One year ago I was enormously pregnant and it was the night before my scheduled C-section and I was so, so scared. Then we were at a hospital and waiting waiting waiting for the surgery to get underway and then all of a sudden, oh my god, then there was a baby.

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That was you, Dylan Emmett. You looked like a tiny elf when you were first born. Or maybe a hobbit, considering the relative size of your feet.

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When you were one month old I was struggling; loving you with all the helpless surging gallops of a mother’s heart but so humbled by the task of caring for you. Five months later life had taken on new, easier rhythms and I wished for the ability to slow the relentless acceleration of time so I could more thoroughly enjoy your squirrel-cheeked infanthood — but that’s not how it works, baby mine. Days tumble by at liquid speed and now it’s been an entire year since the day we first saw your face and I’m not sure I understand how that can be true, but I suppose it is. The evidence is everywhere, after all. Just look at you.

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At one year old you are insatiably curious, easily entertained, and you never sit still. You’re still crawling and can move at an alarming pace — I’ve watched you go scurrying from one end of the house to another, your chubby legs a blur and your hind end wiggling back and forth. You love to follow your brother into his bedroom (he shouts, “Come on, Dylan!” and you squeal with glee) and studiously pull yourself up on his easel in order to grab handfuls of crayons and scrawl across the paper, or traverse his floor examining one toy after another.

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It’s very easy to make you laugh, Dylan. You spend much of your time with your mouth wide open, giggling and clapping and generally being riotously happy and loud. You are delighted beyond all reason by the cat, who patiently endures your slobbery hugs and the way you bend your head down in her fur and rub your cheek against her. The other day you spoke your very first word, in honor of the kitty cat: gee gah! To be honest I was sort of gunning for “Mama”, but I suppose gee gah will do just fine.

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You are trying very, very hard to walk, and you can do so by holding our hands, taking great staggering, wobbly-legged strides like the mini-Godzilla you are, your face an open flower of pure joy. Sometimes you manage to stand up all by yourself, without hanging on to anything, and it is a startling image: you, just . . . standing there in the middle of the room.

You love most goo-ified foods and you are quite the dense little butterball at 23 pounds or so. I always carry you on my left side and I can only assume my spine is slowly developing a permanent curve from hefting you around. Oh, it’s a blissful weight, though, your body held in my arms. This I know from past experience: soon you won’t want to be carried. This is the last bit of time when it’s your greatest desire.

You and your brother have started playing together, even wrestling gently on the living room floor, and I don’t have the words for the happiness I experience when I see the two of you enjoying each other’s company. It is raucous headache-y chaotic perfection.

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I have this hopeful idea that someday in the future you and your brother will have access to these entries I’ve written — even the cuss words — and that you’ll have the opportunity to understand a little about my life and who I was as a person, way back when you were a baby and Mama was 34 years old. Maybe there will even be a day when you have a child of your own, and you will understand with great clarity what I mean when I tell you, right now, that you can be a wondrous, glorious pain in my ass. If you are easily entertained, you are even more easily frustrated, Dylan. A great portion of your day is spent complaining at top volume about one injustice or another, and sometimes I have to assume that the very air molecules surrounding you must be pissing you off, because for god’s sake, what else could it be?

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And if you are in many ways a much less suspicious baby than your brother was, well, sniglet, I hate to make comparisons but at least Riley slept through the night. I never thought I’d be so intimately familiar with the hour of 2 AM, and yet here we are, you and I, night after night.

I surely miss being able to sleep uninterrupted, but here is our routine when it comes time to putting you to bed: I hold you nestled in the crook of my left arm while you drink a bottle, and afterwards, you immediately start turning over in order to be held facefirst against my body. You pull your arms underneath you and burrow your nose into my chest until you find the most comfortable spot, and that’s how we stay, with the chair gently rocking and my lips brushing the top of your hair. I can feel the movement of your breathing, your belly warm against my own. It is a quiet, peaceful time of pure contentment, and how I love these moments with you. Even at 2 AM.

Sometimes in the midst of your full-throttle play you stop and suddenly crawl into the arms of your father or I with a joyful babbling squeal, and just take a quick break with your face buried in our arms, your eyes briefly closed in pleasure. I know you won’t always be this affectionate but I hope we are always a source of comfort, Dylan. I hope you always feel like you can come to us, because we will always, always be eager for you to do so. This I promise.

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You are growing so quickly and while I cannot wait to see the child you become, I want you to know how very much I love the baby you are now. You are so loved, by your parents, your brother, and even the long-suffering cat. Happy Birthday, Dylan Emmett. What an amazing year it’s been, and what an amazing boy you are.

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Jen
Jen
15 years ago

Thanks for sharing….This post was incredibly sweet!

SJ
SJ
15 years ago

It’s hard for me to comprehend that a year has passed by already – it seems just like yesterday that I was waiting on pins and needles for the announcement of Dylan’s arrival.

He’s so lucky Linda to have you and JB for parents, and Riley as a big brother! And this tribute to him just had me in tears…so very special.

Thank you for sharing all the ups and downs, your honesty and open-ness makes me feel all that more human and confirms that I’m not alone in my parenting struggles.

Happy Birthday to Dylan. Here’s to many, many more….

Donna
Donna
15 years ago

Awwwww, Linda. . . . .

Jennifer
15 years ago

Is that Cat….LOVING on someone? Glory be.

Happy birthday, little turtle. You get cuter by the second!

Angella
15 years ago

I cannot believe he is ONE!

This was absolutely beautiful, Linda. Happy Birthday to your little peanut.

Sunny
Sunny
15 years ago

Beautifully done. In the years ahead, Dylan and Riley will no doubt cherish all of your posts and read them with laughter and tears. What lucky boys!

Kristin
Kristin
15 years ago

CRYING at work! Darn it!

Kay
Kay
15 years ago

I am another that cannot believe he is one already! Wow! And look at Riley! He is practically a MAN!!!!!!!! :(

telegirl
telegirl
15 years ago

Happy belated birthday, Dylan!

I love your writing, Linda. I have been trying to chronicle my own baby’s life (he just turned 2 on Sunday!) and I do not even come close to how gorgeous this is. You truly have a gift that I *so* wish that I had. I read what you write and tears form and I completely know what you are saying. Thank you, this was beautiful.

I hope, too, that Dylan & Riley can come back and see how much love you have poured into them.

Mel
Mel
15 years ago

Waiting for the book…..

As always, beautifully written.

Happy Birthday Dylan!

Rakel
Rakel
15 years ago

Happy Happy birthday Dylan! Can’t believe it’s been a year already.
What a beautiful one year entry, Thank you Sundry!

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

This is beautiful, and I am crying. I want to leasve work this very instant and snuggle with my 3 month old. You truly have a gift!

April
April
15 years ago

*Sniff* This is so beautiful, Linda!

Happy Birthday to Dylan!

Reagan
15 years ago

Such beautiful boys, and with such a good mommy. Can’t wait to experience this myself one day… Thanks for sharing!

iidly
15 years ago

that reduced me to tears — Dylan I hope both you and your brother know how much you are loved:)

Kendra
Kendra
15 years ago

Jeez, I’m all teary-eyed…

bouncy
bouncy
15 years ago

Oh, it seems like yesterday that I was obsessively refreshing flickr.

Happy B-day, Dylan.

Anne L.
Anne L.
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, little D!!! This was a beautiful post, Linda. And your hair looks FABULOUS.

Abby
15 years ago

Oh, I’m crying. At work. I have a 7-month-old – my first, and a boy – and this hits so close to home. Sweet, sweet children.

Happy Birthday, Dylan!

Jenn Perryman
Jenn Perryman
15 years ago

Yeah, so I remember bawling uncontrollably at Riley’s 1-year video, and this was just as bittersweet. You and JB make beautiful babies, and it’s an honor to be invited in. Happy Birthday Dylan!

Alyson
15 years ago

Hobbit feet, definitely…. hobbit feet….perhaps a little hairless, though.

Happy FIRST B-day, Dylan!

Kari
Kari
15 years ago

Uh, Linda? Yeah, you need to write a book. You really have the talent, and it isn’t limited to parenting or anything at all, actually. And the weird thing is, I know you will and it will succeed marvelously.

Also, holy crap! Dylan looks so much like JB. I never really saw it before this post, but you managed to do the impossible. One boy looks just like you, one looks just like JB. Wow.

erin delanty
15 years ago

so, so so well written. you capture exactly how i imagine almost every mom feels about their baby(ies). my youngest is 9 months right now and i know i will blink and he, too, will be a year old. “liquid time” – that’s exactly how i feel – and i’m sure every other mother can relate – thanks for that!

happy birthday dylan!

Aimee
15 years ago

My friend told me I had to read this post b/c it perfectly captured that fleeting baby time. And now I’m all misty – what a perfect post. Can I just copy it over for my sweet girl when she turns one this August? Enjoy the day.

Kristin
Kristin
15 years ago

Dear GOD, but you just capture it!!!!!!! I’m stricken with awe at your ability to put it all in words!!!!!!!!!

wordygirl
15 years ago

Gee, thanks for making me cry, Linda. And thanks for making any one-year entry I make for my little girl utterly irrelevant! You are amazing. I hope you do write that book, dammit. I’d buy it.

melanie
melanie
15 years ago

oh my goodness the tears!!!!!! *sniffs* i need a tissue. happy 1st birthday to a truly beautiful little boy!! you couldn’t ask to be with a more loving mummy and daddy!! enjoy your special day :) :)

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Dylan!

You know, it’s cute. Dylan’s name is Dylan Emmett, and we had friends who had a baby 4 years ago, and the babies name (female) was Dillen Emma. It wasn’t until after she was born that we informed them that her nickname would be “Dilemma.”

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

tears streaming down my face because I know, I remember and you nailed it! You are so eloquent I often imagine your boys reading your entries twenty years from now. Lucky boys…happy birthday, Dylan!

Tela
Tela
15 years ago

Great entry! Happy birthday Dylan! Please, please, please write a book. This entry is so personal yet you speak to the heart of every mother. Wish I could put my thoughts into words like you. Wonderful gift you have here.

BTW, regarding your piffle today, my 2 year old son’s PJs smell like syrup every day too! Never mentioned it to anyone else, thought it was just him. Wonder what that could be? Weird!

Holly
15 years ago

Your little hobbit is the cutest thing ever. Thank you for letting us watch him grow up.

Anais
Anais
15 years ago

Crying over here!

That final picture did it, aside from your beautiful entry.

JudithNYC
JudithNYC
15 years ago

I haved loved watching your beautiful babies grow and hope that you continue keeping us up to date for years to come. I feel like I know (and like) these kids better than some I have known in real life.

PS I read your twitter about Riley smelling like maple syrup, I think you should mention it to his doctor. I don’t know what it means but it’s always better to check it out.

ElizabethZ
15 years ago

Saw the twitter about the syrup, my twins get that too, they are 3. My theory is that it is some sort of reaction between a small amount of diaper leakage, pee I guess and sweat coming into contact with fleece and somehow ends up smelling like that – it’s only when they are in their fleece jammies that it happens. I can’t explain it any other way. They certainly don’t have it happen more than 1x every couple weeks or so. I don’t think it is anything to concern yourself. And feel free to delete this comment if you don’t want it mucking up Dylan’s bday comments. I would completely understand.

willikat
15 years ago

That is so beautiful. Seriously, it kind of made me want to have a baby.
What a beautiful, loving tribute. Of course, I cried.
I love watching your family grow and change. thanks for sharing such intimate moments with us.

JAB
JAB
15 years ago

Holy cow…a year already?! This was a very beautiful post and something that Dylan will be sure to cherish when he is older. Absolutely awesome.

Donna Y
Donna Y
15 years ago

Been reading your blog for awhile but never commented. I’ve been a little misty all day, and this post pushed me over the edge! (sniff, sniff) My son turned one today, and Saturday, we found out that we’ll be welcoming baby #2 in late Sept. (An unexpected blessing!) What a joyful (& pain-in-the-ass) journey parenthood is! Thanks for sharing.

Karen
Karen
15 years ago

Congratulations….exceptionally lovely and well written post. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it…but I’ve also been somewhat disturbed. Does JB have a freakishly long and slender thumb…what the fuck is that digit next to Dylan’s leg?

And thanks for the hobbit picture again. Those feet are/were phenomenal.

K

mnerva
mnerva
15 years ago

Awww, I can’t believe I missed Dylan’s birthday! Happy belated, little D. Linda, once again you have created a great letter/entry for your boys to read. I know they will enjoy your blog as much, if not more, than we all do.

Christine Brandel
15 years ago

Oh God, I don’t think I can stop crying. That was just fabulously beautiful. You always manage to capture the emotions of motherhood so clearly, so perfectly, that I feel them all, over and over, as I read about you and your kids. My two youngest are almost exactly 2 years apart, and this entry really describes how it is, a preschooler and a toddler. Thank you, thank you for that joy.

Andrea
Andrea
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, Dylan!

Did I miss something? Is Dog still around? or did she make some sort of exit?

Motherhood Uncensored
15 years ago

Hobbit feet and syrup “flavored” pjs? I’m just not sure it can get any better.

Happy belated birthday, sweet boy!

Josh
15 years ago

I think you’re pretty rad too D, although you don’t look anything like an infant hobbit, more like a tree frog. We went over this a year ago, but SOMEBODY wasn’t listening, ;) Keep giving her hell, she earned it.

Also, I think that is probably the best mommy pic of you ever Sundry. Hell, that may be one of the best ever mommy pics period. My head is lopsided Angelina, suck a dick!

worldmomma
15 years ago

Happy birthday! What a cutie.

Charie
8 years ago

happy birthday! I have been riadeng your blog for years literally la. Commented for a few times but since I had changed my usernames so you probably don’t rmb me! Wanted to type Chinese but since I am at the office I have to do it quickly before my boss catches me xD. I agree with you, we don’t have to have any grand plans to be happy. Just follow ur heart!

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