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A Monday morning Charlie update – 14 months

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Have you ever written one blog post for 7 weeks, editing, adding, deleting, changing, etc, and then ultimately deciding to erase it because it just wasn’t right? Well, I have. And just did.

That post was about the first year of motherhood, and it was possibly too broad and yet too intimate of a thing to really encapsulate in a ‘blog post’. I tried, I did, but I couldn’t seem to nail it. (I kept it for me, don’t worry)

It has been 5 months since a Charlie update (although you Instagram followers aren’t exactly starving of Charlie content) and it’s time to fit that kid back into the blog every now and again.

He’s 14 months old now. And he’s pretty much the best – or so I say as he’s in his crib, asleep, acting like a total angel. One should NEVER write blog posts when they are sitting in high chairs, looking you in the eye, smiling while repeatedly dropping their sippy cup on the floor, like a psychopath. Sleeping babies are the best blog post babies.

But he’s walking and talking (ish). His first real word, where he intentionally pointed to something and said it was ‘shoe’, and he says it in the most adorable way, more like ‘seeoow’. Since then he has started adding a couple more words – dada, turtle, but he understands so much. He knows where most of his body parts are and knows a lot of the zoo animals sounds, etc. When he was like 9-months-old he was saying mama nonstop – sometimes directly to me and sometimes towards anything that he loved or wanted. Then he stopped. And now he knows that I’m ‘mama’, but the kid is just refusing to call me it.

We are currently going through a pretty wonderful sleep regression period. He was that kid that started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, on his own. We knew how lucky we were, but you can’t really know how good you have it until you don’t. Well he went through what felt like 2 months of a different cold or cough and he started waking up in the middle of the night. But since he was sick, we weren’t going to let him cry, so we’d give him a bottle and rock him, etc. Well now, he’s not sick, but I’d say every other night he is up at different times, I think just wanting us or a bottle. He’s not screaming, just more like yelling and crying and sometimes he rolls back over and goes to sleep. But it still keeps us up. I’m tempted to get rid of the monitor and instead open our door that way if he is absolutely screaming we’ll hear him, but otherwise we won’t be kept up by every little sound that doesn’t need our attention. I just need to sleep more.

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We went back down to from 5 to 3 days a week with a nanny two months ago, and it has been forcing Brian and I to take 1/2 days on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s kinda awesome. I figure that I work so much at night after Charlie goes to sleep that I can afford more time with him during the week. Some weeks are harder for me than others and I do book a sitter some Wednesdays if I’m shooting at my house so I can be around him. It is just someone to help out, so I can still work and still be near him.

He eats pretty much everything we do – well everything you can gum to death. He still only has six teeth – four on top and 2 on the bottom. He loves salmon, smoothies, eggs and anything that looks like it’s a ‘snack’ or that comes from a package. I’m tempted to make a big veggie casserole and the put it in a package, and stick it in a box so that maybe he’ll be so excited to eat that. I’ve found that I actually really enjoy cooking for him. I love the Weelcious recipe books and so does he, so we make a lot of big batches of homemade food and freeze it for the week. We hide vegetables in smoothies (spinach, kale, apple, berries, banana, chia), in mac and cheeses and in mashed potatoes.

Right now he goes to the gym 2 days a week (it’s a kids play gym, obviously not to work out) and music class once a week (when it doesn’t conflict with his naps). He’s still doing the 10 am nap and often a 2:30 car nap, but then yesterday he slept from 10 – 12, which was amazing and then didn’t take another nap. Really riveting stuff, I know, but I always love to know what is happening with other people’s babies to help gauge everything. I feel like I’m not socializing him as much as I should so I’m on the hunt for moms I love with a kid his age.

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Our challenge right now is getting him off the bottle.  Since I stopped breastfeeding he has had a bottle before he goes down, and he LOVES it. But you can’t do this forever or their teeth will rot. You have to brush their teeth after the milk and before bed. So we’ve started diluting it and right now its around 1/3 the amount of formula in the water and hopefully that will work. We also haven’t even introduced the idea of going to the bathroom in a toilet to him  – I assumed he was just way too young, but then I’ll talk to other moms and find out what they are doing and I’m like, whoops. Like the brushing of the teeth thing – I googled ‘when do you start brushing a baby’s teeth?’ and the answer was ‘when they have a tooth’. I felt pretty stupid, it’s so obvious, right? Every time I think that I’ve got this thing locked down, something like that happens and keeps me in check. First kids get so much love and attention, but they certainly become a victim of first time parenting, right?

And don’t get me started on ‘common sense’. You can convince yourself that every theory/method of parenting is common sense if you want to. It’s common sense to make him eat as much as he can so he sleeps through the night, but it’s also common sense to just give him the food and he’ll eat as much as his body wants. It’s common sense to go in and comfort your child in the middle of the night when they are crying, but it’s also common sense that if you do that every time they will start to expect it and cry just for the comfort. I can go on for 15 pages about this.

Here’s the thing: the first year of motherhood is ONE  big dichotomy- a total emotional whack, actually. I feel powerful because I DID THAT and every day I continue to do that. BUT I feel powerless because I am tied emotionally to him at all times and I feel like I can’t make my own decisions any more. I feel beautiful because when people are in love they are more beautiful, and my smile is so broad and genuine. But I feel ugly because my body isn’t exactly up to par and I went ‘mom’ real fast. I feel like I nail it because there are days when the home-baked frittatas are received with a huge YUM, and naps are totally effortless. And yet I miss it constantly because, I mean …  so many reasons – he’s still drinking bottles at night, he only has like 2 play dates a week, his ‘brushing of the teeth’ is a total joke, etc. You name it, I feel like I’m missing it. I feel so grateful and like the luckiest person on the planet, while at the same time feeling like a total martyr; as if I do everything. I don’t. Brian is a serious 50/50 parent but it doesn’t negate that weight on my body. I feel so much pressure and I feel so tired all the time, but so does Brian. It’s easy to feel like a martyr when you are a parent, no matter how much of the work you are doing. I feel young because I am so much more playful and silly then I used to be, and yet I feel kinda old because vacations now are us going to Sacramento instead of Laos.

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On to the really good stuff. You know what isn’t surprising? I love that little man; that incredibly silly, wonderfully affectionate, and totally loving little man so much. Without any buts or ands. He’s my favorite person and he makes me so happy every single day. He even typically starts the day just playing happily in his crib with his stuffed animals. Also nobody loves a stuffed animal as much as Charlie. Or cats. Or goats at the petting zoo – he puts his arms around them and lies on them. I can’t decide if its good or bad for the cats/goats.

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I feel more real stress, less artificial stress. Its like one big priority blanket was thrown over my problems and things just become more clear. Work is important, and I still work 40 – 50 hours a week, I just try to make at least 10 of those are at night after he sleeps. We aren’t really balancing things over here that perfectly but I think that we all know that may not ever exist. Also the grass is always greener so I just try to be really grateful for the projects that I love and the fact that I can make the schedule. I have such respect for all moms that work for their family at home, work outside the home at a job they love, and especially those that leave every day to go to a job they don’t like to help support the family. That is a very serious sacrifice and you deserve a special kind of Mothers Day. Also you single moms out there … I can’t even begin to tell you how much I respect you. Very much.

I feel like I’m a fairly chill mom, but maybe I’m not. I keep trying to tell Brian that we should just pretend that he is our second or third child. Parents don’t freak out as much with their second or third and I think that lack of stress and worry is really good for the family. If he coughs I’m cool, I know he’s fine. I’m not the ‘day to day’ worrier – Brian’s got that covered. But most days my mind goes to the rare cancer, the extreme car crash, the freak accident. The stuff I can’t control is the stuff that causes big synapses in my brain to provoke insane visions of devastating results. I see a pool without a gate and I instantly just see – well you know, what I see – I kinda can’t even type the words. It’s bad. For the record, I was a normal, rather fearless, person before I had a kid. I promise. And now my imagination has stretched in a bad way. That part kinda sucks.

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Every single day something devastating COULD happen to your child and it might ruin your life. That is why I consider every single day a total gift. Its sounds so cheezy, I know, but just wait until you have a kid and then wait until you know of another kid who didn’t make it, THEN try to complain about your life. It’s actually impossible at times. If you are alive and your family is healthy and you love each other, then all the other problems just kinda just fade.

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Having a baby is like going to an emotional coat check, giving them your previous ‘reason to live’ at the door, and getting a new, much more legitimate one – a coat that no matter how big, will always make you feel warm and happy but will never make you feel totally relaxed. I’m not sure that makes sense at all.

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My reason to live, every single day, is to be the best version of myself for that baby. Many days I fail, but it’s a pretty decent goal, right? Well that and to dress us all in coordinating tones of blue, obviously.

Thanks Stephanie Todaro for taking such pretty photos of our family. Toddlers are difficult, Stephanie is wonderful.

Fin Mark

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Jeannine

I have a 9 month daughter and the feelings (oh, the feelings!) are so hard to nail down. Everything you write about Charlie, I love and completely understand.

Thank you!

This is so sweet. I became a mom 6 months ago and I can relate to everything you’re saying here, especially becoming an emotional wreck about everything and worrying about the worst possible scenario! My baby popped his two bottom front teeth last week and I just about LOST IT. Could not handle it. Why don’t they stay gummy little babies forever?!?!? 🙂 xo, Meg

Emily

I don’t know how to stunt their growth and its making me want another baby like now to replace the one that is growing up. Pretty sure thats not the healthiest thing i’ve ever written but you know what i mean.

My baby is nearing five months and I am loooving the baby stage. Pregnancy was such an ordeal I thought “phew, never have to do THAT again!”, but then this baby? of course I am all for round two now. (In a year or so…)

Emily, you have such a way with words, especially when it comes to the dichotomies of motherhood. I love these Charlie catch up posts. We have a very similar outlook on life – I can’t help but be forever thankful for my Harry each and every day. Keep up the great work Mama.

Erika

“Having a baby is like going to an emotional coat check, giving them your previous ‘reason to live’ at the door, and getting a new, much more legitimate one – a coat that no matter how big, will always make you feel warm and happy but will never make you feel totally relaxed.” Nailed it.

Kristen M.

Nailed it.

I have two. TWO. (My daughter just turned 5 and my son just turned 2.) I really hate those, “Just wait until…” mothers with their “Just wait until…” superiority. They’re usually talking about something horrible they survived (but don’t think I will). However.

Just wait until you have another one (if that’s your decision). The love gets bigger. And when they start playing together…(heart burst emoji).

Emily

It seems impossible. It must be true but it just seems impossible. xx

Charleen

You nailed it….I have all those very same fears and concerns and on the other end extreme gratefulness. It’s such a huge ball of emotions and you unraveled it perfectly. Charlie is so adorable by the way. You’re doing great!!!!

This is so lovely. And as a parent whose first year of motherhood was fraught by the reality of your worst fears (my daughter was born with a rare heart condition and underwent 7 surgeries before the age of 1, two open-heart), I really, truly appreciate your gratitude. I don’t like this about myself, but sometimes it’s hard not to want to hit parents of healthy children who are complaining or worrying about the teething, the mild cough, the lack of sleep, etc. So thank you for acknowledging how lucky you are!

BTW, my daughter is now 17 months and doing incredibly well, though we’ll deal with the heart thing lifelong. But she’s healthy enough right now that most days, I get to be the mom complaining about the “normal stuff” [throwing things off the highchair like a psychopath YES WHY]. And then I cannot believe or understand how I got this lucky to have this incredible person in my life.

Thanks for the Monday morning happy cry 🙂

Emily

Oh jeez. I just can’t imagine it. your strength. I don’t know you but man, i’m just so happy that everyone is doing well and I want to just give you and your daughter a huge hug. That must have been truly harrowing. I have a friend who’s one year old got diagnosed with a rare terminal kidney cancer (he’s hanging in there Go Hugo!) and every time I go to complain about something stupid I think about him and stop. I would hate to look back on this good period and think, man .. why did I complain? But its also tricky because you don’t want to come across like you have no problems … we do, but everyone is healthy so it kinda upstages every problem. Keep it up. Sending you a massive hug. xx

Jen

I get what you’re saying, but just because someone else is having a (much) harder time doesn’t mean that the everyday challenges of motherhood aren’t hard and complain-worthy sometimes. It’s not like you’re acting as though your toddler throwing his cup on the floor over and over is on par with your friend’s son’s cancer. And that particular friend might not be the person to whom you gripe about the throwing. But the everyday challenges of motherhood are hard and I think being silent about that just ends up leaving more and more moms feeling isolated. Women are so hard on themselves, and motherhood can be a gauntlet with all of the competing theories and attendant judgment. Don’t beat yourself up for griping every now and again provided you continue to keep a sense of perspective (which is sounds like you have in spades).

Amber

Well said.

This is probably your most beautiful post ever Emily! And I say it a bit teary-eyed too! As a new mom (nine years after my last one) again, I truly agree with the dichotomy you wrote about on this post. The one thing though that blogging about this feeling to the world, and letting other moms like me salute you on this, is that, someday soon, Charlie will be able to read this too and hopefully make him smile and be happier, just knowing how much he was loved! THANK YOU for this, it made my day knowing I am not alone in this Dichotomous world! XO

Liz

Parenthood rocks. (funny, hard, scary, awesome, everything)

Kim

I love reading about Charlie! I can totally relate to the days that I feel like I nailed it vs the days that are a miss.

Alexis

Pregnant with my 4th and I know your sentiments EXACTLY! And I had always wanted a big family but I remember after having my first, just thinking I loved him so much, I couldn’t share my love with anyone else but I’m happy to say that the love just keeps ballooning – it is quite incredible!

Aww I love the motherhood posts. I’m not a mother yet, but I’m so curious and terrified. Even though I’ve heard lots of stories, I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it. A coat that makes you warm and happy, but never relaxed? What does this mean? Do I want that coat??

Emily

HA. you want that coat, but its definitely comes with its own sets of new emotions. xx

Kelly l

I never comment anywhere, but feel like I need to say thank you for this. My son is the same age as yours and my daughter is 3.5 and yup, you’ve captured it all. It’s a beautiful, crazy, messy, difficult, exhilirating period of life that I’m so grateful for. Now if only more sleep!

Betty

My kid is already 19, but I remember those days vividly and sometimes I wish I could have that little girl in front of me again. I also had reoccurring nightmares that I’d lose her in a department store (I stopped going, hello online shopper), we want to protect them from everything and put this giant glass bubble around them and the minute they come home crying because Billy was mean, you’re so tempted to run after this little weasel and give him an ear full. It never stops – once a Mom, always a Mom. Enjoy every minute of it – it’s the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.

Meredith

Thanks so much for this. I’m three months along with my first, and it’s so easy to be nervous about everything that’s coming (a.k.a. ALL OF the things). I’m lucky to have wonderful friends and family to learn from, but this… this is honestly what I’ve been hoping it will be like. I know the hard stuff is inevitable, but to hear about it so honestly and to hear that it’s still so worth it, without schmaltzy platitudes… it’s just really reassuring.

Emily

thank you. and congratulations. xx

Chausey

Welcome to Mommyhood! You just described it beautifully…the deep love and the high anxiety. I have an 8 year old and your baby experience sounds very similar to my own. Just know, it gets so much easier. You don’t have to be perfect, love truly is the most important ingriediant. You both won’t remember the coughs or colds so much, but the deep loving bond that has been growing since before his birth. It’ll all turn out beautifully, after all he’s of your design! Blessings to you and your gorgeous family! 🙂

Melissa

What a great post. Thank you so much. I also am a first time mom to a boy – he’s now 19 months – and I have been on the same roller coaster since his birth. I love your motherhood posts – ones that reflect on the positive and the amazing but also recognize how difficult and conflicting things can be. Every topic you’ve touched on here – I am so with you. Thank you again.

Jenn

I am the Momma of two teenage daughters (15 & 17) and I still really enjoyed this post! Being a Mom is super hard work but is absolutely the best thing I have ever done. Keep up the good work!

Martina

This was so good! REALLY do not judge yourself on how other people parent though. My son didn’t do the casual introduction to the toilet thing that people are really into now, we just did it in 24 hours when he was 2 1/2, worked like a dream. I found that I stumble the most as a parent when I try to follow a trend (like sleep training, agh!). I learned the hard way that you just do your best and listen to your own instincts. And, you can correct almost any parenting mistake slowly with patience!

Ahhhh you totally nailed it with this post. Thanks for sharing such lovely photos of your family!

I’m thrilled to hear that Charlie can say “mama”. Ford kinda refuses the “m” sound, so while he says “dada” no problem, I’m just…”bob” (think “mom” with a really stuffy nose).

Close enough, right?

Emily

thats so funny. just this morning i was trying to get it out of him and he called me ‘baba’ instead. BUT HE USED TO SAY MAMA!! it actually doesn’t bother me, its just kinda funny. He can call me whatever he wants.

You have to just love the not calling you “mama”. It will come back and this will be a fond memory. Mine just turned 3 and he knows now my name is Nancy. Sometimes when he wants to tell me something “serious” he will call me “Nancy”. As in, “Nancy, I really think we should go to the park”. Granted, he is a little precocious. Great post!

Ursula

I have only one child – a 26-year-old man now, but I’m still most at peace (or less stressed and anxious about those crazy things that might happen) when the three of us are together playing boggle or watching tv. I guess that mother imagination never fully goes away.
Charlie is so adorable. I really enjoyed the update.
Ursula

Elisabeth

Yep to everything. Everything. Right there with ya.

Caro

The sleep thing – my son did not sleep through the night, not once, until he was 11 months and I turned off the baby monitor. Then, miraculously, he slept. I discovered that my mother-ears still worked, even in my sleep, so we woke if he really needed us.

Love the update! I have 3 kids and you know what is so awesome with your last…you never beat yourself up. I never used a monitor with her, at 2 we are just doing our first “socialization” at dance class, and sometimes she eats mini muffins for dinner. You know why? Becasue with your last you have already figured out that all of that stress you put on yourself (out of love obviously) is completely unnecessary. Of course, you also cry way more at every “first” bc it’s your last 🙂 Charlie is precious and oh, you don’t have to start caring about your weight/looks until at least a year after your last. It’s a rule.

Emily

I like that rule. And i’m going to quote you to Brian about the third. I’m actually not stressed about the stuff that i’m probably doing wrong – but it stresses me out that i’m not stressed (or something).

Debra

Everyday of your life will be full of love, anxiety, laughter, and tears once you have children. My three are now grown and they are my best achievements in life, as yours will be. Remember this as Charlie throws G.I. Joe down the church aisle during the recessional…not that it happened to us…really. Or as he’s wailing at the top of his lungs during a crowded holiday church service. (We were new to the church and I apologized to the little white haired woman next to me. She patted my arm and said that it was the sound of life in the church. Best pew mate ever.)
Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!

Sharon

Whew, what a post, beautiful and anxious at the same time. I totally get you. Every mother juggling a job whether part time or full time feels the same. My children are 25, 23 and 18…and I sometimes wonder how they got through it all unscathed, no broken bones, no near misses…you’re constantly on overdrive thinking of possible dangers ahead. You’re a great momma, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times over. My only niggle is that I think parents these days feel they need to keep their babies ‘busy’ from a very young age when actually the child is quite content being with mom and dad. There is plenty of time for organised play when he is older, he’s probably getting all the stimulus he needs right at home, so don’t worry too much about organised play and activities. You’re doing great!

Emily

Thank you. I think you are right. Calm home environment with lots of loving parent time can only be good, right? But then someone just told me how important socializing is for his ’emotional intelligence’ and i’m like, if he’s not around kids all the time is he not gonna get it? So thank you

Sharon

He is going to develop his emotional intelligence as he learns how you both interact with others, and because you have quite a busy household with lots of people doing shoots etc, he’s already learning to socialise and interact so don’t worry about him being socially inept! He’ll probably be very outgoing and relaxed amongst adults and children alike, due to his upbringing.

Veronica

What a great post! The pictures are adorable. Can I ask you where you got that great blue jacket?

patty blaettler

Yes. Get rid of the monitor. Mom ears hear all.

jeannette

i think this is a great thread, that EH has touched on before. all the baby kaboodle you don’t need. minimalist baby, i think that’s a super thread.

jeannette

motherhood is not my thing. but you write so wonderfully well, without BS, about it. as a professional writer, i think you have a real future in writing about no-BS-motherhood. please don’t stop.

and, thrilled your hubs is a 50 per center. you should (or he should) write about that too. it’s truly revolutionary.

Oh friend. Sometimes I feel like a cautionary tale, because I always feared the worst and then the worst happened, but you know what? We are making it through. I’ll probably never stop being scared, Hugo will be 50 and I’ll be feeling his forehead for a temperature, but we are making it. And even when things were very uncertain, I made a conscious decision to enjoy my baby. And I do!

That said, ditch the monitor! We do have a video monitor so if I hear him I can take a peek and see if he is settling himself down. Our house is similar to yours and if he’s unhappy I can hear it immediately. He’s just a doll. xoxo

Emily

Thanks, Marianne. Hopefully that wasn’t upsetting to read. You’ve just been a serious inspiration for me and it helps me keep everything in perspective, I think about you and Hugo every single day. Your whole family is just amazing and the world is a better place with all of you in it, especially Hugo 🙂

Not upsetting in the least! xoxo

Beautiful post, so happy to hear you sharing your thought on montherhood again. These words really resonate with me, especially the bits about not being sure if you’re “doing it right” and all the fear about what could happen. My baby just turned one and when we went to the 12 month checkup my pediatrician asked if we were brushing her teeth and I just thought, WHOOPS.

Go ahead and ditch that monitor in the bedroom, it is a game changer! You will still hear him if he’s freaking out and you will all get a little more shut-eye. We only use the monitor downstairs now and everyone is so much more well rested.

I have so much respect for you and the long hours you are working all while being such an awesome mom to Charlie. I’m sure after putting him to bed after a long day shooting the last thing you want to do is write a blog post, yet you do! Your life is so inspiring, thank you for sharing with us and remember you are doing an amazing job!!

Emily

Thank you so much. And it looks like the no monitor is winning. xx

Melanie

Thanks for the shout out to those of us who hate our jobs and miss our babies. It’s seriously the pits, and it’s so nice to have someone acknowledge that! This whole post was on point. So much truth! Although, unfortunately, I am not more chill with my second baby. I’m just not as good at things like only feeding homemade steamed organic veggies because THERE’S NO TIME. Instead of being cool about it though, I just fret about how I’m the worst mom of all time. I still have the horrible flashes of terrible accidents too. THE WORST. Of course, I wasn’t a normal person with normal fears before I became a mom. I’ve always been a neurotic mess 😉

Emily

🙂 You are sacrificing some of your personal happiness for your family – i’m pretty sure that you are a very good mom. What else could they possibly ask for than that?

RNM

Beautiful post, and I agree with all of the dichotomies! I hope you have better luck with the sleeping than we did – we had an angel infant sleeper who started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and never looked back until she became a toddler. We’ve had plenty of stretches where it goes back to normal, but uninterrupted 11/12 hrs is no longer the typical night. The downside about increased socialization and then not having breastmilk anymore is that then they’re always getting sick. My daughter is basically just a walking snotball with moments of healthiness stringing one cold to the next. I attribute much of our difficulty to an inability to be consistent with her since one week she can barely sleep so we aren’t as stringent, while the next week she’s healthy and we’re working against the special treatment she just had. Then it just starts over. Sigh.

Emily

That is exactly our situation. Its so tricky … He finally doesn’t have a runny nose for the first time in months.

Lana

Thank you for this beautiful post. I feel like I totally know you, even though I obviously don’t, and I’m rooting for you and Charlie and your hubby. Being a mom is so hard every way- mental, emotionally, physically…, yet, it’s so worth it. For the record, you look gorgeous and not at all “mom”! And two play dates a week is great for a toddler! Sounds to me like you’re doing an awesome job- you love your kid, you’re doing the best you can, and you’re appreciating it all.

Robin

That perverse tendency to imagine the worst? My adult children aptly labeled it “catastrophizing”. I wish I could tell you it will go away. It won’t, but I feel like it became less of a constant as they grew older. Enjoy!

Emily

Its actually even better already than when he was an infant. catastophizing – such a good term and yet soooooooo annoying!! Our poor kids …

Victoria

Thank you for the Charlie update. Much of your post brings back memories and happy tears, although baby monitor what was that with my son heading to 45 this year it was just the Mother’s sense that he needed you and it worked for me while perhaps giving me a little more sleep.
As a single Mom since my son was 3 the best thing you can give Charlie is your time, even if it is while your working and he’s playing with one of the other adults. My son loved to come to work and sometimes it was a mess, or took an extra hour but we both went home happier having the time together, even if he had to be scrubbed from having ink stamps all over his hands and arms.
The photos of your family are lovely. The instagram of Charlie at Target is just so adorable. Wait until he starts hiding under racks of clothes as you follow his giggles.

Aly

You are such an amazing writer and have put to words perfectly the feelings of a first time mom to a baby turned toddler!!!!

Kimberly

Thank you so much for this post. It’s absolutely beautiful. Charlie is so lucky to have you chronicle your life together like this. He will cherish this someday (as I’m sure you and Brian will too). Inspiring and comforting and so so so loving.

Emily

thank you. xx

Jennifer

What an awesome post. My little guy was born the week after Charlie and I feel that you are writing on behalf of me! I love the parenting posts. I was hoping you were going to tell of your great solution in solving the middle of the night wake-ups…I guess I will have to keep listening to my mom’s advice that isn’t so helpful. Keep enjoying Charlie and for being so honest about the joys and semi-challenges of parenthood!

Lauren

Oh Emily, I really loved this post! Like so many other mom’s commenting here, I can relate to these experiences. When I was pregnant, a co-worker at the time said to me “I know a lot of people are giving you advice, but if there is one thing I can tell you, it’s that you are a great mom. Remeber that when your little guy arrives and you are in the thick if it, because I know, just like my wife does, you’ll doubt yourself over and over again. Just remember, you are a great mom”. At the time it didn’t seem like essential advice, but now I go back to those words more often than most other advice I have recieved. Not just because it’s nice to have someone reassure you but because it’s nice to feel normal for doubting yourself. Emily, you are a great mom! Ps. the whole worrying/anxiety thing that suddenly appears once the baby is born (I once backpacked SE Asia without a care in the world and recently I told my husband I was worried about something bad happening to our son’s potential future kids – he’s 6. And yes, I know that’s crazy)… Read more »

I am on maternity leave, from a great job, and adjusting to motherhood with my little man, 6 weeks tomorrow, and I desperately want to read your first draft- ha! As a new madre I appreciate your posts about parenting. They are honest, your real feelings, real experiences and no hidden agenda- aside from an excuse to show the family fotos!

PS I think your coat check metaphor made a lot of sense.

Oh, Emily. This is so dang beautiful.

Emily

🙂 thank you

Lynne

Emily, you are awesome! What a great attitude about parenting! I’m going to give you my break the bottle advice. My pediatrician told me how he did it back when my daughter (now grown) was Charlie’s age. I told her this, “You are getting old enough now that you don’t need bottles any more. Help me get all of the bottles out of the cupboard and together we will put them in the garbage.” We did it together. That night she wanted her bottle and I just told her, “Remember, we through them away together. I’ll get you a sippy cup of water though.” She got a look of recognition in her eyes and accepted the information. After a few nights of sippy cups with water she stopped wanting anything at night. I hope that it goes as easily for Charlie.

tammyCA

I know what you mean about those horrible intense visuals that come into your head as a mom..I was born a worrier, so it’s pretty bad for me. Once we went to a kid birthday party where the parent & his friend set up a water slide with electrical cords on the grass near all the water but covered up with electrical tape or plastic (to pump the water onto the slide)..I got freaked and had to ask the parent if it was safe..no other parent there was concerned. Kids were all over the place running over the cords, going down the slide, I was scared & praying the whole time..not fun.

i’ve missed these updates! you really know how to put these feelings/emotions into words, usually when i try to explain what it’s like being a parent to non-parents (i have a 8 m/o boy) i just become a blubbering mess. And omg that effing superbowl commercial, I wanted to throw all reachable things at the TV. I already battle trying to keep freak accident thoughts out of my head. But anyway, I love how you write about being a parent, because I think most parents feel this way and for some reason it’s not shared. I never knew it would be so wonderful to be a mom.

Emily

I didn’t see it! Which one? I mean, not that you are selling it or convincing me to watch it based on your review but now I’m super curious!

Ashley

It was for nationwide and showed like an empty pool, the cabinet under you sink, etc. then said “most childhood deaths are caused by preventable accidents”

Don’t forget the part when the adorable child actor said, “I’ll never do any of these things, because I died in an accident.” Are you KIDDING ME? I hated that commercial.

shavonda

OMG seriously worst commercial ever. #hatedit

Emily, this was such a great post to read. I’m flashing back to when my son was this age–he’s now 2.5 (and I’ve survived! So far :). I laughed when I read the cup dropping thing. My son used to do that and it drove me INSANE. Until my friend told me something that made me see it in a new light. She’s in med school and she said that babies do that to see cause and effect and once they discover it, they like to repeat it to make sure the same thing happens again. It’s a sign that their brains are making these important connections. Once I saw it like that, I didn’t mind it so much because I realized that it was a sign that my kid was healthy and normal and growing. As for the sleep situation, I agree with removing the monitor. And I think the time for sleep training has come. I did it with my son when he was 11 months and it was awful. But it worked. I wouldn’t worry too much about Charlie’s socialization. He’s constantly around people who shower him with affection so that’s enough. My son didn’t start going… Read more »

Emily

Thank you. i keep just putting myself in his shoes – and dropping things is just so fun. Same with putting his hand in his food – i get it, its a weird texture and playing with weird textures for the first time is so fun, so i’m trying to ignore it for now and just let him play.

Anne

When my daughter (and first child) turned two, we took her bottle away. In retrospect, I feel guilty that we took it from her before she was ready to give it up. If the bottle comforts Charlie, let him keep it. Have you ever seen a child bring a bottle to school? No. He will give it up on his own terms. And you won’t feel like you’re the reason he’s in therapy!

Emily

oh thats good to hear. it does seem weird. I asked my doctor for a really good reason and he was like, ‘uh, i don’t really know’. i think things just become expected at certain ages, but if he loves formula then why can’t he have it (besides the teeth thing, I supposed).

Well said! Motherhood is so hard to put into words.

I love your quote “a coat that no matter how big, will always make you feel warm and happy but will never make you feel totally relaxed. I’m not sure that makes sense at all.” I’ve been thinking that same thing for the last couple weeks and wondering if I’ll ever feel relax/settled every again

Jess

Great post…I feel you! My Oliver is almost 15 months so we’re right there with you. He’s just transitioned to one 2 hr nap mid-day (if he falls asleep for an hour in the morning he refuses to nap in the afternoon, yet will not stop moving and giggling all day long). We’re still doing a bottle before nap and before bed, so I need to work on that too. And I feel like I need to socialize him more regularly as well…constantly trying to find that balance with work, nanny, play dates, working out, etc, etc. We’re in Burbank and are friends with Max & Margaux, if you ever want to get our little guys together!
You’re doing a great job! xo

Emily

Oh i’d love to. Lets do that – get my email from Max and lets set up a play date. And remember we were going to name him Oliver so thats a good sign 🙂

Colette

As a first time mother to an 8 month old little boy this post really hit home. I found myself getting emotional as I read it. Glad to know that all of the thoughts and emotions I feel on a daily basis are shared. It is a difficult job but I go to bed each night feeling so tired but so lucky. Motherhood is a crazy thing. I sometimes think about when I’m ready to have another baby and excitement and pure fear encompass me at the same time. You said it well, that love is a wonderful thing and I hope that as long as I am trying my hardest with a heart full of love,I will help foster a little man full of love and happiness.

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