When Coco came to meet Theo in the hospital the day he was born, she brought some gifts along with her. That was one of the very lovely things some of the people we knew in Minnesota did before things got ugly...anyway! She had selected a little blue bear and a little blue lovey for him at Target.
She gave him the bear and then proudly, and very deliberately, set about laying the lovey over him while he sleep-nursed in my arms. It was ridiculously cute. Looking back, I wish I hadn't been such a germaphobe, but I was in full-on "DON'T TOUCH THE BABY'S FACE" mode until he had his first round of shots. And I also wish that I had been more relaxed as a new mom of two, but hey, life was chaotic and miserable right about then. As I sat there in the hospital, I knew that at home, we didn't have any (none!) clothes that would fit that brawny babe. And, we didn't have a changing table, bassinet, swing, breastfeeding pillows or anything else either as our shipment from Zurich was later than late. That I could muster even a strained smile is a wonder. The full on, joyous smiles? Total mystery.
So, naturally, we chose this blue bear to be the bear with which each of Theo's monthly photos was taken. I had never heard of this idea with Coco, but with Theo, I decided to give it a go. Here he is at one month. Let's just pause and recognize that that is a 3-6 month outfit he's getting too big for there. LORDY! He was so big, I honestly never felt like I had a newborn at all. Then, last month, we were in Seattle and I held a friends three-day-old baby and he was so tiny and floppy, he did one of those newborn flails and almost flipped right out of my arms. I caught his little head and realized I have no idea how to hold a normal newborn anymore. I still have horrific visions of accidentally dropping their three-day-old when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. It makes me gasp and open my eyes wide in the dark! I tell myself they've probably forgotten all about it, but the truth is, I may have already become part of that child's key stories. You know, the ones that your parents tell when you have guests for dinner and you roll your eyes because you've heard a million times how Lindsey almost dropped you on your head when you were just three days old. Barely out of the womb! Shudder.
Anyway, back to Theo. At one month, he was so thoughtful and observant and delightful. I loved holding him, wearing him in the Moby wrap and the smell of his sweet head. What a dream boat.
At two months, Theo was as perfect as any little baby could be. That terry cloth Petit Bateau outfit that I had saved from a hand-me-down box we'd gotten while I was pregnant with Coco made my heart pitter-patter with joy. I cycled that thing through the laundry and back onto his exquisite chubby bod as quickly as I possibly could. I knew he was going to grow out of it in no time and he did! It's size 6 months, by the way. Theo's hands and fingers had me spellbound at this age. So pudgy, so soft, so creamy and wonderful. His brow was almost always furrowed. I loved watching his face and wondering what he was thinking about.
At three months, he wasn't digging the photos so much. But, he was looking good anyway. What a lovely round head! And if you want cardigans that look hand-knitted for cheap, Gap is the only place to go.
By four months, he was seriously chubby in the best possible way. This incredible heft earned him the nickname Tugboat, which always seemed perfectly fitting. He had the best double chin ever. And right around this age is when his eyes began to smile before his mouth would. They would light up and curl upward at the corners and sparkle and dance. It was incredible.
January was when the shit really started to hit the fan, so it's no surprise I missed his five month photo. But here he is, looking dapper and darling and delightful. We were on a trip to Dallas in this photo, and I remember being snuggled up in bed with him and he was wearing just a white Onesie to bed and I thought to myself that it was absolute heaven to be snuggled up with a roly-poly happy smiling nursing babe. And it was. It definitely was.
6 months was another month from hell. But this photo captures his gorgeous handsome face and look! His eyes turned brown. Hooray! Those wool and cotton blend pants and the cardi were my favorite combo of all. Quintessential baby right there. Oooh, I just want to pick him up and give him a big bear hug squeeze.
By 7 months, spring was coming, and I had the wherewithal to turn my attention away from the drama all around me and focus on my sweet beautiful family instead. This picture was taken on the actual day Theo turned 7 months. He was sitting up and starting to crawl, so interested in everything around him. So thoughtful and gentle and lovely. I felt so lucky to have him in my life. Also, same outfit! ;)
Eight months we had made the road trip out to Spokane for spring break. Talk about a long drive. Theo loves the car, and sleeping in the car, so that made it pretty easy. Coco was surprisingly happy to look out the window, talk, draw, and of course she had lots and lots of iPad time, too. ;) This picture captures Theo's little lumberjack phase so well. He was on the go and not slowing down for photos. Also, his hair was just too good.
By nine months his personality was really coming through! What a doll. Also, he is totally busting out of the 9-12 month outfit there. Those cheeks, though! Swoon.
By ten months, we were on the road again, this time for good with a U-Haul trailer and a 16' Budget truck. This photo was taken en route to Spokane somewhere in the middle of Montana or North Dakota. I love that you can see his cute teeth! J called them his big hippo teeth which was pretty dead on!
Eleven months. Those feet. That angelic face. That hair! The rolls. Total perfection.
At twelve months, we were finally in our little house and trying to get settled. It was hard to believe he was one. The preceding year had been so awful, it seemed to last an eternity. But then to think my baby's first year was already over, it was as if something had been taken from me.
Because if I'm totally honest, that's the only regret I have about leaving Switzerland and going to Minnesota when we did. All of the early regrets seem to make sense now and I feel like the lessons we learned and the ways we grew have all been worth. I honestly wouldn't go back and do it differently. But, even still I feel like I was so busy and stressed out and distraught the entire first year of Theo's life that I didn't get to enjoy it and bask in it and savor it the way I would have liked. Looking back, I feel good know that I had him with me the entire time - no daycare or time apart. I know many moms do that, and it's also just fine, but for me that would have been really hard. And, then it occurred to me that maybe it's always like that with the second child. It's impossible to have that focus and sweet quiet time when you have a toddler to care for and chase after!
And so life goes on, and we just have to trust it. Each year passes more quickly than the last and having Theo turn two at the beginning of this month really made my head spin. More than anything, I really want to slow down. I'm making a conscious effort to hold Coco and Theo each day, to make eye contact and listen to them, to bake scones and cookies with Coco and to let them help make pancakes and read zillions of books together and snuggle every morning. It's flying by. What will another year bring? We can't know now, but one thing is for sure. It will be here before we know it.