Freckles and Being a Mom

I have not posted much about my little man since I stopped the monthly updates for the first year of his life. Over half of another year has passed and he continues to challenge my mom skills on a daily basis. Elliott has always been more. He has always done more crying, more fussing, more screaming. He is more energetic, more playful and always, always on the go. He is wicked smart. He can get his own cup, ask for ice, fill it with water and successfully take a drink before spilling it all over himself and the floor. He can buckle himself into carts and wants to “do” everything for himself. He is so busy and so much like the parts of me that I am still working on improving. But he is just a baby, so the tantrums and frustration are understandable and expected.

The first year was so much about all the big milestones, all those “firsts”… first time rolling over, sitting up, walking. First smile, first words. I watched his eyes change color from newborn blue to hazel, starting with a spot of brown in each. I watched him grow a little more into his personality and have realized that although he is not the sweet baby I had hoped for, he is in every sense of the word, more. Making myself see the world through his eyes has taught me so much about him and about me. I may not always feel like the best mom (hello, tantrum in the middle of a grocery store because I told him no, he could not knock everything off the shelf after getting the cart too close) but I am learning. I care and I try and I am here for him as much as I can be, given that I work full time.

It is not easy, thinking big picture, wondering how to better handle tantrums and best teach him how to communicate feelings he does not yet have words for. But then I notice something so small that my thinking is forced back into that moment. A freckle. One tiny, single freckle that yes, I tried wiping off in the bathtub. It was a bad day for both of us. Both overtired from him waking too many times the night before due to bad dreams, teething pains and whatever else wakes a toddler. Too much thinking put towards hoping the coming night was just a little bit better, all wiped away by a freckle that would not budge. And I smiled, so he smiled and splashed the water and showed me the foam bath toy starfish, proudly saying “Star!” And it was better. It all makes sense. The sleepless nights (still), the change of plans. The massive overhaul to everything I thought being a mom would be.

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The freckle and a fake cry. Ten seconds later he was laughing. I would share a picture to prove it except he promptly kicked my phone out of my hand.

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One Year Old

Elliott,

To say it has been a crazy year would be a vast understatement. You are my sunshine, but you are also every bit my hurricane Elliott. Your personality is the number one thing that caught me off guard about being your mom. You are in no way the typical “easy baby,” and with how quiet you were in my belly, I am still surprised at how much you can be at times. You are a very determined, persistent, intense, and intelligent little guy. The colloquial definition for personalities like yours is “spirited” and it fits you to a t. For these reasons, among many others, I know you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to in life. I know, I know… that is exactly what most parents say about their children, but I have had complete strangers tell me as much after meeting you.

You smile and you wave and sometimes play shy. Grocery stores are where you work your magic, charming the cashiers and little old ladies by flirting with them and waving goodbye. You are so curious about the world around you, and I just know one day you are going to let go of the couch and take off running. Has not happened yet, thankfully, but Grandma says she practices walking with you while I am at work.. And we are all thankful that you have taken that transition well. Grandma and Grandpa are like second and third parents, and they like to joke that it really does take a village to raise a child. For the record, I hope you never feel that you came from a broken home. There is nothing broken about us, our story just had an unexpected plot twist and if you ask me, most days I would say we are doing just fine.

Your first word was momma.. Or mom or mum. When we first started hearing it, it was not in context, but now you can identify those words as me. It is then sweetest thing, except when you are screaming your head off at me because you want everything and nothing at all, at the same time (and you want it right now please). And those fits are a bit more common lately as you finally got five teeth in a span of about two weeks this past month! Way to go on that one.. from gummy smiles to our own little fang face like it was nothing at all. You have actually handled teething really well, aside from not wanting to eat because your mouth hurts. No change in weight this month, still hovering around twenty pounds and measured in at 31.5″ tonight. Mostly I’m shocked that your feet are already so big. You would be in a size 5, easily, if you were actually wearing hard soled shoes now. Cannot wait to see how the christmas footprint ornaments turn out this year. I think this will probably be the second and last year for those! We will just stick with handprints for a while..

And now here we are.. I am not ready for you to be one year old, but it is your birthday anyway. Just got you down for the night at 11:30pm, which is sadly not all that uncommon. No matter what I have tried, you have been my night owl from the moment you were born, nine minutes to midnight. I still cannot think of that day and not have tears well up in my eyes. Best.day.of.my.life. It is so hard being a single mom sometimes, especially when it feels like you want to be anything but happy, but I was half the person I am now before I had you. You are my motivation to be a better person, to be a better parent. You are and always will be my little boy.

I love you to the moon and to the sun, to forever and back,

Mom