Dear Tobi…. I Still Love You

Dear Tobi,

You are a delight. You are you.

And I am now a mama of two. When you grow up, I want you to know that I don’t love you less even though I didn’t take your photo as often or blog about you every week. I’m spending less time taking photos and blogging, and more time soaking you in. We will have to let THAT shape our relationship.

I don’t have the greatest memory. A huge reason I take photos and blog is because I forget. These photos, these stories, they tell me about the special times I cherish. I get to re-live them all over again.

So here’s a blog post for you.

You are eight months old already. Whew.

You have two bottom teeth. You may have more coming in soon, it would not surprise me.

You have been rolling over expertly for some time now, and have recently mastered scooting around the room at a decent pace. You aren’t “up” on all fours to crawl, but you get around on your belly, using both arms and legs to propel yourself around. It helps that our floors are wood laminate, so you slide easily.

You are an extrovert. You love being around people. People are so fun and distracting that you will almost never nurse in public or sleep in public. Most of the time, I have to come home when it’s time for you to eat or sleep.

Any stranger can hold you and you will happily smile and greet them. (Your brother’s first year of life, he would not let ANYONE hold him except about five people whom he knew very well).  You make the rounds at church, and will cuddle with anyone who pays you attention.

At home, as long as you can tell someone is around, you will play happily near by. I don’t have to hold you or wear you as much as Jax. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around people. If Jax and I both walk away from you, you stop playing and begin crying to let us know you prefer not to be alone.

You are happy and amiable nearly all the time. What upsets you the most is being tired. You prefer sleep to nursing. If you are overly tired and overly hungry at the same time, you often refuse to eat, and prefer to be bounced to sleep in a baby carrier. Once you’ve had a nap, you will wake and happily eat.

You’re in the stage where everything goes to the mouth. Like many babies, you are very sneaky about locating and chewing on shoes. I don’t understand this universal infant obsession. We have to be more careful where we leave our shoes. You also love chewing on cords and cables.

You cannot sit up fully unassisted yet. You can do it for short periods of time, but get excited about something, squirm, and knock yourself over to a tearful ending.

You love your Daddy, and greet him with smiles and kicks and a sound that closely resembles “Hi!”

Since you were five months old, you’ve been making a sound like “Nih, Nih, Nih…” This sound was one of Jax’s first word sounds as well, and it meant nursing. I’ve tried many a time to nurse you when you make this sound. I finally realized, you are not asking to nurse. You are asking to sleep. You may be happy nursing to sleep, or happy bouncing to sleep in the carrier, but you are ready for sleep. I must not delay when you reach this point, because you have only a little time left before an exhausted meltdown.

You are cheerful with your brother’s antics. You enjoy watching him play. He makes you laugh all the time, sometimes with a roughness to which I almost interject…. then suddenly, despite his shoving you, you laugh and seem to enjoy it. I sigh, and am grateful you are learning to enjoy each other.

You sleep in your crib, and wake frequently at night to nurse. I’m pretty confident it’s because some days I can hardly get you to nurse during the day hours. There’s too much fun to be had during the day, and you would rather save that boring nursing for sleeping hours.

Around six months old, you spent a few weeks making this adorable squinchy-face. It’s the first time you sort of resembled your brother.

But you still look REALLY different from each other.

I’ve been introducing food to you very slowly. At six months old, you seemed interested in putting things in your mouth, at the same time everyone else was putting things in their mouth. But food, even in small squishy pieces. caused you to choke and gag. I would only feed you tiny bits once or twice a week. I’m slowly starting to feed you once a day, as the choking has pretty much stopped.

You want to participate in whatever is going on, and are keenly aware when you are being left out. Whatever toy Jax or I are touching, you want to touch that toy too. We can no longer hand you some other toy, and have you be happy. You see that what we are playing with looks like great fun, and don’t want to be left out of that excitement. Today, I was eating while wearing you in a carrier, you started grabbing at my food and crying SO loud when I would not give it to you. I had to laugh, because you are so darn cute.

Your favorite toy or food is whichever one that someone else has. It starts SO young! But I think it is your drive to be included and to participate, that make you more aware and interested.

You have blond hair with little wispy curls! You have blue eyes! In these peachy photos your eyes look grey. When you are near something blue or aqua, your eyes look a rich teal!

When I was pregnant with you, one of the things I spent time praying about and mulling over, was how you would be different than your brother. Being the oldest of five girls, I know how easy it can be to get stuck comparing yourself to your siblings, rather than delighting in being yourself. I wanted to be free of this when I had two kids, especially if they were two boys. I wanted the freedom as a mom, to water the bloom of YOU. Not to be constantly talking about what you do / don’t do that is different from your big brother. Now, when I make those comparisons, it is out of delight and joy in seeing your uniqueness.

You have been your own self the entire time I’ve known you. Your pregnancy, your personality in-utero, your birth, how you look, your interests, your developmental timeline….. there have been hardly any commonalities between you and Jax, and instead, you are setting your own pace on your own track. I love it. I love you. I am so honored to be your Mommy.

I take delight in the YOU-ness of you, that God created so tenderly. He has a brilliant design for you, and I am enjoying each day that uncovers more of it.