If you have followed along with our blog since the beginning, you know writing Big Brother N a birthday letter each year is a special tradition I started when he turned 1. I plan to continue this tradition with Little Brother N, too. You also probably know my boys look quite a bit alike. Some pieces of their personality are very similar too, but in others they are so, so different. It was so fun reminiscing and reflecting on Little Brother N the last year and my continual evolution as a mother. Hope you enjoy and share in some of my sentiments!
I can simply not believe how fast this year went. Three hundred sixty-five days have passed in the blink of an eye and my heart continues to explode with love and happiness!
You are playful and so quick to giggle, flexible at nearly all times, and as easy going as I imagine babies come. I’ll look at you and occasionally wonder if you’re seeing things because you’ll be smiling and giggling at the air. Your gap-toothed grin literally lights me up from the inside out and when you wrinkle your nose and squint your eyes I basically turn to mush. “What a happy baby,” is a phrase we have become accustomed to, and getting through the grocery store takes twice as long because you don’t know a stranger. Every person that you wave and smile at stops to visit with you because you’ve made them feel special. I don’t have the heart to tell them how many people have already stopped us.
As excited as I was for your impending arrival one year ago now, I was worrying about how our family and your brother would handle the addition of a sweet, little baby. Then you were born, and each of us instantly fell in love with you, especially Big Brother N. It has grown more and more clear with each day that you are the perfect addition to this family and you were absolutely meant for us. As my heart overflows with love and adoration for you, those hours of worry now seem so silly and wasteful.
In April, at your sixth month wellness check, we learned you had something called plagiocephaly, a flat spot on the back, right side of your head. Not knowing much about the condition, daddy and I dove head first into gathering information, talking to experts and identifying the right path forward for you and our family. Learning that this could cause big problems for you in the future, we chose to have you use a prosthetic helmet and do our best to take care of the issue while you were little. I struggled with this decision so much. I had no idea what this experience would be like for you, and I couldn’t imagine putting a helmet on my six-month-old baby for 23 hours a day. The prostetician told us you’d need to wear the helmet between three to twelve months, depending on how quickly your head grew. Your dad was rock solid in what needed to happen and encouraged me to see how this could positively affect your future. You handled the helmet like a champ, seemingly unimpacted by its new existence in your life. You “graduated” from the helmet with a nearly perfectly round skull in four-short months. I’m happy to say, in hindsight, this was absolutely the right move.
There are many things I can’t imagine forgetting about your babyhood: how you love to clap your hands, and do with such enthusiasm and excitement; your love of music and anything with the smallest resemblance of a rhythm; your complete contempt for socks and shoes; your FOMO; how tough you are; and how the weight of your body feels in my arms and your head in the curve of my neck. But, more than anything, I want to hold on to the memory of the instant and ongoing connection between you and your brother.
My deepest hope before you arrived earthside was that you and your brother would love and enjoy each other. I prayed you’d at least have an interest in each other and that conflict and jealousy would be minimal. I know you each have a lifetime ahead of you and your opinion of each other will ebb and flow, but watching the relationship that is already developing between you is one of the most precious things I’ve been a part of. At this point, you would choose each other over anyone. In the morning when you wake up and I come to get you from your crib, you point to your brother’s room because he is the first person you want to see. I set you on his bunk bed and you greet each other with big hugs and even bigger smiles. Big Brother N comes into daycare with me to get you nearly everyday we pick you up because he isn’t willing to wait to see you. If he is watching TV or not paying attention to you, you will pound on his back until he gives you his attention. Surprisingly, most times, he isn’t angry or frustrated about this. He will share whatever he is doing with you or shift his focus to something you had been doing. This morning you had a ball I was trying to take from you so we could roll it back and forth. You were stubborn and wouldn’t give it up. When Big Brother N walked over, you extended your arm and offered him the ball. I cannot wait to see this relationship evolve. I’m sure there will be hard phases and bad moments, but remember you are family and a built-in best friend for each other. Always be there to support and encourage each other.
I have had a small advantage with you. The advantage of time and experience. In a couple weeks, I’ll have a five year old. I now know the speed of time, which only gets faster with each passing day. Because of that, with you, my priorities are clearer. I am more easily able to choose you over things that don’t really matter and let frustrations go because I know each phase will be gone in what feels like a second. I’ll happily let a project wait to play peek-a-boo with you and I’m fine going on less sleep because I know before long you’ll be sleeping the whole night. I’m also more confident and sure of myself as a mother. I know to try new things until we find the one that works for you, and I have a giant pocket of ideas because I have the gift of experience. This has shifted the choices I make, the type of example I am and how much of myself is available to my boys. And as a baby, you’re getting a better mom than your brother did.
Baby, Little Brother N, Peanut, please don’t ever lose your love of life. You are curious, love to explore, up for meeting anyone, and so happy to just be. Life is so much easier if you have a sense of humor and choose to be happy. And believe me, at times, being happy is a choice. There will be a boatload of challenges and bumps coming your way. The actions you take and the attitude you put forward, will impact you and those around you in ways that will blow your mind. Don’t confuse this with me telling you to always be happy. There are times you won’t be, and that’s okay. But there is positivity in every situation and something to learn. By focusing on those things, you can change your frame of mind and, in turn, your situation.
Happy birthday Baby N! With the addition of your sweet life, our home and lives brightened infinitely. I can’t wait to see what this life has in store for you. And know, with every part of my being, I am so thankful that I was chosen to walk alongside you through this journey. If the last year is any indication, it’s sure going to be fun!
Photos by Corrie L. Photography.
Be sure to check out other JBJ posts, too!