Archive for ‘Parenthood’

December 9, 2011

Dear Uncle Michael

Dear Uncle Michael,


Yup, this post is a letter directly to you, Michael. I want to address what must seem like my recent slacking in the photo department. For me, this blog is mostly about the writing, but I know for you, it’s about the Jacob photos. And I’m cool with that, really. The thing is, getting photos has been tough these days. It’s not like last year, when the worry was that catching the wrong angle of Jacob would make it look like he had more chins than I could count.



I don’t know how often you’ve tried to take photos of a toddler, but as you might imagine, it’s not easy. Sometimes it seems like all I end up with is a temper tantrum and a photo that looks like this:

Or this:

Or this:

But for you, Michael, my #1 cheerleader when I joined your family, you know I’d do anything. And so I risked the tantrums. Jacob must have known these photos were especially for his uncle Michael, because he cooperated pretty well. Either that or he was just distracted once he was outside and there were people to wave at.


See you soon!


Your sister-in-law and JBear

November 29, 2011

Sleep Diva

A long time ago, I learned that traveling anywhere with a little one—whether it’s a short train ride to New Jersey or a cross-country flight to Los Angeles—requires a recovery day upon returning home. Jacob settles back into our home pretty easily; he’s always excited to see his toys and run around more freely again. Plus, at home he knows where the Cheerios are. But still, his sleep schedule is a little off, and his energy levels need to regulate all over again.


For me, the recovery is as much psychological as it is physical. Walking into an extended family member’s house and eyeing the (evil) cheese plate before I even see the host clearly puts me on edge. Add to that the fact that every greeting isn’t just, “Hi! Good to see you! Happy (Fill in appropriate greeting here)!” It’s more like “Hi! Good to see you! Happy whatever! Okay, so if you’ve eaten any cheese, or anything containing butter, milk, or any other form of dairy since you last bathed, could you not kiss or touch our child? Thanks! Really, so good to see you!”


And yet, no matter how hard we (family included) try, every trip means administering Benadryl at least every other day, if not every day. By the time we come home, Jacob’s skin is often like sandpaper, and it takes a few days and some heavy-duty lotion to get it back to normal. I’m starting to think Jacob’s list of allergens looks like this: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and travel.


Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving was a fun weekend, and we had lots of great time with family and friends. But that doesn’t make the recovery any less necessary, especially when Jacob’s sleeping habits take a turn for the dramatic.


The first night we were in New Jersey, we’d planned to share a room with Jacob. The translation here is that we kicked John’s brother out of his room and onto the couch. About two am, John and I got kicked out of the room, too—onto the floor. Even at home, Jacob sometimes wakes up once or twice in the night, but he can usually put himself back to sleep. Apparently, this is only the case if we’re not in the room with him.


The next night, we didn’t even bother trying to share a room with him. We effectively kicked John’s brother to yet another couch (thank goodness John’s family has enough couches!), so we could sleep on the furniture in the living room. I slept much better that night, but I fell asleep amazed at what a diva Jacob could be if he really wanted to. Will he ever have sleepovers?  Will his friends have to sleep in another room?


In the meantime, here’s a photo I talked up while we were home. I know I ranted about Christmas coming too early in the retail world, and so I have to admit that not only am I posting this Halloween-y photo a month late, but it was only taken two weeks ago. Maybe I need a calendar, too.


November 15, 2011

Dear Jacob XVI

Dear Jacob,

Every day when your daddy gets home from work, I tell him some of what you did during the day. All day long, I store up little anecdotes, things you’ve done, things that made you laugh, my triumph in calming a temper tantrum and getting you back to your giggly, happy self. In the evenings, I try to tell them all to your daddy, but there are always so many that I can’t keep track.

I want to remember every detail about who you are in each moment. Then I remind myself that each of these little things is a part of a bigger picture. I don’t have to worry about losing them, because they’re all little bits of the boy you are becoming.

Still there are some things that I’ve managed to retain long enough to share with your daddy. For example, the other day, in the span of about twenty minutes I learned that you know how to throw things in the garbage (even if they’re not trash) and that you can not only spin the toilet paper off the roll, but you can spin some of it back on, too.  Wow!  You learn so much every day!

You’re spending more time on my lap, whether it’s to have a snack, a hug, or to read a book (alleluia!). I love that time when I feel your sturdy weight settled in my arms, and I know you are calm and happy, and dare I say, exactly where you are meant to be.

You’ve also recently discovered that you LOVE corn Chex. If you see the box on the table, even when you have plenty left on your tray, you ask for more. I promise, Jacob, if I finish the box, I’ll get more. There will always be corn Chex for you if you want it (and if you don’t develop a corn allergy!). Oh, how you crack me up.

Pretty much the first thing I told you the first time it was just you and me was how incredibly loved you are. The love was pretty strong thirteen and a half months ago, but if you can believe it (and I hope you can), it just keeps getting stronger. You will be loved every day of your life, every day a little more than the last. You have such a special place in so many people’s hearts.

Do you know how many computer desktops you occupy? I can count five at least. One of your uncles (who will remain unnamed, but who lives in California and is not Joseph) recently asked for more pictures of you on this blog, because he loves watching you grow. We all love it, little boy. You are a miracle, you are a blessing, and you are our favorite little guy on the planet. I hope you stay as happy, healthy, and holy (more on that another day) as you are now as you continue to grow into the person God needs you to be.

I love you, Peanut Face.  Let’s have a dance party later, okay?


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