By Juliette

A Year of Silas

You know parenthood is going to change you. Your routines, your experiences, your sleep schedules…everything. What I never understood was how grateful I would feel to be granted this major disruption of everything I once knew. I was secretly nervous that I would have to let go of all the things I once enjoyed, fearful that ‘free’ time would no longer exist. Luckily, that’s not how it works. I more fully understand how precious my days (minutes) are, and I’ve so easily let go of what doesn’t serve me. I’ve stopped reading a crappy book 50 pages in, missed a yoga class when the teacher wasn’t my favorite, and stopped writing when the words didn’t flow. I spend more time staring at blades of grass (Silas’s favorite outdoor activity), describing the dangers of licking computer screens, and playing peek-a-boo. While I figured these days would get repetitive, I’m continually in awe of how much you change seemingly overnight.

As soon as we find our rhythm, a new skill is acquired, a new food is tasted, a new dangerous outlet is discovered, and we start all over again. The weird part is, I actually find myself enjoying all the yet-to-be-knowns. It’s a constant balance of treasuring each moment for what it is, but eagerly awaiting for what’s to come. Heartstrings constantly being pulled in opposite directions. I know there will be a point in time when I don’t get to witness your every new milestone. But for now, I’ll soak it up while I can.

Month One: Silas,

Our sweet boy is officially one month old! [And still not yet at his due date.] We feel so lucky that we got this extra time with him.
Likes: milk, being carried, Dad’s freestyle rapping, arms-free swaddling, bath time, kicking anything within reach
Dislikes: diaper changes, wearing pants 
Indifferent: tummy time, grocery stores, Cedric (for the time being, anyway)

Month Two: Silas,

It has been incredible watching you grow and learn every day. I so wish I could hold onto each moment just a second longer while you’re this small. You somehow make 2am the most beautiful time in the world. You’ve become so active and aware of the world around you. I can hardly remember the days you spent in the NICU, seeming so recent yet somehow so long ago. I never knew my heart could feel so much simply by your big blue eyes opening wide when you see me. We love you. Please nap today.
Likes: smiling for everyone except your mom and she’s not resentful at all, morning naps, long walks in the park, looking at picture books, Dad’s Silas song, baby wearing, sleeping through all first experiences.
Dislikes: afternoon naps, patience. 
Indifferent: wubbanub (However, Cedric likes it enough for the both of you.)

Month Three: Silas,

you have brought us so much joy and laughter these past three months. The way your big smile spreads across your entire body is contagious. We will do anything to hear your sweet, all-consuming giggle. You’ve made so many adorable baby friends and we love how intently and purposefully you observe all that’s around you. There are so many more adventures in your future, and we’re so grateful for how much joy you find in new experiences. We love you.
Likes: long walks, staring up at the trees, baby friends at stroller strides, resting on Dad’s shoulder, Moana soundtrack, bath time, baby wearing, peek-a-boo, mornings, music class, scarf dancing (which he definitely gets from his uncle, a renowned college ribbon-dancer).
Dislikes: being hungry, swings.
Indifferent: Cedric. But Cedric’s love is persistent.

Month Four: Silas,

I can’t even begin to count the number of books I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, and advice I’ve sought out to prepare for you. Of the millions of words I’ve come across, there was one sentiment that continues to stick with me the most. The love your dad and I have for you is of the purest form. You haven’t accomplished any incredible feats, nor won us over with a witty personality, or admirable sense of humor. You haven’t scored a goal or committed a random act of kindness. There’s no college degree, lovely set of friends we like to have over for dinner, or even a warm hug from you as of yet. You, however, have won our hearts over by simply existing. We hope to raise you to have the very best parts of each of us, with a side of Cedric’s overwhelming love of life. While you may not have taken the world by storm just yet, we’ll do everything we can to ensure that someday you do.
Likes: watching Cedric (!), Itsy Bitsy Spider, Peek-a-boo, sitting at the table during meals, smiling at strangers, long stroller walks, rolling over, seeing baby friends, cooing, looking in the mirror, the turtles at the zoo.
Dislikes: an empty belly, tummy time, when mom eats cauliflower.
Indifferent: dunking your head underwater in the pool, car seat.

Month Five: Silas,
This month has been filled with a whole bunch of firsts. We got to hear your first full belly giggle, which is the sweetest sound in the world. We also experienced your first cold, and only a few tears were shed (by your mom). You made your first trip up to New York and got all of the snuggles from your great-grandparents (& grandparents, of course). We’re starting to see your mellow personality shine through. Even with a 101 degree fever, the only sign you were sick was the trail of snot you left everywhere. You still giggled and reached out to the doctor’s face while he checked your ears. There is no way to convey how much joy and laughter you bring us every minute of every day. So much so, we can’t even be upset when you periodically decide 10pm is your ideal bed time.
Along with all the firsts, today is also the last day of maternity leave…and the beginning of our new normal at home together. We’re so lucky to live somewhere that supports a mom community, and know there are many baby adventures ahead.
Likes: dad’s songs (your first giggle!), cuddling blankets, long car rides, tickles on your belly, bubbles at yoga class, watching penguins on TV (thanks to your Nonni & Poppi abandoning mom’s no screen rules…)
Dislikes: not having mom home at bed time, really loud noises 
Indifferent: rolling over

Month Six: Silas,
Six months! Six beautiful, challenging, awe-inspiring months. Before you were born, we listened and internalized the many, many cliches that parents say. A big one being that “its impossible to remember what life was like before kids.” And in some ways, it’s true. (Although I can straight-up tell you the nine months prior to you were spent wrangling an out-of-control puppy.) However, I’ve realized your existence hasn’t simply erased everything from memory prior to your arrival. Rather, you’ve added so much vibrance to routines that were once so simple. Your birth feels like a major shift in life direction, a halfway point, the distinct end of one chapter and beginning of the next. Many of our daily activities are similar to what they once were, but with a whole new level of appreciation (& extra pack of wet wipes). I still spend my evenings reading, but the books now have colorful pictures and simple words. Your dad and I still like to road trip on weekends, but the car rides are dotted with emergency diaper-changing stops and nursing breaks. We still make sure to spend time with our families, but now the visits tug on our heartstrings more than I ever thought possible. I still enjoy creating healthy meals and new dishes in the kitchen, but I somehow end up wearing more of the food than eating it. And, of course, we still tailgate. But, instead of two batches of donuts, we only have time to make one. Life is just more thoughtful, more planned, and a pinch more overwhelming. Which is more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed. So, while it is a bit foggy on how I used to live on eight hours of sleep a night, I do remember what life was like before you…and it has made me so much more grateful for what it is now.
Likes: sweet potatoes, tummy time, intentionally screeching in yoga so the teacher carries him around, watching Cedric, bedtime with Dad, long car rides, when mom sneezes while nursing and gives him a fit of giggles, swim lessons.
Dislikes: cold food, skipping 2am meals.
Indifferent: rolling (though he started rolling as I typed this), trick-or-treating, themed outfits.

Month Seven: Silas, 
Happy seven months! You are truly turning into a ‘kid’ and we love watching you play and interact with the world. This month was filled with visits with family that truly made our hearts burst. You have a contagious sense of humor and laugh so.hard. at belly tickles, silly voices, and when your mom sneezes. Cedric has become protective of you and loves sneaking a toe lick in when he gets a chance..probably because you taste like the avocado you had for lunch. We are so excited to take you on your first flight next week and for the new experiences we get to share with you. Your joy in seeing, touching, and tasting everything around you makes us so thankful that we never have to say no to new adventures. You are always up for any outing, as long as you are home by bedtime. After a brutal month of midnight snuggle parties, you’re sleeping long stretches, and we *almost* miss seeing you before the sun comes up. You make every day the best day ever.
Likes: right foot, fruit, Cedric, banana toothbrush, long walks, car rides, splashing Dad during bath time, holiday lights.
Dislikes: left foot, beef (he is his mother’s son), pouches.
Indifferent: photoshoots, snow flurries

Month Eight: Silas,
Happy eight months! You (& your blonde (!?) hair) have grown so much these past 30 days. You were a champ on your first flight and are now a regular at the local museums. We love watching you experiment with your new skills…but if you could give us a couple weeks to install baby gates, that’d be great. You are happiest when we are on the go, and love chatting with strangers and reaching out to grab people’s faces. You’ve definitely made mundane moments so unexpectedly special, high pitch screams and all.
Likes: Sophie the Giraffe, playing roll-the-ball, airplane snuggles, stroller walks, playing the piano, peanut butter (!), sitting in restaurant high chairs, Cedric cleaning up after your meal time.
Dislikes: being hot, being hot in your car seat.
Indifferent: holidays

Month Nine: Silas,
Nine months! Three quarters of a year! When you were just a five pound peanut, I didn’t think I could love you anymore. I adored the newborn stage. The endless cuddles, the sleepy squeaks, the big stretches. I couldn’t imagine it getting any better. Nevertheless, friends kept saying that each new age was their favorite. The older their littles one grew, the more they had to enjoy and experience together. I didn’t believe them. What could be better than this snuggly swaddled little ball of love? But, this month, I got it. I finally understand the joy in the reciprocation of love. You are now an active part in it all, rather than just an observer. You give huge hugs, play peekaboo, and imitate the songs you hear. You notice who’s around you, and act accordingly. It’s incredible how easy the heart grows, and almost scary how I now know it’s only the very beginning.
Likes:, playing with other kids, swinging, music class, feeding Cedric, petting Cedric, watching Cedric, hearing your name, strangers tickling you (though mom does not like this one)
Dislikes: swimming pools
Indifferent: socks

Month Ten: Silas,
Double digits! In months, anyway. We can feel you creeping (literally) further and further away from babyhood as you ever so slowly approach toddlerhood. It simultaneously breaks my heart into little pieces, but then somehow puts it back together seeing how much you’ve grown. You suddenly have actual likes and dislikes, and make it clear who you want to snuggle with (Cedric, always). You have the loudest laugh I’ve ever heard. Like really, it’s startling. And it’s so fun to see what makes you giggle. You’ve become quite popular with the 60+ crowd, and it’s hard for us to go anywhere without drawing the attention of others. It’s impossible for me to imagine a day where you shy away from strangers, since currently you’ll smile at anyone who’s remotely near. Don’t ever lose your happy-go-lucky spirit. We love you.
Likes: eating, pulling hair out of Cedric’s tail (this is on Cedric’s dislike list), ball pits, giggling with friends, drawstrings, restaurants with decorative light fixtures.
Dislikes: teething (with still no teeth to show for it), that one time Mom thought black beans and zucchini went well together.
Indifferent: moving

Month Eleven: It’s slowly sinking in that our monthly photoshoots are coming to a close. As much as I’d love to keep you contained on this little blanket forever, I don’t think you’d appreciate dressing up in a grey onesie next to your teddy at 15. But I digress.
These past four weeks have been a doozy.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that flashes of Brie Larson in Room keep running through my head. It’s been a challenging time (to say the least) turning our basement into a music room, kitchen into a science lab, living room into a jungle gym, and backyard into a wild forest. We’ve done everything in our power to maintain some sense of normalcy. You still see your family & friends (albeit, via screen), and [bonus!] you get to have lunch with your dad everyday. We still spend much of our day outside, and Cedric still tries to lick your toes (& you still try to let him). I don’t think you’ll remember these days, but I hope that the quality time at home with your family helps create a strong foundation for you, knowing we are going to love you and keep you safe through all the highs and lows. | I keep going back to the promise I made to you on day one. I will never give up on any experience simply because it’s more difficult with a little plus one. Though, a pandemic was not exactly what I had in mind at the time, it works just as well. Though your Sophie-the-Giraffe themed birthday party and trip to Yellowstone are currently on hold, we are eager to celebrate our first year as your parents just the same with all the people who love you, in person or on screens. You truly are so happy and excited for each day, regardless if we’re going to hike at the waterfalls or spend the morning looking at Tiger King memes. It is all so wonderful through your eyes. I know we say ‘I love you’ a million times a day, but know that we mean it so wholeheartedly.
Likes: eating everything, giving hugs, riding your horse Rody, splashing water, making music, blowing raspberries at inappropriate times, making people laugh..then laughing really hard at them laughing, popping bubbles, riding in your hiking backpack.
Dislikes: when we take your water bottle away.
Indifferent: video chats

While I’ve spent each month writing the outline of each letter to you, this last letter for your first year of life is from your dad. I feel like you are just starting to realize how lucky you on the dada front. He is able to make you laugh at any moment, and you’re always looking to spot him in the room. Watching the relationship between you both has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

Month Twelve: Silas,

They say the days go slow, and the years go fast. We can’t believe that you are one year old Silas. From the day you rushed into our lives, getting to be your parents has been a true joy.  Seeing you chase Cedric around the floor, hearing you scream out dada at the top of your lungs on a hike, tickling you until we’re out of breath from giggles – your ever ready smile is your trademark. It is even filling in with a tooth or two this month!  To us, you are perfect in every way. Here’s hoping the years slow down a bit – because we treasure every moment we get with you. 

Likes: Feeling the wind in your hair, Cedric’s jingly collar, spit takes while eating,  cake, checking what’s underneath carpets, people wearing glasses.

Dislikes: swallowing water from your cup, when Cedric doesn’t let you put your finger in his ear.

Indifferent – popping bubble wrap.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. The adventure has only begun.

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