Theodore Dean, my love,
Welcome to the world, big guy. I'm so happy you're here!
It's been ten weeks since you came into my life and man, I thought the day would never come. The doctors and I anticipated you coming a little bit earlier than you did but you surprised everyone and hung on (in) until the very end. Even when induction day came, it seemed to pass sooo slowly until Daddy and I finally got the call at lunchtime to head to the hospital to meet you. Even then, you were in no rush until all of a sudden, you were. You allowed me a beautiful, easy pregnancy and an active pushing delivery process two minutes shorter than Don McLean's "American Pie."
Induction day was 7/12 and at first, I loved the idea of that date and didn't love the idea of the 13th. An odd number, the potential for a Friday the 13th birthday, etc. But then, Mommy's friend Kathleen (You're brilliant, KM!) pointed out that 7/13 had the same numbers as your brother's birthday (3/17) and furthermore, when read backward, it WAS your brother's birthday. All of a sudden, I was quite excited to meet you on the 13th and ready to play the lotto.
Since the minute we met nearly ten weeks ago, I've been thinking about what words I can possibly string together to let you know what you mean to me. How happy you make me. What joy and love you've brought to my life. It will be an ongoing quest, for sure, but I'll give it my best shot.
Theo, my sweet, happy, curious, charming son - when the doctor delivered you and placed your body onto mine, my chest felt as if it would burst open under the pressure of my new, expanded heart. I let out an audible, drawn-out gasp that was the most involuntary breath I'd ever taken. My eyes filled as I held you close to me. Looking at you through wet eyes, I scanned your body, taking in every possible inch and committing to memory every skin wrinkle, (and there were quite a few, my 9-pound love!) every rise and fall of your chest, every eye flutter. I did my best to stifle your cries and promised myself and God in that moment that harm would never touch you.
You cried for almost an hour and boy, did that worry me. You see, your brother didn't cry at all so I was convinced that you were going to be a tougher kid than easy-going Harrison. Well, the most crying you've ever done was in that hospital room because you haven't done much of it since. If it's possible, you're (knocking wood!!) easier than easy. Thanks for that.
You're a great sleeper. Thanks doubly for that. You fall asleep easily in my arms, when I'm wearing you, when I nurse you, when I have you thrown up over my shoulder, in your crib, in the swing, or carseat. You don't seem to prefer one position over the next. Heck, last week, you even fell asleep on the playground mulch. (On a blanket, of course.)
You have the most incredible hair and people have been commenting on it since day one. I call it hair with personality. It's a little bit blonde under certain lights, a little bit strawberry blonde in the sunshine and a little bit dirty blonde where it's thickest. When you went into the nursery at the hospital for tests and blood work, the nurse brought you back saying your hair was the talk of the room. Everyone wanted to know where I had your baby highlights done. Our friend (Hi, CK!) said she thought the "'N'Sync frosted tip look' was working for you." When I comb it over after a bath, it inevitably ends up taking shape as a mohawk on its own. In fact, we have so many pictures with your mohawk that it has become part of who you are. You don't quite look like yourself when it's slicked down or combed over.
Daddy and I call you our buster. You were big out the gates at 9 pounds, but you don't seem to be slowing down. At 10 weeks you're a little over 14 pounds and 24" long which puts you at the 90th and 93rd percentiles, respectively. You didn't wear many of your newborn clothes and your 3-month clothing has come and gone with most of it already washed, folded and packed away. You're solidly rocking 6-month clothing and even 9-12-month sizes if they're hand-me-downs from your brother. You lived in short-sleeved onesies for 4-5 weeks because it was so brutally hot and humid this summer, but now that it's cooling down and the mammoth amount of boy clothes has been sorted into appropriate "Theo sizes," you're looking much more dapper and I'm having a lot of fun dressing you - especially when I can coordinate your outfit with Harrison's. #navyandkhakialldayeveryday
Another distinguishing feature about you is the "stork bite" on your left eyelid. Believe it or not, Mommy had the same one in the same spot when she was born, which makes me feel that much closer to you (like I needed another reason!). We're told it will fade by your first birthday but we'll be fine if it sticks around longer. It makes you you and it's like a mood ring for your face - a good indicator of how angry or happy you may be.
You're as strong and alert as they come. You started trying to lift your head immediately after birth and love to flail around like you're trying to get up and go. Your legs don't stop kicking and your newest move is to push off of the person who's holding you to try to bend backwards. Good thing we have good reflexes. We do lots of tummy time with you and I'd even go as far as saying that you enjoy it. You're drawn to light, your brother, movement and mine and Daddy's voices. You love when I wear you facing out. You take everything in and are a real observer.
You haven't done too much traveling over the last couple of months. I was nervous to venture out with both you and Harrison at first, so your main outings consisted of trips to Daddy's softball games and playgrounds. You felt at home at both and I slowly grew more comfortable with taking the two of you all over the place.
You started giving us some really incredible smiles between 5 and 6 weeks old. I mean really. incredible. smiles.
I've heard the expression "a smile that reaches the eyes" but I can honestly say I'd never experienced it until meeting you. Your smile lights up your entire face and everyone in this house has a gut reaction to smile right back. Harrison especially loves watching you smile. I have been trying to get a picture of him smiling at your smile, but for now, I'm enjoying it in real time while the two of you communicate wordlessly. You have goofy smiles (above) and sweet smiles (below). I love each and every one of them. Please don't stop smiling my happy, happy boy.
Griffin had no issue with you coming home. He got used to you right away and has since shown fairly little interest. That will change! At this point, I think he's given up on ruling the house and is resigned to rolling with the punches that two boys bring.
Thanks in part to you being such an easy baby, you've really adjusted to life in our little school house seamlessly. You go with the flow and are up for whatever adventure the weekends may hold. You're present for all of the story times, meals and outings, and we can't wait until you get more involved with all of the above. I can't remember our home without you in it. I can't remember my life before you arrived. You make the house (and my life) fuller, louder, happier and far more chaotic but I wouldn't change any of it.
After a couple of books and songs, you're asleep each night by 7pm. We can count on you to sleep until 1-3am before your feeding. Sometimes you'll go from that one feeding until 5:30-6am and sometimes you'll sneak in a quick second feeding before waking up around 7am. We will take it. You seem to really like your room, which makes me happy. We put you in the crib at 10 days old and haven't looked back. You really love it, and Mommy and Daddy like our quality of sleep although sometimes I miss waking up and seeing your angelic, moonlit face in the co-sleeper next to me. You're still swaddled at night, and seem to like that as well, although you're busting out of it - I think sleep sacks are on the horizon for you.
We named you Theodore because it's a name Daddy and I loved with but also because it means "Gift from God," just like my name. You're Theodore Dean after Daddy and the two Deans that preceded him. We're calling you Theo because it's too darn cute and it fits you oh-so-perfectly. Sometimes Daddy calls you "T-Bones" and "TheoBeo" inexplicably slips out of my mouth more than a few times a day. Harrison seems to prefer your whole name, "Feodore Dean." Ha! Whatever we call you over the years, know that you are a true gift from God and you're more perfect than we could have ever imagined.
After your birth, we spent two nights in the hospital and on the second night, Daddy went home to get uninterrupted sleep. It was me and you against the world, kid. The nurses didn't approve, but for the 10 hours Daddy was gone, I stole you from the bassinet next to the bed and brought you into bed with me. For 10 glorious, snuggly hours. You slept and fed and I held you and watched you while silent tears of pure joy rolled like a leaky faucet down my face onto your impossibly warm and soft skin. Your skin was pressed to my skin and those 10 hours were among the best of my life as we drifted in and out of sleep together without a worry in the world.
Theo, I'm already so proud of you and wake up each morning even happier than normal because I know you're waiting for me just up the stairs.
Mommy (Daddy, too!)