Sage: Ten Months

Dear Sage,

Ten months. This just doesn’t seem possible!

The days and weeks have started blending together a little bit, so that it’s hard to know what’s new this month and what you did last month. It seems like most of the developments you’ve had have been building on old developments.

You call me “dada” fairly consistently now, but as far as I can tell you’re still calling a lot of other things “dada” too.

You’re trying to imitate so many sounds! You make kissy lips, popping noises, and my favorite — one that I know is new within this last month — you blow kisses! Mostly you do this by pressing the back of your hand against your mouth and humming into it, and then pulling the hand away quickly, making a “mmmmmmmmBAH!” sound that’s just adorable. The first few times I saw you do it, I didn’t know what you were doing — your mom had been teaching it to you, and you started doing it around my parents. I thought you were just enjoying the difference in sound between mouth covered and mouth uncovered, but after we were back home, you did it again and your mom realized what you were doing. I was so excited to know, but a bit disappointed that I hadn’t been able to tell my parents that you were blowing them kisses — they would have loved that!

And yes, you got to see my parents a fair amount this past month — we all went to California. There’s no way you’ll remember it, of course. We went out for my cousin Brianna’s wedding to her fiance Alex — both people I hope you get to see throughout the years. Your grandma and grandpa were so excited to see you again! We all went to the beach; it was the first time at the Pacific for any of us. You weren’t thrilled about the beach. As your mother said about your reactions, “the sand was too sandy and the water was too cold.” In that case, you definitely take after your father.

You did really well on the planes; for a total of about ten hours of flight time, you were only fussy for maybe forty minutes, and even that wasn’t really that bad.

Also, my mother gave you your first Yankees T-shirt. It’s time you knew: you are a Yankees fan by birthright. Memorize that. It’s important. People will give you hassle for that, but you come by it honestly.

Anyway, you’ve gotten your second tooth, and you’re pulling yourself up to stand by grabbing anything that will let you up. I’m having a hard time not diving in to protect you when your stance seems awkward, like when you’re leaning at nearly sixty degrees while pulling yourself up on the wooden leg of the end table, and all I can think about is you losing your balance and bonking your head on the corner. I need to let you have your space so you can learn to do this. I’m sure that’s going to be a tough lesson for me throughout your life. You’ve started developing some “tricks” that we haven’t deliberately taught you, but that you’ve realized get a particular reaction from us. The biggest one is laying your head down on something and sighing, “Awwwwww,” as if you know you’re the cutest thing ever. Mostly, you do it on a couch cushion, but you’ve also done it on our legs or shoulders or chests, and it’s a guaranteed way to make our hearts melt.

You enjoy knocking down towers I build out of your toy cups and blocks. You laughed uproariously tonight when I made a “baaaaaa” noise for your stuffed lamb. You have particular toys that you really enjoy, including Marvin the Monkey and Cleo the Caterpillar; I already wonder if any of those toys will still be around when you’re five.

You’re starting to sleep through the night really well; this month we started to realize a couple things we were doing wrong (responding too quickly, and putting you to bed too late), and now it’s not unusual for you to sleep between 11 and 14 hours at night. You don’t always nap when you’re supposed to, and I have a feeling that’s going to be a bit of a fight, but you’re finally letting us sleep through the night. The only downside to that is that on days when I have to work overtime, it’s possible for me to leave before you get up in the morning and then to get home after you’ve already gone to bed. I hate that. I’m determined to find a way for that to not happen, if I can help it.

Last night, I said to your mother that I was happy you were sleeping through the night, but part of me really missed getting to hold you in my arms as you fell asleep taking a bottle. This evening, you needed a nap, and I got to take you upstairs and feed you a bottle and hold you. You chose not to go to sleep, but you didn’t immediately insist on having me put you down. Instead, you stayed there on my lap, babbling.

And then you started singing.

I’ve been singing around you since before you were born, and your mother and/or I sing to you every day at least once. You’ve started trying to sing too, without really knowing the words or the notes, but your voice will hold just a pure, steady note on a syllable like “ooh,” and it’s just beautiful.

Tonight, you sang nonsense syllables — just gibberish — except that every few seconds, you were very, very clearly singing “Dada.”

And you would look at me and smile.

Sage, tonight, you made up a song, and I am sure that you were singing about, or to, me.

I’m still choking up a little thinking about it.

I’m sure when you read this, that won’t mean quite as much to you as it does to me today. I don’t know if you’ll really get it until you have a child of your own. But today, you just about broke my heart in the best way possible — by filling it to bursting.

My advice to you this month: try not to take anything for granted. Every single day, take note of what you have, including relationships — and treat it all with respect. But more than that, find the joy in it. It’s so hard to remember that everything we have is a privilege, not a right. Everything. And once you accept that, you’ll realize what a brilliant life is all around you. (Don’t worry if this is hard to accept; I don’t know many people who really get it, and even though I’m the one giving you this advice, it’s something I don’t remember often enough.)

I love you so much, Sage! Your mother and I love you more than the world. I hope at night, when you’re sleeping so soundly these days, that you’re having beautiful dreams.

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