out books. you want to blow the bubbles all by yourself – and you do. you can even sit for a few turns of a board game. there is so much happening around you and you can’t wait to catch up.

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playing all the games

you are enjoying books more and more and are often asking papa for a “book and a snuggle.” then once you’re settled in, you’ll open the book and tap the page, “talk it!” you’ll demand. you like “ginger” and of course all of the byron barton books and a few other books about construction.

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new library books

you haven’t been napping so we haven’t been nursing in during the day much, but lately i think all that no sleep is catching up to you and you will demand a midday snuggle. if i try to pass on the mahnahs you have a tantrum. i think you still need a little down time, even if you don’t quite want to nap right now.

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gorilla watcher

papa had strep this month and that made you very concerned. you made papa snuggle you a lot and read you books and you checked on him a lot. you were very sweet. too sweet, though, i think, as papa ending up giving strep to you! you were miserable for the first day, but we figured it was probably strep pretty quickly and got your antibiotics right away. you HATED them. it was like giving a cat a bath three times a day for the first week, and then on the 8th day you took your doses without complaint. you make me crazy.

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fever cheeks

you had a blast at your visit with liam and you both were very sad when it was time to go. you made me laugh, though, when we got there and i took you to the bathroom to pee. “i frew up in dat toilet,” you said. it must have made a big impression over new year’s.

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33 months

happy 33 months, my growing growing toddler.

love,

mama

 

 

9

dear august,

this year you turned 9 years old. your last single digit year of your life. wow. two years away from middle school (didn’t you just start kindergarten?). halfway out of the house (weren’t you just born?). i can hardly believe we’re here already. if you could just please slow things down.

2015 03 22 gus sunglasses.jpgmarch

being 8 was a pretty good year for us. rather pleasant, in fact, for the first time in a great long time (oh, since you were 2 i would say). it’s not that you have been awful forever, but your other ages were very challenging in ways that 8 was not, and it was nice to enjoy you more often than otherwise this past year. whatever it is about 8, it seemed to be a break for you from always coming up against everything else going on, and that made it generally more endurable for everyone around you. of course you had your bad days, we all, do, but overall, 8 was pretty mild as far as growing pains go.

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april

you started your first season of travel team this past fall and you loved it. your team was not particularly good. in fact, i think it would be fair to say that some of your teammates were in fact quite terrible, significantly impacting your team’s record. you were very philosophical about this and really seemed to grasp that while it is definitely fun to win, the most important part at this point is to have fun and to give everyone a turn to play. while you certainly wished that some of your teammates were a little more skilled, you didn’t ever begrudge them the same opportunities to be on the field that you had, even if it might mean a better chance of a win.

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may

you enjoy playing goalie and you do pretty well, although eventually you really would prefer to get out there and in on the action. you are a bit, as papa calls you (and as we have heard you call yourself), “uncoachable” – meaning that once on the field, you tend to do what makes the most sense to you, not what someone may be advising from the side. if ever there was a league to thrive like this, you have found it. and a good thing, too, as it has fostered a strong confident and creative streak in you, that you can really see when you play. you are brave and strong and go after the ball as if you know exactly what will happen once you get to it. and sometimes that is even true! i don’t watch you play much – partly scheduling from needing a break – but every time i see you play i am more impressed than the last time. you’re getting better and better by leaps and bounds, growing into yourself as a player and into your passion for the game.

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june

you seem to still like school. you remain fairly quiet and reserved, which makes your teacher crazy, and she spent a good portion of the year trying to get to know you. you were very tolerant of this, if not enthused by her interest, and eventually rewarded her with a soccer story or too and she was thrilled. you enjoy the kids at your school (mostly max, angelo, rye, and jethro) and enjoy meeting up with kids after school on the play area (you often play this game that involves throwing a kickball against the side of the school and trying to catch it. it doesn’t sound very exciting but you and many kids on the playground love it). you still want me to come to school events and be your chaperone and of course i go every time i possibly can. some of the kids are already mortified by their parents and i’ll take your wanting me around as long as possible.

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july

you still love hanging out with lucas and eamon and anand and euan. you love seeing graham when we get together with those friends and you occasionally still see old friends (like simi or ezra) around the neighborhood. you love playing soccer with friends the most, but you’ve all also started inventing complicated-seeming games of tag and catch and other things that involved rock-papers-scissors and healers and referees and i don’t know what else. but when we get together with friends, all you children sneak away somewhere and are not seen until we demand you come and eat something (and even then you straggle). if you have conflicts, you seem to work them out with each other fairly easily. you are all very different from each other these days, but because of time and familiarity have forged ways for meeting in the middle quite happily. it’s lovely to see you with these old, old friends.

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august

you love soccer, but you also love reading. you occasionally will write up complicated programs? stories? flow charts? something on paper that you and calum will discussion in great detail. you still don’t love crafts, but will consent to doing the occasional art project here or there, particularly if it involves star wars. you still love star wars, the dragons of berk, and occasionally slugterra. you complain about having to watch wild kratts when it is calum’s night to choose but you watch it (and enjoy it) anyway. you love playing games on the iPad, including clash of clans and lego star wars, but these days you play a lot of fifa and occasionally madden football and a few other sports games here and there. you will play wii all day when you can get it and are impatiently waiting for the discussion about whether or not the family can purchase our own once hugo turns 4. you like riding your bike and playing on the playground, although some days you are just as likely to walk around talking with lucas as you to play an active game.

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september

you love reading books and would read at every meal if we left you. your favorites are graphic novels but you like chapter books too. mostly you like fantasy and sci-fi – wizards, magic, jedi, dragon, zombies etc, but you will read just about anything i bring home if it’s new. you will re-read also, if there is nothing else. we’ve hard to start roaming far afield from our little library, since you’ve read just about everything there. you bring home your scholastic book order forms with your desires circled and i do my best to order them from the library for you.

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october

although you would prefer not to be, you are helpful around the house. you put your clothes away, put your dishes away, help unload the dishwasher when asked, clean almost the entire downstairs bathroom by yourself, make your own lunch, help clean up after your brother(s), and carry the laundry up and/or downstairs for me. you can be trusted – mostly – to keep an eye on hugo in the backyard and are good at walking calum home from the bus safely. you can go the the playground with calum or by yourself and you can walk around the block to get a ball that’s been accidentally kicked over the fence into our diagonally-adjacent neighbor’s yard.

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november

this year you’ve gotten really into music as well. we got an old iPhone 4 for you and you are allowed to listen to spotify on it (and use it to take weirdo photos/vidoes of your brothers). you love listening to minecraft pop song parodies and making spotify playlists. there have been many an evening papa tried to listen to spotify on his own phone on the way home from work only to find that you’d already commandeered it.

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december

although you have a lot of conflict with calum, you love your brothers and they love you. they make you crazy but you also are always organizing them into some kind of activity – usually football in your room in the winter and then some kind of sports game in the backyard. hugo often foils your plans by being 2 but calum is almost always willing. it’s tough when you fight, but more often than not, you seem to at least try go get along. when you want to be rid of them, you will bury your nose in a book, which is infuriating to calum. but big brothers need a break sometimes too.

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january

it’s been a busy but wonderful year. i’m so proud of how you are growing. happy 9th birthday.

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nine

love,

mama

 

 

 

 

happy birthday to ME (blc post)

so aw dang i got some great presents today! and it was a good day too. gus and i went for a run in the new jogging stroller! i am soooooo out of shape! my BUTTCHEEKS JIGGLED. i knew my tummy was not at its firmest and my thighs aren’t like when i was running back in the day. but MY BUTTCHEEKS JIGGLED??!! how sad and hilarious. i am going to be sore tomorrow, i am pretty sure. but we had fun. i think gus liked it, even though turtles and snails were passing us left and right, i think he liked the ride.

i didn’t make brownies for myself today because my friend was here and i didn’t want to share. but i do have icing and breakfast muffins with chocolate chips so i had one of those and i’m going to have another because HEY, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! and i listed to my cd and zoom came from the moon to sing me my birthday song again! which is great because last year he didn’t come and it was sad. even though jeremy thinks i am CRAZY for loving it so much. but i do, oh i do.

and so here is my score — in addition to the calls from my family and a text from toni b and an ecard or too that were really sweet or hilarious or totally unexpected. so — classy earrings from my baby baby, super posh soft towels from my mama and papa AND a picture of my mom and me when i was a wee babe, and cute steelers socks from jeremy’s parents. nice nice.

oh, and a really REALLY stinky fart from jrms.

gus is kind of the best birthday present, EVER, though. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.

26 weeks (blc post)

dear august,

26 weeks today!!! fully half of one year. yesterday, for your 6 month birthday, we got your picture taken and we made prints of your little feet. of you BIG feet, i should say! they look twice as big as your newborn footprints..!! how did that happen? how did you grow so fast? i used to be able to fit you in the crook of my arm, now you spill out all over the place. not that you would stay in the crook of my arm anyway, wiggleworm that you are these days 🙂

oh gus you are so much fun! you have become both easier and harder to play with in the past month. easier because everything under the sun interests you now, and so there are so many more games we can play. and easier because you are beginning to understand and LIKE games. you giggle uncontrollably when i am trying to change you and you refuse to let me have a foot or a hand or the diaper or a shirt because you are clutching whatever i need desperately tightly in your little fist. it is too too funny for you to tease mama this way. and even though you are laughing and laughing, i still have to pry your little fingers apart — you do not give up the game so easily 🙂 you are beginning to enjoy peek-a-boo and you think it’s HILARIOUS when your papa looks away and then turns quickly to catch your eye. your papa is so silly, and you LOVE almost everything he does with you. you are also learning that your sounds attract our attention. the other day your papa was holding you while i was eating and looking at the computer. you SQUEALED and so i looked over and then you laughed. you just wanted to see if i would notice! so we all laughed together on that one.

but it is also harder to entertain you these days because you get SO FRUSTRATED by your lack of total autonomous mobility. you have discovered that you CAN move around and this is a source of great wonder and delight for you, but it is unwieldy, the way you go and not at all to your liking. you can turn yourself in a circle on your belly, and this is wonderful for changing your view of things, something you very much appreciate having control over. but you often get your legs stuck on things and cannot extricate them, and this is a source of great consternation. you have learned to do push ups, and you often do, strengthening those belly muscles and legs. but when you REALLY REALLY want to get something, it tends to get farther away, not closer, as this new found ability to push yourself up more often than not results in your moving BACKWARDS, not forward, leading to a great deal of frustration on your part. so you often get cranky very quickly when we put you down to play with your bigs or a rattle or another too, since you cannot *quite* do everything you would like to do. you will be much happier when you can crawl. and your papa and i both anticipate and fear the moment you learn that new trick.

another endless source of delight for you these days is the cat. you only noticed him for the first time right when we were packing up in pittsburgh. and since then he has been a thing of particular pleasure for you watch and attempt to engage. the cat, stupid animal that he is, actually was so desperate for MY attention this morning that he flounced down in front of YOU, and you immediately begin to squeeze tufts of hair off the top of his head. he tried to pretend this was the kind of affection he was looking for for almost a full minute, much to my surprise and your enchantment, but then he left without either of you coming to significant harm. he has a great deal of patience for you, and has not once snapped or hissed or batted at you (except once, in play), but i feel bad for the way his world is about to be turned upside down in just a few short weeks. this tenuous friendship is no doubt soon to be over. but in the meantime, you certainly enjoying trying to pet foucault — GENTLY, i am always saying — and he seems to at least not mind TOO terribly your attempts to love him bald.

i say this every month, but every month it is true — your personality just gets bigger and better. to make a ridiculously corny analogy, you really are like a tightly budded flower that is just slowly, slowly opening his petals day by day by day.. we keep seeing more and more of the little person that you are and we are continually astounded by you. you are such a pleasure! such a delight! thank goodness you seem to love kisses and snuggles because we are CONSTANTLY giving them to you. you giggle with the way they tickle your neck and feet and chest and belly and knees and hands and bum and EVERYWHERE. you are so hard to resist!!! you notice EVERYTHING. you want to touch and see and EAT everything. now that you are 6 months old we let — er, at least food. well okay and i’ve let you eat my cellphone, the camera, and the remote control. and sometimes the keys, although usually not on purpose. your little hands are just EVERYWHERE, and sometimes you get things before i realize.

in honor of your auntie m’s visit, we started feeding you some rice cereal mixed with breastmilk every night. it is now part of the evening routine — your snack, a bath, bum out time with the bugs, and then bed. it works out pretty well. and you have settled into a general schedule for the day as well. it’s nice. i like knowing about when you need to do things so we can plan our day around it. you have also tried a bit of peach — pulling my had with the peach to your mouth and then gumming all over it, trying to get the juice. and then going for your auntie after you had accidentally knocked mine to the floor. and you’ve gummed all over a green bean as well! but we will stick with the rice for awhile, until your guts get used to it, as your pooping has now become something of a mysterious adventure for all of us. we can only give you a little bit of cereal at a time, or everything stop happening if you know what i mean. but that’s all right — we are in no rush.

you still make friends easily — it’s your mama’s worst nightmare to take you out in public, as your charming smile and big blue eyes attract the attention of all kinds of strangers — who then attempt to talk to you through me. i have a terrible enough time with small talk with people I KNOW, so this extra attention from people i DO NOT know and do not WANT to know gives me small periods of hyperventilation. but you, of course, love it. you are definitely your father’s son. but an interesting development is that at the same time, you also are becoming quite shy. you enjoy meeting new people and seeing them — as long as they don’t get too close and don’t try to touch you. if someone tries to engage you too quickly, before you’ve had a chance to acclimate, you now get scared and cry. i’m so glad to be home for this!! it would break my heart knowing i had to leave you every day when you’re not ready to be with new people as much as you used to. once you feel comfortable, you are the same old gus, ready with smiles and laughs for the new friend. you just need a minute, now, to get there. i secretly kind of love this, as it makes your papa and i feel kind of extra special, since of course you dont’ even need a second to warm up to US! 🙂

you are funny when you wake up — quiet now for a few moments as you think about things or just slowly wake up. which is nice, because it gives us an extra minute in the morning or when we are napping. but creepy too, as more morning than one i have heard your stir and opened my eyes to a tiny face and bright blue eyes RIGHT THERE LESS THAN AN INCH FROM MY KNOWS. it’s a bit disconcerting to wake up that way, i have to tell you fella. the fact that you break into a huge toothless grin as soon as you see i am awake and have noticed you helps, but still, buddy, give mama a warning grunt or something. i KNOW you are perfectly capable of that.

and you still grunt. and it is still hilarious. but you’ve also begun babbling with an increasing and incredible amount of consonant and vowel sounds. you HAVE managed the famous dadadadada, and it is love. but you also say blablablabla, which is hilarious. and occasionally a HEY! in there too. and then there are a few g and n sounds. and ee’s and ii’s and oo’s. you repeat a high pitched ii sound when we say bye bye to the water after the bath, perhaps you are copying this ritual sound? you LOVE talking, and we love hearing it. it is beautiful. and funny — sometimes instead of “talking” you SCREECH out DADADADA and BLABLABLA or grunt it out. i think you get a kick out of the different volumes. and in the video store the other day you whispered it, and i whispered it back, which both startled and amused you — hey, mama can make that sound too! .

you are getting to be quite the pro at sitting up! although i still sit nearby when you do, as you do still topple over when you are “finished.” learn a little grace, gus! you like sitting up, and you sit for longer and longer periods, but still nothing tops standing, which remains your favorite physical activity if someone has the patience to hold you up as long as it pleases you to do so. and jumping is still a pleasure as well. you jumped so much with your uncle adam the other day that we put you in your johnny jump up and you finally learned its purpose and now when we put you in you go crazy! it’s nice to see you wear yourself out without also wiping out one of us for a change 🙂 and even better, it gives you a little bit of the independent mobility that you crave.

every day with your is a pleasure, gus. every day i am grateful for the opportunity to spend this time with you. you are such a blessing. i can’t believe how these past 6 months have flown by. take your time, little bugga, there’s no rush. the big wide world will wait for you.

love,
mama