Category Archives: letters to rr

2 Years

Dear RR,

Upon further reflection in the last few months of posts in this blog, I’ve learned that the last time I wrote you was seven months ago.  If I could go back in time, there are so many things I would have also told you at 18 months.  Things I would have also told myself.  Mostly, it would include encouragement to see your Grammies more often.  To take more pictures of you with her.  To myself – to watch you effortlessly blissful in her arms or on her lap.  Instead, we are forced with the reality of time and life and death and, or course, the lack of time travel.

Of course, death aside, I would tell myself to pay more attention to your bald head – to kiss it more often, and relish the last few times you napped on one of us in the rocker.  In seven months, you have gone from an active baby to a kid.  A rough and tumble, sassy, sometimes smelly, oftentimes bossy, little girl.

You’re most frequent phrases these days are “No, Mama, I’ll do it!” alongside “My turn!” and “Help you, Mama?” (which means, will we help you with something – usually buckling something or scraping the last bit of yogurt from your bowl.)  You can (mostly) count to 20 (with the exception of 16 and 18… cause who needs those numbers?), and can recognize all of your letters.  You are exceptionally smart, and don’t mind me for telling the world all about it.

Although this comes at a price, it seems, of you being (still) painfully shy and introverted.  Upon meeting new people (or, honestly, even people you’ve met dozens of times before), you would prefer to crawl into a small shell and disappear.  You have no patience for anyone but us… well, and that one lady at school who you love.  This makes it hard for our friends, our family, our anyone who we run into at the grocery store.  Your favorite coping mechanism?  Shoving your ENTIRE HAND in your mouth when you meet new people.  So attractive.

You talk a lot (and all the time), and you’re like living with someone’s stream of consciousness.  Every car ride is full of pointing out trucks and buses (“White Truck!”  “Seven Truck”).  Shouting numbers, letters, bird, dog, moon, and my favorite, “man!”  Because a man might as well be an elephant or a horse, you see so few of them.  “Man, Mama!  Man!!”  “Yes, RR, that’s a man…”

You also call us Mamas.  I suppose you learned how to pluralize items at some point, and why not pluralize us!  So, since we’re both “Mama,” you spend a lot of time waving at us and saying “Hiiii Mamas!” or yelling “Mamas!!” to get our attention from your room when your door is closed in the morning or after naptime.

You have a deep love for your Olivia books, and it’s one of the few TV programs you’ll watch long enough for us to make dinner… which is, 20 minutes, at best.  Other times, you’re at the heels of one of us yelling “Uppeeees!” (translated – Up Please) so that you can challenge us to learn how to do everything with one arm.

You’re a good eater and sleeper.  We simply cannot thank you or be grateful enough of either of those things.  In the morning, you often sit in your chair and, upon the very mention of eggs, stick out your arms, fists clenched, yelling with gusto, “EGGS!!!”

Every morning, you wake up in the most phenomenal mood ever.  Oh, how I wish I could bottle it and sell it.  You jump in your crib, laughing and smiling and being a crazypants.  Then you hit the ground running, almost literally.  Every morning, you are ready to start the day, and are often bouncing and running around the house.

Your second birthday (which my wife posted about) was low-key and wonderful, complete with a candle on a black and white cookie, and a few presents.

You are a wonderful child.  You are smart and beautiful.  You make my heart swell with happiness every time I look at you.  Your eyes are a mix of blue/green/grey, and your hair has little ringlets of curls that fall on the back of your neck.  Unless your favorite lady at school puts them in pigtails, and then we all die a little bit of cuteness.

I love you, baby girl.  I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow into this incredible little person.


18 Months

Dear RR,

The last three months have been a crazy whirlwind.  Anchored by some persistent ear infections, and a parade of visitors, your mama and I have spent countless hours away from work, taking you to the doctor, staying home with your sick self, or entertaining the masses.

I am more than delighted to report, though, that your ear tube surgery on Dec. 23rd was a resounding success… pun intended.  You were such a trooper, and other than screaming for two hours after you came out of anesthesia, everything went as expected.  We took you in early that morning, donned in your grey Gap sweatpants and your pink “Hug Me, I’m Vaccinated!” shirt.  I sat with you as they put the anesthetics over your nose, and you were out of surgery almost as quick as it took me to get my over-the-clothes scrubs off.  Mama soothed you in recovery, and you came home as fightin’ angry as I’ve ever seen a baby.  A week later, though, you’re sleeping through the night like a champ.

They said, “You won’t believe how much she will talk afterwards.”  And your mama and I doubted them, because before the surgery, you talked nonstop.  But Holy Jesus are you talking.  You can finally identify Elmo by saying “Ellllmoooo” in a high-pitched, breathy, trailing voice.  You also put your hands on your cheeks and say, “Ohhh Nooo!”  Perhaps you will be an actress after all.

Walking has turned into running, and fast.  You still have kind of terrible balance, but that just means you run into things faster.  I’m inclined to ask the people at school to call me on the days that you DON’T run into the bookcase.

Your love for music is unbelievable.  We start music classes back up this Saturday, and I don’t know who is more excited – me, you, or your mother.  You also dance a lot.  You rock, you sway, you shimmy your hips and your shoulders, you bounce.  Whenever music comes on (even, like, car commercials), you stop to dance.  When it ends, you say, “more” with your hands and your mouth.  If you don’t like a song, you say, “all done.”  Like it’s peas.

We had visitors of all varieties – both sets of Grandparents, and some aunts, and cousins.  Christmas morning was modest, as we do.  Your favorite present?  A blue ball.  This, of course, was blown to smithereens when your Grandma (my mom, who is NOT having a stroke and almost dying this year – hooray!) showed up with more toys and presents than any one child could ever possibly need.  I guess nearly dying her has inspired her to buy entire toy stores.  Your mother, on the other hand, almost died at the sight.  But that’s a whole nother post…

I think you’ll be pretty bummed this weekend when we finally take down the Christmas lights out front, since you do love them so.  You did very well with the Christmas tree (packed away last weekend), and loved picking off the baby-friendly ornaments and leaving them throughout the house.  We didn’t take you to see Santa… cause, well, kid, have you been reading this blog?  Everyone knows how you feel about strangers… much less ones in red suits with white beards.  Maybe next year.

You’re a really good kid.  You’re funny and smart and downright entertaining.  And now that you sleep, we’re all happier people.  Oh, and you really like drumming.  See?

Keep up the good work!


15 Months

Dear RR,

From your first birthday until now, we celebrated a lot of firsts – first steps, words, front teeth, double ear infection, trip to the beach.

You started walking consistently the week of July 17th.  We packed up the car (and the dog) and headed to the beach for the week.  Something about the layout of the new digs launched you into full-on walking mode, and you haven’t stopped since.  Your foot is a size 5.5 and you wear this shoe nearly nonstop.  You want to walk everywhere.  You want to run everywhere.  Grocery shopping… hell, ANY shopping, has taken on a whole new level of dread.  You will NOT stay in the cart, or the stroller, or the high-chair at a restaurant.  You will squeal like a stuck pig.

You talk a lot.. some things we understand: mama, kitty, dog, Moses (the dog’s name), water, bottle, bye bye, I’ll do it, You do it (you’re very bossy), read, this, yes, thanks, and probably some I’m forgetting.  You also speak in tongues about things we do not understand.  We all have a lot of conversations in which I desperately wish I had a translator (example video at the bottom of this post).  You talk all the time.  You are also an excellent mimic.  You also might think your name is NayNay, which is a whole other post.

I’ve never met a baby that loves books as much as you do.  I blame your mother, the librarian.  But you devour books… one by one, methodically, over and over until spines are broken and lift-the-flaps have been amputated and taped back on.  At school, your notes at the end of the day almost always say: “RR enjoyed reading books all day today.”  In fact, whenever your upset, all we have to say is “One hippo, all alone” and you’ll stop dead in your tracks.

You’re still a pretty good eater, but for Pete’s sake child, stop feeding the dog.  It’s doing neither of you any good.  My favorite, though, is when you put the food in his mouth, take it out, and then put it in yours.  Maybe this is why you’re so healthy?  His head is at high chair level, and we’ve developed a couple of barriers (chairs, boxes, electric fence) to put around your chair so that you can eat in peace, and he can be encouraged to be a good dog.  It’s a hard fight.  I think you and he are still winning.  Your favorite foods these days?  Peas, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and watermelon.

Social Etiquette:
You’re a hard kid to have out in public, which is a shame, since you are so damn adorable.  But high chairs and shopping carts are a nightmare (see, Walking above).  We’ve taken to grocery shopping with you in the backpack, which buys us some time to divide and conquer the Kroger, but even then, your patience runs out quickly.  This weekend, we’re having a babysitter come hang out with you so that we can grocery shop, if that’s any indication of the problem.  Pieces of sample cheese or snacks only buy so much time, but are sufficient for short trips.  We don’t take you out to eat.  Period.  Your only public redeeming quality is when you’re in your stroller and insist on waving at everyone as they pass you.  Like you’re practicing to be a princess on a float.  Most of the time, people even wave back.  Next thing we know, you’ll want to throw candy at them.

You are a 9-12 month bottom and a 18-24 month top.  I’m really sorry that you inherited my low waist and short legs.  Sorry, baby girl.  One word: leggings.  I’ve never been so happy to have a little girl than when your mom and I are picking out leggings… stripes, spots, crazy designs.  That + diaper butt + t-shirt + crazy socks = overwhelmingly adorable.

Other than this whole being-terrible-in-public, you’re a really good kid.  So much so that we’ve had to baby-proof little around the house.  And by little, I might mean none?  I mean, we had your Grandpa install a cat door to the basement so that you can’t fall down the stairs, but that’s it.  You’re not interested in opening cupboards or drinking Drano.  If you do something we don’t approve of, we say, “No Ma’am” and then you (usually) stop.  Those times usually involve you wanting to load/unload the dishwasher, or contemplating playing in the kitty water fountain (which, I don’t blame you).  You shake your head “no” a lot… even if the answer is yes.  I think you just like to shake your head?

This is a video of you last week, when we were home together during the double ear infection.  Babbling, “Mama,” balancing things on your head, and squealing at the end when you realize I have the iPhone and you want it (which is so flattering). PS –  Turn up the volume.

I love you, kiddo.  Every day, you’re everything I hope you’d be, and more.


Month 12 (aka Year 1)

Dear RR,

Well, you’re officially one year old.  How about that!  It’s hard to believe that you have been in our lives for one whole year (post-delivery, of course).  I don’t remember what we used to do with all of our free time and money!  Why on earth didn’t we spend all of those post-RR years traveling, drinking, and gambling!?

One year down, and yet so many more to go.  So many more challenges, lessons, and perhaps even teeth (since you still only have two).  I’m 33, RR.  In October, I’ll be 34.  You know what this means, don’t you?  No?  Oh.  See, I’m living among two sets of friends and acquaintances:  those who have kids your age, and those who have eight-year-old’s and teenagers.  I’m right on time and far behind all at once.  Those friends with older kids are just a reminder of what is certainly to come, which is not only exciting, but scary.  You won’t be small forever.  In fact, you’re already less of a baby, and more of a little girl already.  In seven (7!) years, you’ll be eight years old, and I’ll be 40.  That seems reasonable, right?

Your 1st birthday party was a startling reminder that I’m turning into the nice neighbor that the kid next door can do to when he gets locked out of his house.  Your mom and I are turning into our parents, although hopefully with less mania and depression, and better financial skills.  You are turning into this precious and wonderful little girl who has a sensitive streak.  We’re all evolving with every day that passes, with every new word, and with every independent step.

My heart is full of such love for you, your mom, and your animal friends that live with us.  Not a day goes by that I don’t say a silent prayer of thanks for everything that I have.

For your party, we filled up what will eventually be your baby book, although it is just pictures.  Before you were born, someone gave us a set of four photo albums for documenting your first year by 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 months.  The week before your birthday, your mom and I spent the evenings weeding through our substantial collection of your pictures, and filled up the books in time for folks to thumb through them during the party.  We reminisced along the way, and watched you slowly get older, and grow into those big eyes you were born with.  There were so many pictures of you smiling and laughing, that we can’t help but to be convinced that you are indeed a very happy child.

At your one-year check-up this morning, we were assured that you are perfect, albeit on the small side, both weight and height-wise.  Petite, let’s say.  You’re also allergic to bananas, which is something that has been confirmed off and on for the past six months whenever you come in contact with a banana.  Your face and eyes get read, as do your hind parts, with little tiny red splotches here and there.  So, no bananas, check!

Fascinating facts:

  • You’re incredibly musical, rocking (literally) when music comes on, “singing” along to songs, and always picking out tambourines, maracas, and bongos out of a stack of toys.  You shake, you bang, you groove on.
  • You love being outdoors – hikes, picnics, riding in the backpack, sitting in the backyard.
  • You hate baths, but you love showers.  Yes, you still shower with your mom – she holds you, and I do the scrubbing.  It’s quick and efficient.  That, and you love to open your mouth and fill it up with water.  In the bathtub, you stand and cry with your arms outstretched to get out.  You’re getting big and squirmy, though, so soon here, you’re going to have to learn.
  • You love having your picture taken and the sight of your own reflection.
  • You love drinking water – out of a cup, out of the shower, whenever, however.  I don’t think the world makes enough water for you to drink.
  • You love to be bounced, shaken, hung upside down, tickled, and you would love to jump around all day long.
  • You smile and laugh, a lot.  Proof?  This picture was taken after a long day of traveling to California: a 5am wake-up call, two flights across the country, two changes of clothing, a long ride in stop-and-go traffic on Route 101 in an unfamiliar car seat.  That smile says it all.

I love you, kiddo.

Month Eleven

Dear RR,

Disclaimer:  Yes, yes, I know it’s the 1st of June, and I am way too late in writing your letter.  Let’s just all be glad that it’ll be published before your first birthday.

Sometime between month ten and the start of month eleven, you bounded out of baby-dome and into being… dare I say it… a toddler.  Oh sure, you can’t toddle without the aid of a mama, a dog’s nose, or the edge of a coffee table, but you’re a biped on the move!  In fact, in hindsight, I think the only reason you started crawling is so that you can get to something to pull up, stand, and cruise about.  Your balance has improved greatly in the past month, so much so that we often see you just standing.  Not holding onto anything, but just standing.  Oftentimes clapping and throwing your head back to cackle.

You’re putting some things into your mouth, but nothing useful.  You are an expert at shoving a stuffed animal into your mouth, but just this morning, we watched you spend five minutes examining a puff, then try to put it in your ear.  Good try, kiddo.  But really, that’s old news.  The new news is this incredible variety of stuff you’ll let us put in your mouth.  Tofu tacos with black beans and chili powder?  Oh sure.  Buckwheat waffles?  Yes, please!  You won’t put food in your mouth, but you’ll let us put practically anything in there.

You’ve started having breakfast with the mamas in the morning, which means we have to add in extra time to cook you your own egg… and then poke bits of it in your mouth.  School is feeding you all sorts of things, since you’ve graduated to the big-kid breakfast.  Blueberry muffins, waffles, and just yesterday, a bagel with cream cheese.

Other things:

You love Elmo from Sesame Street and you squeal and clap whenever we throw Elmo’s Song on the computer.  Seriously… anytime you’re melting down for any old reason, we can throw Elmo up and you’re recalibrated.

You’re an avid water drinker.  In fact, you will stare anyone down who is drinking water.  You refuse to use a sippy cup, so we’re often holding a regular glass up to your lips while you chug down gulps of water and clank your two bottom teeth on the glass.  When you’re in the shower with mama, you both take turns filling your open mouths with water from the shower stream.

You’re obsessed with i-anythings, which means any iPhoning and iPadding need to happen while you’re well-distracted… preferably in another room.

You say, “Mama,” “Baby,” and, we think, “Yeah” which comes out more like “Yah!”

Your mama has done a fantastic job documenting these achievements in great detail, whereas I’ve spent the last month alternately stunned by your utter cuteness and trying to silence the aching in my loins to give you a brother or sister.  Alas, I think your mama and I are in agreement that, for now, you are our perfect only child.  Just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean we should.  And honestly, at this point, we’re going to give birth to a new roof, new gutters, and maybe a renovated kitchen – which will most likely be more painful than labor, I assure you.

RR, every day, every hour, you amaze me in your kind, patient spirit.  Your ability to brighten everyone’s mood, making everyone smile and laugh, is infectious.  I am truly in love with this little girl that you are becoming.


Month Ten

Dear RR,

You’re crawling!  You’re pulling up!  You have a tooth!

As much as I’d like to stop there, I will continue to document this monumental month here in child-development-land.

Yes, you finally figured out how to crawl.  Thank goodness we don’t have to send you to Crawling Camp.  And, yes, also have a bottom tooth, with a neighboring tooth also slowly emerging.  We can stop dropping hints that you go to Toothless Anonymous now.  Phew.

So… crawling, check.  Pulling up onto everything, check.  Including (especially) my pant legs, check.  Growing a tooth, check.  Eating something not pureed, check.  Falling down a lot, check.  Subsequently knocking your head on everything, check.  Still not putting anything into your mouth yourself (not a cooling ring, not a nibble of food, not the cat’s tail), check.  Kid, one day, you’re going to want to feed yourself.  Or relive your tooth pain.  Or anger the cat.  Putting things in your mouth is an essential step one.

You are no longer our immobile kiddo.   You’re not into everything the way that parents of other moving kids warned us you would be.  Yet, I suppose, is the proper refrain.  The only thing you’re really into is picking out each kibble of the dog’s food bowl, or crawling swiftly towards the fat cat with her white belly in the air.  You’ve yet to drink the Clorox under the sink or fall down the basement stairs, but maybe we should shut that door more often and invest in one cabinet lock.  Maybe.

We also had some adventures this past month, including a lunchtime concert at school, a trip to Washington, DC to visit some friends and your aunt and uncle, and countless trips to nurseries or plant stores, sometimes way past your bedtime to avoid crowds.

Two other big things that happened this month are in relation to your relatives.  See, your Grandma came to visit for Easter.  That Grandma.  Yep, that one.  Don’t worry, she took the train, since she has no peripheral vision on her left side.  Her recovery is another update all together,  but I will point out that, although you didn’t let her hold you (the way you don’t let strangers hold you), but you did smile at her.  That in and of itself is a milestone.  I’m pleased beyond pleased that she got to meet you and see what a gentle, patient, kind little girl you are.  She can’t stop calling me to tell me how wonderful you are, and I can’t seem to stop gracefully accepting her compliments.

On the other side, your mother wrote about her Grandma Hazel, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of times.  She’s what I imagine your mom will look like in 60 years, and one of my fondest memories is seeing both of them sit on the couch together, with an uncanny resemblance.  When you hear your mama say something like, “Oh my God, I have my grandmother’s exact body” followed by an audible SIGH… it’s that grandmother she’s referring to.

Month ten came on the heels of your mom going to California for a few days to be with her Grandma before she passed away.  You and I mastered the art of getting out of the house clean, dressed, and fed – although the first day, it took us two hours.  By Wednesday, we could do it in an hour and 15.  Needless to say, I am so glad I’m not a single parent.  For more reasons I can count.  You’re lovely, kid, but you’re hard to reason with these days.  Especially when two nights in a row, massive storms sent our lights flickering and Tornado warnings beeping on the TV.

Despite your resistance to sleep through the night without waking yourself up doing God Knows What, you are still a very sweet girl.  You test our patience, but your smile, your laugh, and the way you sleep with your butt high up in the air makes it all worth it.


Month Nine

Dear RR,

Yes, it’s true that you still don’t have a single tooth.  Let’s just get that all out in the open.  I don’t even think you’re thinking about getting a tooth.

You are, however, thinking about crawling… a lot.  You’re actually doing something about it, too!  This week, the teachers at your school said that you joined the “I can scoot backward underneath the cribs” club, which is exciting.  You’re moving a lot.  No, a LOT.  You buck like a bronco on our laps, and fold yourself inwards while squealing with delight when your thrown into the air and brought back down.  (Wait, are we the only ones who throw our baby in the air??)  You like to be dangled upside down, and tossed into the down comforter on the bed.  You think

Sleep-wise, you hit a slump there this last month, but I think you’ve recovered.  We spent many (MANY) nights getting up a couple of times when you rolled yourself over to your stomach and got stuck and OMG IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD.  This morning, though, you slept from 7pm-6:30am, and when I went into the nursery this morning, you were on your stomach, head turned, butt up in the air.  Like a normal non-apocalyptic baby.

This month, you’re eating about the same, and have branched out into eating (though not necessarily enjoying) such things as tofu, apricots, and watermelon.  Your mom makes 98% of your food, because she’s amazing like that.  You also have no idea how to work a sippy cup (even the training ones) but you LOVE your silver baby cup with your name engraved on the side. (Yes… you have a silver baby cup.  And a silver rattle.  They were gifts, and… well, they’re both two of your favorite things).  We like to put water in it and help you drink.  If, by drink, we mean, watch you stick your whole mouth and tongue in it, while trying to catch some in your mouth, then yes.  Drink.

Your Wyoming grandparents are in town as we speak, kid.  Grandpa made a rocking horse for you with your name carved in the bottom of it, which is a most wonderful present.  You even sat on it and held the handles, with your mom’s help.  It’s day three, and perhaps today, you’ll let one of them hold you without crying (you, not them).  We can only hope.

RR, you are amazing.  Plain and simple.  You are adorable with your pouty lip, your big eyes, and your soft sheen of shiny strawberry blonde hair.  With your toothless grin, your chubby thighs, and your general attractiveness in pastel colors, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful daughter.  I think it’s important to tell you how beautiful you are, RR.  My dad (well, your other Grandpa) died when I was only 11.  One day, I found a birthday card he wrote for me on my tenth birthday saying how beautiful I was and how much he enjoyed watching me play guitar.  I still have that card, you know.  Because it’s important to be told that you’re beautiful, no matter how old you are.


Month Eight

Dear RR,

“One day, that kid is going to start talking… and when she does, she’s going to give an entire dissertation.”

That’s what a lot of people say about you, RR.  You are the great observer.  We even have a name for it – your “new experiences” face.  Eyes wide.  Bottom lip in a subtle pout.  You scan everything in great, methodical detail.  You are, perhaps, an old soul.

This past month, we’ve tested your patience with a variety of visitors, and, my dear, you passed with flying colors.  Well, so far.  While you’re still hesitant to nestle in the arms of anyone but me or your mama, you’re at least not outwardly crying and wailing at people anymore as soon as you realize that you don’t recognize them.  My, how far we’ve come.

We even went to a restaurant with two friends.  I KNOW.  RR, you’ve only been to three enclosed restaurants in your entire existence.  You melted down twice out of those three times, and you slept through the other.  Nevertheless, we vowed to never return.  Of course, we didn’t TELL these two friends about our… well, inexperience?  We crossed our fingers and gave each other the “Do you think she’ll embarrass us TOO badly?” faces.  You’re too big (and active) to sit in your car seat while we eat, and, as we found out, you’re too tiny to sit in a restaurant high chair.  As in, we sat you down, mashed down a blanket behind you to keep you from falling out, but we didn’t account for the fact that you were nose-level with the table.  You were a trooper, though – sitting, sliding about, slouching, bonking your nose on the table, getting subsequently soothed with the pacifier, rinse and repeat.  I’m afraid you might be 14 years old the next time we take you out.

Speaking of eating… child, a tooth would be nice.  Just one.  Maybe one day.

The one new experience we had this month that DIDN’T get the new experiences face was our mile and 1/2 hike at a local nature preserve.  I strapped you onto my front using our baby carrier pack, and we trekked along streams, brush, and trees on the unpaved and rather hilly, treacherous, and unpredictable paths.  You chatted and squealed and made all sorts of delighted noises.  We can dip you under the water, sure, with no expression… but bounce you along in the woods, and you’re a hooligan.

You also don’t put anything in your mouth.  Unless it’s some fingers crooked in one side during one of your thoughtful moments.  Thoughtful, RR.  You are that.  Pensive.  Sincere.  Kind.  No, I’m not talking about Winston Churchill, but my how you two would get along.  Why put that Mum-Mum in your mouth when you can scratch it with your finger over and over, while philosophizing: “What is a Mum-Mum?”  You are a great thinker.

Which is why other children knock you down and take your toys.  It’s why the little girl in your swim class crawls over to you and bonks you on the head with her travel-sized shampoo bottle, and you don’t stop her.  Nor do you complain after.  You’re too busy examining the world around you to notice that you’re being bludgeoned by your friends.  Or, you’re lazy.  That’s another theory all together, I suppose.


Month Seven

Dear RR,

I hope you’ve been holding onto your diaper, since the whirlwind between month six and today has left us all with a sickening sense of vertigo.  Christmas, my dear, was delightful.  Oh, but then everything all went to hell.  Your mother took care of you for an entire week straight, and did a marvelous job.  In between the showering and dinner-fixing, she managed to get you hooked 100% on a solid food-eating regimen.  Ever since, you’ve been a solid food-demanding machine.  Thank goodness your mother is so good with the immersion blender, or you would have already eaten us out of house and home.  Let’s talk about the number of baby-sized servings a $1.00 bag of carrots will make.  Your likes: carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, pears, green beans, rice cereal, and oatmeal.  Dislikes: peas, avocados, and bananas.  This coming month, we embark on finding out more foods you like, and planning our summer garden beds in some coordination with your preferences.

You’ve been extremely patient, RR, with my comings and goings, up and down, back and forth, learning to drive the curves and straightaways of I-64 in my sleep.  You, RR, are always on my mind.  Yes, a little like Willie Nelson.  But mostly, you and your mom are the reason I check, then double-check my blind spot.  The reason I go the speed limit in the right lane.  The reason both hands are on the wheel, and I limit the amount of driving with my knee.  I always kiss you two goodbye, and I’m always so glad to see you both when I get home.

You learned to video chat this month, which was kind of awesome.  Well, you didn’t say anything, but you did flail about uncontrollably when you could see me in the computer, waving and smiling.

Your using us more as a jungle gym lately, climbing around on us, hanging from various limbs.  You also like to sit on your rump and rock back and forth when you get super excited.  Or when there’s music on.  You still very much like when I play the guitar for you and your mama and I sing your favorite songs.  You’ve also taken to grabbing onto the head of the guitar when I play, as you can feel the varying vibrations when I strum.  Last night, you held my guitar pick with your thumb and index finger when I handed it to you.

In your crib, when you’re not sleeping, or complaining about not being able to get to sleep, you’re kicking your legs like a crazywoman, and you can hear the THUMP THUMP THUMP’s from any room in the house.  Just last night, however, you determined that you also do this in your sleep, so it’s not always an indication that you’re awake.  Or upset.  Or anything but… well, thumping.

You started swim lessons this past weekend, and for the next seven weeks, you’ll be floating on with nine other babies and their parents on Saturday mornings.  RR, I’ll apologize in advance for the fact that you are a new generation, whose parents made poor shoulder tattoo choices when we were in college.  The number of faded tattoo’s on the shoulders of swimsuit-wearing mommies and daddies was more than I was prepared for.  One had a wolf, a few had foreign character/symbols.  I, proudly, had the only band tattoo, however.  Very hilarious.

You’re a delightful kid, RR.  I’m proud that you are my daughter.  I don’t even mind that, in lieu of giggling like a normal baby, you choose to suck in all of your breath and let out a high-pitched short squeal when you get really excited.  I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer, to take you to the local farmer’s market, and take long walks with you, your mom, and the dog in the evenings when we get home from work.  Until then, we’ll continue to enjoy each others company by the fireplace and over bowls of hot beef stew.



Dear RR,

Sweetheart, somehow we apparently have the worst timing ever when it comes to visiting the elderly folks in our family.  First, it was your Great Grandmother on my side, who passed away only a couple of weeks before you were born.  Then, it was your Great Grandmother on your mother’s side, who passed away about a month before our scheduled visit to Wyoming to meet her for the first time.  And now it’s your Grandma on my side, who has yet to pass away, but has spent the last week knocking on death’s door.  Knowing her, though, she’s probably at the wrong house.

I’ve kept a lot of details away from people other than friends I’m texting with updates every five minutes, other family members, and  your Grandma’s close friends.  Mostly, because, the details change so quickly that I’ve spent the last seven days cursing my phone without the QWERTY keyboard.

See, RR, we were planning on visiting Grandma (seeing her for the first time, actually, since August) on New Year’s Day.  We had a dog-sitter scheduled and presents wrapped.  We even had a nice hotel booked.  I was so excited for her to see you smile, and laugh, and wave.  I was even excited for her criticism and passive-aggressive comments.  However, things have not gone as planned.

You aunt sent me a text at 2am on Thursday, 12/30, telling me that she was taking your Grandma to the hospital.  The short story is, sometime the day before, no one heard from her, and my sister went over to check on her and found her delirious in the bed.  The EMT’s came and whisked her to the hospital.  The diagnosis?  A combination of a stroke, heart attack, liver failure, kidney failure, staph blood infection, and pneumonia.  Get all that?

I drove the 3 hour drive to see her on the 31st, leaving you and your mom here to ring in the new year without me.  It broke my heart to leave you, and broke my heart to see your Grandma in her condition.

It’s been a week, and your Grandma is making progress.  Very slow progress.  Her liver and kidneys have recovered, and the blood infection is gone.  The MRI of her brain says it should be OK, but she refuses to wake up fully to tell us so.  The pneumonia and heart failure are next on the docket to fix, as well as removing (well, relocating) her breathing and feeding tubes.  She has a long way to go, that’s for sure.

I spent five nights away from you, and had to come back yesterday to recharge and regroup with you and your mom.  Spending one night away from you guys last month was hard enough, but five in the face of potential tragedy, proved to be just too much.  You and your mom are my life-force.  Hopefully, I can absorb enough of you two before I head back down this weekend.  Assuming that there is still someone to head back down to.

RR, I really hope you get to see this Grandma again, and we don’t have to put you in your funeral dress again.  I talk a lot of shit about her, but she’s still your Grandma.  Mostly, I wish folks would stop be so dying to see you.  We don’t have a lot of people left, so here’s hoping we can hang onto some of them.