Thursday, November 7, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 12

Dear Lily,

Your hair is really something.  Let's just talk about the fact that I have given you three, count them - THREE - haircuts, since you were born, the last one so significant that I had to attempt to use some sort of haircutting technique to remove your formidable mullet.  But now?  Oh my, is that hair cute.  Let this be a lesson to you.  Everyone told me not to cut it, but I did it anyway, because that is how your mother is.  I cannot help myself.  Most things, I just go ahead and do, against the better judgement of most of the world.  Sometimes, they turn out great, like your hair.  Sometimes, not so much.  It's never boring.

You like your brother a lot.  You light up and laugh for him far more than you do anyone else.  I try not to be jealous, but seriously, does he get up with you in the middle of the night or wipe your boogars on his sleeve? I didn't think so.  Still, it's nice you're friends.  Let's keep it that way.

You're crawling super fast (almost creepy fast) and pulling up on stuff and hey, why don't you just go ahead and walk so I can bring you to The Ballard Center with me on your first birthday? You can't come if you aren't walking and I can't tell you how much it delights me to think of having both of my babes there at work with me all day.  Sorry, Ballard Center. I will try to accomplish tasks in between rounds of hugs and kisses and hair petting.  No promises.

We're going to your Grammy's house tomorrow to see your Aunt Amy and Cousin Kate (she whom you are named after) and your brother is so excited he can't sleep.  He might be more excited tonight than he was the night before Halloween, which I thought was unparalleled Johnny excitement, but Halloween ain't got nothin on Grammy plus cousins.  It's off the chain.  One day I am sure you will understand.  The kids?  They love their Grammy.  She makes all of the favorite things and puts Max and Ruby on a continuous loop and there are PETS.  Did I mention PETS?  This is a coveted situation, seeing as your mother and father have made a NO PETS rule that seems to have stuck for almost 3 years now.  WINNING!

You are big into the Patty Cake scene right now and close behind it is the world of Waving Bye Bye.  We've been working hard on your Blow Kisses talent which is coming along nicely and maybe next week we'll introduce So Big to your repertoire and then BOOM, Baby, you're taking this act on the road.  I'm sure people would probably just pay to look at you but with these added bonuses?  We will sell this thing out.  You can patty cake like NO BABY BEFORE YOU.  Or at least like most of the other babies, and it's stinking cute regardless.

I feel like the parent of the year because I have conquered cutting your fingernails.  I haven't done this in over four years, when I tried once - ONCE - to cut your brother's nails and nicked him.  Never again.  Your Grandma Barbara did it ever since, but I decided I was going to climb the fingernail mountain and face my fears, and dang if you aren't accomodating.  It's the only time you ever sit still, but somehow you know that if your mother is wielding a sharp object near your body, you best cooperate.  Smart Lily.

You are charming and sparkly and all claps and smiles.  Your big brown eyes are the center of my world.  Bless your pea-pickin' heart.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Johnny Letter #21

Dear Johnny,

Tonight you had your first real taste of Bad Decisions.  Before this you made a few, let's be honest.  But tonight you made one that I can call yours.  You were big enough to know better, and smart enough to understand suffering the consequences.

It wasn't a terrible awful very bad decision.  It was just a run-of-the-mill, make-Mama-real-mad bad decision.  You didn't throw your sister down the stairs or anything.  You just decided to use Mama's lipstick to decorate her favorite and very expensive chair (read: prized possession) and paint her kitchen table with orange nail polish.

This is what I get for having thoughts.  Because yesterday I saw that lipstick laying there and had the audacity to think to myself, "I am so glad I have a kid who doesn't mess with my stuff.  He could totally do some damage with that thing, but it's been there for three days and 'nada'."  Same for the new nail polish I brought home over the weekend.  Ooops.  There I go thinking.  I go downstairs to change over laundry and apparently I took too long because you decided to punish me.  And I had to give you a consequence for your actions.  A whole night of NO TV.  You'd have thought I pulled out your arm hairs one by one.

All in all, though, it worked out okay.  The good news is, you hate when we're upset.  You CARE.  And that's what matters.  You know you screwed up, you own your mistake, and you took your punishment, albeit with a good amount of tears.  Most of the tears, I think were due to your distress over having disappointed us, but let's be fair: the no TV thing was a real killer.

You are hard to punish.  You are so sweet, and so despondent, and you kept asking "ARE YOU HAPPY? MAMA, ARE YOU HAPPY?"  You so hated to have made me and your father upset.  It made me love you more and more and for the first time, I sent you to your room.  That part is what really killed you.  You went, and you stayed while I cleaned up the mess and when I beckoned you out, you'd have thought your Elmo doll had been ripped from limb to limb, how sad you were.

This is very good news, son.  You are a sensitive soul, one who feels EVERYTHING and knows that feeling bad? Not good.  You want happiness and light and dang if you don't just bring it with you everywhere you go.  I am so glad I don't have to punish you for being mean to friends or not sharing with your sister.  Those things, general niceness and love, come easily to you.  The occasional soiled chair or mess is nothing.  I would trade a million beautiful chairs for your sweet nature.  You care about people.  You care about who is a good guy and who is saying nice words and who is your BEST FRIEND FOREVER (which is, in a word, EVERYONE).

Son, you are a treasure.  You turned four and had two parties and rocked them both.  You LOVE each present, no matter if it's a $4 box of playdough I got you or a rockin' car track set from a grandparent.  It's all YOUR FAVORITE and you've spent days recounting who was here and who brought what and thanking them over and over to me and your dad.  I wish it was your birthday every day, for it is so fun.

A minion cake and a rousing round of "Happy birthday to you" is all it takes to delight you into speechlessness.  Oh, to be four.  To be Johnny Stuke and four? Even better.

You are our pride, our joy, and our every twinge of happiness.

All my love,


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 11

Dear Lily,

You're 7 months old.  You get more adorable every day.  Your dad says I used to say it about your brother too, and it's probably true, but I swear, just when I think you can't get any cuter, you do.

Currently, I like to tell everyone that you are the "cutest thing on planet Earth."  I am not even kidding, and I know I'm your mom, but for real, you are.  You are round and sweet and you laugh a lot and dang if you don't want to crawl.  You get up on all fours, rock back and forth, and when you can't quite figure out how to move the hands and knees to accomplish forward motion, you hop.  On all fours,  you hop.  It's ridiculously cute and nothing short of awesome.  That's my girl, thinking outside the box at 7 months.

No matter what is happening in my life, how stressful work is or how worried I am about our budget or the hot water heater or the too many things that are always on my plate, when I come home to you, it all melts away.  Holding you, playing on the floor, feeding you baby food, that is my happy place.

Some mornings your dad, who gets up a little before me most days, will bring you to my bed while he showers and I'll feed you a bottle and at some point your brother will wake up and join us in the bed for a hot minute before he begs and demands oatmeal and an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  Sometimes, during those few minutes, your dad will flop back down and there we'll all be, for about two minutes of morning bliss, and those are moments that I seriously close my eyes for just a second and think, "DO NOT FORGET THIS."  No matter what happens in my life, I will have those moments, and if nothing good ever happens to me again, it's okay, because I've had THIS.  I know that sounds cynical and even maybe a little morbid, but it's true.  I've had the best of the best, and you and your brother and your dad are all of that.

I love me a good party and we had your brother's annual Johnny and Cash birthday bash this past weekend.  You were delightful. You got passed around to lots of our friends and maybe peed on one but she happily forgave you.  Mostly, you were delightful, I should say.  Except for the peeing on Jo's dress.  Anyway, we do this party every year and this year it was extra awesome because instead of bringing a lot of toys your brother will play with for five minutes, people brought donations for the Ballard Center - the little community center where your mama works.  I cried through the whole thing.  You are blessed with THE BEST community ever.  I'm glad you and your brother can grow up with this kind of perspective.  I'm glad you'll be supported by the amazing group of people we've collected over 20 plus years in Lawrence.  This is what you get for having old parents.  You're welcome.

I'm sorry that you will probably not get to experience parties on this scale, because you have the great misfortune of having a January  birthday.  Trust me, Sister, if I'd have planned this pregnancy, it wouldn't have resulted in a winter birthday.  But, you wanted to be born in January and my girl gets what she wants.  I can already tell that about you.  If you pick up a piece of fruit off of the table while you sit in the high chair while I make dinner and then you drop it and can't reach, you cry at it.  Just for a second, but you want that lemon to know that it has wronged you.  It's not a big obnoxious fit - just a little "WAH! Hey! I wanted you and you let me drop you! Don't do it again, okay?! Okay, thanks."  I love that I see a little spunk already.  Atta girl, you're gonna need it.

I love you more than chocolate chip cookie dough and a milk crate full of Peeps.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 10

Dear Lily,

You turned five months old this week and you are the size of a three year old.  No, seriously, you're kind of giant.  You're gorgeous and robust and strong.  You can sit up with very little help and you look like you're going to take off crawling across the room any minute - the right lure just hasn't shown up yet to make you get moving.  Your EXPANSIVE wardrobe saddens me - I know you'll never get to wear all the 3 - 6 month stuff before you outgrow it.  I'm maniacally shoving you into three, four, five outfits a day just so I can see you in everything before we have to hand it down.

You're nothing short of amazing.  Starting a little over a week ago, you sleep through the night.  10 hours straight, in the crib, quiet.  THANK YOU.  Let me say it again: THANK YOU.  In this hectic life we live, the fact that you are a happy baby who likes to sleep? Priceless.  I am going to go buy you that pony now.

I had to give you a little haircut awhile back, because Sister, you were rocking a mullet. A rather grand and serious mullet.  Which if you were a teenage boy in Topeka, KS in 1984, that would have been more awesome than bacon-wrapped hot dogs, but since you are a pretty girl in 2013, it had to go.  I do not know anyone who has given their four month old a haircut except me, but welcome to your mother's crazy. I couldn't stand it.  So now your hair is simply adorable, dark and plentiful without trying to be ironically retro. Don't worry - I saved a snip of it in your baby book.  Because that is not weird at all.  NOT WEIRD I SAID.

Of course, everyone loves you, probably me most of all, though your father begs to differ.  Please do not let this go to your head.  I will still not let you borrow the car, and no one is buying you beer before you're 21.

I drag you around to as many places as I possibly can and try to show you off.  It's completely shameless, but I do feel it's wrong to hoard all the cuteness to myself.  Plus, that wardrobe, it really does need an audience.

I kept saying it to your brother but he didn't listen: STOP GROWING.  STOP IT!  He's all big now, and while he's certainly as adorable as the day he was born, I also REALLY LIKE BABIES, so please stay round and cute and keep letting me haul you around while you hold onto my neck and coo.  FOREVER.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 9

There were ten in the bed and the little one said
"Roll over, roll over..."


You roll over.  And over and over and over.  You are the busiest girl.  Unlike your brother, who really could not be bothered to move much at all and who preferred to be bundled like a burrito most of his infant life, you  like to roam free.  You never needed (nor wanted) a tight swaddle, and you relish the opportunity to show off your kicking and stretching, which I can only presume you learned from your Aunt Lindsey sometime in the womb.  I can't be sure, since she wasn't in this state while you were gestating, but somehow it sunk in.  Your Aunt Lindsey is the kickin-est, stretchin-est woman ever.  Even when she falls down, she's still good at it.  I assume you'll be the same.  One day, I'll explain.

Anyway, you like to use your arms and legs and you were far ahead of the class in the rolling over competition.  Oh, wait.  We don't compete. Right?  Well, whatever.  You did it early.  And you do it and do it and do it, much to my chagrin, because once you get over?  Guess what.  You want to be on your back again, and that, girlfriend, you haven't quite figured out.  So there you lay, like a scrambling bug looking for footing, and dang if you aren't just mad about it.  HEY SISTER, YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF.  These are lessons I had to be in my 30's to learn, so hopefully you'll be brighter than your old mom and do just go ahead and figure that out at four months and save us both a lot of slammed doors.

Next week, you'll be asking me to borrow the car.  OH, TOO BAD.  I HAVE A MINI VAN.  Sucks to be you.  No one wants that.  I am no dummy, sister. I  will drive the uncoolest car I can possibly muster until you are 20 so you will never request to drive it.  BEEN THERE DONE THAT.  Hellooo, Ford Escort.  Oh, they don't make you anymore? I'll find one from the 80's.  Surely my daughter won't want to borrow it and ride down dirt roads with warm bottles of Boone's Farm in that.  Not that I know anything about that.

Lily, you are going to be a challenge.  You're a super-good girl now, and all smiles and gurgles and fantastic baby sounds.  But I can tell that you possess a certain spunk that your brother does not.  He is all sweetness and light and snuggles and FEELINGS.  You tend more toward the "HEY GIRL, LET'S ROLL" sort of programming, and while I respect that (I have NO IDEA where you got it), it terrifies me.

Roll on, sister.  Just do it wearing a seatbelt, helmet, and any other protective gear they offer.

You're hilarious and bubbly and everything I ever hoped a daughter would be, even when I didn't think I'd get to have a daughter.  Thank you SO MUCH for screwing up last summer.  You are worth every minute of my disastrous swimsuit season.

All my hugs and kisses,


Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 8

Dear Lily,

I've been poor about these letters.  It turns out, two babies are much harder and time consuming than one.  With one baby, I could cook, write, work, and mother with relative ease.  There was time for everything I needed to do and most of what I wanted.  This time, with you, things have been more challenging.  My job is more challenging.  We have more house, more responsibilities, infinitely more laundry, and more people needing our time - most of all you and your brother.

Thankfully, you are a delightful and delighted baby and you don't add to the fracas with frequent bouts of crying or other difficulties.  You coo and laugh and stare with fascination at your little hands and when I finally get the chance to just sit down and hold you, you burrow your little head into my neck and breathe heavily as if you've been waiting for this all day.

This year since you were born we've struggled through illnesses, surgeries, and the sudden and heartbreaking death of your grandfather, and you've only been here three months.  Your father has gotten a promotion and my job only picks up in hours and events with seemingly relentless momentum.  I am a person who likes to say "yes" and I like to live in chaos, it appears.  I over-schedule and under-sleep, and thank you, Lily, for being so kind and putting up with all of it.  Your grandmothers, aunts, and all of our friends hold you and pass you around while I make cinnamon rolls for an army or while your father and I try to entertain "just a small" dinner party of 5, 8, 12 people several times a month.

Our house is constantly littered with toys and bits of basil and sugar on the floor.  There is never a day that there isn't a lost bottle or two and a curdling cup of your brother's beloved "chocky" milk fallen behind a chair.  The basement is the laundromat and we barely pick up last week's ten loads and put them somewhere near where they belong before ten more loads magically appear and so we have just learned to treat the floor down there like its always covered in landmines, tiptoeing around to come and go and find places to run trains on the floor.

There are days I think I will lose my mind. It's all my own doing.  And the frustration with the messes and the tiredness and the always-behindness of it all rises and I curse myself for signing up for yet another volunteer effort or for choosing to nap with you instead of vacuuming the living room.

Our evenings are like a waltz, handing you from one parent to the other so someone can change over laundry or go stir the soup on the stove.  We dance around toys and shoes on the floor and leap over the Buzz Lightyear car that took up residence on the kitchen floor.  And you laugh and giggle and I know you just think, as you suck your fist and look around, that you have been given the most ridiculous family in the world.

I am growing right along with you.  As you add pounds and inches, I am evolving in different ways.  I'm learning to accept our family for what it is, for all of our faults and messes and meetings.  I'm learning to enjoy our waltz even if we trip over our feet or lack much for style and grace.  Our imperfection is our calling card, and just when I want to throw up my hands and cry or fight or demand some sort of changes, the weather gets warm the the breeze comes through the kitchen window and you sit in your bouncy chair and gurgle in your throat at me as I roll out just one more pizza crust, and I figure we're doing alright.  And I release the part of me that feels bad about the dirty kitchen floor and I forgive us all for not having done enough tummy time with you that evening, or for having let Johnny watch maybe one too many episodes of Max and Ruby before bedtime.

Because you and Johnny seem happy and healthy.  Because your dad and I love each other and even when we're annoyed or tired or sick we do our best to be supportive and understanding.  Because people are lovely to us and offer to babysit or come help me pick up the toys and organize the playroom.  Because we are, by my estimation, the luckiest family in the world.  We have you, and you are perfect.

If the morning is busy and I'm rushing to be on time to work, I still take the moment to pick out a bow for your hair.  Not because you'll wear it for more than 20 minutes before you pull it out of the baby-fine wisps atop your head, but because I have you, my girl, and I can.  Because I take stupid joy in putting matching booties on your feet and bows in your hair and knowing that it won't be long before you tell me exactly what you are willing to wear and how you're doing your hair, and that will be fine.  I'll let you have that power when the time comes.  But for now, I get to dress you and hold you and you don't care if there are toys on the floor or that I haven't washed my hair today.  You just want to look at us and talk and laugh and you still let me dress you up in ridiculous outfits and take way too many pictures of you doing just what you did yesterday.

Our life may be chaos, but you are the eye of the storm.  You are the peace in the evening when I put it all down and just fall into a chair with you in my arms and surrender.  I cannot imagine life without you, now that you're here.

All my love,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 7

Dear Baby,

Well, you are a month old.  I still haven't taken a proper nap since we left the hospital.

I've had help. Lovely friends and relatives have descended on us to help us make this transition from one kid to two a little easier, and I cried every day after they left until I woke up with a hemorrhoid my nurse friend Kathy described as "strawberry-sized".  Really.  She saw it.  On the operating table. When I was getting operated on.  To remove the strawberry.  Let's just call it a strawberry from now on, because I don't like saying hemorrhoid and I like typing it and spelling it even less.  And I have done both lately, a lot.

Anyway, I didn't cry that day because I didn't have help anymore, I cried because GIANT HEMORRHOID.  Then I didn't have to cry so much because my mom came back to help again and YAY.

Why did I get the strawberry, you ask? Because of you, my Dear. And this is how you know I love you more than my own life.  Because, Baby, this has been the most excruciating experience of my life. Not the surgery so much, or even the having of the strawberry which was, in a word, horrific. No, its what happens, say, a day or two after the removal of said strawberry that really does a person in.  I texted my nurse friend Kathy on Valentine's Day - that's right - this ruined a perfectly lovely VALENTINE'S DAY - after the unspeakable happened and asked how much more Percoset I could take without dying.  I will let you use your imagination about what might have happened to cause me to require more Percoset than the human body is allowed to ingest in one hour.  I made your father a big dinner of steaks, twice baked potatoes, shrimp, green beans, the works. And I had a glass of Cava a friend gave us with which to celebrate your birth.  And an hour later, I disappeared into the abyss.  I only resurfaced 24 hours later and I am a changed woman.  I have seen the darkness.  I have been to the other side.  I barely made it back.

I have never experienced natural childbirth, but I promise you, this was worse.  I cherish my c sections, but I'd trade them to never have had to look into that abyss.  Your father did a remodel on my bathroom last fall.  He's going to have to change it again because it is the scene of That Which We Can Never Speak Of Again.

What I'm saying, Baby, is that I love you.  Because you did this to me.  And I kept you.  I still rock and cuddle you and I don't say bad words about you or make up scenarios wherein you are 16 and I make you take your father to a dance instead of that cute boy with the messy hairdo because I want to punish you for doing this to me.  Okay, maybe that one scenario.

Let's just say that the last month has been rough.  Two surgeries, very little sleep, and let's throw in the crazy that is your mother who has been trying to put in a few hours at work here and there because she feels guilty for leaving them high and dry.  But it's all like a foggy dream wherein you wake up in the morning and you have the impression that something possibly unpleasant happened but all you remember is the good part where Ryan Gosling came and rescued you from having to eat at Applebee's while wearing mom jeans.  You, Lily, are Ryan Gosling in this situation.  You're that good.

You're freaking adorable.  You grunt and stretch like a little woodland creature.  You have a little rosebud for a mouth and the softest hair - seriously, that hair is so soft, if it wasn't weird I'd say I wanted to make a pillow out of it. But that's weird. So I'll just say that snuggling you into my neck is next to nirvana and holding you is how I prefer to spend 80 percent of my days. Don't tell your dad but I don't actually mind being the one who stays up with you five or six nights a week because it means I get to lie in bed with you snuggled into my arm-nook and rub my cheek on your soft hair all night while we alternately sleep and eat.  Both of us.  Don't tell him though because I'm still working the HUGE MARTYR angle with this.

When I look at your face I fall apart. You are beautiful and perfect and I can't believe I ever considered not having another kid after Johnny because YOU.  What would I do without you?  I'm already terrified of you growing up and moving away.  I've had you a month, and I'm already plotting how to keep you home with me forever.  Don't tell your dad that part either.  I have similar plans for your brother.  This is all going to be so awesome.

I mean, unless you have a better idea, which I am sure you will because I can already tell you are a genius.  You'll want to go to college or something and be a doctor or some sort of avant garde musician and I'll have to let you because the WORLD NEEDS YOU.  Dammit.  Mothers have to be so selfless. I will remember the strawberry and shake my head at all the selflessness I've exhibited through the years and I will remind you to send me a check when you are famous.  But only a reasonable one. You can decide for yourself what the Strawberry Episode is worth.  Your brother has the Gall Stone Episode to deal with, so you might consult him, he'll have had experience with this before you.

Bless your little tiny heart, and your hands and feet and especially your soft, soft hair.  I love you to bits and back.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Johnny Letter #20

Dear Johnny,

Well, your sister is here.  You could not be less impressed.

In the days leading up to her birth, we explained to you that you'd be going to your Grammy's house for a few days while Mommy and Daddy went to the hospital to get Lily.  All you heard was the first part of the sentence: "You're going to Grammy's house."  We told you this a good week in advance which was a huge mistake on our part because every five minutes for seven days, you asked "Can I go to Grammy's NOW?"  "How about NOW?"  You were not the least bit concerned about the hospital or the impending baby sister.  All that mattered was that you were going to Grammy's house BY YOURSELF.

This, son, is a good thing, and we were happy that you were so excited about the trip. We had some mild concerns that you would feel that you were being kicked out of the nest to make room for the new baby but our fears were unfounded. Actually, you'd have been happy to have been kicked out of the nest. There is, apparently, nothing better in the world than spending a string of days with Grammy.  We called you every day to check in and you'd happily inform us that you were having a fabulous time and "No, I'm not ready to come home.  Not yet.  Maybe tomorrow."  Good enough, kid.

You came to the hospital with Grammy to see us and the new baby before you went away to your posh vacation and we were surprised to find that you were not interested in getting anywhere near that baby.  It was as if your father was holding a rabid honey badger wrapped in a blanket, the way you kept your distance. When you came home I can't say it was much different.  You are more into staying a good three feet away from the baby than, say, holding her or helping feed her.  Which is okay.  Like your dad says, "You have a lifetime to warm up to her."

Miss Kiley at school informed me that when asked about your new baby sister, you replied "She won't talk to me. She only wants to sleep and eat."  Touche, Son.  That is the truth.  We promise she'll get to be more fun in time.

Last night you deigned to sit with me in the big chair on my right and watch a movie on my Kindle while I held the baby on my left. But heck if you were gonna make eye contact with her. Still, we called it progress.

We're doing everything in our power to make sure you feel just as loved and nurtured as you did pre-baby and truly, if anything, this experience with Lily has only made us love and appreciate you more - if that's possible.  You are adorable and smart and charming, and Lily is so lucky to have such a great role model to follow. Here's hoping she doesn't annoy you too much.  Little sisters tend to idolize their big brothers, so be careful with her.

We missed you so much while you were away having the time of your life at Grammy's.  We're so thrilled to have a family of four now and so lucky especially to have you. You're one of a kind and more special than a five legged goat.  That is pretty special. I swear, I saw one once. You don't forget that.

All of my love and heart and hugs,


Friday, January 18, 2013

Baby 2, Letter 6

Dear Baby,

Today is the day.  As of right now, you're not here.  In a few hours, you will be. Right now I'm technically a mother of one.  Soon, I'm a mother of two. It's crazy.

I can't explain what I'm feeling.  I'm not scared or even nervous.  I'm simply full of anticipation for meeting you and awe at the process we've undergone for the last nine, er, ten months.  I've never been so ready for anything, except maybe the birth of your brother.  I was ready for that, too.

I've instructed my work not to call me for at least two weeks so I can sit, uninterrupted and open-mouthed and stare at you.  I've stocked the freezer and cabinets so I don't have to worry about what to eat, and I've stashed comfy places for you to rest all over the house so you never have to be out of arm's  reach.

So many people have been waiting with bated breath for you.  Our children are the luckiest little people alive to have such a network of  family and friends who care honestly and deeply for them - you will never be without plenty of supporters.  Also, that means someone will always be watching you. So, just so you know - for high school.

I cannot wait to dress you up like a dolly and tote you around and gaggingly show you off to anyone who will look.  Your brother is already the most-photographed child in Lawrence, but just you wait.  He never had a pink tutu.

6 hours and counting until we meet.  Of course, I feel like I already know everything about you. We've been traveling together for a long time and it will be strange not to tote you with me every step of my day.

See you on the other side, Lily.

I love you more than you will ever know.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Johnny Letter #19

Dear Johnny,

I've been trying to prepare you for the arrival of your baby sister, but so far my efforts seem to be a failure.  I've yet to have you cry or gnash your teeth.  You haven't yet told me you don't want the baby to come to our house and you haven't tried to destroy her room or any of the baby things that litter the rooms of our house.  Johnny, this is not normal.  You are not supposed to be HAPPY about getting a new baby.  You are supposed to be CONFUSED and ANGRY and VENGEFUL. At least, this is what I read and what the experts tell me. You should feel like a jealous wife whose husband has announced he's bringing home a concubine.

Despite my efforts, you continue to ask to see my tummy and pat the baby inside it.  You look at the bassinet and say "That's Lily's?" and beam with pride when people ask if you're going to be a big brother.  You seem downright excited about the prospect of meeting our new addition.  You're thrilled to be getting a short vacation to Grammy's house while I am in the hospital and so far not at all distressed that you're getting kicked out of the nest for awhile to make room for baby.

Granted, it hasn't happened yet.  You haven't been confronted with the reality of your parents focusing on a new, crying being who doesn't get the importance of Buzz Lightyear in a daily routine.  So, I'll withhold some judgement until the deed is actually done, and just say "So far, so good."

Christmas was a blast with you this year. You totally "got" who Santa is and for days afterward reassured me and yourself aloud that Santa had been here and he ATE THOSE COOKIES.  You're still depressed that Christmas is over and the tree is gone, but you've consoled yourself with the fact that we have SNOW ON THE GROUND! THAT IS SNOW, MAMA! IT IS WINTERTIME! Which apparently is almost as good as Christmas if you are three.

You're a good boy all around.  You're so loving and intuitive, I can't imagine you being anything but a doting big brother.  (Yes, I'm delusional, but I'm nine months pregnant and I need to bright side everything in my life.)  You're funny and smart and a constant source of delight.  You're fully obsessed with Toy Story and everything related to it. You completed your set of Toy Story folks at Christmas and now are prone to carrying around Jessie, Bullseye, Buzz, Woody, and Slinky Dog all at the same time.  You demand we read the Toy Story book every night before bed (Oh, I never thought I'd see the day wherein I *missed* Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) and beg and bargain to watch one of the Toy Story movies at some point every day.  Buzz and Woody are as much a part of our family now as you are.

This week, you were sick with some unnamed virus so you stayed home from school and hung out with your Grandma and now you're spoiled rotten and think it's your birthright to eat mashed potatoes for every meal and commandeer every "blanklet" in the house for your snuggling needs.  I don't mind so much that I've been up all night with you every night, because you are so loving and sweet when you are sick, I take some perverse pleasure in it.  Hearing a feverish "I lub you, Mama" makes being awake at 3:00 in the morning totally okay.

Bless you and your precious heart. I am overjoyed that you are my little boy.  Lily sure has a tough act to follow.

All my love,