Category Archives: Asher

Dear Asher: Four & Five Months

Dear Asher,
A few weeks ago you turned four months old! And I kept thinking about how I needed to write you a letter, and then all of a sudden you are five months old.

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You’re still snoozing well at night with one wake-up around 3 or 4 a.m. You’re growing like a weed but shaped more like a tree stump.

You are noticing people and things around you, and your favorite faces are Addison’s and Maya’s. Addison makes you jump and squirm with excitement, and Maya’s shaggy, always-slightly-damp, furry face fascinates you. You patiently let her sniff your legs and lick your ears. I hope she returns the favor when you become mobile.  

IMG_9534You can’t crawl, but you are still a rolling force to be reckoned with. I had to buy mesh bumpers for your crib so you’d stop waking up with your limbs stuck. Two rolls and you’re off the play mat, wobbly head looking around, big gray eyes blinking in confusion, wondering where all that giggling is coming from.

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One thing I knew I wanted to tell you this month is the story of your name. I suggested Asher several months before you were born, and your Daddy and I both liked it. We weren’t totally sold, but we kept it at the top of the list. As your arrival became closer and closer, we narrowed the list down to two names. Your dad was all about “Asher.” I kept waffling, and we even arrived at the hospital without knowing for sure what we’d call you. To help me decide, I looked up the meaning of the name.

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Your name means happy. I couldn’t help but love the idea of planting such a simple but transformative foundation for your life. I am not perky, not overly bubbly or cheery. But you, my little light, are so very happy. You are content and calm and the picture of happiness. Of course there are many months and years ahead for you to discover death metal and black eyeliner, but these past few months have been filled with the radiance of your pure, innocent joy. I want to bottle it or snort it or bathe in it—whatever is less weird. Basically, I can’t get enough.

IMG_9468From the moment I come to scoop you out of your crib in the morning, your day is filled with gummy smiles, delighted squeals and calm observation. You have lived up to your name more than we could have ever thought, and I’m certain you were always my Asher. When my reserves are running thin, and I’m scraping at rusted tin trying to scoop out some joy for the day, you have so much to spare.

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Thanks for all that happy.

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From My Whole Heart,
Mama

Dear Asher: Three Months

Dear Asher,

Last week you turned three months old! Hooray!

You are not lacking in rolls or cheeks or cankles, my sweet boy. You are all pudge, and I am all in love with it. You are a great sleeper and only wake up once at night to eat. I’d say that sleeping through the night would be preferable, but we’ve been hanging out in this 3 a.m. wake-up phase for so long I find myself awake before you start fussing many times. I will get some eye rolls, but I think I might miss those overnight dates when they are gone. Just you and me in the stillness and peace, holding onto one another.

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You are starting to find your voice and will coo and squawk when you get worked up, usually on your play mat when that hanging elephant gets on your last nerve. You’re also sitting in the Bumbo and your exersaucer now! What an exciting life you lead. You will entertain yourself for a little bit in all these contraptions, but your most favorite activity is hanging out with someone who will talk and laugh with you. You seem pretty social and a lot of times I think you fuss simply because you want some company.

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This month you are an official roller-over! I’ve forgotten every word of every parenting book or article I’ve ever read, so I have no idea if this is advanced or weeks behind, but you’ve definitely mastered the back to tummy roll. More than that, you are a MOVER. Every night, without fail, I will come in to feed you and find you squished right up against the crib slats. A stray foot or arm has been stuck several times. You may even sleep through the night if you had a California king sized crib and could roll and scoot all night long with no obstacles. But don’t hold your breath, champ; Mama is still stuck in a queen bed.

Your smiles stop my heart, and every now and then they come with a lilting squeak that must be the soundtrack for joy itself. You are such a happy baby, and I cannot tell you how beneficial that has been over the past month.

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I will tell you the truth, little man: it’s been challenging in this place with you and Addison. My optimism slowly dissipated into feeling overwhelmed and burdened with the weight of two lives and two schedules that seemed to require the sacrifice of mine. It’s not that I don’t love being your Mama—I absolutely do—it’s just that I am having a difficult time remembering who I am outside of that.

But in the midst of that struggle, you are here with bright, cheery eyes that tend towards blue; full, pouty lips that move to mimic mine; your Daddy’s rounded nose; chubby feet that kick and squirm incessantly and the sweetest, most patient temperament. In these three short months, you have seen me at my worst more than I’d like to admit, and still you seem to say, “It’s okay, Mama.”

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If I hold you with arms that are weak and frail, you don’t want to get down. If I curl you into shoulders that are heavy and slumped, you still nuzzle into them without hesitation. If I look at you with eyes full of tears, you still know who I am. You still come alive with recognition and delight, and that, little Asher, has been a saving grace.

I know that my voice and and my smell and my face help define your world right now. That responsibility is ever-present in my head. But I also know that your staccato sounds, warm smell and sweet smiles have anchored me in the here and now this month. You have helped me rediscover the simplicity that I have been craving and the joy I was afraid wouldn’t be found. On dark days, you have been such a beacon of light in my life, in our home and in our family.

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Looking ahead, I already know the sunnier days are waiting. I am so grateful I get to share them with you.

From My Whole Heart,
Mama

Dear Asher: Two Months

Dear Asher,
Last week you turned two months old! You get cuter and chunkier with each week!

You’re still so content most of the time, and I sometimes can’t believe how calm and happy you are. You are a smile factory when someone is talking to you, cooing and trying your best to talk right back. The squeaks and squeals are too much to handle.

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You still hate the swing and the car seat, the two devices that saved my sanity with your sister, so logistically you’re a little more of a challenge during the day. Our options are limited to holding you or propping you up on the Boppy to chat until you can sit up on your own. Don’t worry—that’s a task you’re already working on and seem pretty determined to master soon.

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It’s already been a busy summer for you, and this month we celebrated Father’s Day and Independence Day. Plus, you had your first trip to the zoo! Clearly, you were thrilled.

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And your first trip to the children’s museum, but you didn’t have the best view.

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With the whole family infatuated with Addison, I wondered how adding you to the mix would change things. Let me just tell you, little man: you could not be more adored by every single person who has met you, and even some who haven’t had the chance yet. Battles ensue over your snuggles and smiles, just as they should. No one can deny the draw to the chub.

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Even your sister is slowly becoming an ally with “baby Asher,” though I am in no rush to be on the business end of her evil genius combined with your brute strength.

I took Addison to the playground the other day, just the two of us, and we were the only ones there. On the way home, I told her how much fun it was going to be once you were older: she would always have a friend to play with at the playground. I am eagerly looking forward to those days, with the pair of you screaming and chasing and tagging and making the sweetest (and some sour) memories, just like I did with my brother.

But not yet, okay? I am not ready for those squishy thighs to straighten out, or that wobbly head to stay upright just yet. I am having too much fun with baby Asher. I am caught off guard by how much I enjoy being needed this way again, how hearing my voice or feeling my arms can comfort you when no one else’s can. When my shoulder is what that nuzzling nose is searching for and my sounds are what those gray-blue eyes are reacting to. Running and jumping and playing with you is going to be amazing, I know.

Today, though, I want exactly this moment for just a little longer.

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From My Whole Heart,
Mama

Dear Asher: One Month

Dear Asher,
This weekend you were one month old! These past four weeks went lightning fast, and every time I tried to remember how many weeks it had been since you were born, I was sure I was doing the math wrong.

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There was only a small respite before we had to continue on with life. I was sick and had to go to the doctor when you were four days old, we had to take Addison to school a week after you were born. We didn’t have a lot of down time, but you have been wonderfully flexible.

Besides being a little sleepy at first, you’ve been a great eater and had already surpassed your birth weight when you were five days old! Every few days we will look at you and you will seem twice as big as the day before. Your one job right now is to plump up, so way to go, champ!

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Days are sort of a breeze. You don’t really cry at all unless you absolutely hate something, and instead fuss a little to let us know when you’re unhappy. You do seem to get bored quickly with the same thing, like the swing or sitting on the Boppy. You much prefer to be held where you can see what’s going on around you. If we really want to keep you occupied, we’ll give you a nice view of the fan, your favorite.

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I’d think having to feed you and hold you and reposition you and entertain you so frequently would wear on me—and sometimes it does, of course—but mostly I am relishing this fleeting phase of being needed so completely. I’ve been here before, and I know when it’s gone, it’s gone. You’ll never return to this itty bitty size, you’ll never again squeak at me like this when you’re happy, you won’t stare straight into my eyes with those big, blue-gray, straight from your Daddy eyes and immediately calm us both. I know it’s already slipping from me, sweet boy, and I refuse to miss it.

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Nights on the other hand…those are tricky. You are so uncomfortable lying on your back (thanks to a sensitive, still developing tummy) and will grunt and strain and strain and grunt for hours. The noise combined with feedings every two and a half hours is not a recipe for sleep success. I try multiple locations and positions every night, hopeful that eventually we will stumble on a system that works for all of us. No such luck yet, but we’ll get there. I have to keep reminding myself of that around 4 a.m.: we will get there one day.

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But hey, at least you’re not screaming.

I only believe that you are my child because I had a front row seat at your first appearance. Otherwise, I’d assume your Daddy handled the whole thing by himself since you look nothing like me and everything like a Noa.

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It sounds so funny to say out loud, but you have no idea how much we needed you, Asher. You came on the heels of an emotionally chaotic and complicated time. More than a distraction, you’ve been a grounding force for our family. A lot to take on at eight pounds, but you don’t seem to mind.

I will always be grateful to you for how you helped pull me back into a place of hopefulness and joy. I hoped for you, Asher Wylie. You are my joy, grunts and all.

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From My Whole Heart,
Mama