My Darling Boy,

Last night I had just set aside pen and journal, the journal in which I keep all of Katie’s birthday letters. I am writing her fourth one, and it makes me think about both of you and how quickly time is passing. I had finished my lemon and honey tea, turned off all of the lights, doubled checked the ovens, unplugged and orange and white twinkly lights. My footsteps upstairs plotted the path of the content, my heart a calm pulse after a day full and well lived. My body and mind were ready for bed at 10:00 PM, eager for a bit of reading to make my eyes heavy.

Right at this moment, you called. Not the sweet “Mama! Mama!” I hear in the morning when you wake up filled with baby rest, a call always accompanied by your smile. No, this call was the baby-cry call of discomfort and weariness. And it was loud.

You, over the last month, have been breaking all four of your molars at once. All four have sharp spear-points poking through now, and when I look, I see baby gums mixed with erupting teeth. Ow. I know they hurt you, yet you are of such a mellow nature that you barely complain. You massage and massage and eat ice chips by the pint, and though you’ve woken up at night a few times, you mostly sleep like a champ. With Sister, the molars blindsided us all. I remember nights spent driving around at midnight with Daddy and Sister trying to lull her back to sleep, massaging her gums, wanting to poke out my eyes for want of sleep. I also wasn’t as confident a mother back then, and I have learned that half the trick to mothering children is to wholeheartedly believe (or at least pretend to believe) that you know what you are doing.

Last night, you hurt. And you let all of us know, which isn’t too typical for you. All of the usual tricks weren’t working. The bottle was the wrong offering, though you started to calm when we looked out the window. Then I moved the rocker more to the window—woops. I sang. I gave you a wet washcloth. You were mad, I think, even to be awake. You are a man who likes his sleep. We went outside and looked at Venus. We came back inside and tried the cozy chair. Your baby cry filled the whole house. Twenty minutes later, I thought that perhaps you needed a car ride, but that didn’t sound fun. On sudden inspiration, or desperation, I took us to the couch and  turned on Peep and the Big wide World. We all love Peep—a cartoon featuring an egotistical duck, sassy robin, and an inquisitive chicken that teaches science concepts to the younger set and their parents. All four of us find Peep extremely amusing. It was the episode where Quack stinks. You recognized the song and instantly settled on my chest. You laughed at Quack. You became quiet.

I kissed your sweet baby head, you silky hair so soft and lovely. I saw my sleep and my reading time ticking away, but suddenly, I didn’t care. It was more than enough to be in that moment with you. I thought about how rare it is that we just cuddle when you are awake—usually, you are climbing on me or we’re playing raspberries, or tickle, or something. But here we were, in this precious moment, just resting and recovering together, comforting and holding, getting to be together on stolen time, time we might not otherwise have had. So I just held you and kissed you and kissed you, and watched you more than I watched the show, and thought about how much I love you. I savored those moments, not as something of mine that was lost to unexpected crying, but as something gained—more time with you. I am sorry your teeth hurt, yet I am glad we got to be together.

I love you,

Mama

Our first hours together… August 8, 2010, a few hours after delivery.

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