To my Little Men,
Today you are thirteen months old and we are on our way into the throes of toddlerhood.
I’ll start by telling you that this has probably been the roughest month for all of us and while you each had your fair share of horrible moments, it was completely understandable since the adults around you were all in chaos and heartbreak.
Your papa, my dad, passed away three days after your one year birthday, and you two were swept up on the emotional roller coaster. It was bittersweet because only Papa could have brought so many people from all over the world on your Saunders side to the same city. You met your Great-auntie Monica, Auntie Susie, Auntie Fiona, Uncle Christian, cousin Isabel, and Uncle Peter all within the span of two days. Not even three days later you were meeting extended family on the Fernandes side, friends from India, and all our wonderful friends close enough to DC to drive in for Papa’s wake.
Three days after that you were on your first airplane, on the way to Texas with me to stay with Nana for a week, and upon returning, you must have realized I was suddenly home-Mum ALL THE TIME (my last day at work was the Friday after your birthday). It took a bit of adjusting, but we are starting to settle back into routine.
Oliver, this month you’ve made it your personal mission to learn as many new sounds as possible. You definitely say Dada and have learned to say Mum or Mama when you want me. You also cruise around the living room all the time now, barely ever sitting down or crawling and I can tell you’re just dying to start walking so you can get around even faster. If I think you’re into everything now, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like then. We’ve unfortunately had some issues this month (on top of all the emotional wreckage) with your skin. You have had slight eczema since 2 or 3 months old, but on your birthday weekend broke out everywhere. It looked like a really bad rash and the doctor has now recommended we see an allergist. I haven’t been able to get an appointment yet, but hope to soon. We cut out a few things in the meantime (milk, bananas, and bubble bath) and thankfully it seems to have helped. Of course we have no idea which was to blame, but I’m not about to bring any of the three back and experiment since you were the worst sleeper EVER this month due to the rash. You’ve made up for it by laughing a lot during the day, which makes me smile.
Eli, you are also super determined to walk – you constantly stand up and cruise along the couch and now can pull up on pretty much anything, including your brother, which sometimes results in you both crying but sometimes results in you both giggling and squealing at each other. You have this little belly laugh that suddenly comes out of nowhere, and are dubbed the flirt by everyone (including strangers on the street who you charm with a grin and a few bats of your eyelashes). I swear you’re going to grow up aiming for the music business, because you just can’t get enough of it. You drum with your hands, usually on beat and shake your head, arms or hands to the rhythm and dance any chance you get – even in your high chair at mealtime. We’ve definitely noticed an uptick in babbling; I still swear you say “I did it” when you accomplish something, but we’re going to chalk it up to my hearing things for now. Either way, you definitely chat quite a bit and entertain everyone with your squeals, squeaks, shrieks, and supremely infectious giggling. I suppose if it’s not music in your life, it might be comedy – you just love making us laugh.
Together you two have weathered a lot this month. Even though you don’t understand death yet, you are able to pick up on my emotions and stress level and I can’t even begin to tell you how out of control those were since the end of May.
I’m unbelievably grateful that Papa was here to celebrate your first birthday and I know he loved you both, and thought you would grow into amazing men. I think he’s probably wishing for pilot grandsons, but I’m sure pole vaulters, photographers, tennis players or bicyclists would do as well.
As for me? Well, I’m proud of how well you guys are doing and happy that during the times I’m busy dealing with something else, you two are ok. In fact, you are exceptional at playing by yourselves. I love peeking into the living room from the kitchen to see you each sitting with a book or banging on the drum or shaking rattles or whatever it is that sets you both off in fits of giggles, falling dramatically on pillows or launching play attacks on each other or poor Max.
I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop next (and hope our trip to India goes without a hitch). I keep thinking to myself ‘things are about to get interesting’, but really… they already are. It’s just going to get more and more crazy/wonderful around here.
Love you always,