Friday, January 25, 2013

Eighteen Months WHAT?!?!

There is no denying it anymore.  My tiny bundle of baldness and coos, has officially been replaced with a wild and silly fuzzy-headed toddler... How on earth did this happen? (Cue the tears and ovarian butterflies here.)

We had Sam's eighteen month well-visit appointment with his pediatrician on Wednesday.  At 27 pounds and 31.5 inches, he is - as I suspected - a perfectly growing little sprout. (Also, as I suspected would happen one day, his height has dropped to the 25th percentile, while his weight remains steady in the 50th.  Sorry bud! It's in your genes.) 

Besides the FOUR shots he had to get, this was actually kind-of an enjoyable visit because so much of it was just talking to the doctor about Sam - his development, his milestones, and his personality.  From what I can tell, two things happen around this age:  1. Your baby stops being a baby and begins to really grow into his own little self - full of habits, moods, quirks, and spunk.  And, 2. You stop being just the provider-of-all-life-sustaining-things (although he will still need much of that for a while too) and start to grow into the actual role of parent.  Although it often feels like the "hard part" is behind me now, I have the deep sense that the real work of parenting is only just beginning...

Don't get me wrong - the carrying a baby in my belly, not sleeping for a year, and that whole breastfeeding thing is not for the weak; but, this - this kind of parenting - is about more than just growing... It is about shaping.  Not only is it time to start teaching my boy how to count and say his ABCs, and use the potty, or teach him self-control over the understandably-strong urge to eat dog food when Mommy says "No." But, SO much more than that, this is the part where I get to teach him how to work hard, how to learn from mistakes, how to honor Jesus, how to share joy, and how to really love people well. I am a teacher by my very nature, but this is the kind-of teaching they really can't prepare you for in college. This part of teaching, I'm being honest, scares the heck out of me.  Give me thesis statements and modifiers any day - this is BIG STUFF.

But, along with those responsibilities, I suspect that this is also the part where the real rewards begin.  I've loved Sam from the moment I saw his little heart fluttering on the ultrasound machine more than two years ago, but I loved him then because he was mine.  Now, I love him because he is him

I love EVERYTHING about my little toddler-boy.  I love the parts of him that are so easy to love, like his big blue eyes, the way he sleeps with his feet under his body in a little ball, and the fact that he can't help himself but to start dancing and bobbing his head when music comes on.  And, I also love that he has spunk, and is feisty, and gets into everything.  I love his belly laughs, the way he sings in the car, how he sits in the chair in his room and "reads," climbs all over Addy, and flirts with women everywhere we go.  I even love that he is stubborn and refuses to talk - even though I know he understands everything I say - and that he can't eat a meal without being absolutely covered in food because "help" is not an option.

As if all that wasn't enough to make my heart absolutely explode, I LOVE this season of watching Jeff fall more and more into his role as a dad.  We had friends over a few nights ago (none of which have kids yet) and one of the guys said to me - "You know, this is the age we picture when we imagine having a son... We forget about the baby stage and the work it takes to get here, and we just picture chasing our boy around the house and throwing a ball for him."  Yep.  I get it.  I never knew how much I would LOVE being a toddler mom, but this part of Jeff has been there all along.  Oh how it warms my heart to see my boys being boys, and to think of all the ways his daddy will teach Sam how to be a man.

To my sweet Sam,
How much growing you have done in the last year and a half!  And, with each of your milestones and markers, how much growing I have done as your mama.  Oh, we've had our share of growing-pains, but I wouldn't change a bit of it.  I love every.single.thing about the you you have become, and - in a way I worried would never come - I love the mother you have taught me to be... Whether it is the way you snuggle your head into my chest when I wrap you tightly in your bath towel, or the scrunched-nose smile you give when I come in to get you from your nap each day - nothing is proof that I'm doing this mom-thing right like you are.  Keep growing boy!  I love you.  ~Mom

P.S. Here's a little photo-book I made from Shutterfly for the grandmas at Christmas that I realized I never shared here. The above photos (and most of the ones in the book) are by our friend Howard.  They were taken about a month ago on a "guys only" hiking trip that turned into more of a walk/photo-shoot.  In a small way, flipping through these pages captures the changes that have happened right before my eyes in the last year and a half.  I can barely even look at it without getting chills. Hope you enjoy! (And, yes, I did put the wrong date on page 3. I have had many sleepless nights because of it.) 


  1. Awww-- beautifully written and love the photo book! It is sad, our babies aren't babies anymore. I will never look at a newborn again, without thinking of all the hard work/sleepless nights that age requires. This age is so much fun!

  2. This age really IS fun, I agree!

    Great photos, btw!

  3. I love this. We are only at eight months, but I love reading your thoughts on being mom to a toddler. And you're right, no amount of education classes, advanced degrees, professional development or classroom time can prepare anyone for this kind of teaching. This is the most real kind of teaching possible and there is no textbook for it.

    You seem to be doing just fine!! Bravo!

  4. I just found your blog and love it! Now following!

    PS the hat Sam is wearing is DARLING! Where did you get that?!


  5. such a beautiful post E and you're right Sam's baby blues are ahhh-mazing. I was just telling Trev how much I love the 18 months to 3 year old stage - little voices learning to talk win me over every time.
    I really love your bolded quote - it spoke to me. Such a beautiful/relatable writer you are.

  6. This is such a perfect post. I love your quote: "I loved him then because he was mine. Now, I love him because he is him."

    And I totally know what you mean about being scared of this period of teaching... I'm a teacher too, but I'm afraid that I won't know how to teach my future kids the important things they need to know. If my spoiled and undisciplined dog is any indication of my parenting skills, I don't know what I'll do! (but he's so cute!) :)

  7. What a great post! As a mom of a 14 month old, I feel the exact way. You just put it into words way better than I would! :)

  8. What a sweetheart!! I Love these pictures :) I can't believe how fast he is growing...I remember when you were pregnant with him!!


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