Today you are 19 months old. Did I just say that? NINETEEN MONTHS?! That's just a hop skip and a jump away from TWO. And while I can't say it feels like just yesterday I was holding you in my arms on your first day of life, I still can't believe the monumental leaps you've taken in this past year and a half.
Thinking about your age makes me wonder how long I'll be writing these monthly letters. I'm not sure; I haven't really planned it out. Maybe it'll start to make more sense to do quarterly updates, or maybe you'll be thirty-six and still get a newsletter from me at the end of every month. "This month, River, you turned 432 months old and you didn't call me. Love, Mom." I think that would be pretty hilarious.
We have had a really good week, you and I. After months and months of being wound more tight than Nicole Kidman's face, I finally feel myself easing back into the joyful, playful mommy I once was. This move has been both amazingly wonderful and unbelievably grueling. And I know having a mommy who is distracted, stressed-out, and short-tempered has not been fun, so I'm sorry. I'm sorry for the times I snapped at you, sorry for the books we didn't get to read together, sorry for the many trips to Home Depot that bored you to death, and sorry for not being what every mother endeavors: Supermom. Sometimes I can't be it all and do it all. I want you to know that more than anything in the world, I try. I try to make you laugh, to help you learn and grow, to make our home a safe, happy place. Then I fail, and I try again.
In spite of all of my doubts and self-criticism, I must be doing something right because you are just the most delightful little boy a mom could ask for. This month you have learned how to kiss. And you practice on everything. You kiss toys, pumpkins, the cats, people you know and people you don't. We're trying to get you to keep your lips puckered and closed, but often you will attack your prey with a full, open-mouthed, slobbery whopper. Your uncle Kevin is particularly concerned when you do this to Finn, directing you to his cheek while crying, "No kissing cousins! No kissing cousins!"
You not only love to kiss, you love to get kisses and take advantage of every opportunity--the smallest scrape or bump--to get a kiss from mommy and daddy. I have to say I love this show of affection. Your mommy, if you haven't figured out by now, is a cuddler and craves physical contact. I'm sure it's a large part of why I haven't felt the need to wean you any sooner.
But to everything (turn turn turn) there is a season. And this is ours. Last Saturday the three of us sat down to a celebratory dinner and said our goodbyes to nursing. We remembered good times we'd had nursing and talked about the great ways it's helped you grow. We shared funny stories and painful ones, and we talked about what a great big step toward independence weaning would be. Of course all of this was just a bunch of "blah, blah, blah, boobies" to you, but I think it helped me make a transition. That evening we had our last nurse, and while I miss it (a lot), I know that it was the right thing to do.
You are still struggling. This morning you woke up crying and asked to nurse. When I shook my head no you sobbed and sobbed. I held you as you grieved, wishing so much I could do more. It was so hard to not be able to comfort you in the way you wanted. So hard to let go of that intimate physical connection we've shared since the moment of your birth. My mom likens it to quitting drugs and I can see the truth in that analogy. We're both coming down from a high, having withdrawals, and feeling deprived and sad.
But we will see our way through this and--as sad as it makes me to say this--there will come a time when you don't crave it everyday, when you don't think about it that often, and finally, when you forget altogether that we ever nursed.
This was, of course, the month of Halloween and I figured you were still too young to have any say in what costume you wore. How silly of me. We went to the thrift store to see what we could find (since I didn't have enough time to make one from scratch and couldn't find a pre-made one I liked). Around and around we went, looking for something that could be turned into a fun costume for you. You spotted this green and yellow jumpsuit and immediately said, "Turtle!" Well, it looked like it had once been a turtle suit, the shell long gone, but I figured I could remedy that.
We got your turtle suit and you didn't take that thing off for four days. You wore it to the fabric store where you helped pick out fabric to make the shell. You wore it to the playground, grocery store, library, scary story hour, and the movies (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!). The shell--which I lovingly sewed for you--you wore for all of thirty seconds. You loved to look at it, and made me carry it with us wherever we went, but as soon as it hit your back you started a litany of, "off, off, off," until it was indeed off. Oh well. Half a costume ain't so bad.
Since I wasn't up for making three whole turtle costumes, mom and dad decided to stick with the theme of "River's Favorite Things." Daddy was a fireman and mom was Bobbie the Builder. You loved to see dad in his yellow coat and shouted "Bob! Bob!" every time you saw my tool belt and hard hat. It was so much fun to see you get into Halloween this year - to enjoy the fantasy play, the pumpkins, and yes, even the candy.
Happy Nineteen Months, My Wonderful Little Man!
I love you,
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