15 months

Dear Tristan,

I’m ashamed of my negligence for not writing sooner. So much happened these last 2 months I don’t even know where to start.

First of all, history: we escaped from out first real hurricane! Last year we prepped and Matthew was a joke, but this year we flew away from Irma. A trip to dad’s family in Minnesota was long due and the idea we might be without electricity for some time didn’t sound appealing at all, so dad got tickets and we went away. You were sick with fever from the day we left to 3 days later, and you were the cutest little thing. I held you for so long my arms and back were aching but I wouldn’t let you go… just days before I was comparing you to Tommaso, my friend’s Denise’s boy who is 7 weeks older than you and fall asleep next to her every afternoon and kisses her and shows her affection like you never do. But when you are sick you become a little adorable koala bear who just wants to be held in my arms. You were so good on the plane, all considered, and during the trip as well. It was very hectic and not a good time to be up there, but you were such a trouper! Got used to the people, sleeping on the floor, sleeping on an air mattress, on a different bed, in 3 different places, you were so awesome staying in the car for such long drives… Both me and dad were real proud!

We came home to our untouched house, but the yard suffered from Irma, and it wasn’t even a direct hit! So we are back to the beginning. We lost your barbados cherry tree and half of the avocado tree, all the hibiscus and some plumeria. But we can’t complain! We found out we never lost power so if this happen again we might stay… so we’ll live the experience of a hurricane.

By 15 months you can:

-understand both english and italian, everything, basically. Even something like “If you don’t sit down I won’t let you open the water. If you sit, then I’ll open it” (because you want to take your bath standing).

-know about 15 words, between english and italian: dada, papa, mamma, nana (banana), nanna (sleep), all daaa (all done), bo (ball), appa (acqua), abo (apple), vvvvva (uva/uvetta), mo (more, with sign), na (that/there), bye bye, tata (patata-potato), the (tee-three), blu…

-open every drawer/cabinet

-put hands in dirt even when the dirt is invisible to human eyes

-you learned how to open doors!!! Omg I didn’t know if i felt more proud or annoyed, as so far it’s been the only way to keep you out

-love cleaning. Seriously, you always have a broom, a mop, the swiffer thing or the spray cleaner and a rug in your hands, and you get pissed off if I don’t let you help.

-you are still scared of the vacuum (vroom vroom!) but it also fascinates you and you keep looking for it

-can recognise a koala, a parrot (and make sound), cat, sheep, fish (and you do the fish and make bubbles), lion (and roar), snake (and you hiss!), a bat, a spider (and you out your hands together to make the Incy Wincy spider), a bee

-you have a crush on your teacher Elizabeth, and you are jealous of the younger babies in your class

-last night dad was caressing me and you were half asleep, you jumped up, crawled towards us, moved his hand away and gave him a stare down. You did that all evening until dad gave up. I felt so important even if I wasn’t sure if you were jealous of him or me!

-put the phone on your ear and say “Naaaa?”

-try to clean your ears with a Q-Tip and cut your nails with the nail scissors (or my nails)

-a few nights ago I finally managed to make you fall asleep in your crib/toddler bed. That lasted 3 nights then you had vaccinations and dad said you deserved a pass that night and let you sleep with us again. Weak.

-you are 32″ tall and weight 24 pounds. Still super blond, still super cute, walk well and try to run. You wear 24m/2T and a size 5 of shoes.

-you’ve been moving shoes around, bringing them to us. not sure why.

-you keep hiding stuff in the garbage bin and we lost a couple toys… you also like to hide your things in cabinets. Even in Minnesota you found an empty cabinet in the kitchen and you hid your tippy cup and a piece of cheese in it.

-you are pretty good at drawing, colouring and stuff. Day care helps!

-You have been for a while, but you can feed yourself with a spoon or fork, even if you prefer hands

-you eat everything, the only 2 things that so far you haven’t liked are melon (cantaloup or honeydew) and hard boiled eggs

-your favourite food so far is the leek quiche.

I was watching some old videos with you today, and you look so different even if it was just a few months ago. That’s crazy how much you’ve grown. You do not look like a baby compared to in those videos. I understand now why people say time flies and to enjoy it now because it goes too fast.

-I’ve been thinking of having another baby. Not that I feel the need, you are still very needy and we have not enough time and i do not want to have to share the little time we have between you and another child. But I never wanted an only child and dad said if we have another one it has to be before he’s 40… so… not much time left. It’s probably not a good idea, considering we are alone with no family or friends around, and waking full time, and you need still so much attention… But i know we’ll manage, somehow. Everybody does, don’t they? We’ll see. I don’t know if you’ll ever appreciate a sibling, but hopefully if not in childhood you’ll appreciate it as an adult. It will give you more freedom in your choices. Like, would i ever left my family to move to China, and then decide to start a life with a man in America, where I’d never been before, if I was an only child? I don’t know. Maybe, but the guilt I would feel would be much bigger, if there wasn’t my sister to compensate for my absence.

Also, to be honest, I need another child because I’m too attached to you. I need to be able to share myself more. You are so loved that I don’t think I could love another one, there is just not enough space in my heart, you fill it all. I know a mother’s heart can get bigger and make more space. I need to prove that to myself.

And last, and the saddest thing of all… If something happened to you, i couldn’t stand it. I don’t think I would find the strength to see going. Not for me, not for dad. I think it would break me. The only thing that could give me strength to survive, would probably be another child who needs me, so I would find the strength somewhere to be, for him, or her. It’s sad, but true. I didn’t know before you came… I totally underestimated a mother’s love.

Unconditional. So true. No matter what you do and how mad or tired or annoyed I can be, in a second everything is forgotten and i’m ready to give you a thousands kisses! I was never able to be like that before… it would take a while for my anger to go away. You have so much power on me… good thing you can’t read just yet ;)!

Love,

Mom

 

 

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Naughty-Naughty!

Dear Tristan,

the other day you saw the lip balm on my nightstand, you grabbed it and you reached out to pass it on my lips. I thought it was quite amazing. I never showed you that! But it’s part of my morning routine and you’ve seen me doing that… and you knew…

You also tried to pass on my lips the nasal spray… -.-‘

Your first bday is coming up… I’m still thinking what to do. I don’t want to overwhelm you and sadly we don’t have any friends with small kids. We’ll see. I wish I had the time to bake you the coolest cake ever!!! I’m a little rusty so I would need some practise first, so it’s not going to happen.. especially now that you are been so needy! You never let go of our legs and we can’t leave you alone for one second that you start screaming. Separation anxiety big time. Used to have always somebody by you during our trip, it’s a big reality check now that we are on our own again. Oh well… it would still be ok, if only you slept at night! But no… separation anxiety hit you at night at its worst. You hate the crib that you were sleeping in happily before, and you wake up every night crying like someone was torturing you. We tried to start over sleep training but it’s not working!!! You either don’t stop screaming or you are wide awake. You are giving us a hard time… I wish family was close. I do want a second child, but in these moments when I think about it rationally it seems a ticket to Disaster. I know we’d find a way, but I’m not sure at what cost. Being alone in a foreign country with no friends or family around, and when this country is America (which is not super mom-friendly) is revealing really tough.

I just hope this is just a phase. You are also being a little naughty, you definitely understand us but you still do what you are not supposed to… throwing food on the floor and then screaming. Saturday I gave you a time out. It was just to try and see what you would do, you were driving me insane and I gave it a try. I turned the high chair you were on the other way and I didn’t talk to you until I finished what I was doing (preparing you dinner). You didn’t like that, but you also didn’t learn the lesson. At what age parents should get mad at kids who don’t listen? Sometimes I’m sure you know exactly what’s going on, sometimes you are still a baby… My baby.

My little dude… Thank God you are cute!!! 😉

Love Always,

Mom

39 weeks in the Big world!

Dear Tristan,

last Saturday you were 9 months old! You spent in the outside world exactly the same amount of time you spent in my belly… Which makes you officially a big baby now. And which makes me already nostalgic. Of what, I’m not even sure. So far, you’ve become every day a little more awesome, so there is nothing to be nostalgic for… yet. I guess I’m nostalgic because I know that time is going by too fast and, eventually, you won’t be a baby anymore. I dread the time of tantrums and school, when everything we taught you will be something to go against and defy, I can hardly imagine how I’ll feel when you’ll be mad at means say something awful which you won’t even mean, but still, it’ll hurt. Then, I’ll be nostalgic. For now, I try to enjoy every moment of you.

March was an important month. On March 7th, you officially started day care. And I wanted to write back then. I felt so bad and cried so many times that I really wanted to write something for you to read to make you understand that we didn’t really have a choice. Like you’ll even care, or remember. Oh boy. Day care was hard. On you as much as on me. The babysitter couldn’t come anymore and all the others are just too expensive, so after long research Dad found a great place for you to go to. It’s in Parkland, which it’s like the Hamptons of this area, when people are nice and rich and behave and the houses are big with acres and acres of lands, and horses hang out in their park-size yards.

The feeling, when we went to see it, was good. Compared to the other ones we checked, it was a winner. Still, many things weren’t the way I wanted them, but I had to give in. We just didn’t have any other option.

We had just got on a great schedule that was working great fo all of us, and you were content and healthy. You would wake up at 7.30, nurse, go for a nice long walk, have a morning nap around 9.30, have a snack. Have lunch with us at 1pm, playtime, then afternoon nap around 2pm and you were waking up at 3.30-4pm. Then you would stay awake all afternoon, dinner at 7, bath time, nurse, bed time. That was working wonderfully.

We went together to the day care for an hour or so 3 days the week before, and you were a little scared, and didn’t want to leave me at all. I thought it was so noisy! Even the teachers were talking so loud. The songs, the animation videos, everything was so loud!! You are not used to that. How would you be able to sleep? Lunch time is at 11am, which is ridiculous, we just got you to eat at 1pm, with us, like a family! Now we have to change everything again?!? Nap time is from 12 to 2pm… that’s when you are more awake! How are we going to manage that?! These, and other thousands questions were harassing me.

On March 7th, I asked Dad to bring you, because I knew i couldn’t manage to leave you there. He said you were fine, and I came to pick you up at 1.30pm. It was a horrible horrible morning. The cameras weren’t working and the teacher who was supposed to text me was home sick, so for hours I had no idea how you were doing. I finally gave up and called the office and they said you were ok. I came to pick you up and you barely looked at me. On Wednesday, I dropped you off and picked you up at 3pm. That day, you cried from 6pm to 5.20am of the next morning. We didn’t know what got into you but you were unconsolable. I was so upset with the teachers, and the day care, the camera were still not working well, and when they did I saw you too often in the swing, where they put you to make you sleep at 12.30, even when you had a morning nap. So that you would wake up at 2pm, and by the time you got home you were exhausted and wouldn’t even eat and were too tired even to fall asleep. We spent the whole night carrying you and there was no way of putting you down without waking you up and start screaming again. You wanted to be held, and rocked, which is something you haven’t wanted in a very long time. The next morning, on Thursday, I dropped you off and Dad came to pick you up at 4.30pm. And when I got home, at 6pm, and saw you, for the first time you didn’t look cute. Your eyes were red from crying and tiredness, your nose was all covered with dry mucus and you were kind of stinky. And you weren’t smiling. Nothing we did made you smile. You, the baby that just few days before was cracking up with laughter, weren’t smiling. That really really made me feel horrible, a horrible mother. I wasn’t able to make my baby happy.

On Friday, they said you did a little better. And during the weekend, slowly you went back to a few smiles… Meanwhile you were recovering from the cough and cold you got. From Monday, it started to be a little easier. During that second week, you started to get used to the new routine, and to adjust to the new people, the other kids, the schedule, the trip in the car. You weren’t crying in the car on the way there anymore, and at the end of the week you were okay. You smiled at me from the rug where you were playing with teacher Elizabeth, we got used to the new sleeping pattern: if you woke up at 2pm, you would crash in the car on the way back home and that nap would keep you going until dinner and bed time. So we went back to normal. By Friday of the second week, I felt positive and that this would work out.

The 3rd week started, and you were doing great at the day care! The teachers also got to know you better, and were happy to see you in the morning, and you were smiling seeing them. You were more rested when I got home and happy. Even when you were sick, you didn’t skip a day and in less then 2 weeks you adjusted. I was so proud!! They told us you were the most popular kid in the class, that all the other babies wanted to touch your super blond hair, and during the time outside the older kids from the other classes all wanted to go see “the baby boy with the blue eyes”… I felt as proud as a peacock. You were a lovable, flexible and popular baby!

So, at the end of the story, I decided that we made a good choice. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but we managed, and you did great. I was reconsidering the two options babysitter vs day care, and I changed my mind. Maybe it’s to make me feel better, but I’d rather send you to a day care, then hire somebody to stay with you all day. I thought.. what can a babysitter offer you? Nothing more than what I could –should– give you as a mother. And, no matter what Dad says, it would be totally normal if I was afraid you’d get confused and call her Mamma. It happened to me before (to be called mamma by kids I was looking after), and as flattered as that made me feel, I was horrified thinking about how a mother would feel about that. Not good. And even if I want you loved and well cared for, I also want to give you an opportunity, to meet different people, to make friends, to spend time with other babies, to understand the concept of sharing and playing together. I want you to become flexible and be able to adapt and learn. So, all considered, less than 2 weeks adjustment time was worth it. I am happy with our choice and this is mostly thank to you. You made it so easy… you are such a wonderful little boy.

Love,

Mom

I want to remember…

Dear Tristan,

no matter how many photos of you we’re taking, some moments just must be written down because it’s too difficult to catch the love in a photo (and your dad is never ready at the right time!!!).

The other day I got home from work, everything was quiet. You were on the couch with Dad and when I peaked through the door you smiled and squealed in delight. I went to get changed and you were saying “Mamma, mamma, mamma”. When I came back and I took you, I lifted you up in the air and you were smiling and I hugged you tight and you hugged me back and put your face in my neck while I was biting your chubby cheeks and we were just laughing like two idiots. I thought “This is the love. I wish I could frame this moment. Or videotape it and keep it forever. Whenever it feels too hard, watching this would make everything all right again”.

I like to bite your thighs and arms and neck, and you started to do the same to me. It’s wonderful your toothless bite! I thought you were doing it for emulation and yesterday I realised it might not be a good idea since you’ll get teeth soon and how can explain how to bite without using the teeth? And guess what. Yesterday afternoon we saw a tooth bud!!! You are getting your first tooth!!! That probably explains the biting more than my ’emulation theory’. Oh well. You’ve been a little cranky and yesterday you didn’t want food for the first time ever.

I’m excited but sad at the same time. A tooth! It’s a big change. Your smile will be different. Your face will be different. You might not nurse right anymore. You are growing up and I’m just not ready for that. Period. I’m pathetic.

You are also sitting up! I wouldn’t leave you unsupervised but I can move around a bit while you are sitting and you won’t fall over – almost never. You reach out to select your toys from the toy box. You also put the toys back in the box!!! Now I’m teaching you to “put stuff inside other stuff”.

And we are looking for a home day care. Tata Cathryn wants to be the backup or work 4 hours so we gotta find a solution. All the other babysitter are too expensive, it’s barely worth it for me to work at this point, if it means I have to hand over my salary to someone else who gets to spend time with you and see you growing every minute. I want to work… but only part time. So we are looking. Stress levels pretty high.

If I had that videotape I was taking about, I would watch it now. I’m gonna go look at you sleeping instead. That also work.

Love,

Mom