Eight years ago today, I became a mother for the first time when I gave birth to a magical baby boy. Born at sunrise on a Saturday morning, he surprised us all by weighing over 8 pounds and by crying when only his head was born! He had lots of dark hair and a tan complexion and he took to “nursies” like he was born to breastfeed. He was my highest need baby and in some ways remains the most complicated one to parent—perhaps because he is the first and so always more of an “experiment.” Now, at 8, he is getting tall and is super skinny. He is still tan, but his hair is light brown now—and out of control wild if it gets more than an inch long (and even then it is crazy—he has a double crown and a super weird, uneven hairline in front! No matter how his hair is cut, it looks like we went crazy and hacked it all off). He is losing teeth like crazy and finally has learned how to read—and, more importantly, to have a thrill of discovery about it, rather than acting like it is a chore. He has been cautious and careful since birth—at 10 months old, he would babysign the word “nervous” when scared about something and he is still likely to hang back in new situations.
Pre-pregnancy, I always envisioned myself having girls, but my Lannbaby quickly showed me that being a boymom is a great thing to be and I felt content to remain exclusively a boymom if that was my destiny.
He is amazingly creative and is constantly bubbling with ideas and projects. He draws all the time and does things like make books titled, “Impossible Things to Do in Your Own Back Yard.” He is highly verbal—always has been—and is maturing in his outlook/grasp on the world. For example, just last night Mark was telling me about wanting to buy some new exercise equipment (as I told him, there are some things in life I don’t believe in, and buying exercise equipment is one of them!). I said to Mark, “sure, fine. Go ahead and buy it. It’s totally okay with me for you to spend all our money on something that will just sit in the corner. I’m fine with it, really!” Lann was lying on the bed watching us and he said, “Gee, Mom, you are really bad at guilt tripping, aren’t you?” It cracked us up!
I’m amazed at how awesome it is to have an 8 year old and a baby at the same time. He is so much help and is a great big brother to both of his siblings. It is excellent to have someone who can stand by the cart while I use the bathroom at the store, or who can play with the baby while I take a shower, or who can carry the baby out to the carseat for me so I don’t have to make two trips. I find myself feeling completely weirded out by the fact that as his baby teeth are steadily falling out, hers are coming in. Where does the time go? It spins so fast and life just keeps rolling along, each stage so vibrant, real, all-encompassing, and normal, and yet *blink* there I am with my newborn son in my arms, feeling my heart crack wide open and my boundaries becoming stretched beyond all imagining. Feeling my way along as we are birthed into our new roles together, triumphant and tender all at the same time. Challenged beyond belief in the adjustments required to my sense of self, awed by my own ability to give and to adapt, shocked by the magnitude of the changes wrought in my life by one tiny soul. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, in the words of Naomi Wolf, A mother is not born when a baby is born; a mother is forged, made. Lann was the first babysmith of my life and the forging of my new self in the flames of motherhood was, and is, a potent, powerful, intense, transformative, and irreplaceable rite of passage—body, mind, heart, and soul. Thanks, baby!
Here we are, tender and new:
And, yes, I cried while I was doing this…