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Dear Owen,

Last week your Mema asked you where you came from, and you replied, all matter of fact, from my Mommy.

I sat there momentarily stunned by your answer. As the story goes, my first response to that question was from the moon, so the fact that you included me in your answer surprised me. As you approach your third birthday, the things you come up with are really starting to blow my mind. I think you’re too smart for your own good sometimes.

This is still a tough age behavior-wise. You continue to assert your independence and be willful and make me wish day drinking was acceptable. While some days it feels like all we do is deal with that side of you, there really is so much more to who you are right now.

Like how each day you become an even better big brother. You are a mini-mommy and will do anything in your power to make Ryan laugh. He adores you, Owen, he really does. I can only hope this is just the beginning of a magical lifelong relationship between you two. He has recently started calling you by name on occasion — “Oh-wa-wa”. Considering he hasn’t even said “Dada” yet (poor Daddy), I would say you hold quite the spot in his heart.

You have become a loud and rambunctious boy, which is a 180 from the quiet toddler you used to be. Watching you play with other kids, dance and tumble has been really fun. You love to color and play with Playdoh, play instruments (especially your mini piano and anything you can make into a drum) and sing. OH, do you love to sing. There is a song by a band called Mumford & Sons that you adore. Every day you make me put it on and sing “I WILL WAIT FOR YOUUUU!” at the top of your lungs while headbanging to their banjo playing. Don’t worry, I have it on video to embarrass you with for the rest of your life, though really, I think it’s adorable. You are LOUD, and like to zoom things, and slam things and jump on things and whoa, are you a boy or what?

You are really into words and letters right now. You’ve known your alphabet for as long as I can remember, but now you want to know which one begins each word. You like to practice the sounds they make and I can’t hide my pride each time you get one right. “La-la-la-LOVE. Love starts with ‘L’!”

You ARE a love, buddy. The sweetest boy. As your grow and change before my eyes, sometimes I have to remind myself that you’ve only been here for less than three years. You’re so big, but still little.

I love you through and through, Bug.

Love,

Mommy

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Dear Ryan,

Today you are six months old. Hard to believe it, little boy. Six months is a fun age because you do stuff now. You sit like a champ, though you still topple over. But when you do topple, you roll onto your belly and play. You “talk” and mimic and grab onto our faces, holding them close while flashing us your gummy smile.

You are such a happy baby, save for the past few weeks where you were such a grump. I blamed it on teething (because I always blame this stuff on teething), but you woke up from your afternoon nap today all smiles and giggles and started to blow raspberries — something I haven’t seen you do yet. Was that the skill you were working so hard to master that was making you so angry? Raspberries? Well, you’ve mastered it now so let’s keep Happy Ryan around.

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I could spend my whole day staring into those big brown eyes of yours. Your eyelashes are unreal, kid.

Right before I went to sleep on New Years Eve, I checked on you and found you sleeping on your stomach. After that, it was Roll City. You like to rock yourself back and forth to move around the living room and the changing table has become a playground. As soon as I get you on there you start hurling yourself over, doing anything in your power to flip. You find this hilarious and laugh right at me as I try in vain to get your diaper on while you audition for the Olympic gymnastics team. You are trying SO HARD to move. You can almost get yourself up on your knees and I can see how much it pains you not to be able to just take off after your brother. I would not be surprised if you crawled and/or walked early.

You are my cheeky one, Little. With your sparkly eyes, big smile and infectious laugh I know you’re going to sucker me out of getting into trouble. You’ve got that “who me?” look down pat already.

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You are already a blankie/lovie kid. I don’t let you sleep with one yet for fear of you smothering yourself, but during waking hours the easiest way to calm you is to pass you a receiving blanket or a burp cloth and you are good to go. You always have one in the car to snuggle and suck on.

You’ve tried rice cereal a handful of times, but unlike your brother who literally “mmmm’d” his way though his first tasting, you could take it or leave it. Granted, it’s boring old rice cereal, so we will introduce you to some veggies soon, but it may be a few more weeks before you’re truly interested. Your cup, however, brings you much delight, and while you’re not really drinking out of it, you’ve gotten pretty good and putting it in your mouth. You’re also really good at banging it on the table while shrieking with delight.

Your four-month sleep regression was nothing more than you fussing a little more at bedtime and waking around 1 rather than 4 or 5. Thank you for that, kiddo. I really do appreciate it. You continue to be such a great sleeper — most nights waking just once and some nights not at all — and I love that I can put you down for naps and bed wide awake and you will put yourself to sleep.

Owen remains your very best friend and the two of you are so funny together. You laugh together and you always want to be touching him. You watch him wherever he goes and you love tagging along to his story hour and toddler dance class. You will mimic his voice and kiss his face and in turn, he showers you will love. I couldn’t have asked for a better pair.

Sure, you have days where I’m ready to put you out with the bath water…

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(Sure am!)

…but I think we’ll still keep you.

I love you through and through, Little.

Love,

Mama

Dear Ryan (Dear Little),

Before you were born, logically I knew I would fall in love with you instantly. Just like your brother. I knew this in my heart because how could I not? You are my baby. There was a small part of me that wondered, though, how I was going to love another child in the same capacity that I love your brother. How was I going to love you both enough?

That was a silly worry, Ryan, because from the moment you arrived you settled right into our hearts, and all was right with the world.

You fit right in to this silly family of yours. I feel like even though we are still getting to know you, you’ve been here all along. You are a great baby. Sure, you have moments of screaming and days where you will do anything in your power to elevate the level of suck, but mostly, you’re just so good.

You sleep — first and foremost — and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. Your brother dragged us through the mud in the sleep department, so the fact that most days you refuse to keep your eyes open later than 7 p.m. and often sleep all the way until the 5 o’clock hour is both a foreign and a brilliant concept to me. I’m not naive enough to think this will last forever (unless you feel like skipping over the 4-month sleep regression. I’m TOTALLY ok with that), but it sure has made these first few months easier than they could have been. You also sleep through basically everything — the dog barking, me vacuuming directly under you, your brother’s constant noise. I suppose it’s a matter of survival. You have no choice but to live in this established chaos.

I know I’m biased here, being your mother and all, but you’re a really beautiful boy. You came into this world so quickly (they told me to stop pushing because you were coming so fast, the doctor didn’t have his gloves on yet), so you were never really squished from being pushed out. You have big, dark eyes that were never really that newborn blue and lashes so long that they get stuck in the crease of your eyelids.  As you grow you are beginning to get chunky, and I now see a resemblance to your brother I didn’t see earlier.

Your big, gummy smiles make my day. You are most happy on the changing table. Maybe you are grateful for all those clean diapers? It is there I get the best belly laughs from you, especially if I tickle your armpits. You’re a big fan of your playmat, are not resistant to a little tummy time, will tolerate the Bumbo seat for a short while, and you like to nap in your swing. Since you still spend a fair amount of the day napping, I’m in no rush to stop your swing naps.

You are champion efficient nurser, but very different than how Owen was. When you’re done, you’re done. No attaching yourself to my chest with vice grips for the entire day. At first I kept trying to feed you more, thinking you must not be getting enough. But no, I should have just trusted your ability to get what you need quickly and happily.

You love your brother, Owen, and the feeling is mutual. He always wants to be near you and covers you with hugs and kisses. You tolerate this quite well, and often return his affection with smiles and coos. He sings to you and asks you if you had a great sleep and when you cry, he tries to give you toys or rock you to make you feel better. I really hope you two remain the best of friends throughout your life.

Your dislikes include taking a poop, your car seat (with a passion. I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re going to be in that seat for a pretty long time, so you best get used to it.), and 10:15 a.m. I’m not joking about that. For some reason, if you’re not in my arms at that time you are miserable. I’ll often find myself asking, “Really, Ryan? What is the problem?”, only to look at the clock and think, “Oh, right. 10:15.” Of course, this is usually a time of day where we need to be doing something out of the house, so I’ve spent many a 10:15 listening to you wail pathetically from the back seat.

According to our home scale, today you weigh 15.6 pounds. You little chunker, you.

I’m so glad you’ve joined our family, Little. You are a joy to have around and we love you to the moon and back. I am so excited to watch you grow and learn!

I love you through and through.

Love,

Mama

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