Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Threw Away the Baby Books...

I remember studying those baby books like I was cramming for the most important exam of my life.  I guess it was, in a way.  The most important exam, I mean.  Gavin's life tested me in more ways than I ever thought were possible.

At first, I was in denial.  "He was a slow starter."  "He'll catch up."  "My sister had premature triplets that were two and three pounds and they are perfect in every way - Gavin is FIVE pounds.  He'll be fine."  "Maybe he just doesn't 'feel like' doing these developmental things they are telling me he should be doing."

I told myself so many lies.

Soon, the baby books became the enemy.  So did the "check off lists" at those pediatric well visits.  I would avoid Mommy and me playdates because all the new Moms wanted to talk about was what their babies were doing... and mine wasn't doing any of those things.  And all I did was worry.  Until the day I said - enough.  I was losing precious moments with my first son because I was too consumed with what he wasn't doing - instead of celebrating what he was.
Soon, Brian came along.  Very soon, in fact.  I tried to tame the beast inside me that wanted to worry about his milestones.  I did my best.  Everything he did naturally seemed like a miracle to me.  I knew, because of Gavin, how much work... how much motor planning... how much physical strength and focus went into the movements and milestones that we often take for granted.  I had a "behind the scenes" look - and it made every move Brian made that much more impressive.  
It also gave me a greater appreciation for how hard Gavin worked for every little thing.

I knew that was the truth.

So, now we have Hope.  
So many years later.  
And I find that she is getting the improved version of me.  I threw away those baby books, people.  I threw them away because it just doesn't matter to me anymore.
I am happy to just enjoy my daughter and let her show me what she can do.  I'm not checking the charts... or comparing her to other babies... I'm just enjoying her and letting her be.
Lately she has been grasping things and it makes me smile.  I remember being obsessed with trying to get Gavin to hold onto something... to anything!!  He rarely did - even towards the end.  But every so often, he would close his little hand around something and we'd throw a party.
I feel that Gavin's life was such a gift to us - for a lot of reasons!  But one of the gifts was showing us how much we take for granted.  Boy, was that a lesson to us all.
Yesterday I noticed that Hope looked like she was trying to turn over!  I told Brian and he wanted to see if she would do it for him.  We set Hope up on the floor with some motivators - which is a joke.  The only motivator she needs is her big brother who she just adores!!  
You have to see this adorable video of the two of them together...
I don't think Brian knew I was videotaping them.  He kept saying "quick!  push the button" when he thought she was doing something cute enough for a picture!

He loves his sister so much.  It's beyond our wildest dreams how well he's taken to his new role.
We had a fun day today!  There was a lot of Star Wars action, of course.  Part of the day I was being chased by a Storm Trooper.  Or a Clone Trooper.  Some kind of Trooper...
Part of the day we were painting.
Part of the day I was nodding... understanding nothing as he explained to me that I needed to guard the castle from the "emeny" Emperor Palpatine so he didn't steal Scooby Doo's treasure or something like that.  It was all very creative and confusing.  Usually I completely understand and relate to creative and confusing... but he takes it to a whole other level.
I actually LOVE that he has a wild imagination.  I hope it never goes away - and serves him well in every area of his life.  
Then, there were BIG parts of the day that were consumed with his little sister.  Feeding and changing and burping and rocking and repeat.  And he would just wait... and he never complained when I said I couldn't play.
Going to bed tonight, I decided to acknowledge that.

"Brian, I'm sorry that sometimes I can't play as much..." I started before he cut me off...

"That's okay, Mommy.  Hope is just little.  She doesn't understand.  But I do, because I'm big.  It's okay that she needs you.  I'm okay."
Yeah.  Those baby books don't prepare you at all.


  1. That sweet boy is so wise and his smile is just so contagious.

  2. He is the SWEETEST child, Kate! You have done such an amazing job with Brian....AND with Gavin and Hope! It is so clear that Gavin and Brian adored each other, just as Brian and Hope do now. I get a serious case of the "awwws" and leaky eyes every time I see pictures of Brian and Hope together.....they just FIT, don't they?

  3. I came in late to your story and I have to tell you that I smile at each of these little stories of your kids. They are so precious and I thank you for sharing them with us. It is so sweet how Hope looks at Brian and how he is with her. No book could ever measure their bond.

  4. Brian is just made to be a big brother, and being Gavin's little brother helped. :-) He learned how to be patient and gentle and he learned that sometimes Mom is just busy. And the love bomb days help him know that you love him and like spending time with just him. You are doing a great job! And your little punkin is just adorable!

  5. After four boys I have learned those books are so generic and they havent a clue what babies do. each of my boys are soooo different...one took 14 months to even attempt steps and one mastered it at 9 months. older and wiser i have just learned to celebrate each accomplishment on its own. <3

  6. AWESOME! I just love reading your blog...puts it all in perspective! Thank you!

  7. I love this post so very very much!! Hope has to be one of the most beautiful, precious babies I have ever seen in my life (and I have 3 of my own!) She radiates such beautiful energy, and I am brought to tears at all of the pictures of her and Brian. Their bond is such a a natural expression of love in it's purest form.

  8. oh my what a beautiful big brother you have raised! I love reading about your sweet family!

  9. How is it possible that Hope could get any cuter? She makes me smile. And Brian is a very special brother! I remember when I finally stopped looking at Baby books, and the Parent magazine was so depressing for me. We belonged to a Mommy & Me play group until our son was about 18 months and everyone started noticing that he wasn't meeting mile stones. I started to feel very uncomfortable and just did not "fit in" anywhere anymore. I was an "old" Mom with a non-typical developing child and it was the beginning of a frantic search for answers...along with a pretty secluded life. But we are making it, and there is joy. Anyway, thank-you for sharing your precious children and for making others aware of what is important.

  10. Sigh! That was perfection. Brian is and Hope is and you are. Thanks for sharing.


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