Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dear Tessa: Month 12

Dear Tessa,

Ten days ago, you turned one year old. I've been meaning to sit down and write you this letter since that day, but two things, I think, are intervening. First, part of me just isn't ready to admit that you're a whole year old already and that your babyhood is slipping away from me. Every day with you is more fun than the one before, but I am certainly feeling nostalgic for your teeny-tiny days. Second, you're moving so fast that I need all my energy to keep up with you! And when you finally call it a night, I'm ready to crawl into that crib with you and knock out several hours of sleep, too.

When last I wrote, you were still resisting a full night's sleep (to be nice about it). Daddy and I decided that you would probably be better served by missing the bathtime with Anna you so enjoy (we'll bring it back, I promise) and going to bed earlier. So you and I started a new routine of washing your face, "brushing" your now-ten teeth, reading a story, and nursing. Now it's clockwork: halfway through nursing, you sit up and rub your eyes. We switch sides, and when you're done, you claim your paci and arch a bit for your crib. In you go, and you roll right over, hugging in your little doggie blanket. I set the sleep timer on your iPod (kids today), and you're out within seconds. The first few nights we did this, you woke up a few hours later and fussed yourself back to sleep. Then you woke up again between 3 and 4am, and I fed you; you'd then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. A few days in, you dropped that first waking. A few days after that, you dropped all the wakings. A normal night for you now consists of going to bed by 7pm and waking up between 5 and 6am. You have become a solid sleeper, and I think I now just have to find a way to go to bed at 7:30pm to take full advantage.

You started doing some really cool stuff this month. You figured out how to make kissing sounds, and you love doing this to elicit the same from Daddy, Anna, and me. You play a mean game of peek-a-boo, and your laugh has developed into such a rollicking expression of pure joy that it ranks as one of my favorite sounds of all time. Anna can make you laugh at the drop of a hat, just about, and we use her shamelessly when we need to focus your attention while we change your diaper (ever more of a challenge as you refuse to settle for being still). You started singing this month, too! You arrived home from day care one day, crooning "E-I-E-I-aaaahhhh" to anyone who would listen. And your babbling sounds ever more like actual speech as you play with new consonants and combinations. It won't surprise me one bit to hear your first true word any day now, especially with Anna talking a blue streak at you.

Your favorite toy at the moment appears to be one that you haven't figure out how to operate yet - the jack-in-the-box. The first time I wound it up for you, you didn't have a clue what was coming, and you about jumped out of your skin when the pop topped. As we continued to show it to you, you smiled, sang, and bounced along with the music and still started every time the little clown popped out for you. Now, as soon as the clown is out, you grin at us and look expectantly back at the little guy for a repeat performance. You've tried working the handle yourself - you understand what needs to happen, but your motor skills haven't caught up with your brain on that one yet. Once that happens, I'll never get "Pop! Goes the Weasel" out of my head, or the house.

Table food has opened up a whole new world for you. Not long after my last letter, you began to flat-out refuse to eat jarred baby food. Organic or not, I can't say that I blame you. So we packed the remaining jars and baby oatmeal out to a local family shelter and dove headlong into the world of "real" food. You started in on yogurt, which might be your favorite thing since, well, me. I'm buying three six-packs a week of the stuff, and you're taking them down. You'll try anything, and most things seem to be going over pretty well. You love spaghetti and Annie's mac & cheese, and you're doing really well with the little mixed veggies we pile into the mac and cheese. Cheerios are a mainstay, and you pop them with abandon - and feed them to me, too. You're also a huge fan of the microwaved frozen pancake. Soft, delicious, and easy to manipulate - it's right in your wheelhouse. I can give you one in the car and not find a single crumb when we reach our destination.

But the best would have to be, of course, birthday cake. We cheated with you, and you had some cake before your actual first birthday cake. That just served to make you a pro when the real deal showed up along with a bunch of singing grandparents and a big "1" candle your sister couldn't wait to extinguish for you. You're a champion cake-smusher.

You're still nursing, which is great - I'm so proud of us for maintaining that relationship for so long under logistically tough circumstances. I retired the pump this month, and I don't miss it one bit. But when you decide you're done, I will miss that incredibly special time we have together. I know it'll be replaced by more stories, more tickling, more games, more laughter, more snuggling, and countless other good things I haven't imagined yet. But I will always think of this particular relationship - as I do the one I had with Anna - as one of the best things I've ever had in my life.

Happy birthday, sweet baby girl. I love you more than I could ever know how to say.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


It's 24 degrees outside my office, and there are ice floes in the parking lot. When the wind blows, it doesn't matter how many layers I'm wearing - it cuts right through me. The bright sunshine is a teasing reminder that my skin won't always be this lizard-dry, that I'll be able to eat lunch outside, that I'll open the moonroof, but also that those days are still months away.

But it'll be okay now. I take a deep breath, and, when I do, I smell fresh-cut grass. I hear a crack and a roar. I see beautiful green...and I exhale.

Pitchers and catchers report.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let the record show...

Tessa went to sleep last night around 7:15pm. She fussed a little (a couple of minutes, tops) at around 10pm and again around 11:30pm. She then proceeded to sleep until after 5:30am.

Yes, folks, 10+ hours. Overnight. For the first time in her life.

Way to go, T-pot!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Strange, Crazy, Wonderful Super Bowl

I've watched a lot of Super Bowls. This is the twelfth year I've hosted a Super Bowl party (the eighth year Mr. Asco and I have co-hosted the party!). Some games, I haven't cared who won. Other games, I've cared very much who won. This was the first year I got to see a Super Bowl featuring my two favorite teams, and it delivered.

I'll spare you all the details and the run-up, as the media circus did its usual over-the-top job. Okay - I'll say this much: favorite team #1 came in at 18-0, one game away from the best season evah. Favorite team #2 came in on a crazy hot run, having nearly beaten favorite team #1 in the final game of the regular season. I was pulling a little harder for favorite team #1 because I thought seeing 19-0 would be pretty damned cool. But, as I've told anyone who'll listen for the past two weeks, if there's one team that I could live with taking 19-0 off the table, it's favorite team #2.

And they did it. Against lots of odds (ask the Vegas folks), they did it. It was a relatively low-scoring game that came down to the last few seconds, and it was just amazing. Rock on, New York Giants - you did what most everyone thought was impossible this year. And way to go, New England Patriots - you still have one more win than the '72 Dolphins, and you gave us a hell of a ride.

(As a postscript, let me send this out to the Fox Sports folks: when the New York Giants are a few seconds away from a Super Bowl (major upset) victory, it's rude to show footage of the '72 Dolphins. Not cool. Save it for the pregame, asshats.)