Dear Tiny Baby…

Letters to Ethan. Which he can't read yet. We'll get there eventually.

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

New Year’s resolutions

Dear Tiny Baby,

Every year, on December 31, the grown-ups all make something called “New Year’s resolutions”. These are promises that we make at the beginning of the year that we intend to keep. We don’t always succeed, but we set these goals to try to motivate ourselves to have a better year than the last: a year that is more productive, more frugal, healthier, more fun, etc.

This year, I am not making any formal resolutions. Usually I would make the “lose 15 pounds by June, pay off credit card, accomplish some other lofty goal like writing a novel” types of resolutions, but this year is a bit different. This year, my only resolution is to be the best mother I can be and not to beat myself up when I make mistakes. That second part is going to be a little bit tricky, but I’m going to do my best.

I can’t believe that in just a few hours, it will be 2012…the year I get to finally meet you, my little Tomato. It’s going to be a challenging time for all of us while Mommy and Daddy learn the ropes of parenting and you get used to being in this big, wide world. But I can tell you one thing that I know for certain: you are going to be so loved. So, so loved – by us, by your grandparents, by all your aunts and uncles and cousins (there are a lot), by all of our friends…there will be love coming from every corner, just for you.

So when Mommy is making that crazy face she makes right before she cries and Daddy is fumbling with the diapers and Gigi is desperately trying to repair something that broke, remember – at the core of all of that is more love than any of us know what to do with.

I love you so much, Ethan, and I can’t wait to meet you.

Here’s to the new year!





Dear Tiny Baby,

Mommy goes back and forth between referring to herself in the third person like someone crazy would do and referring to herself in the first person like someone normal would do. I don’t expect you to play so fast and loose with proper grammar when you’re old enough. Do as I say, not as I do, kid, and you’ll go far.


Judge not.

Dear Tiny Baby,

In today’s world, full of bloggers and trolls, reality TV and paparazzi, and in the midst of Twitter/Tumblr/texting/status updating mania, it is all too easy for people to look at something, give it a quick glance, and dash off a 140-character judgment, never looking back. We all do it. I’ve done it. If I’m in a particularly snarky mood, I freely admit that I’m the first to say something out of irritation with the types of people who never look up from their phone while ordering their coffee or the ones who wear enough perfume to choke a rhino. I’ll whip out my phone and update my Facebook as quickly as my thumbs can type. Do I think twice about it? Not really. I might delete it later, if I realize that I sounded too cruel, but usually I get responses from like-minded people who are irritated by the same things.

Now, that may seem relatively harmless. After all, I’m not calling anyone out by name and I’m not (usually) being particularly mean about it. I usually try to take the humorous route so as not to sound like a total brat. But I almost always catch myself thinking about what I said…and, often, regretting it at least a little. For all I know, that guy was in the middle of a really important conversation that really couldn’t be ignored, no matter the impact on his own schedule. Or maybe he’s just really shy and not comfortable looking the cashier in the eye. Can’t really fault him for that – I have days where I feel that shy, too. It’s tough. Maybe the lady wearing so much perfume has anosmia or something. Or maybe she had to skip her shower today and feels really self-conscious about it. Been there, and it’s no fun.

These are very small examples of the judgments we all pass every single day. Some are way bigger. Throughout your life, you’ll hear people make sweeping generalizations about all sorts of people, from teenagers to the elderly, from atheists to extremists. There is no one – not even God, and no, I’m not kidding about this – who is safe from being judged by others. There’s really no way to avoid judging others. You can’t force yourself not to think something. You can, however, force yourself not to say something.

Let me give you an example. Today, Mommy was out doing a little Christmas shopping. You’ve grown so much that my belly is unmistakable, and strangers are starting to comment. Usually, these comments are of the inquisitive or complimentary nature, which is great. This particular comment, however, was neither of those things.

There was a woman standing nearby with a friend. I saw her look at me, look at my stomach, and shake her head. She then turned to her friend and said, not even bothering to lower her voice for my benefit, “That girl cannot be more than sixteen!”

Well, that was rude. And something in me snapped. I turned to her and said, just as loudly, “Ma’am, I’m twenty-four. And I can hear you.”

The woman didn’t apologize. She didn’t say anything at all, actually. She just blushed and turned away, pretending that nothing had happened. She had been caught, and being caught like that can be a real shocker. I wasn’t exactly expecting her to say anything to me, but may a mumbled “sorry” would have been nice. Just as a courtesy.

What bothered me the most, though, was that she was so quick to assume certain things about me like that…and then not even whisper for my benefit. I’m sure other people have thought the same thing – I do look quite a bit younger than I really am, so I can’t really get upset about that – but at least it isn’t really mentioned. I did have someone else actually ask how old I was and act very relieved when I assured them I was not one of the stars of 16 and Pregnant.

The main thing, though, is this: even if I was only sixteen, that still wouldn’t give her (or anyone else) the right to assume things about me or make comments about me. You’ll hear a lot of phrases like “judge not, lest ye be judged”, “don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes”, and similar sayings, all of which are meant to remind us not to make assumptions about people without really knowing their situation.

Yeah, maybe the guy who snapped at you is just a jerk – or maybe he’s dealing with the scariest time of his life and isn’t in full grip of his emotions. Maybe the slow cashier really is stupid – or maybe he’s new and is a little overwhelmed. And maybe the girl who looks far too young to be pregnant has made some poor decisions – or maybe she is married, in her twenties, and thrilled to be a mommy-to-be, and just happens to look younger than she is.

Whatever the case, always try to remember that there are billions of people in the world with billions of stories. We couldn’t possibly know them all. One of the easiest ways to keep your own sanity (and goodness) is to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Judge not…lest ye look like a jerk.


P.S. Yes, Mommy is aware that she sounds like a total hypocrite since she is saying this and has no real intentions of ever totally cutting out the snark. A little snark and sarcasm here and there helps keep a mind healthy. However, we will discuss the difference between snark and cruelty when you’re a little older. Trust me – it will help you get through middle school as unscathed as possible if you learn that lesson early.

Mommy’s Scary Night

Dear Tiny Baby,

A couple of days ago, you may have noticed a lot of bouncing and jostling and a couple of very pronounced thuds. This is because your furry brother, Percy, slipped out of his collar and went running into traffic, so Mommy had to chase after him like a crazy woman. I fell very hard outside of the fire station, so the fire captain took me inside, captured Percy, and called an ambulance to make sure we were okay.

When we couldn’t get you to move using lights, sound, or pressure, Mommy got scared. Why were you being so still? Why couldn’t the EMT hear you with his stethoscope? I decided to go to the hospital, just to be safe. It was our first ride in an ambulance together, and it was actually a nice experience – the stretcher was pretty comfortable and the ride was short. I was assured that we were all right, and that if they were worried at all, they would have had the lights and sirens on. I knew you were probably just fine, but I couldn’t help being afraid.

We got to the hospital and went into Labor & Delivery, where they strapped on monitors and poked and prodded to try and get you to wiggle. We could hear your heartbeat and hear you moving in there, but I still couldn’t feel it. Hearing you made all the difference, though, and I was finally able to relax a little bit. Daddy came in and held my hand while we waited for a nice, big kick. At last, I felt a whopper of a kick from you – my whole belly moved! I felt you wiggling all night long after that. It was such a relief to know that you really were just fine.

Luckily, because there wasn’t any damage and no risk of preterm labor, we all got to go home after only a couple of hours in the hospital. It was quite the adventure! But we got to see the very nice hospital where you will be born, meet some of the nurses and doctors, all of whom were very sweet, and best of all, we got to make sure that you were okay.

I truly believed, all along, that you would be safe. But I couldn’t completely quiet the little voice saying “what if?” in my mind. I think that’s all part of being a mom. That’s why you’ll see mothers soothing their children’s wounds and nursing their children’s illnesses with a calm, brave face, but then panicking inside or trying not to cry. We know that, most likely, you’ll be fine, but we can’t help being at least a little nervous. The idea of you being scared or hurt and not being able to help is absolutely terrifying, and I got my very first taste of that the other night.

It’s all part of life – we fall down, we break bones, we get sick, we have accidents, and we do stupid things that result in bad outcomes. And we all usually come out of it just fine, sometimes better than before. We’re supposed to experience things that hurt, are unpleasant, and are frustrating to try and recover from – not only do these experiences allow us to grow, they also teach us compassion for others dealing with the same things.

That said, you will wash your hands and you will not climb onto the roof. Just because we’re supposed to have those experiences does not mean we have to seek them out!


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