20 Things about You

Son,

Today isn’t unlike any other day. It’s not a milestone month and while your personality changes daily, there isn’t anything special about today that would make me want to point out milestones or landmarks in your life. With that being said, I wanted to give you a little snapshot into who you are today, May 31st, and what makes you so uniquely you.

  1. You are very shy when you meet new people or come into a big group away from home, but you are a total ball of tornado energy when you’re at home and with your dog.
  2. You love seeing yourself when we first Facetime your cousins or Papa/Mima. Your face lights up and you laugh, and it is the perfect start to a phone conversation.
  3. Everything goes in your mouth. Doesn’t matter. You’ve even found a way to turn kisses into changes to open-mouth tastings of your mom and me.
  4. You wag your finger and “No! No! No!” anything you bump into or that knocks you down. You were standing at an end table, fell to your butt and momentum (very gradually) threw you back and you bonked your head on the floor. When your mom calmed you down, you turned to the floor and, very seriously, told it “No! No! No!”
  5. You love to be carried. But when you don’t, you absolutely turn to dead weight and try to drop down to the ground. But then you usually sit there for a second and want to be held again.
  6. We can finally sit for 10, 15, 20 minutes and watch shows — better chance if snacks are involved. Your favs are Peppa Pig “Pepppppa Pig!,” Sesame Street (mostly for Elmo), and Dinosaur Train (more so with Deb than with us).
  7. You are a huge smoothie guy. We don’t make smoothies often, but when we do, you have some of ours and also need your own.
  8. You love carbs like your mom and dad.
  9. You will request-beg-demand to go outside (in that order), but once we do, you barely say anything. You obviously love being outside, but you are more likely to take everything in than to comment of everything.
  10. Birds, school buses, big trucks, aggressively smelling coffee and flowers (audible snnniiffff), snugs with your mom and dad, reading and rereading the same three books are all your jam.
  11. I wouldn’t say you have a hitting problem, but I think you want to pat other people like you would your dog a little too aggressively sometimes. We were at a brewary the other day (a kid-friendly one, mind you — and yes that does make it better), and you were being held by your mom. She walked by a man sitting down, and you basically “good-boy’d” him by pat-patting him on the head. I guess he was doing a good job at minding his business until you came through. Well done, sir.
  12. You are very social with people and other kids your age (after that initial shyness), which is really good because your mom and I worry with you not being in a daycare system, that you might not have otherwise been good with other kids (is that a run on sentence? I’m going to roll with it).
  13. You love to dance.
  14. You love to be crazy sometimes, and just run from the living room around the kitchen island for no reason while you scream like a crazy person and laugh at yourself. Rogue doesn’t know how to handle that Reagan.
  15. If pools are cool, then you’d be Miles Davis. Not sure what that means, but what I mean is that you love being in pools.
  16. You are so smart. People we meet think you’re older than you are because you’re a great walker (you do have an athletic dad!), you have a great head of hair, but also because you’re so smart. You interact with us and with people, and know what all your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hair, shoes, Mama/Dada, doggie, books, racecars, Mickey, school bus…. the list goes on and on, and you’re not even a year and a half.
  17. You are a perfect little balance of your mom and I and we love seeing each side of us come through a little in you.
  18. If we’re not talking to you, especially when you’re eating, you’re letting us know about it.
  19. Airplanes are either great or terrible for you — there is no middle ground.
  20. You love your momma/mom-ee, dadda/dadd-ee, dog, Deb-Deb, G-ma, Gigi, Papa and Mima, and everyone else in your family. Strangers are still dangers, but you know and recognize the people who love you and give them all the love back.

There are so many other things that you do, say, are, feel, and show with all your little energy that this list can’t capture who you are. All I want to say now is that you are so amazing and so loved. You are also a ladies man and have just about everyone eating out of your palm when you put your head on your mom or dad’s shoulder, then blow them kisses as you tell them “bye-bye.”

On that note: bye bye!

Dad

On you being a “Taby?”

What it’s like living with a Taby.

Son,

Taby. I guess it’s an internet word that real people don’t use but is used to represent that special time in a child’s life where he’s not quite a toddler, but no longer a baby. Therefore, as the world you are growing up in tends to do, a word is made up and circulates around the web.

Taby. You are 14 months old and you are a Taby.

The taby-stage is probably the most stressful time for your mom and I because you tornado around the house like a madman, not quite walking but not quite running (ralking? wunning?), and crash into anything and everything at all times. You know you’re in the danger zone when your arms stick out at shoulder level (#frankenbaby), and you go charging out of view toward who knows where.

Another component of the Taby-stage is that you love attention from your dog, and you love snacks, and you love getting some serious attention from your dog when you have snacks. Typically, you make it rain Cheerios on the floor for Rogue as your motoring through the house. The fun thing about Cheerios is that they have no smell, so Rogue doesn’t always get all of them and we find lots of Cheerios in the carpet later that day, later that night, later that week. Why are there Cheerios in our office? Taby-stage.

You also love noise. Noise from your Taby-mouth, usually in a high-pitched, pterodactyl-shriek. If someone asks me what a typical day is like with you, I’d say something along the lines of “tornado #frankenbaby-pterodactyl Hansel-and-Gretel’ing Cheerios throughout the house with a dog-shadow close behind.” This might not make sense to some, but I feel like other parents would say “Taby-stage, right?”

Anyway, as stressful as it can be sometimes helicoptering over you and making sure a face plant into just about anything doesn’t happen, you’re more fun now than you’ve ever been. You’re still hilarious. You are more snuggly than ever. And when I call you and your mom when I’m leaving work and I hear “DADA!” screaming in the background, it gives me the biggest smile of the day.

It’s almost Spring now, and the weather is getting nicer and nicer. I can’t wait to take you outside so we can go running together in your stroller and play in the backyard where, if nothing else, there are fewer corners for your to find and more room for you to tornado around screeching as loud as your little Taby lungs desires.

Dad

 

On Being A Dad

Son,

Having you makes me reflect a lot on my own childhood. I find myself picturing going back in time as my adult self, and spending a day with my younger self. What would I say? Would my younger self like my adult self? Would I give  advice or just try to live in the moment and enjoy a day? Then I come back and I see you…

I get to live this “dream” of spending time with myself everyday that I get to be in your life. Anything I think I would want to do or say to my younger self, I get to do or say to you. Right now it’s all living in the moment, enjoying every step, mistep, “fall-and-go-boom,” tear, unexpected sound, laugh, cuddle, “Rogue, stop!,” “good boy, Rogue!,” dada, mama, and shriek whenever your mom and I are trying to talk when one of us is (or isn’t, God forbid) holding you.

I get to remember every first with you, and hope that you want to know more about your younger self when you get older. I can’t wait to see what things you’ll want to do together when you get older.

I think a lot about who you’re going to be when you’re older, sometimes more than I should. I think it’s selfish of me to want to see you grow up so we can do things together because I don’t want to miss who you are now. You’re so funny. Like, so so funny. You are fearless. Ever since you could move, you would crawl to the edge of the bed and try to “death-dive” off head first. I think you took your first steps in a bathtub (not exactly the easiest place to take a tumble).

But you’re also shy — when you meet new people, you tuck your head into your mom’s neck and grab the back of her arm. When someone gives you affection, you smile and look down.

You’re so many things and that is all the more reason I don’t want to look ahead, not even a day. Sure it’s fun to think of all the things you will be, but it’s also fun to admire all the things you are now. That is a big thing that motivates me to write this blog to you. I want to stay present and let you see who you are, and who I am when you look back.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you. You have been getting so big so fast. Last night, your teeth were bothering you and you woke up after having been asleep for 30 or 45 minutes. I was out at a work dinner, so I didn’t get to put you down, and when you couldn’t fall back asleep, I went up to put you back down.

When I picked you up, you put your head on my shoulder and mostly stopped crying, aside from a few little lingering sniffs that were hanging around. I think it was the absolute sweetest thing ever and I didn’t want to put you back down.

Being a dad is more than these little moments, but these are the things that I will remember forever — holding you tucked under my neck and head on my shoulder, half asleep and half calming down from heavy tears… It is these little moments that remind me that as much as I want to know who you will be in a few years, it doesn’t get any better than holding you and being your dad in the present.

I love you so much, son.

Dad

On Habits and Systems

Son,

::Fireside Chat::

2935740_011218-kgo-shutterstock-fire-place-img

There is a lot I want to teach you in life, but one of the most important things I can tell you about achieving your goals is to set habits and systems in place early and often. Here’s why:

[sips whiskey]

If you have a dream, which we adults call “goals,” then the only way to achieve that dream/goal is to set systems and habits in place to reach that dream/goal. If your dream is to be an astronaut, then the only way to do that is to learn as much as you can as often as you can about space, astronauts, NASA, etc. You can’t want something bad enough without putting in an equal amount of action to make it real.

[pats you on the back]

You’re too young to worry about this now, but this is something your mom and I are trying to do to ensure that you have every opportunity to realize whatever dreams you have as you grow up. We are making new habits and systems for ourselves in what goals we’re trying to accomplish for ourselves, as well as habits and systems as parents to ensure you have the best childhood.

And the best childhood doesn’t mean you’re happy and laughing 24/7. Here’s an example:

When you were young (you’re 1, so saying when you were young sounds funny), your mom bought video that taught us how to create sleep habits for you. This system allowed us to teach you how to sleep, and now you are a rock star sleeper, at least at night, which allows you to wake up every day with energy and that big smile on your face.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
― James Clear, Atomic Habits

I love the above quote because it is so true. Goals are not reached because of one massive action that you take, day after day, because that is not sustainable. You’ll burn yourself out and eventually relapse. Find a system that allows you to be happy, and set that trajectory upward.

[sips whiskey; jingles ice in glass; finishes whiskey]

Like I said, this is all for down the line. Your mom and I will worry about setting systems in place as parents for you now, and you’ll hopefully take our example and set them up for yourself once you’re ready. All you have to do now is continue to be you, maybe be you without throwing your food on the floor so Rogue can share your dinner with you, but otherwise be you.

The last thing I’ll say about habits and systems is that they encourage you to take your time, which is something I want to make sure you do in life. The key is to take your time while always taking action. Don’t procrastinate, but understand that small actions early and often will lead to big changes later in life. Effort is compounding.

[stands up and ushers you toward the door]

Now get some rest son.

I love you.

-Dad

 

On Growing Up

Son,

There is going to be a time when you grow up. It seems like it happens a little bit each day, and I look back a month ago at who you were and it blows my mind how much you’ve changed. I think that growing up is something that is so much more apparent when you’re young, but seeing you grow into a little boy reminds me that we’re all growing up a little bit more each day.

There is going to be a time, maybe 18 or 19 years from now, when you and I sit down and listen to a John Mayer album called Continuum. The whole thing is about John growing up from your 20s into his 30s, but also about how that looks from his dad’s point of view. As we listen to the songs, I am going to remind you that while time feels like it drags on in the moment, there is a much bigger picture with a much bigger story to learn from.

Right now, you’re in the room next to me fighting a nap. You have your whole life in front of you and it’s been the best thing in the world seeing you grow from an infant into this little boy that I love so much. I think your mom wants to hit the pause button and keep you young forever, but I am most excited to learn, teach, and grow together with you.

Because that’s the thing. Until your mom and I got married, I kind of felt like I was growing on my own. I had my own things and sure, my parents guided me in a lot of ways, but I never felt like it was something that we did “together.” Then when your mom and I got together, it felt a little bit like we were on this single path. We stopped eating meat together. We focused on happiness, fitness, and then family. Now that you’re here, I feel like this whole new stage of growth is happening to all of us.

I love seeing you learn things by experiencing them. I love seeing you stand next to a door, look around, and decide whether or not to try stepping away from the door. I love seeing you laugh after you get everyone’s attention by clap-clap-clap — pause — and go about your business. You are going to be something else as you continue to grow, and I can’t wait to be by your side as long as you’ll let me.

Growing up is something that only seems to happen in the past. Plans, dreams, goals all happen ahead of us, but growth is only realized by looking backward. If I could teach you one thing, it would be that growth DOESN’T actually happen in the past, but it is a constant in our lives. You are growing all the time, developing all the time, and evolving into who you are and who you’re meant to be all the time. Growth leads us to where we want to go, and it’s so important to realize that as you make daily decisions in the present.

Now that you’re done fighting your nap and settled in, I’m also reminded that it is OK to slow down. Growth might be happening all the time, but we have to be OK to take a step back, take a good nap, and reset.

I love you with every part of who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’ll be. You are my absolute favorite thing and you always will be. Don’t be afraid to be who you are, and understand that you can still grow up and be the goofy, super-smart, amazing person that you are and will always be.

-Dad

On Long Time No See – Don’t Hold it Against Me

Son,

I’m sorry. Due to some technical difficulties and a busy holiday season, I haven’t written to you. I’m not making excuses. If I wanted to figure it out, I would have. That’s on me. Let’s move on…

You just turned 11 months old the other day, and holy f#*%^ing moly things have changed since I’ve last written you. You’re basically walking, identifying me, your mom, your dog, your Deb, and the school buses in the neighborhood.

But before we get into things, check you out, you stud you!

ryanreags
Us being bros
reags smile
Cheesin’ for a reason
bus hunt
On the hunt for school buses

Anyone, now that we’re past the whole “four months no posts” thing, we can move forward. You are an amazing little man, Reagan James. In the past four months, you’ve visited family in Orlando and Cleveland, had your first Christmas and New Year (spoiler alert, neither you nor your parents made it till midnight), and amped up your personality tenfold. Seriously, if you took a personality test, you’d set the bar. You’re a goof ball, you love your dog, and you’re so smart.

Next big to do for you is your first birthday. Not going to ruin the surprise, but let’s just say it’s going to be one heck of a hot dog day.

hotdog

(it’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed)…

Anyway, best that I wrap this up since I haven’t posted in months and the last thing I want to do is sit on this any longer before posting. The last thing I’ll say is that you’re the best little man your mom and I could possibly have in the house, you make my whole day just from the first moment I see you in the morning, and your mom and I love you so so much.

On Starting With The End In Mind

On Starting With The End In Mind

Son,

There is a line in an Avett Brothers song that goes, “When nothing is owed or deserved or expected, and your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected. If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it.”

Hopefully you will appreciate the Avett Brothers when you’re older because, if not, your mom, dad, Aunt G, and team Mayberry will all be very sad at you. But even if you don’t like the band, there is a lot of truth in that line, particularly the first and the last parts. To illustrate my thought, I want to focus on the last line, “Decide what to be and go be it.”

Decide what to be and go be it

When you start something with the end in mind, you are working toward a goal and you’re free of circumstance. No matter what each day brings, you can navigate the challenges by deciding what action you take will get you toward your goal. Decide what to be doesn’t have to mean what your career will be, but decide what kind of person you want to be, and live each day in a way that makes that a reality.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t… you’re right.” — Henry Ford 

Perspective is a powerful thing.  I think when you’re young, and even a lot of people who are older, you can’t grasp the gravity of what these expressions mean. You might hear it, and say, “yea, I get it.” It’s the same thing as when I would tell you to start with the end in mind. If you take it to heart and adjust your perspective so that you make that expression a rule you operate by, you will find that you achieve those things you set out to achieve — you reach the end instead of stall along the way.

As you grow up, I promise to teach you to take on challenges with the end in mind, whether it be in sports, school, relationships, or anything else you ever need help with. I will show you how to visualize the things you want, and let the goal be your compass that guides each decision you make along the journey.

Decide what to be a go be it, son. And if you have confidence in what you want to be, there won’t be any person, situation, or circumstance that will keep you from that goal.