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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Little things

Sunday

Hi Love, today I learnt that you are an attentive little man.

We woke up this morning and my head was pounding. i told you I had a headache and you patted the pillow to make me put my head down, and when I did you offered me your water. I was speechless. Thirteen months old, and you understand the concept of trying to make someone feel better. I took advantage of your being nice and requested a few caresses and you complied. My Love couldn’t be bigger! You made me feel that, if Dady is not around, you can take care of me. Thank you.

***

This is what you’ve been doing lately, at 13months:

-roar like a lion

-hoot hoot like an owl

-play and mime the 5 little monkeys song

-play hide and seek (now you started a new game behind the curtains

-you wash lettuce regularly

-you help me cook stirring in pots and adding pizza toppings (when you are not chewing them LOL)

-you brush your teeth, wash your hands and face

-you like to put your head under the water coming out from the hose or sink

-you know what to do with a Q tip

-you can drink from a real cup and do “cin cin” against my glass before drinking

-send kisses

-you walk with the crocs (only shoes you accepted so far)

-you understand italian for “switch off the light”, “spit the pacifier”, don’t use your hands, why don’t you use the spoon instead?”, “let me cut one nail first and then I’ll get you water” and other simple things. This doesn’t cease to amaze me.

-when I come home from work, and I’m still behind the door, I hear you saying “Mama?” asking daddy if it’s me you’re hearing.

-when yesterday Dad kissed my forehead, before going to work, you were in my lap and looked at him and had a little smile… like you were a little amused. And pleased. Enough for Daddy to feel obliged to kiss you also in the same way, on the forehead, before going off.

-another million things which i should definitely write down at the moment, because I have a moment of darkness n=right now…

You have been jealous of the new baby at the day care. The teachers say when they hold him you start crying and walk away. This week you’ve been crying when I leave you there. Teacher Elizabeth, your favourite, is on vacation and you just don’t like it as much in the morning, if she is not around. You also like Dalea, but she comes at 9. There is a kid, Nicholas, you has been bullying you. My sister caught him on camera while he was pulling your ear, your shirt and then you just put your head down on the table trying to escape from him. I bet he’s the one you bit you weeks ago, They won’t tell us. So there is nothing I can do, but today I threatened him in italian. I told him he better leave my baby alone. I know it’s stupid, but he looked at me straight in the eyes like he knew I had reason to be mad. Your first battles… 🙂

You’ve been a little koala bear in the morning, I can’t even get ready because you just want to be held. It’s super tiring, and difficult, but i also like it. I hope you didn’t take too much of the Scandinavian blood, I need a baby whom I can cuddle with. I think you are a good mix, you can’t stand when Dad raise his voice. You cry but just because you think he’s mad and you need reassurance that he is not. It’s so clear. You are very sensitive (I also hope you didn’t take too much of that from my italian blood :D!)

Love you,

Mom

 

Little man grows up

Hi Love,

you just fell asleep next to me and I’m gonna take some mines to write you something. Maybe I should just write something brief every day, but I just can’t get hold of my computer at the right moments.

So you are officially walking and on Wednesday we walked into school for the first time! I can’t believe it took you so little… in a week, you were taking your first steps and then walking everywhere!

You’ve also said a couple more words.. you have been saying Mamma for a long time now, but lately you say it with a question mark at the end, every time you hear the garage door opening and somebody walking in… You say “Mamma?” like to confirm it’s me. You finally said Dada meaning Dad, and yesterday you even said that in italian, “Papà”.

You have been mouthing ‘pappa’ (food) for quite a while, but now you use your voice. You can roar like a lion and you said ‘bye bye’.

Tooth #7 is coming out!. You dance swinging from side to side and clapping your hands. You are a pro with fork and spoon… or better, you were until last week, now you rather use your hands.

You like to put your face in the running water and laugh like crazy when you do that! Yesterday we took a hilarious video with you doing that in the backyard with the shower hose. So funny!

You can mime the monkey jumping on the bed song, bumping your head and saying ‘no no no’ with your finger. This is old news now, but it’s still adorable. You also do ‘no no no’ before doing anything you shouldn’t be doing… and then you do it anyway :D.

You point at the spider and with your hands try to copy when when I sing Incy Wincy spider climbing up the water spout. You also do the mosquitos when I start singing the seasons song. At school they say you are really smart and love art and you have been jealous lately of a younger child and don’t like when the teacher hold him. I’ve never seen you jealous before… but we also never had smaller kids around.

You are sleeping better at night, maybe because we started the melatonin after doctor’s recommendation, but you still sleep in our bed. I wonder how we can change this habit.

You still eat everything but fish… you are really not a fan.

I’m gonna make you some gelato now. Sleep tight!

Love you more than yesterday,

Mom

Aaaand…. we are walking!

Just like that! Yesterday night you took 1 step, by mistake, to get to your Birthday Bear. Then you fell over. When I try to make you do it again, you whined and were lazy.

Tonight you were doing a lot of one step attempt, then took your little pushing cart and went on, when you stopped, without any notice, you just left it there and walked to us. I turned my head and you were walking!! LOL I know my face must have been pretty funny!! Maybe because you saw how excited we were, you started to launch yourself to places and trying to make little steps. And when you tried to reach my phone on the couch, I took it and put it on the rug and told you to go get it. And so you did… 8 steps!!! Like you’d been doing it for days. And got cocky…. now you feel invincible!

We are so proud of you… and the best thing is… we got you on video!!!! Love you my little walker. So exciting!!!

Mom

Sorry baby

Dear Tristan,

you are asleep and I’ve been hugging you and caressing you while crying quietly. I’m so sorry. I’m so upset because tonight I got mad at you. You were throwing food on the floor (like you always do when you don’t want that food anymore) but I got mad and I looked at you with a stern face and I even raised my voice. I’m usually patient, I don’t know what got into me tonight. Now I’m not being silly, I don’t this is not a big deal and that there will be thousands of times when I’ll be mad and that discipline should be taught, but… This upset me because I felt like I’m the bad parent. I’m upset because I’m afraid I’ll be like my dad. We were never hungry or unhappy or beaten hard or anything like that, but he was strict. Strict enough that we’ve always been scared of him. I don’t want to be like that for you. But this is what I know and it’s difficult not to make the same mistakes. I was upset because I don’t want you to feel – not even for a second- that I don’t love you. And then I got mad at dad because he wasn’t there, he was planting stuff in the yard at dinner time, and if he were there, maybe I wouldn’t have lost my patience. I was mad at him because I’ve never wanted to be the “strict parent”, the disciplinarian. But mostly, I am. Despite of my dad’s strict ways, I am happy to have learnt the things he taught me. I’m happy that I’m able to sit at the table properly, knowing good manners. I’m glad he was the way he was, because I think that worked. But still, I want to teach the same things, but use a different way. I was mad because Dad took you out from your highchair before I did, because I was busy preparing you the fruit to bring to day care tomorrow, so he looked like the good guy at your eyes. While I was the bad guy.

Anyway, I get upset very easily, you know that. After a while without crying, I just need to do it, to vent. So any little thing could start it. And that happened tonight. I was so glad that you were calling for me after your shower, so we did our usual routine with massage, songs, a story, and cuddles. And I felt better. But still I want you to know, even if you won’t remember tonight, that I will probably remember it, and I feel bad. Sorry, my love. I have some news to write (like you standing up for the first time, your first birthday party, and other cute things you are doing), but I really really needed to tell you that.

I love you always,

Mom

12 months ago…

It was Friday night, like a normal day after work. After my last day of work, actually, because I had my scheduled C-section for Monday at noon. I had the whole weekend planned. We were going to go to the fire station to make sure the car seat was put on properly, I was going to bake a few loaves of banana bread to have them once we were back from the hospital, I was going to wax my legs and do my hair to be in order for the big day and knowing that I wasn’t going to feel like doing my hair for a few days after the surgery.

We were in bed and at about 1am something woke me up. A pain. Mmh. This is new, I thought. Too bad I have no idea how false contractions feel, because these might be those. I read that false contractions would subdue if I changed position, so I moved around a bit, as much as that big belly allowed me to. Nothing. Still, I didn’t want to freak out and wake Dad for no reason. So I waited. In pain. For a couple of hours, silently hoping Dad would hear my muffled whines. At around 4am, I thought they were becoming stronger, and I decided they must be contractions… the real ones! Funny, but in that moment I just thought if I would have enough time and strength to wash my air before going to the hospital LOL! I downloaded an app to track contractions and they were about a minute long and 6 minutes apart. Whaaaat!! I got up and went looking for my notes from the meeting about delivery and stuff. I remember them saying 511 (5 minutes intervals, 1 minute long for at least 1 hour) for people to remember when it was necessary to go to the hospital. Oh shhhiiiiiiit I was in!!! So I finally woke Dad and told him I thought I was in labor. He didn’t know if we needed to go or not, so finally I told him we should go. I managed to shower, between contractions, but I couldn’t do my hair. Oh well. Dad showered too. I finished packing, and off we went. It was pretty funny in the car, trying to realise what was happening. I was talking and every few minutes I had to stop for the pain, and then the pain was gone completely and I could keep talking like nothing happened. We got there and they put me in a wheelchair waiting while the lady at the desk was also timing my contractions. A little part of me was still thinking “Probably they’ll tell me these are just false contractions and to go home.. “. Exactly what I wanted to avoid. But they didn’t. They admitted me and told me “You are going to have a baby!”. When we got to the room I told them that I has a scheduled C-section on Monday with Doctor Slaton and Rombro and I wanted to know which doctor was on call. I knew all of the doctors from the Omega group because they warned us that in emergency situation you might not get your own doctor but whoever was on call, so I met them all. Of all, one one I really didn’t like. And guess who was on call that day!! When the nurse told me, I turned around and told her “Are you kidding me?!???” and honestly I was ready to go. They exchange glances and said there was nothing they could do. So that’s how it began. I was about to cry.

They visited me and made an ultrasound to make sure you were still breech. They told me I was already 5cm! Dad was awesome. I think when the doctor arrived he went to talk to him to try and see if he could get at least one of my doctors as the assistant. We got lucky because my doctor was exactly who was going to be there! At least a familiar face! they got both me and dad ready, and that’s when I took the first picture. We thought about surprising our families but decided to let them know where we were, since it was going to be a surgery, after all.

IMG_3311They brought me in to do the spinal, and I was really good. It wasn’t easy to stay still with contractions getting stronger. They put me on the table and tied my arms and got ready, and they were about to start hen finally dad could come in and sit by my head. It was the weirdest feeling, I could feel everything but no pain. Weird. Dad caressed my hair the whole time. It didn’t feel like very long at all. At a certain point they told me they were going to pull you out and I asked Dad to take a video, and he did and a second later you were there, screaming full strength and so red!!! I can’t describe what I was feeling. Incredulous is the best word. I couldn’t believe what had happened and that you were ours. That you’d been in me for 39 weeks. They cleaned you up quickly, and Dad went with them while they were weighing you and checking you out. 7lb 14oz. I could’t see anything but we’ve got pictures of that so somebody must have taken them. And after what felt like forever, they brought you to me. They placed you right by my face and you were crying but stopped after a few seconds. I kept talking to you and I still remember how surprised I was by how soft your face was. It was better then silk, better than velvet, something I would never get tired of caressing.

IMG_3369I remember hearing a nurse saying she didn’t want to take him away. But they did, because they needed to stitch me up. I asked them to wait for me to give you a bath. After a loooong time finally they brought me to our room, and there you were, with Dad. He was… I think I’ve never felt so close to him before. It was like I knew that he could understand how I was feeling, because he was feeling the same. He kept smiling and looking at me with tears in his eyes. It was the strongest feeling for both of us, I think. And I was so happy that it felt so special despite of having a C-section, that I really didn’t want (you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve tried to make you turn. From chiropractor adjustments up in Lake Worth 3 times a week, from doing handstands in our neighbour’s pool, from weird position on the couch head down and on my elbow, from walking and stretching and whatever else I could find. And at the end, I was happy and wouldn’t change anything in that day. Even if we could have slept better or longer, and even if we had some little troubles afterwards (the day after we went home I had to go back for kidney stones but they thought it might be preeclampsia so it was not good).

Anyway, tomorrow we’ll have a small party. I baked you a cake. Strawberry and lemon, because that’s what you like lately. We’ll have balloons and sing happy birthday and I’ll wonder if you even know what the heck is going on. And meanwhile I’ll think about what was going on 12 months ago… And I think I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life, every jane 25th, at 9.27am…

Love you to the moon and back. You are so much better than in even my most beautiful dreams!

Mom

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