Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monthly Update: 23

Hi Foster, whatcha doin?

That's what I say to you all the time, so I shouldn't be surprised that your favorite phrase this month was, "Hi Mama, doin?"

(Okay, maybe it was my favorite phrase too!)

Today is the first day of winter, but it has already been extremely cold for a few weeks.  So cold that we had to unpack your winter cap and mittens, a gift from your Great Aunt Nancy.

The cap, a puppy dog head with ears, is adorable on you.  And apparently, you think so too, because you insisted on wearing the ensemble to bed one night!

When your daddy and I went in to check on you, the cap was off, but the mittens were still on.  You looked so cozy lying there in the fetal position with mittens on, that my heart exploded.  It just couldn't handle the cuteness.

I don't normally go in to check on you at night because I literally can't handle the cuteness.  It hurts my heart.

I don't understand it myself, so trying to explain it to your daddy, that it hurts to see you like that, is a lost cause, but trust me, seeing you asleep with mittens on was too much. 

Help me, Rhonda.

Speaking of Rhonda, you love the Beach Boys.  Your Grandpa had to make you a Beach Boys CD because we didn't have one, and more than once this month you asked for the Beach Boys, specifically.

It's funny to me that you can say "Beach Boys", but your word for music is, "huh-huh".


Your cuteness this month was balanced out by your stubbornness.  You don't like being told "no" and this month you challenged us every time. 

If daddy told you no, you'd come running to me, "Dada, no" as in, "Daddy said no, Mama, do something!"

One day you came home from school saying, "Mar-ree, no", as in "Mrs. Margorie said no!"  I asked you what Mrs. Margorie, your teacher, told you no about and you answered, "goos", as in "shoes".

Ah, let me guess...Mrs. Margorie told you not to take your shoes off. 

Well, surprise, surprise.  I mean, it's not like that's the first thing you do when we get you buckled into your car seat, now is it?

Oh wait.  Yes!  It is the first thing you do when we get you buckled into your car seat, and do you have any idea how annoying it is to arrive at our destination in the freezing cold and have to stand outside and put your socks and shoes back on?  Very.  Very annoying.

But, your daddy and I have chosen not to pick this battle.  Because, really, what are our options?

We could yell at you to put your socks and shoes back on, but you can't do that by yourself yet, so that's pointless.

We could yell at you to stop taking them off in the first place, but we don't realize you're even taking them off until we hear the thud on the floorboard and your sweet little voice, "goo off!"

We could pull the car over, take you out of your car seat and spank you, then put your socks and shoes back on, but that seems a little overkill, dontcha think?

We could wait until we arrive at our destination, put your socks and shoes back on and then spank you, but that seems a little too late, dontcha think?

We could torture you with Alanis Morrisette songs on repeat, but what if you actually liked her music, then it would be a little ironic, dontcha think?  (Yeah, I really do think.) 

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)


You love saying "this way" and "that way".

On the way to school one day, you were in the back seat pointing and saying "that way" and I was driving and saying, "no, we go this way to school" and you kept saying "that way" and I kept saying, "Foster, school is this way", until I finally pointed out the passenger side window and asked, "Foster, what is that way?"  Your answer, "goo-lee-o-lee-oes", as in "trees".  (Duh, mom.)

That's right, buddy, there are trees over there.  In that direction.  That way.

Another day, on the way to school, we stopped next to a police car at a traffic light.  You love police cars, so I rolled your window down and told you to wave to the police man.  You did just that and lo and behold, he rolled his window down and waved back!

Now when we come to that traffic light, you say, "police man hi you!"  Because that's where the policeman said hi to you!

Another thing you like to say while we're in the car is "come on, people!"

I have no idea where you learned that.  *A-hem.*  (As I dart my eyes around the room looking for the perpetrator.)

The potty is still a novelty with you, but this month you actually poo-pooed on it.  Twice!  That's right, you poo-pooed on the potty at the ripe old age of 22 months.  I think you were just as shocked as your daddy and I were, and now every time you sit on the potty, you try to poop, and then hop off to take a look.

We don't make a big deal if there's no pee or poop, we praise you for simply sitting on the potty.  That may be a mistake though, because you've started to use this 'sitting on the potty thing' as a diversion and now when it's time to get dressed or clean up, you all of a sudden want to pee-pee on the potty.

Hairy, your daddy's monkey puppet from childhood, is your new BFF and naturally, we get roped into making him talk.  Constantly.

"Do Hairy", is what you say, and then you laugh hysterically as we make him he talks to you.  I think you think he's real, even though you know our hand is in there.  "Dada hand in there..."

Christmas is in four days and I think you're going to enjoy all the excitement of opening presents and playing with your cousins.

Last Christmas you weren't quite a year old, so it wasn't as exciting for you or us.  This year, though, your daddy and I are very excited for you.  We finally understand what Christmas with children is about.  The children.

Our gift this year is watching you and soaking in every moment.  Oh how I wish I could bottle your sweet round face, your alligator tears, your innocent little voice, the pitter-patter of your feet, and the weight of your body resting on mine as I rock you back to sleep once more.

I know next year will be just as fun, and as much as I look forward to you being a two year old, I also miss my baby.

Say, how would you like a baby brother or sister for Christmas next year? 

Think about it.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Monthly Update: 22

Dear Foster,

Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving and you are now 22 months old.

It's been a busy November and I'm looking forward to Christmas, the new year, and then, your second birthday!

I must confess, I have no idea what to get you for Christmas, much less your birthday.  I'm sure there are some things you'd like to have, but since you can't really verbalize that sorta thing, your daddy and I are left guessing.

We love watching you peruse catalogs.  Little Tikes is your favorite.  You sit at the table with us, catalog in hand - and stare, and squint, and turn the pages, and flip it upside down - then right side up.  All the while, a little furrow in your brow.

We thought about getting you some videos of your favorite cartoon, Super Why, but knowing you, by the time you got them on Christmas or your birthday, you'd be over it and on to the next big thing.

You don't even watch the cartoon anyway.  I think you just like the theme song at the beginning because after that you're off to the races again.

Role play has become your favorite kind of play and I'm constantly reminded that you are watching every. move. I. make.

You like to feed Bear-Bear and wipe his mouth.

You like to sit on the potty and wipe your butt.

You like to make a mess and then wipe your highchair tray.

You've helped me clean the windows a few times and love to Swiffer the floors.

You also like to help me in the kitchen, but the only thing I've let you do so far is stir the granola.  There's no hot stove and nothing sharp in that scenario.  (Yes, you sit atop a bar stool and could easily fall off and crack your head open, but hey, whatever works!)

In addition to role play, you've become very independent this month.  Learning how to blow your nose and peel a banana.

"Ga-Ga do" means "Foster do", which means, "Give that to me right now, or else I'm gonna fuss, then cry, then flail my arms, then stomp, and then run and tell the other parent on you!"

My favorite part of this month is your echo.  You repeat everything we say (everything we say)...even sentences (even sentences).

Or, maybe my favorite part is your sense of humor, which has really blossomed this month.  You play me like a fiddle and know exactly what buttons to push.

I try and get you to say, "I love mama!"  But, you know better and will say everything but... 

"I wuv Bear-Bear!"  "I wuv dada!"

I'm trying not to take it personally.

One day this month we went for a drive with Lucky, so of course, your daddy and I were fussing at him to LAY DOWN, BE STILL, GET BACK!  And you were in the back seat, repeating every word.  Except, you kept going, long after Lucky had settled down.

"LA-LA!"  (As you're looking out the window.)

"LA-LA!"  (As your feet are propped up.)

"LA-LA!"  (As you're taking off your shoes.)

Foster, I hate to break it to ya, but I don't think Lucky takes you very seriously.

One Sunday this month you overheard your Aunt Kathryn say, "Oh shoot!" and I guess you thought it was funny because you kept repeating "Oh shoot!", "Oh shoot!", "Oh shoot!"

You didn't really know what you were saying or in what context (or so I thought!), so I was surprised the next day when you dropped something and said, "Oh shoot!" 

When I repeated you, you began dropping the object over and over again, just to make sure you did, in fact, say it in the right context.

We haven't decorated for Christmas yet, but somehow you have learned that the song Jingle Bells is associated with Christmas.  So, whenever you see something that looks the least bit Christmas-y, you start to sing Jingle Bells.

Your daddy and I are cool with that, but we'd like to expand your repertoire, so we've been singing other Christmas carols and you love 'em!

You call the ABC's, the "A-B-B's" and according to you, a cow says "boo" and a cat says "be-ow".

(That's one scary cow!)

You'd think that the word LIBRARY would be hard to say, but nope, it's your clearest word these days.

Not only do you say that word well, but you love to go there.

You know that the library is where we go for story hour, to check out books, that we have to whisper there, and that it's a great place to take off running from me, because WHAT AM I GONNA DO?!

It is the library, after all, and I can't go screaming after you.  So, I remain calm, walk swiftly, and whisper at the top of my lungs, "Foster!  Stop!  Stay right there!  Don't move!  We don't run in the library!  No sir!"

Then, when I've got you within arm's reach, I jerk pick you up, and ever so gently (with clenched jaws) whisper in your ear, "YOU DO NOT RUN FROM MAMA!"

Then you cry.  Then we leave.

I love the way your hair is growing.  It curls above your ears and at the back of your head, like a duck tail.  I swear, I'm never gonna cut it!

Your daddy loves to comb it into what we call "the anchorman", but I prefer to give you a curl right on top of your head.  I don't think you have a preference yet.

We've had the California Rileys in town for two weeks and I don't know what you're gonna do when they leave next week.

You have thrived with your cousins, Peyton and Savannah, and I think they have enjoyed mothering you.

It's been a nice break for me and your daddy, too.  All we have to do is check on y'all from time to time.  You know, to make sure they haven't taken you outside or upstairs and forgotten about you.

I did that once with my baby brother, your Uncle Jonathan.

I had him in my room, on my bed, and went to tell my mom something.  When I got to her, she asked, "Aron, where's the baby?"


Luckily, he didn't fall off and bump his head.  So, I'm not sure what's wrong with him!  (Just kidding, Jonathan, if you're reading this.)

Speaking of Jonathan, he has a son named Declan that you're going to get to play with next month when we go to Florida for Christmas.  You'll also get to play with your cousin Rebecca, and I hope you have as much fun with those two, as you've had with Peyton and "bo-da-da" (Savannah).

We love you, son, and we're so thankful for you.  Babies bring so much joy to families and you're no exception.

I can't wait until Christmas morning!

Now, if I could just figure out what to get you...A-hem, I mean, what to tell Santa to get you...



I thank my God upon every remembrance of you ~ Phillipians 1:3

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monthly Update: 21

Dear Foster,

Today is the 21st of October and you are 21 months old. 

This morning it occurred to me that I won't be able to say something like that again until 2030, when you turn 21 years old on January 21st.

You're growing up so fast that I often forget how old you actually are, and have to count on my fingers to figure it out.

Sometimes I think that the Terrible Twos are beginning, but then you go and do something so sweet that my heart melts and I change my mind.

One day at school your teacher had to put you back in your seat for lunch, twice, and then, you got up a third time, this time knocking over your plate and spilling your entire lunch on the floor.

Shame, shame, shame.

But then, the artwork you brought home that day was about the Good Samaritan.  Basically, a coloring page of two men; one giving water to the other, a band-aid stuck on the injured one, and two cotton balls glued on as clouds.

Did you catch that, A BAND-AID STUCK ON THE INJURED ONE...How sweet is that? 

Melt my heart, sweet.  My baby is the sweetest baby ever, sweet.  He can do no wrong, sweet.  That's how sweet.

The funny part of this is that I got the Good Samaritan story all confused and thought the Good Samaritan stopped to help Jesus on His way to the cross. 

(Reserve judgement, please.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist church.  I may not know Bible stories, but by golly, I know the Romans Road!) 

Anyway, before your daddy came home from work that day, I told him about your sweet Jesus artwork and how I didn't think I could ever part with it and how we have the sweetest baby boy ever!  But, I didn't tell him what the artwork was exactly, because I wanted it to be a surprise.

So when he got home, he was all, "Babe, this isn't Jesus.  The Good Samaritan stopped to help a Jew, not Jesus!  What's wrong with you?  You need to go back to Sunday School!"

And, I was all, "What?  Huh?  Oh yeah.  Duh.  Sorry, Foster.  That's not Jesus, that's just some Jewish guy." 

Guess I won't keep that piece of artwork after all.

When you're not at school, you're either outside or asking to go outside.  And by asking, I mean saying "outside" over and over and over again.  And then, if I don't respond, you start to drag all of your 'outside' toys to the door.

AND THEN, if the answer happens to be "no", you start to cry and are not easily soothed.  I always get down on your level and calmly explain why we can't go outside right this minute, but eventually I have to walk away and let you do your thing.

It is sad, though.  I won't deny it.  All you want in life is to go outside.  To play in the dirt.  To kick balls.  To pull up grass.  To run "round and round and round."  Is that too much to ask? 

No, no it isn't.  It's a very wholesome, easy request, but honestly Foster, somebody's gotta get supper on the table and that somebody is me.

You've started to say "hi" to everyone we pass on our strolls through the neighborhood.  And, once again, it's the sweetest thing ever.

First of all, your little voice is so quiet and well, sweet.  And then, secondly, you don't seem to be bothered when the people you're saying "hi" to don't say "hi" back.  You just keep on keeping on until we pass a dog or a cat or a truck or a car or a motorcycle or a leaf or anything or everything, and then you comment on that.  Whatever that happens to be at the moment.

A few months ago your Grandma was changing your diaper and telling you how big and stinky and lumpy it was, when all of a sudden you replied with, "big lump stinks!"  (Who knew that the fascination with poop started before the age of two?!)

Your Grandma laughed, of course, and then began telling everyone about your comment, which in turn, encouraged you to keep on keeping on...BIG LUMP STINKS!...BIG LUMP STINKS!...BIG LUMP STINKS!

Then, one day this month you casually tapped your diaper and said "big lump stinks".  Your daddy immediately knew what you were saying because he had just watched you pause during play to take care of business, so when he asked if you were poopy, without missing a beat, you tapped your diaper again and said "big lump stinks."

Folks, I think we're on the path to potty training!

In addition to feeding yourself with a spoon and fork, you can also drink from an open cup now.  I'm constantly amazed at all the skills you naturally learn.  After all, I work in a field with children who have disabilities and have to be taught this stuff.  I'm not used to working with a typically developing child, so forgive me when I hover.  I don't mean to be a helicopter mom, just to be a good mom.

One thing I have been good at is showering you with affection.  Maybe too good.  I've mentioned before that I cannot resist kissing you.  Your plump little cheeks.  I swear, I must kiss you a million times a day, and fortunately (or unfortunately) it shows in your play.  (I'm a poet and...)

Anyway, lately when you're playing with your trucks, instead of crashing them into each other or racing them across the floor, I hear "goo-wa-key!"  Which, when translated means, "trucks kiss!"

That's right, Foster, you make your trucks kiss.  Noes to nose.  Or, bumper to bumper.  You get my drift.

Again, how sweet is that?

Suffice it say, I cannot get enough of you.  You truly are a sweet boy.

In the evenings, when your daddy and I are lying in bed whispering to each other, one of us will inevitably ask the other, "how sweet is our boy?"

We both know the answer, so neither of us has to speak.  We just smile.  Sometimes giggle.  Always thankful for the gift you are.



Dreams really do come true. Ours came wrapped in Baby Blue!  ~Author Unknown

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monthly Update: 20

Dear Foster,

This week you turned twenty months old, which means you're no longer a teenager.  Wait, what?  That's not what I meant.  Sometimes it feels like you're a teenager, though. 

Like when you ask your daddy for permission to do something that I've already told you not to do.  And vice versa.

Or, like when you want to eat junk food all day.

Or, like when you sleep in. 

There have been several mornings this month that you have slept until 9:00.  You might have slept longer, but your daddy and I draw the line at 9:00.  You know, we have to make sure you're up in time to go back to sleep for your nap at noon!  I mean, let's face it, I've got things to do and we both know that I can only get those things done when you're napping!  Otherwise, it's a constant back and forth between the two of us...

What baby? 
What is it Foster? 
Whatchu want bud?  Use your words.
Mama play!

And, we both know that's not what you really want because as soon as I sit down to play, you're on to the next thing...


This month was a busy month for us with a trip to the Smokies, our first weekend apart, your first day of school, and the start of my new job.  It's no wonder I've felt overwhelmed this month!

I try really hard to to make the most of our time together.  To teach you something new each day.  And to love on you all I can.  But, the little things start to get to me after a while.  Things like cleaning up messes ALL DAY LONG!

Not just your messes, but the dead spiders in the basement, the hairballs on the floor, the pet hair on the couch, the crumbs on the counter, the dust on the furniture, and the list goes on and on.  This morning, no lie, I cleaned up your spilled milk three times! 

I'm guessing whoever said not to cry over spilled milk did not have a toddler spilling milk all over the place, because sometimes all I wanna do is cry.

You've caught on to my frustration and whenever I let out a sigh or a growl, you're quick to imitate me, and of course-it's adorable.  Instantly, my frown is turned up side down!

My favorite, though, is when you imitate my "dadgummit!", or my "oh dear!",  or your daddy's "oh crap!"

School, er, Mother's Day Out, is only two days per week for about 5 hours, and not surprisingly, YOU LOVE IT!

The first day was a little emotional for me, but you didn't even look back as I left the classroom.  And now, two weeks later, you literally run down the hall to your teacher!

She says that you're a happy boy.  You dance when the music on, never cry when you're there, eat most of your lunch (without stuffing it all in your mouth at once!), and somehow, by some miracle, you're the best napper in class!

Here's where I'm supposed to say, "That's my boy!"  Problem is, that's not the boy I know.

Don't get me wrong, you're a happy boy here at home.  You dance whenever we turn music on, which is a lot since you constantly ask for it!  But, you cry here.  You cry, you fuss, you pout, sometimes you stomp, AND you're starting to throw!

Not only that, but you have a tendency to cram your mouth full of food here, so I have to be very careful not to give you too much at once.

And not only that, even though you're a great sleeper here, I had no idea how you'd do on a mat.  ON THE FLOOR.

You're used to your crib and you like your crib, so the thought of you napping on a floor mat worried me for MONTHS prior to your first day.  But, apparently, on the first day of school, you laid down and went right to sleep. 

What?  I mean, that's my boy!

I guess it's just another way you've been acting like a teenager lately... giving in to peer pressure!

Thankfully, I have a few more years before I really have to worry about that, and until then, I'm going to keep teaching you something new each day and loving on you all I can.

Some days you're a little puddle of fuss, but other days people stop their cars to tell us that you just made their day..."seeing that little red head dancing on the sidewalk!"  And, do you know what I say?

That's my boy.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monthly Update: 19

Dear Foster,

Today you turned 19 months old, and I bet you say 19 words per minute.  You are the chattiest son of a gun; even putting three words together now!

"Big school bus."  "Bye-bye big truck."  "Dada play guitar."  "Big thunder loud!"

Most of the time your daddy and I know what you're saying, but sometimes it takes a while to figure out.  Once we do, though, your little face lights up, and you say it over and over again, just to make sure we're all on the same page.

For the longest time we didn't know what you were saying during dinner.  You'd bend your head down toward your high chair tray, nearly touching it, and say GA-TA-GA-TA-GA-TA-GA-TA-GA-TA.

It would happen during the middle of the meal, so we were surprised when you did it at your grandparents' house after your grandpa said, "Let's say the blessing." 

A-HA!  You've been saying the blessing!

Why you bend your whole torso over onto your highchair tray, I'll never know.  I mean, do we look like we're bobbing for apples when we say the blessing around here?  Whatever the reason, it's the funniest thing ever, and of course, just when we figured out what you were doing, you caught on to us and now won't do it spontaneously.  You still say the blessing if we ask you to, but it's not the same.

We were at your grandparents' house one other evening this month, and for one reason or another, your grandma was laughing, rather loudly.  She has a very distinct laugh and you are captivated by it.  If you hear her laughing in the distance, you let us know. 


That's right Foster.  Grandma is laughing.

Except this particular night as we were all at the table, you called grandma out. 

BA-BOO-WA, WOUD!  (As in, Grandma is loud!)

Yes, Foster, Grandma laughs loudly, but that's okay.  It's good to laugh.

Once we got you home and in the bath, you said it again, BA-BOO-WA, WOUD!  And, when we asked you what Grandma says, you began to imitate her high pitch laugh.

Your daddy and I cracked up, so you caught on to that too, and now you even imitate her in front of her.  She doesn't mind, though, she's a good sport.  Besides, everything with you is either WOUD! or BIG!  I think those are your two favorite adjectives right now.

Sometimes you even say that I'm loud.  Me, loud?  Whatevs.

For the past few months we've had to leave your diaper on until the moment we put you in the bath tub.  We learned the hard way, getting peed on a few times.  Except, I guess you also caught on to this, because once we started this new routine, your peeing habits changed and you began to wait until after your bath to pee all over the place.

You'd think I'd have learned by now, but noooooooo.  After your bath I still let you run around naked, and then scream while frantically searching for the Super Soaker as you stand there peeing on me.

Usually my screams scare you, but the other night, my screams delighted you, and as you were peeing, you began to laugh and then said, "pee-pee!"

Yeah, Foster, thanks for the news flash!

I'm not sure what you like more, big trucks or big trucks.  Your daddy and I have been trying to come up with some clever lyrics for an "I Like Big Trucks" song, but this is as far as we've gotten:

I like big trucks and I cannot lie,
you other babies can't deny. 
When a truck rolls by,
looking so fly,
and the wheels go round and round,
I get excited.
Wanna drive it.
Take it for a spin,
c'mon lemme in.
I can hear the radio blaring...

Anyway, you like big trucks so much that you talk about EVERY SINGLE ONE as we're driving--on the interstate!

Do you know how many big trucks there are on the interstate?  A lot.  A LOT!

bi goo-wa! bi goo-wa! bye-bye bi goo-wa. bi goo-wa bye-bye.  [2 second pause] bi goo-wa! bi goo-wa!....and on and on you go.

The other day we were all in the car and you were in the back seat saying, mama, dada, mama, dada, mama, dada, over and over again.  When finally, I looked back to see you with your fingers in your ears, plugging them.

I don't know where you learned to do that, but it was hilarious.  I guess you were experimenting with the sound.  Or lack thereof.

Which brings me to another ear experiment.  An experiment that your daddy scolded me for, and rightfully so.

You asked me for a Q-Tip, "Mama Q-Tip", meaning one of my Q-Tips.  The skinny, dangerous kind.  Not the fat, baby kind.  And, in an effort to be a laid-back mama, I gave you one.

I was in the bathroom at the time, putting on make-up (really, I was!) and you were in and out of the master bedroom kinda-sorta watching Sesame Street.

After I put on mascara I shimmied in to check on you, only to find you standing in front of the TV, your back to me, with the skinny, dangerous Q-Tip sticking straight out of your ear!

I snickered to myself and then without saying a word, removed it from your ear and threw it away.  You didn't like that much, but I simply said, "All done Q-Tip."  And now when you ask for "Mama Q-Tip", I explain that mama's Q-Tips aren't for babies and offer you a cotton ball instead.

Foster, I love hearing you talk.  It's the new soundtrack of my life.  Just today, as you and I were in the car together, you were in the backseat chatting away.  Singing, squealing, and narrating whatever you saw or thought. 

When we're in the car, I tilt the rear view mirror so that I can see you in the back seat--the twinkle in your eye or your furrowed brow, depending on what you're talking about at the moment.  Whatever it is, I don't want to miss it.

Children seldom misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said. ~Author Unknown



Friday, July 23, 2010

Monthly Update: 18

To My Darling Foster,

This week you turned 18 months old.  That's right, E-I-G-H-T-E-E-N months.  A year and a half.  A full fledged toddler.  Not a baby no mo.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, time has flown by!  Seriously.  There's something about having a baby that accelerates life, and I'm having trouble keeping up.  Wait.  Did I just say that?  I'm Mommio Andretti, for crying out loud.

I don't know exactly how big you are, but boy have you grown!  When I hold you, your cheek rests against mine and your knees hit my waist.  I try not to spoil you by holding you every time you ask, but I'm sure I hold you more often than my parents would think is appropriate.  It's just that I can't get enough of your chubby, soft, cool skin against my own.

Last night, right before I put you to bed, I was standing at your crib, holding you, singing to you, and rubbing your back.  And, guess what you were doing?  Not squirming.  Not talking.  But, ever so gently rubbing my back in return.  I lingered just a little longer before laying you down and peered over my shoulder in order to get a glimpse of your sweet, plump, little hand moving back and forth in time, imitating my affections toward you. 

Be still my heart.

Your obsession with music continues, but now you dance whenever you get the chance.  And by dance I mean run in place and then swing your arms from side to side.  Let's just hope that your mad dance skills improve as you get older and that you don't inherit your father's dancing genes.  That man cannot dance. 

Don't get me wrong, he's got rhythm.  He writes music, plays guitar, tinkers with the piano, and sings like an angel, but he CANNOT dance.  When he dances, he snaps.  His fingers.  That's right, he simultaneously snaps his fingers while he dances.  Got the mental picture yet?  It cracks me up every time, but I don't think he even realizes he's doing it until I point it out.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, your hair is growing like crazy and is redder than we thought.  Also, you now have a freckle or two on your nose.

Sorry about that.  You know, the fact that you're a red headed freckle face. 

I was a red head at birth and I'm still a freckle face.  Your dad is neither.  His beard grows in red, but that doesn't count.  And, he doesn't have any freckles on his face.

Everyone comments on your hair.  Some people even touch it.  It's like they've never seen a red head before.  Even your grandparents who see you a few times a week can't get over your hair.  No one can believe that your father and I have a red headed child.  And, everyone asks where you got it from.

I always want to correct their grammar, "you mean, from whom did he inherit his red hair?"  But, I refrain, because I'm cool like that.

I mean, I could be a jerk and tell them that you're adopted.  That'd make 'em feel bad.  But, what can I say?  I'm a proud mama, so instead I smile and say that it runs on both sides of the family, er, your family.

So, when anyone everyone asks you about your red hair, here's the deal...

My hair was red at birth.  My great grandmother had red hair.  Your dad's great grandmother had red hair.  Your dad's brother has red hair.  And, your dad's beard is red (or was, depending on when you're reading this.)  (I'm sure it'll be white one day.)  (Oh wait, there are already a few white whiskers in there from time to time.  Ha!)

Point is, you inherited your red hair from both sides of your family.  You get it honestly, and while I don't notice it day in and day out, everyone else does.  The funny thing to me is that your daddy and I used to always say that we could have a red head.  We just had a feeling.  I don't think anyone believed us, especially your grandpa, but here you are, my handsome little cardinal.

Speaking of, the cardinal is your favorite bird.  You love to look at pictures of cardinals and I think it might be your favorite word to say.  Surprisingly you say it very clearly, "CA-DIN-A".

Your vocabulary continues to expand and you've started to put two words together...Light on.  Light off.  Fan off.  Fan on.  TV on.  TV off.  Wax on.  Wax off. 

No, just kidding about the wax part, Foster-san.

Sometimes you channel your Latino side and put the noun before the adjective...Truck big.  Thunder loud. Coffee hot.

Si, muy bien, Foster.

Either way, I usually know what you're talking about.  Your daddy does too, but your grandma and grandpa don't always understand and that leads to some frustration your part.

Besides the increasing frustration, which leads to occasional tantrums, we've been dealing with eight teeth coming in at once.  Your four eye teeth and your first four molars.  Hey, ya think you're getting EIGHT TEETH to celebrate EIGHTEEN months?  Nah.  I'm just a sucker for a good play on words.

Anyway, poor Bear-Bear has become a chew toy, and a handkerchief for your runny nose.  YUCK!

Saliva + snot = Bear-Bear stinks!  As do your feet when you wear a certain pair of hand-me-down sandals.  Your daddy calls it "some other kid's funk"  and I agree.  We've had a few good laughs over your stinky feet, but have decided to retire those particular shoes.  Shoo wee!

It's been hot as hades here this summer, so we've been cooped up inside.  It's a shame, too, because you love to be outside; in the yard or on the playground.

On the weekends we go to the lake or pool to cool off and you love it!  The only problem is your fair skin.  We have to work at keeping you protected from the sun.  I don't think I could handle the guilt if you got sunburned.  And I dread the day that you're in the sun without me to smother you in sunblock.  I'm sure there's a bad sunburn in your teenage, I KNOW IT ALL, future, but for now, it's my job to protect you and that I will do.



A life without love is like a year without summer. ~ Swedish Proverb

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monthly Update: 17

Dear Foster,

Today you are 17 months old, and yes, sigh, I skipped a month.  Let's just pretend that you were never 16 months old, okay?  Except, wait, that was a really fun month!  So much fun, in fact, that I did not have any time to write this newsletter.

We vacationed in Perdido Key, Florida, just missing the oil there, and then hosted guests for three weeks straight.  Somehow during all that wonderful chaos, you became a little boy. 

You went from wearing Robeez to Stride Rite.  From Gerber 'Lil Crunchies to Goldfish.

You learned how to climb on and off of the couch, get on and off your little four wheeler, and you're eerily close to being able to turn a doorknob.

For heaven's sake, SLOW DOWN!  You're growing up way too fast.  Naming letters of the alphabet one minute and unlocking my cell phone in order to call your daddy the next.

Lately you've been sleeping twelve hours a night, which makes up for the fact that you've kinda sorta sometimes maybe dropped a nap.  Problem is, it's the wrong nap.

Toddlers are supposed to take an afternoon nap, but not you.  No, you're so exhausted from SLEEPING 12 HOURS STRAIGHT, that you have to take a morning nap.  Of course, all that sleep means that you're not sleepy in the afternoon.  Tired, yes.  Sleepy, no.

I've tried in vain to keep you awake in the morning.  To put you down after lunch, but all that does is guarantee that you'll take a short nap and then act like a sleep deprived little turd for the rest of the day.  Not fun.  Not to mention, I hate keeping you awake when you're sleepy.  It just feels wrong.

This month you've started being even more adorable than you already were.  There's the kisses, of course, but recently you've started to play with my hair as I cart you around on my hip. 

Did you know that I love having my hair played with?  That's the one reason I'd like to have a little girl someday...someone to play with my hair!  (Just kidding.)  (Sort of.)

I'm not sure which sign of affection I like more, the kissing or the hair playing, but the love I feel for you is so strong, I often wonder how I could ever love another child as much.  I mean, just look at poor Lucky.  He was our firstborn.  Our baby.  I felt the same way about him when I was pregnant with you.  But, the moment you were born, he became a dog.

You're really easy to love, though.  You're cute, smart, and funny.  What's not to love?

Speaking of love, you LOVE your grandma.  BA-BOO-WA is what you call her.  None of us can figure out how "grandma" became BA-BOO-WA, but you say her name about a hundred times a day.  I jokingly refer to her as Barbara now.  Her name is Carolyn.  Isn't that funny, or is it just me?  (I crack myself up!)

Anyway, you love your grandma and she loves you.  Your daddy and I are very thankful to have her and your grandpa so close.  Let's face it, we have no idea what we're doing in the Parenting Department so we need all the help we can get!

Music is your newest fascination.  You love it.  You've always liked it, but it has even replaced belly buttons, and now instead of asking to see my belly button all day, you're asking for music all day.

I had hoped to avoid "kids music" because is there anything more annoying?  But, your BA-BOO-WA gave us a kid's songs CD to take on our trip to Florida in case you got fussy in the car.  And fussy you got.

For some reason you refuse to sleep in the car.  I guess you're afraid of missing a Jeep or two (you point out EVERY Jeep on the road).  Or, maybe you're afraid of missing out on a road trip snack (i.e., JUNK FOOD).  Either way, that CD is the only thing that got us through the eight hour drive to the beach.

We actually had a lot of fun singing those songs to you.  Doing the hand motions.  Making you laugh.  But now that we're home, we'd like to move on to more sophisticated music, if you don't mind.

I've tried to introduce you to Jewel and Elvis (how's that for sophisticated? Ha!), but the whole time those CDs are on, you're in the back seat saying, "music, music, music..."  As if.  Foster, that IS music!

So, here we go looby loo, on to your eighteenth month and I'm looking forward to more singing, much dancing, and as always, multitudes of laughing.

Music is love in search of a word. ~Sidney Lanier



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monthly Update: 15

Dear Foster,

Today is my 32nd birthday.  I'm officially in my thirties.  A thirty-something, that's me.

You, however, are only 15 months old, and if it was possible for you to become sweeter, you have.
This month you learned how to give and blow kisses, and you give both with a distinct "mmm-wa!"

You kiss me, your daddy, the pets, your toys, anything and everything.  And, you blow kisses to everyone.  Sometimes you miss your mouth and mmm-wa your forehead or your ear, but I think most people understand.  You're just spreadin' the love, man.

This month I've had the pleasure of rocking you to sleep a few times, an unexpected delight.

Once you were old enough to soothe yourself to sleep, you preferred to do just that.  No rocking for you, thank you very much.

It was hard for me, because I wanted to rock you, but independent sleeping was a skill I wanted you to learn, so reluctantly, I gave in.

But one morning last week when you woke up at 5:45, after letting you fuss for 15 minutes, I thought I'd go in and try to rock you back to sleep.  Normally you'd wiggle your way out of my arms and start the day, but this time, this time, you fell asleep on my chest, and I slept too.

Your daddy came in at 7:15 to make sure we were both awake.  We were.  Your head resting on my shoulder.  Your eyes open.  Just enjoying each other's company in the quiet of the morning.  It was lovely.  Thank you for that.

The California Rileys came for three weeks this month and that means we've been spending most of our time at your grandparents' house.  And by that I mean we've been eating, eating and eating.  I swear I've gained ten pounds.  (Okay, maybe not ten, but at least three!)

During their visit you discovered the joy of ice cream as we celebrated four April birthdays.  And now we have to spell I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M, if  you're within earshot.

I love that you love ice cream, though, because it gives me an excuse to eat dessert too!  Your daddy is a killjoy when it comes to sweets.  He just doesn't care for them.  (I know, right?)  And, he doesn't understand why I can't live without them.  Isn't he sweet enough? 

Um, no.  No he is not.  But, you are.  My sweet, sweet child who loves sweets and will eat them with me. 

Finally, I win.

Peyton and Savannah became your favorite cousins while they were here and I'm pretty sure Steve is now your favorite uncle.  Although, they've gone back home, and at this stage in your life, it's out of sight, out of mind.

It doesn't take you long to learn people's names. You must have said "Steve", "Peyton" and "Savannah" a million times while they were here.

They'd walk into a room and you'd point and name. They'd leave the room and you'd call their name and follow. I think it's your way of showing love. Naming.

Hey, is that a love language? You know, instead of Words of Affirmation, Words of Information?

As soon as you wake up in the morning, you start pointing and naming.  "Lucky, fan, light, Bear-Bear, Mama, Dada, toothbrush, globe, fish, door, etc..."  Your daddy and I wait in anticipation at what you're going to point to and name next.  It's your little ritual and it cracks us up every time.

Your Papa and Nonni surprised us with a visit this month and since it had been six months since you'd seen them, we weren't sure how you'd receive them.  But, you were Mr. Congeniality, as usual. 

You wasted no time in asking them to show you their belly buttons.

Belly buttons are your newest fascination and you must ask to see mine a hundred times a day.  Not because mine's spectacular or anything, but simply because that's what you do. 

You're like a dog who has to sniff the other dog's nether regions before becoming friends (or enemies).  Except your body part of choice is a much cleaner, less stinkier one.  And, you don't sniff of course, you just stick your finger in.  Your daddy and I giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, because well, that's what you do when someone sticks a finger in your belly button.  It's automatic.  You have no choice.

This activity happens countless times a day, even in the middle of the night.

Last night you woke up and when rocking didn't soothe you, I checked your diaper.  Sure enough it was soaked.  So as you're lying on the changing table in the dim light, you start saying "belly button, belly button, belly button". 

Seriously Foster, in the middle of the night? 

I had no choice but to show you my belly button before putting you back to bed.  I wonder if you dreamt about my belly button.  If so, I hope I had rock hard abs, not a six pack, that's too masculine, but flat and firm would be nice.

You have trouble finding your belly button, what with your pot belly and all, so I have to stick my finger in yours in order to point it out to you.   And, you often get your belly button confused with another curious body part. 

I hope by the time you're reading this you've figured that one out.

Last weekend, the first of May, was May Day, but here in Nashville, it was more like "mayday, mayday!"

We endured the Flood of 2010, what's now being called a thousand year flood.  My heart aches for those who have lost their homes, their belongings, and heaven forbid, their loved ones.  I'm afraid I don't have the words to express my condolences to those folks.

We had no damage, just a wet basement, and we owe our thanks to your daddy who siphoned the water out with a garden hose for two days.  I cannot begin to tell you how hard he worked.  That man is my hero.

Afterward he said, "it's a good thing I have a lot of hose."

One day you'll get that joke.

In the meantime, I thank God for you and your daddy, and I pray that we continue to laugh our way through these years.  You're certainly helping with that!

Here's to the rest of my thirties...they've been great so far!



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monthly Update: 14

Dear Foster,

Yep, I'm late with this letter again.  My apologies.  Looks like I've fallen off the mommy-blogging wagon.

Not that I was ever really on it.  I'm not sure that writing you a monthly update really counts.  But, I digress...

You turned 14 months old on March 21st, and this month, I can't think of a good excuse as to why this letter is late.  I mean, we've been busy, don't get me wrong, YOU keep me busy, but as far as a specific reason, I'm at a loss.

Maybe it's because you're walking now and all I do ALL DAY LONG is watch you like a hawk and say things like; "Watch your step!", "Be careful!", and "Slow down!"

Or, maybe it's because you're weaned now and all I do ALL DAY LONG is feed you.  I swear, it seems like you eat every hour, on the hour.  (Wait, who am I kidding?  I eat every hour too!)

You really do love to eat, and you've recently discovered the joy of using a spoon.  You're not proficient yet, but you do quite well with hand over hand assistance.

Come to think of it, maybe this letter is late because I went out of town earlier this month for 3 days and it took you a full week to recover from the abandonment.  Seriously, you whined and fussed and cried for a week after I returned.

Your motive?  To be held, I think.  So, what did I do?  I held you and kissed you and squeezed you and then smothered you in mayonnaise and ate you up!

Then again, maybe this letter is late because we're all sleepy heads up in here.  I don't know why, but you've been sleeping in 'til 7:00 or so.  That's twelve hours a night, buddy!  Plus two naps during the day!  Granted, I haven't been napping when you nap, but apparently I haven't been writing this letter either.

Nope, no naps for me.  Instead I make the bed, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, prepare your hundredth snack of the day, work out, wash my face, brush my teeth, return phone calls, and sometimes...sometimes I get online and relax with a cup of coffee.  Because when you wake up, it's all systems go!

Foster, you are busy with a capital 'B'!  But, such a pleasure.  Sure, some days are harder than others and on those days, as soon as your daddy walks through the door, I toss you into his arms like a hot potato!

Those are the days that I have had it up to here with the fussing.  And, my guess is that you've had it up to there with my not understanding what you're trying to say.

Sometimes when you're saying something that I don't understand, you'll start to fidget with your hands, as if you're fumbling for the sign to use.  It's so sweet, but so sad.  You know that if you use a sign, I usually understand what you're saying, so you're trying your hardest to get it through my thick skull.  I'm sorry, buddy, and I'm doing my best to teach you every sign I can think of.  Bear with me.

Other days, however, are simply delightful and we spend time outside with the birds and the rocks and the leaves and the sticks and the pine cones and the flowers..."wa-wer" is how you say flower.  It's adorable, I tell ya.  Adorable.

Your favorite thing to do is go for strolls around our neighborhood.  In fact, you try to say "stroller" and "walk"...just two of your over fifty words.  Sometimes, though, we just can't go for a walk right now and when I explain that to you, you throw a little "snitzy".  That's what your grandma calls a temper tantrum.  I just ignore it and before you know it, the snitzy is over and I'm able to distract you with something else.

Meanwhile, your attachment to Bear-Bear is waning and we're able to function without him.  You are funny, though, because you quickly get attached to one thing or another and have to carry it around with you AT ALL TIMES. 

This week, for example, it's been a flashlight, lint roller, key and tampon.  Yes, I just said tampon.  You think they're awesome!  I caught you with your arm through the box and every single one of them scattered all over the floor.  You were having a blast and I've quickly learned that if it can't hurt you, it's worth the mess! 

You don't carry those items around all at once, of course, but sometimes you do carry two at a time.

That's how you play.  You don't just sit and play with a toy.  No, instead you pick up a toy (or two) and walk around the house with it.  Telling me what it is.  Banging it on the table, the door, the floor.  I can't imagine how many calories you burn in a day.

I hope you grow out of this attachment phase within the next six months, though, because we've decided to enroll you in a Mother's Day Out preschool program this fall and they don't allow you to bring your own toys unless it's for Show n' Tell.  I'm sure they'd be thrilled with you showing and telling the class all about your mama's tampons!

You'll be 20 months old by then and I think you'll really enjoy it.  You're already at the point where we have to get out of the house at least once a day, preferably twice.

Publix is one of your favorite places to go.  You sit in one of those carts shaped like a car, facing away from me, with a hand on each wheel (sometimes a hand on one wheel and a foot on the other!)  and drive through the store.  All the while shouting "car!" at every other shopper.  When we're all done, the cashier and bagger tell you bye, and you yell back, "bye-bye!"  I expect you all to be on a first name basis pretty soon.

Yesterday the weather here in Nashville was so wonderful that we went to the park THREE times!  You are the funniest kid there.  Walking around, pointing at the other kids and yelling, "baby!, baby!, baby!"

Foster, YOU'RE a baby!  Even if you do know how to turn the TV off and on!

Today is your daddy's and my sixth wedding anniversary.  Yes, we waited a while to have you.

We always knew we wanted children, but we wanted time to ourselves first.  Time to travel, time to work on our historic home, time to sleep in, and time to dream.

We had lots of dreams about you, but we never imagined you would be as wonderful as you are.  Our red headed little boy.  Equal parts sweet and sassy.  Rough and tumble.  Smart and sensitive.  I like to think you inherited the best parts of each of us.

May the next six years be full of happy memories for you.  May our marriage be all that it can be, so that your childhood is all that it should be.



"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family." ~Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monthly Update: 13

Dear Foster,

You turned 13 months old on the 21st, but I am just now getting around to writing this letter to you. Sorry about that, but you and I have both been sick for nearly three weeks.

It started with you having a cold and progressed into both of us getting sinus infections and pink eye in BOTH eyes! We were both so sick that your daddy had to stay home from work for two days to help take care of us.

As if the infections themselves weren't bad enough, you developed an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and had to be taken off of it early. It's just as well, though, because we think it was a virus to begin with, and prefer not to have you on antibiotics anyway.

Despite this helluva few weeks, you are still such a delight. A talking, walking ball of energy.

I'm keeping track of all of the words you say (or TRY to say) and believe it or not, there are 39! That number doesn't even include the two word phrase you say all day long, "Da go?", as in, "Where'd daddy go?", or the baby signs you use.

I started saying "Where'd daddy go?" when we were all home together and he would leave the room to go get one thing or another. You caught on very quickly and started asking me, where in the heck has he gone this time?!

So now, all day long, while he's at work, you ask, "Da go?" And, all day long, while he's at work, I reply, "Daddy's at work."

This month I started to wean you, and boy has that been hard! For me, anyway.

You have handled it well, so far, but I can tell that the morning feeding is going to be hard to break. Of course, you've been sick, so we're not even trying, but just a glimpse of the sippy cup in your room first thing in the morning sends you over the edge. And by "over the edge" I mean, TEMPER TANTRUM!

I don't get it, you're one, not two, so what's with the temper, mister?

Distraction works wonders for you, so as you tailspin into a frenzy because you saw the sippy cup, or because the circle won't fit into the square hole, or because I don't understand what you're trying to say, I just whisk you up and take you to the window to look at all the birds, cars & trucks. And, whew, tantrum over.

Yes, you read that right, birds. You LOVE birds, and that is one of the other things you talk about ALL DAY LONG. I open the curtains in your room after each nap and "bird" is the first word out of your mouth. We spend a lot of time looking out the windows at the birds in our yard and trust me, there are a lot to look at. What, with our gigantic bird bath and all!

When you were 4 months old or so, we introduced you to Lovey Bear, a little lovey that some friends gave you when you were a newborn.

You had been swaddled up to that point, but once we stopped swaddling you, you needed something to do with your hands. Something to hold. Lovey Bear was the perfect fit. You held Lovey Bear when you slept and eventually began to suck and chew on him. He was your roommate, but that's as far as the attachment went.

NOT ANYMORE! Lovey Bear, who you have affectionately named, Bear-Bear, has become your right hand man and you don't let him out of your sight.

He sleeps with you, eats with you, plays with you, rides with you, and walks with you. If I forget to grab Bear-Bear, you eventually realize it and ask, "Bear-Bear?". I've tried to distract you, but you don't forget, and on more than one occasion I've had to take you out of your highchair in the middle of a meal to go get Bear-Bear.

It's very sweet, your attachment to Bear-Bear, but it's also sad for me because it seems to be getting stronger with every feeding you're weaned from. Is Bear-Bear replacing me?

I had no idea that weaning you would be so hard for me. It's not like it's a physical attachment. I mean, I don't even feel anything when you're nursing. It's purely emotional and I'm not sure I have words to describe it. Maybe I should join some kind of support group or go to rehab. Is there a twelve step program I can go through? "Hi, my name is Aron and I'm so sad to be weaning my baby."

You are officially walking now and when you walk, you say, "walk, walk, walk..." You're our little narrator.

Yes Foster, you're walking. Yep, that's a bird. You're right, that's Bear-Bear, there's Dada and I'm Mama. Oh, yeah, that's a light and there's the dog. Yes, the dog is barking. I hear the truck too. And the airplane. And the choo-choo train...

Your favorite book is a book about football and you request it every time we read. "Football, football, football..." You love football! Not just the book, but the actual ball and anything having to do with FSU.

Your daddy and I have lots of FSU shirts and every time we wear one you say "football" until we sing the FSU Fight Song. You even pump your arm at the end!


Maybe one day you'll play football for FSU. And then for the NFL. And then you'll buy your daddy and I a house, and take care of us in our old age.

Until then, here's hoping for a healthy month ahead and as few falls as possible as you continue to walk, walk, walk...



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monthly Update: 12

Dear Foster,

Happy FIRST birthday to you!

I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with you. Gagging when I brushed my teeth. Eating TUMS like candy. Peeing every five minutes. Reading every pregnancy book under the sun. Reading every newborn book under the sun. And loving every minute of it.

It's true. I loved being pregnant with you. Not every symptom or side effect, but the experience. It was a blessing that I wish for every woman who desires it. And, for women who don't want it, but for whom it happens, I pray for them an availability. That they would avail themselves to the wonder that is bearing a child.

You arrived five days early, just like your daddy did. I was caught completely off guard, not expecting you until February sometime.

Yes, your due date was January 26th, but my mom (your Patty Mama) had both me and my brother (your Uncle Jonathan) late, so I assumed that I would have you late too. After all, I've been like my mother in every other "womanly" regard, so why would this be any different. (Sorry, is that too much information?) (Get used to it, my dear!)

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things was to hear my mom tell the story of my birth. I still love to hear it. There's something about hearing that story that makes me feel real. Makes me feel alive, loved, and wanted.

So, I thought I'd share your birth story here. Put it in writing so that neither of us forget.

It was a Wednesday. January 21, 2009. President Obama's first day in office.

I woke up around Four o'clock in the morning with mild back cramps. And, HOLY FREAKIN COW! Do you realize what I just wrote? Have you read my previous blogs? Hello! I just realized that your Four o'clock in the Morning habit started before you were even born! Why didn't I catch this coincidence before? What does this mean? Aagghh!

Okay, deep breath. Composure. Moving on.

I went back to bed and was awakened two hours later with contractions every ten minutes or so.
Your daddy began keeping a Log-o-Contractions (it's in your baby book) and after 8 AM we called the doctor. We were told to time the contractions and when they became consistently five minutes apart, for an hour, to come to the hospital.

We spent the next two hours packing our bags and taking deep breaths. The only way I got through the contractions was to lean over a bed and breathe deeply.

I did not want to be touched. I did not want to sit. I did not want to talk. I just wanted your daddy to time the contractions. Which he did. He was a silent saint, that man, and by 10 AM we were on our way to the hospital.

When we got there, the staff offered me a wheelchair, but I refused. Sitting was not comfortable. Instead, I walked all the way to my room. Pausing for each contraction. Gripping the wall handrail. By this time, of course, my contractions were less than five minutes apart.

I wanted to stand. I wanted to pace. I wanted to lean over the hospital bed. But, the nurse wanted me to lay in bed. With monitors on. One for you and one for me. I kept getting up to get through the contractions and she kept coming in to lay me back down.

Poor nurse, she couldn't get a clear reading of your heart rate with all the LABORING I was doing! Suffice it to say, she was not my favorite.

Around noon the doctor arrived and broke my water to help speed things along. The amount of fluid that came out of me is appalling. I must have lost twenty of the thirty pounds I had gained, right then. Soon after, I got an epidural.

I was never sure that I wanted an epidural, but after my water was broken, the contractions became fast and furious. They were so close together that I could barely catch my breath. Never mind trying to focus on a breathing technique!

The pain was horrible, but bearable. It was the frequency of the contractions that I just couldn't keep up with...especially having to stay in bed because of those bleepin monitors.

When I asked the nurse (the one who wasn't my favorite) if I should go ahead and get an epidural or wait and see, she replied, "Honey, it's only gonna get worse."

The epidural kicked in about noon and it was smooth sailing from there. Your daddy and I called family. We called friends. We watched Oprah. We ate ice chips. And, finally, at 6 PM, I began to push.

When the doctor said it was time to push, I started to cry. I just didn't feel ready to meet you.

You had been my constant companion for 9 months, but you were still a dream, an idea. Now, you would be YOU and I wasn't sure I was prepared to meet YOU.

I had to get over that craziness real quick because, well, because you were coming and I had no choice!

On my first push the doctor said it was the "best first push" she'd ever seen, and I believed her. From that moment on I pushed like no other woman has ever pushed. Ever.

I pushed and vomited. Pushed and vomited.

Finally, less than an hour later, you popped out. I swear, you were the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I even said so. The FIRST thing I said when I saw you was "he's so cute!"

Honestly, Foster, I wasn't sure if you'd be cute or not. I have a good eye for cute babies and trust me, not all babies are cute. I'm not just talking about newborns here. I'm talking about babies, kids, children, people. We're not all cute. Can I get an amen? Amen.

After all was said and done, and your daddy and I were alone, I asked him if he heard the doctor tell me that THAT was the best first push she had ever seen. He replied, "I'm sure she tells all her patients that."

Um, EXCUSE ME! Are you kidding me? I just gave birth to your firstborn son and you're going to sit here and tell me that my doctor lied to me? And, not only that! You're going to imply that I was not the BEST FIRST PUSHER EVER? Heaven help me! If I wasn't numb from the waist down, I would come off this bed and show you just what a good pusher I am!

Foster, I wish you could remember that day, this day, this past year. A year of firsts. Firsts for both of us. But, since you can't, I want you to know that this has been the best year of my life, and it was so nice to finally meet YOU. The pleasure was all mine.


Mama (aka The Best First Pusher Ever!)