(Same intro as the last time I wrote a six-month letter to a child of mine: nanobots, jetpacks, brief change of narrative, etc.)

:::

Dear Dylan,

I was recently looking at a journal entry I wrote in 2006 when your brother was six months old, and I had to smile at the similarities. Your staccato chortling laugh, the fact that you can roll around like a potato bug but aren’t quite sitting on your own yet, your sudden ravenous appetite and subsequent full-bodied embracement of solid baby foods, your penchant for howling in anger right before your naptimes — these are all things I noted about your brother when he was the same age you are now.

There are familiar moments and yet this experience of taking care of you, my baby boy, is so different than it was the first time around. Sometimes I feel a little wistful that you aren’t the only child in our house, that you don’t get 100% of our attention, that your parents aren’t quite so steeped in a marveling, slightly terrified sense of being in unrecognizable territory.

I don’t think you mind these things, though. I don’t think you mind one bit that your brother is a constant in your life, a presence who brings noise and chaos and laughter to the entire household. (Dylan, your face lights up like the sun when you see Riley, and I cannot tell you the joy that brings to my heart.) I don’t think you mind that your parents feel more experienced, are a little less panicked and unsure and a little more laid-back about taking care of you. You are awfully accommodating, Dylan, just a deliciously agreeable good-humored baby for the most part. Well, except for the napping thing.

I sing this goofy song to you that goes “Who’s that tiiiiny little sucto, who’s that tiiiiny little sucto, who’s that tiiiiny little sucto, who’s that tiny little suuuucto?” Sucto is short for suctopus, which is how we sometimes refer to you (a grabby-tentacle’d baby who furiously glugs down milk by the seeming gallon-loads), although your official nicknames are The Tinytopus, Tiny D, and D-Back, ANYWAY. When I sing this to you your face gets all beamy and your mouth opens wide and your little legs bicycle around joyously, and if I ever wondered whether you truly recognize this little song you made it crystal clear last weekend when I was putting you in your carseat and started humming the Tiny Little Sucto tune and you whipped your head to me around instantly and smiled bright as anything, a full-bodied grin that practically dropped me to my knees, it was so wonderful.

A few days ago you were rolling around on the carpeted family room floor and ended up bonking your head into the entertainment center, hard enough that you were nearly hysterical when your dad ran in and swooped you up. You were squealing into his shoulder like a devastated little piglet, and I practically elbowed your dad in the gut in my rush to take you in my own arms. As soon you raised your tear-stained face and saw me, you reached a hand out to me, and I folded you into my body and you burrowed into my chest and sobbed for a bit, until you felt better. I could do that for you, I could give you comfort, and it was indescribable, that feeling.

Please note I am not saying I enjoyed your painful head-bonk, and I hope we can all avoid such accidents in the future. (But oh, your little body clinging to mine. The way you seemed to soak up something you needed from me.)

You like to make a lot of loud sounds a lot of the time, and sometimes they sound like “GA GA GA GA” and sometimes “AYAH!” and maybe my favorite, a buzzing “BMMMMM” noise you make with your lips pressed firmly together and your cheeks all squirrely and sly-looking. You are insanely curious about everything and we have to be careful to constantly move things out of your reach because your hands have the grip of a pipe wrench. You don’t sleep all the way through the night but I often find that I enjoy those wee-hour moments when the house is silent and you are nestled with me in the rocking chair drinking a bottle while your right hand holds my right thumb and your left hand pats wonderingly up and down my left arm. You like to raise your eyebrows while you’re smiling, and it is simply a pro move, my son, a devastatingly flirty expression that I am sure you will hone and perfect to a deadly art form when you are older.

Right now your hair is reddish, your eyes are grey-blue, and you have perfectly rosy cheeks. I think you are a spectacularly good-looking baby, even with the constant waterfalls of drool coming from your cupid’s-bow mouth. (You have three teeth already!)

The first several weeks after you were born were really hard for me. I was tired, overwhelmed, and more than a little desperate-feeling, and I won’t lie, I wished for the time to go by more quickly, for you to grow up and not need so much from us. It’s hard to believe I ever felt that way, when now all I wish for is that time would slow down, that I could enjoy your babyhood for as long as I want, instead of the cruel truth of days slipping by faster and faster, every moment taking you just a bit away from me. The entire act of parenthood is a path of loss, Dylan, where the whole point is for you to grow up and away, and we will know we did at least a few things right when you carve out your own life completely separate from ours. I know how this time is such a sweet shutter-flash, and my heart, my little one, it will be over so soon. I am trying to hold on to it all, even as it constantly changes.

I wasn’t sure what life would be like with two children, and while there are surely new challenges and difficult moments, I could never have guessed how wonderful it was really going to be. How much fun we would have together. How you seem like you were always meant to be here. Like we were just waiting for you to arrive.

Dylan, I love you now and forever, more than words can express.

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Comments

69 Responses to “Dylan, six months and counting”

  1. Trisaratops on August 27th, 2008 2:54 pm

    How lucky are your boys that they have these to read when they are older. I too am crying at work, and my ovaries are seizing – saying get pregnant now! You’re an amazing Mom, writer and wife. Congratulations on your beautiful family.

  2. beach on August 27th, 2008 4:08 pm

    ok, your kid is Gorgeous…..and you clearly are enjoying and savoring these moments…..as you should , they do go way too fast. You are an awesome MOM….Riley and Dylan are very lucky. enjoy, and keep taking lots of pictures and writing messages to your kids….they will be your personal archives…and bring much joy to you when they do sprout their wings and go on their own ways.. I am dealing with a kid going off to college and one entering his sophomore year of high school( and all his independence)….your life brings me back to those sweet sweet days that you are living right now….again, sniggle in and love your babies

  3. Donna on August 27th, 2008 4:19 pm

    Oh stop it — now I have to go and make supper with tears in my eyes. Tomorrow, could the boys please do something to tick you off and make you write FUNNY???!!!! For balance, you know.

  4. Robin on August 27th, 2008 5:54 pm

    Perfect.

  5. Angela on August 27th, 2008 6:22 pm

    I made *that* face the whole time I read this. You know what face I’m talking about.

  6. MotherGooseAmy on August 27th, 2008 6:38 pm

    You always make me laugh, but today you made me cry like a baby!

  7. willikat on August 27th, 2008 7:17 pm

    like i wasn’t emotional enough already today.
    these types of posts are priceless for your kids when they get older.

  8. laughing mommy on August 27th, 2008 9:13 pm

    Beautiful letter to your son… it was fun to read and remember when my baby was 6 months.

    By the way, your hair is perfect! Did you just get it done? It truly seems like the perfect cut for you.

  9. Cali911Gal on August 27th, 2008 10:38 pm

    Made me cry too! Wonderful post!

  10. Lesley on August 27th, 2008 11:50 pm

    Beautiful mom, beautiful baby.

  11. Emme on August 28th, 2008 10:45 am

    Oh, how this makes me miss my babies! I’m pretty much a lurker around here but this made me respond – alot of what your blog does for me is send me back in time when my boys were babes – i so often want to respond and tell you to just make sure that are ‘smelling the roses’ so to speak – this post lets me know that you most certainly are. I feel fortunate that as much as i miss the baby days – I am having so much fun watching my boys turn into to men – they are now 19, 18 and 15 and just awesome people to be around (well, most of the time! they still are dirty, loud and well, boys… nuff said!) My sister gave me some great advice – never stop kissing them goodnight or telling them daily that you love them – I never did and even now, as teens, they tell me they love me, give me giant bear hugs and kisses – just not in front of their friends!

  12. Lucy on August 28th, 2008 11:13 am

    That was lovely!

    Also: umm, reddISH?? There ain’t nothin’ ‘ish’ about that kid’s hair color. That gorgeous head of hair is RED. RED!

  13. Danielle-lee on August 28th, 2008 1:14 pm

    Awwww. You have evoked tears AND goosebumps out of me this time. :) You are such a wonderful writer. And you nail it, every.damn.time.

  14. Sam on August 28th, 2008 3:13 pm

    Oh, stupid emotions!!! Now I need to go make another baby.
    Thanks Linda, you are such a great writer.

  15. Casey on August 28th, 2008 6:32 pm

    Your site and your writing are great. I recently clicked over to you (don’t ask me where or how, I follow random links all the time). I enjoyed reading so much that I spent quite a bit of time reading back through your posts. No, you don’t need a restraining order, I’m far far away and have no interest in stalking you but I wanted to let you know that your kids are adorable and I enjoy reading your site.

    We’re in the middle of toddlerhood (and we also have a 4 month old), and I’ve found relief reading about your experience with sucky eating and tantrums. Anyway, thanks for telling it like it is.

  16. caleal on August 29th, 2008 6:27 am

    Stop making me cry at work, you horrible, horrible woman.

    These posts should come with warnings or something.

  17. Jen on August 29th, 2008 10:42 am

    this whole post was really lovely and made me miss the 6-month-old version of my daughter. i also really appreciated the part about how you wished that he was getting 100% of your attention but that you don’t think he minds. we’re smack-dab in the middle of baby #2 talks and that’s one of the things that worries me so, thanks. it was reassuring that it’ll be okay. :)

  18. Leslie on September 2nd, 2008 3:03 pm

    Beautiful.

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