On Becoming a Boy

Son,

You change every day. At the same time, you do so many of the same funny things every day. For example, you wake up and have the same conversation every morning…

Us: Goodmorning!

You: Two Mels! Boats. Mima, Papa. Hi Rogue! Mama. Two Mels!

Us: Can I have you?

You: No! Nap. Hi Rogue! Two Mels!

It’s really an inventory check on your crib items and a recap of the same dream you have every night (the same dream that you pre-plan every night when we ask you what you’re going to dream about — yellow boat with all your favorite people).

Lately, you’ve been making a lot of subtle changes that let me know you’re becoming a little boy. You take direction. Sometimes, you ignore direction, but you understand what we’re asking you to do. You negotiate. Sometimes you need your matchbox cars when you eat, and if I ask you to eat three bites to get your car, you might tell me “two bites.” Or, when we’re wrapping up watching a show (usually Peppa), you’ll tell us “one Peppa,” (which means you just need one more episode to get your fix).

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The other night, we got dressed up to go to a party. We usually rock the messy hair look around the house, but that night we put some of my product in your hair. You stood there and was patient while I put the pomade in your hair and brushed it. It was like you knew we were getting dressed up, and understood that you needed to be still while I got you ready.

You’re also just more confident in your movements. You still fall from time to time, and still blame stationary objects for getting in your way while you tornado through the house (no-no floor! Don’t you jump up out of nowhere and trip Reagan!). But, I don’t worry about you running from one room to the other. I don’t worry about you climbing on or off couches, or stepping off the step onto the porch.

The other thing, and maybe the most visual way, that you are becoming a little boy is that you’re just getting longer. You have little definition in your legs and your body is just stretching out. When you lay in your crib and spread out, you look huge. You still don’t weight a ton and you’re probably still on the shorter side of kids who are almost two, but to me you just look huge.

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I’m very excited to see you changing so much. You used to be so much fun just to look at, but now you are making decisions, having conversations, communicating your thoughts, making jokes, and everything else that makes you so much fun to interact with.

The other thing that has been fun is seeing you and Rogue interact. You now help pour his food in the morning and give him his pills. You also call him up with us when we go up the stairs and kind of double-tap your butt to get him moving. You tell him to, “lay down,” “sit,” and always give him a much bigger hello in the morning than your mom or me.

OK, son. All for now.

Dad

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 Mother’s Day

Son,

This will be your second Mother’s Day. For your first, we were down in Florida visiting Mima and Papa, and you were just a 3 month old baby — it was actually your very first vacation! Your dad didn’t do a very good job at making your mom feel special, and I am determined to make up for it this year.

There are so many reasons that Mother’s Day is one of the most important holidays and why you and I need to go out of our way, this year and, really, all the years, to make your mom feel loved. I’ve come to know that being a mom can be a thankless job a lot of times. Nobody tells her that she does a great job on days when it’s just the two of you and she isn’t able to get any work done. Most days, nobody says “thank you” for making sure our refrigerator is full, that there isn’t dog hair taking over the house.

Now that I am thinking about it, here are just a few of the many things you and I are thankful for your mom (and should make a point to tell her that we love her more often):

  1. We’re thankful that she cares about you so much, that she stays up at night figuring out the best ways to make sure your butt rashes stay in check, your belly doesn’t hurt, and you are in the best health you can be (she even set an alarm @ 1:30am the other night to check to make sure your rash wasn’t getting any worse)
    • side note: that is parent speak for something else, but no need to subject anyone outside of the inner-circle for why your rash might get worse at 1:30am… just saying, your momma loves you a LOT
  2. We’re thankful that she plans ahead and makes sure that you experience new things, like zoo trips, COSI trips, swimming lessons before vacation, and ways for you to experience more than what the world of Peppa Pig might allow
  3. We’re thankful that she wants the best things for our family, and works so hard to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to have the life we have and the life we see for ourselves in our future
  4. We’re thankful that she has us looking our best (and in clothes that fit) — God knows if it were up to me, you might still be rocking a tank top made for 6 mo. olds, belly-showing and looking like a baby Zeke Elliott.
  5. We’re thankful that she puts up with us, because between your drunk-baby tornado of terror and my inability to remember what we’re doing, where we’re going, or even how to get there, we are probably a little harder on her than we should be
  6. We’re thankful because your mom has no less than five jobs, with each one requiring her to juggling so many things, and she still finds time to be the best mom and wife
  7. We’re thankful because she supports the things I want to do, and will absolutely support anything you decide you want to do as you grow up
  8. We’re thankful because she makes a point to Facetime your Mima and Papa, Uncle Jeff, Aunt Katie, and all your cousins. Just because they live far away doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to see them, talk to them, and make sure they know how great you are
  9. We’re thankful because she balances us out so completely. Lets face it — you and I can be a little messy/all over the place/scatter-brained/not always making sense/don’t tell her we love her as much as we should, and she still finds a way to keep us looking good
  10. We’re thankful because she is the best in every way

Truth be told, I don’t know which one of us put your mom through more to this point. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Despite the fact that she has 1000 balls up in the air at any time, still finds time to look as good as she does, and makes sure that our worlds keep on turning day after day, she still finds time to love us, make us her top priority, and give everything she has so we can be in a better place tomorrow than we were yesterday.

So even though you can’t say it yet, I will just say it for you, son…

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, KELLY/MAMA/B! WE LOVE YOU SO VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!

 

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 Kelly’s Hair Salon

What happens when a mom’s love meets a momfail, and one little boy’s locks are on the line!

Son,

Your mom loves you very much. And your dad has been known to be a little stingy when it comes to spending money. Your dad also has decided a long time ago that he is willing to spend money on a good haircut. Your mom also understands the value of a good haircut. That is why it doesn’t make any sense that we send you to “Kelly’s Hair Salon” every time you need to get your haircut.

So there’s that. But the other side of the coin is that your hair grows like weeds, and it doesn’t make sense to take you to a place to get your hair trimmed every two weeks. We did do that once, and you did really well, but the idea of taking you 20 mins away every two weeks will a.) have my hair girl not like me very much since she didn’t charge you for your first cut and b.) it’s too hard to fit into your schedule as quickly as your hair grows.

So what am I getting at? The other night, we took you to Kelly’s Hair Salon for your regular cut.

Kelly’s Hair Salon

  • Owner, stylist, and only employee: your mom
  • Motto: it’s good enough, right?
  • Location: upstairs bathroom
  • Perks: snacks and Youtube videos of Mickey Mouse and/or BIG TRUCKS!

It’s a place like Cheers where everybody knows your name (and also knows your height, weight, favorite foods, etc. etc.). Normally you get what the motto suggests, but this past cut was something else entirely.

Here is you before the cut:

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Now you look like this:

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You see, your mom may have… just a teensy-weensy bit, more on one side than the other, kinddaaaa, Lloyd Christmas’d you. When we took you to get your haircut at the non-Kelly’s Hair Salon, your mom saw the hair girl doing some vertical scissor work, and she’s been on a quest to use the same style on you.

I will give her this. Before your last cut, you were looking pretty, pretty amish. Your mom would trim around your ears, but we like your long hair so we didn’t touch that, and the long hair up top caught up to the shorter hairs around your ears, thus giving you the amish bowl (sounds like a college football game in december between some D-3 schools in Pennsylvania). Make no mistake, the amish bowl is not something you want to be known for.

But then again, neither is the Lloyd Christmas. The good thing you have going for you is that you’re so cute you can pull it off. And as I’ve told her, the shape is good. It’s just the details that did this last cut in.

So where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine. Your hair will grow back, but will you or I trust Kelly’s Hair Salon to not make the same mistake again? Do we give your mom a second chance or cut her hair privileges (see what I did there?)?

Time will tell….

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We might have to rock this look for the next few weeks until your hair grows back!

Love,

Your 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!

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Us being bros
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Cheesin’ for a reason
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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.

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(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.