Raising a Blended Family

Paxton’s 18 month Letter

Somehow, some way, Shorty and I woke up this morning and inexplicably found ourselves with an 18 month old and no idea how we got here. He was just two weeks late and spanking brand new yesterday! There is NO WAY we have a one and a half year old, a being who is closer to the scary age of TWO than the safe, darling, baby age of one. It just isn’t possible, and yet it is reality. It keeping with that, I decided to mark such a momentous occasion with a letter, to my son, on the day he leaves babyhood and enters toddler land.


{April 10, 2014}

Dear NotSoBaby-Baby-Boy,

Today, you are 18 whole months old. Which translates to one-and-a-half years old. Which means that you are squarely halfway between ages one and two, which means tomorrow when you wake up, you will be closer to being TWO than to being ONE. All of which collectively means, I want to gather you up in my arms, hold you really really close, snuggle your soft tiny adorable still-baby-almost-toddler body, and then shove you in a magic box that will keep you tiny and little, just.like.this forever.

Okay, fine. I’m being dramatic. I wouldn’t really do that (probably). I just can’t believe you are this old. How did we get here?

Ever since turning one, it seems your “explosive growth and development” button has been turned on to full power. You run, you laugh, you play jokes, you say words, you get into everything, you weigh 22 lbs (okay, fine, weight-wise you’re still a shrimp), and yesterday when we took you to the doctor for your ear infection, she measured your height by standing you against the wall like a big boy! And I was so shocked and amazed that I don’t even remember how tall you were. I’m not ready for this! I’m not ready for ANY of it. But you are, and so I have to be, too.

Some of my favorite things lately are your “kissies” and “hugs.” You give both readily on command and often of your own free will. You are very snuggly (when you want to be and when there aren’t other More Important Things demanding your toddler attention)! The cutest thing happened tonight- Mama was sleeping (she has to work tonight) and so I told you to give her a kiss night-night, and you bent down and kissed her on the cheek with a little ‘muah’ sound. SO cute, son!

You love to laugh and play jokes. I think you get this from your Mama. If we ask you to give us something, you will act like you are going to hand it to us, and then snatch it back right at the last second. You also like to “fake cough”- if you cough or sneeze and we say “bless you!”, you will fake cough and sneeze over and over again, giggling in delight if we say “bless you” each time. You love to be tickled, too, and tonight I sat in the living room listening to you and Mama play together as she tickled you- you laughed and laughed and each time she stopped you would say “mama!” in a demanding, tickle-me-more-NOW kind of way. You’re so silly!

Speaking of things you say- there are a handful now. You have said “Mommy” and “Mama” for awhile, though the later tends to be applied not only to your actual Mama but to all adults. Grandma is Mama. Strangers are Mama. Sometimes sissy is Mama. But Mommy is reserved specifically for actual moms, and not for anyone else. The word “ball” has been acquired and similarly applied over-generously; “ball” (pronounced “bah” by you) means an actual ball and anything round and shaped like a ball (fruit) and the act of throwing a ball. [Sidenote: you seriously have an arm on you. When you get older, if you are interested, I see teeball in your future.] You say “hi” and “buh-bye” accompanied by a cute whole-handed wave. Once, when Mama walked in, you said “HI [Mama’s name]!” which was hilarious to us! We aren’t sure where you picked that up from but you’ve only done it a few times. You say “uh-oh”, making a big round “O” with your mouth as you look to me to see my reaction- and often, your “uhoh” is not actually a mistake so much as, say, you got sick of having your sippy cup on your tray so you purposefully threw it. Uhoh. You also say “uh-uh” and shake or turn your head when you do NOT want something, and uhuh is so much cuter than “no” that I hope you never, never, ever learn the latter and stick with the former! You still babble quite a lot and I SWEAR there’s English in there somewhere if I just listen harder- you swear it too because if you babble something at me, and I don’t respond appropriately to whatever it is you want, you will keep babbling the same things at me just as if they are actual words (in other words, you’re not just coming up with random stuff, you actually think certain babbles represent certain words). It’s also clear that you understand so much more actual language than you can say- you will respond to commands like “come here,” “sit down,” “give me your foot” (for shoes on/off), etc and you know what “night-night time” is and recognize your name. The other day when Grandma was visiting, she told you to go get your ball from the other room and sure enough, you took off running and came back with that ball! We were all pretty impressed on that one. It’s fascinating to watch you acquire language kiddo, and I know one day soon we will be having full-on conversations that BOTH of us understand!

Other things are changing too- you barely nurse anymore, and I daresay those days are about over. Early mornings are your favorite time for “nursies” now, when I go to get you from your crib where you wake up (at 5am, thanks kid) and then we come back to Moms’ bed and you will quite sweetly snuggle into me and sigh in content and then fall back asleep nursing for anotherhourthankeverything. Other than that, you sometimes “ask” (by trying to lift up my shirt and having a minimeltdown if I say no, until I redirect you) during the day but not often. When you have an ear infection (like now) you want to nurse ALL the time, but that is more about pain relief than actual nursing since I know the sucking helps your ears. We have come a long way from the boob-attached baby you used to be, and although I will miss the sweet sleepy mornings, I will NOT miss the gymnurstics sessions and so I think it is a mutually-good thing that our nursing time is drawing to a close.

Sleeping arrangements have changed as well- you now sleep through the night in your crib! AND you usually go to sleep on your own! Our bedtime routine starts at 8pm with a snack (if you haven’t recently eaten), pjs, brush teeth, night nights to Mama, and some books if there is time/you aren’t ridiculously ovetired. Then we sing our night-night song (night-night Paxton, night-night Paxton, night-night Paxton, it’s time to go to sleep! …very original, I know) and you lay your head down on my shoulder and we snuggle for a few minutes while I pat your back. Sometimes, you will sleepily take your hand and pat my back too while I’m patting yours! Cutest. Thing. Ever. After a minute or so of cuddling I lay you down in your crib, say “night night Paxton!” and walk out. Sometimes you fuss a bit, sometimes not, but you’re always asleep within ten minutes. Just like that. We basically do the same thing for naps as well (you are down to just one a day). I don’t remember how we got here, but it is a glorious and ironic place to be. Glorious, because bedtime is so much easier now, you’re on a schedule that YOU set (12pm nap, 8pm bed), Moms have our bed back (you like to move around a lot and kick in your sleep, so sleeping with you is anything but restful kiddo), and there is a lot more free time now in the evenings and afternoons while you sleep! It’s ironic too, though, that at 18 months you have only just started sleeping in your crib, at a time when most kids are almost done with theirs. Ah well. It’s working for us, for now and that’s all that matters!

Favorites right now include anything with wheels- things you ride on and toys that go vroom! You really love to push cars around the living room and line them up on windowsills, etc. You also love to play with the play kitchen opening and shutting cabinets and putting stuff in them, and you love climbing and swinging on your Step 2 climbers. You are full of energy and prefer to run, not walk, everywhere! You are losing patience for storytime but will still sit for a minute or two, particularly if it’s one of your “first words/colors/numbers” books- you like to look through those with me and point at things for me to name for you. We keep a First Words book in the car (we have three different versions) and during car rides you will happily sit in your seat and flip through the pages, “reading” to yourself.

I love you so much little boy, and I am in constant awe of the toddler you’re becoming and all the things you’re learning. I can’t believe we’ve come this far, but I know that in ten years I will look back and think how very little you still were at this point in time.


I love you with all of my heart and soul, Sunshine Boy.

Xoxoxoxo Mommy










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New Place, Same Old Familiar Pangs

So here we are, with a week of being in our New Space under our belts. It is beginning to feel less new and more lived-in [both the house and the new town], though I think we’re probably just becoming acclimated to living inside a giant maze made of boxes [just the house]. We finally just got internet today and most of the boxes still need unpacking but hey, it’s progress. The good news is, every time I need something I have to open a box, and generally when I open a box I find other stuff that I need and the box magically gets emptied and things gets sorted out. Progress.

Thing One started at her new school today. We were anxious mamas but she came home raving about how everyone wants to be her friend and they get TWO recesses, moms, TWO. Oh, the novelty. It wore off a little bit when she realized she actually had homework to do, but I’m sure it will come back after tomorrow’s set of double recesses. The life of an eight-year-old.

Sometime between my last post and the one before that I neglected to mention that I officially resigned from my old job. It seems like a crazy move, except for the fact that there was no way I was going to be able to do THAT plus do my nursing school stuff come May. Resigning now meant I didn’t have to keep commuting back to our old neighborhood and hour and a half (one way) per day, working night shifts, and finding daycare in a new town (yet.). Plus, it gives me a month- one glorious month- off in between my resignation and school starting in which to pretend I have my old life back. Be a stay at home mom. Pack. Cook. Spend time with my boy and my girls and revel in all the time we have together. Potty train the dog. Etc. It’s a good thing, even if it did make me nervous to do it. I think I just have a hard time letting go and trusting that it will all be okay. So far, so good though.

Speaking of school and the need to make time for it, I got my official acceptance today to my nursing program. It was already assumed (for various reasons) that I was in, but it was nice to have that reassurance and the typed out text with my name and the words “Orientation, May 12, 8am” written together and in context. So there’s that. Officially getting into school though means I officially do need to start searching for daycare here for Pax. I am dreading it. Again. I swear I have Mama Separation Anxiety.  Our first daycare lady was so horrible, and then we had our family friend watch him plus another lady we found who was just sweet as can be with him and loved him like her own. I don’t think we’ll get that lucky again and so here I am, full of nerves and re-dreading the daycare search, all over again. It makes it worse that it is a new town and I have zero leads on where to even start looking. The school itself provides a daycare, but I am suspicious of that by nature, having gone to a small university daycare as a child, so we will look into it but also see what else is out there. New town, same old familiar (daycare)pangs.

And finally, in typical my wife fashion, I was informed just days ago that since I have officially resigned and have nothing better to do, I am being sent on a trip back home to California for two weeks at the end of this month. April 21, to be exact. No arguments and a nonrefundable plane ticket. And it’s not just me going, actually- I’m taking the one year old with me [in.my.lap.help.me.], though sadly the wife and daughter have to stay due to work and school, respectively. It is, as wife said, my chance to recharge, to see family and friends that I haven’t seen in the two years it’s been since we made our way out there, and to allow myself and Pax to visit with his great-grandmothers [all three of them], particularly since one of them is pretty ill and may not be around much longer. My wife, who missed saying goodbye to her own grandmother by mere hours before she passed*,  told me she does not want the same thing to happen to me. It was a ridiculously sweet gesture to make and, since I had no choice and it was forced on me, I feel free to be excited and happy about the trip [somehow, if I had been the one to decide to go and buy the ticket, that would have made me feel guilty. Even though it would have been for the same reasons. That’s my effed-up psychology for you.]. The other great thing about this trip is that this is literally my last chance to go for probably the next two years, since once my school starts it’s an accelerated 16-month program with no time to take trips or time off. So I’m really happy to be taking advantage of the time I do have and happy to see Cali again, even if I am not the one who came up with the idea in the first place. Thanks wife, I love you!


*She literally missed it by hours. We were in Cali and she got the call, we booked an emergency flight but it just didn’t get there in time. It was really sad and something I know she regrets.