the hardest thing

Earlier this week we found a tooth bud, the tiniest of chompers, in my baby's mouth. Feeling that sharp little edge took my breath away, and, for a moment, Lucas was suddenly all grown up, moved out, and had a family of his own. And then came that gut-squeezing, throat-tightening, eye-burning sensation of unexpected, unwanted, uncontrollable tears.

I never knew how real of a phenomenon it was, when people would comment about how fast time flies when you have a kid and how you shouldn't blink because it all passes so quickly. I figured it was just something people would say. I didn't think it was actually going to be something I needed to be concerned about or something that would affect me even in the slightest. I guess I just never thought about it. But here I am, 27 weeks and 6 days later, and I realize... I blinked. I blinked and this tiny little person who used to fit inside of me is now 6-1/2 months old and just under 20 pounds hefty. I blinked and the scrawny arms and legs have morphed into chunky thighs, muscular calves, and sunflower-seed-sized biceps. I blinked and I find I am no longer able to place this little human in one place and expect him to stay there for 1.2 seconds. I blinked and suddenly there is awareness and laughter and curiosity and determination and affection and joy. I blinked and now there is a tooth.

What in the world am I supposed to do? This whole growing up thing is so hard to deal with emotionally, and it's seriously doing its best to rip my poor heart in two. I'm not ready. I'm not prepared. I can't take it. Yet I wouldn't have it any other way. It is such a conflict of emotion. It is similar [in idea, not intensity] to when I lay Lucas across my belly: He gets so excited and lunge-y as he tries to launch himself to the other side, but all the while he is leaving massive amounts of drool and slobber everywhere imaginable. The drool is gross and wet and cold and everywhere, but the giggles and fun are unbelievable. While Lucas is busy lunging and drooling and squealing, I am constantly trying to reconcile the warring feelings of intense adoration and "Ugh! Ick! Gross! Sooo wet!" It's weird. And hard. Sure, I could just not let him drool on me by not playing this game with him. Easy enough. But then I would miss out on all of the awesome parts of the game. The slobber and fun always win out.

I think what is making it especially hard is that I absolutely love, love, love this age. Lucas is getting mobile and more independent [though I use this word in its most conservative sense], and his ever increasing awareness and ability to express different emotions is a constant reminder of how he's not just this little baby but that he's a tiny person, an individual, with likes and dislikes and opinions and tolerance levels. And yet, while he is gaining new skills daily and developing into this bona fide miniature person, he is also still very much a baby, my baby. And that is how I want him to stay. I want to enjoy him in this baby-but-also-tiny-person stage forever.

I know it is ridiculous, but I already feel these baby days slipping away as he grows up more and more. Yes, I know it's ridiculous. I just am not sure I know how to handle the emotions that are squashing my heart more and more these days. Feeling that little tooth seemed to make my world start spinning a million miles an hour. I am trying so hard not to be that silly mom who bemoans the days gone by and blah blah blah. But the struggle is real, folks. Mom-hood is emotionally challenging, but oh so incredibly awesome.

In summary: I may blink 15 to 20 times in a minute. In an hour, I may blink 900 times. In a day, over 14,000 blinks probably occur during my awake time. In the span of  6 months, I have probably blinked close to 3 million times. So, in the most conservative of estimates, I have spent well over 100 hours blinking since Lucas was born, and that's not even counting sleep. No wonder time has flown.

I can't stop Lucas from growing up any more than I can stop blinking, so I need to find a way to make the time between every single blink count. It is only logical.

You can't stop the chub.


the art of pantslessness [and other short stories]

I am living the dream. Really.

Lucas is my little boy through and through. Either due to his hot-naturedness [unquestionably inherited from me] or his innate knowledge that pants should not be socially required [I take proud responsibility for this as well], the task of getting Lucas in his pants has become a 10-times-a-day exercise in patience, perseverance, and hilarity. This kid.

A simplified version of this process is as follows:

  1. Introduce the pants. ["Ready to put on your pants? It's pants time!"]
  2. In response to the look of disbelief you receive, admit you are putting on a false show of enthusiasm about the pants-ing. ["I know, I know, no one likes pants, but we have to try to wear them anyway or people won't want to be our friends."] Honesty is the best policy, right? 
  3. Stretch the pants waist a few times to ensure adequate roly-poly-belly-fittage. ["You're not fat. You're just solid."]
  4. Attempt to get both of his legs into the pants at the same time. It rarely works but is always worth a try. 
  5. Share a good laugh at your ridiculous expectations. 
  6. Give in to his adorable giggling face and outstretched arms and lean over him so he can grab at your cheeks and nose. 
  7. Somehow get slobber in your ears, a sharp little finger in your eye, and kicked in the jaw by a pair of ninja feet. ["How in the world do you have a foot in your mouth and my mouth at the same time?!"]
  8. Carefully extract every last strand of your hair from his little bear-trap hands before sitting back up. 
  9. Realize you didn't extract every last strand of hair from his little bear-trap hands before sitting up. Yelp. 
  10. Attempt to entrap the left leg by the pants.
  11. Attempt to entrap the right leg by the pants. ["Wait, where'd your left leg go? How did you get it out of the pants again?!"]
  12. Attempt to re-entrap the left leg by the pants. ["Wait, where'd your right leg go? How did you get it out of the pants again?!"]
  13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 thrice.
  14. Engage Ninja Speed and manage to get both feet into the pants. 
  15. Discover the pants somehow got turned backwards. 
  16. Engage Ninja Speed and manage to get both feet into their appropriate pant legs. 
  17. Be a good sport in a wild game of "Now my feet are in the pants-. Oh wait, now they're not. Oh wait, now they are." Take solace in the fact that at least the pseudo-squats/curls may be toning the baby's squishy one-pack into a two-pack. 
  18. Get a lucky break and happen to pull up on the pants at the same time that the chunky legs are thrust downwards. 
  19. Ignore the fact that the pants are tugged up high enough to give Fred Mertz a run for his money and just revel in your newly pants-ed child.
  20. ..."You're wet again? You've got to be kidding me."

In other news, Lucas is a daylight savings champ, for better or worse. He seamlessly transitioned his sleep schedule after... one day? Daylight savings this year was quite a bittersweet thing. On the one hand, there's the whole losing an hour of sleep thing. On the other hand, we figured if Lucas didn't find out about the time change, we could perhaps enjoy him sleeping until 7:30 instead of 6:30. Alas. No such luck. Somehow he got wind of this silly tradition of a day and retrained his internal clock. Sunday, he woke at 8, and come Monday pre-7:00 wake up was back in full swing. Well, it was nice while it lasted I suppose. Weirdly enough, this week has been filled with some gloriously epic napping. A 2.5-hour nap today? There are no words.

Next week we will be embarking on road trip numero dos with our little fellow. Down to Dayton, Tennessee, for a job interview for Jason. 'Tis an exciting time. I am interested/apprehensive to find out how traveling goes with an "I get bored sitting in one spot for extended periods of time" nearly-6-month-old. He now goes 2.5 hours between naps so I have a feeling this trip will include many, many rounds of Old McDonald Had a Farm and Itsy Bitsy Spider. I think we are up for the task. I think.

Speaking of Jason and jobs and school and all things mathy, a couple of weeks ago... *drum roll* He finished his first final draft of his 155-page dissertation! I could not be more proud of him. He is such an excellent mathman, and an even better man in general. A better role model for Lucas does not exist on this planet. I am 100% positive about this. End of story.

I truly think I love our little munchkin more and more each day. Some days, I don't even know what to do with myself. Watching him scan the room when he hears my voice or seeing his face seem to literally light up when I smile at him... It is indescribable. And as if he just knows how close I am to imploding with almost painful fuzzy feelings, he is starting to reach out his arms towards us, like he wants to be picked up/hugged by his favorite peoples in the world. You guys, I am one of his favorite peoples! I can't take it. I have completely fallen in love and I don't even care if I ever get up.

Life is epic and fulfilling beyond my wildest imaginations.

He's so pretty.