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A Monday morning Charlie update – 14 months

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)

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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.

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  1. 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!

  2. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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…)

  3. 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.

  4. “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.

  5. 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).

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

  6. 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!!!!

  7. 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 🙂

    1. 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

      1. 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).

        1. Well said.

  8. 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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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??

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. thank you. and congratulations. xx

  16. 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! 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  21. 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

  22. Yep to everything. Everything. Right there with ya.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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).

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

    1. 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

      1. 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.

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

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

    1. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

    1. 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 🙂

      1. Not upsetting in the least! xoxo

  31. 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!!

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

  32. 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 😉

    1. 🙂 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?

  33. 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.

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

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

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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.

    1. thank you. xx

  39. 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!

  40. 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) well, it’s good to know we’re not alone. In fact, I think that feeling is what bonds all of us different mammas out there. We’re really and truly are not alone.

  41. 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.

  42. Oh, Emily. This is so dang beautiful.

    1. 🙂 thank you

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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”

        1. 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.

          1. OMG seriously worst commercial ever. #hatedit

  46. 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 to school until he was 15 months old and he fit right in. No anti-social or misanthropic behaviour, I mean except for the usual toddler stuff 🙂

    I think you’re doing a wonderful job, be kind to yourself! You have a lovely, happy little boy. Thanks for sharing this with us. Hang in there!

    1. 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.

  47. 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!

    1. 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).

  48. 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

  49. 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

    1. 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 🙂

  50. 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.

  51. Lovely update post. As a mom to 6 all I can say is enjoy it right now cause if you think you are worried about things like brushing teeth now……..it ain’t nothing till they start school… Just wait till you try and navigate education…. Two down four more to go and it does NOT get any easier. Getting a good education I thought was a given. Little did I know how hard it is to accomplish in CA and in a city like the big tomato.
    Hold on as each year just gets faster.

  52. Can I raise my hand and vote for more Charlie posts? I read your other ones too but these are just my favorite. Maybe because I also have a 14-month-old little nugget of a boy who I love so much (but also want to kiss my nanny when I see her every day so I can get work done and have more than 5 minutes to myself). I’m totally with you about feeling stupid about parenting sometimes – how are you supposed to know and keep up with all of the things he’s supposed to be doing? My guy doesn’t yet know all of his body parts or all the farm animals, but I don’t want to be one of those crazy moms who constantly quizzes him about that stuff – I want to let him be a toddler and PLAY and have fun. I know there’s got to be a happy medium but I haven’t figured out what it is. Thanks for not being afraid to admit we’re all really just making it up as we go along, hoping that our love and affection and support will be more than enough to make up for our other parenting failures (or delays – we’re still on the morning and nighttime bottles too. Oh well.). xoxo

    1. Ha! Yes to wanting to kiss my nanny!! Sometimes I wonder if she knows how much power she has?? If she ever threatened to quit I would be a lost puppy! And even when my little guy is with her sometimes I want to go upstairs and curl up with him! But then I remember baby tantrums…

  53. So many great milestones — and it keeps getting better! Just wait till he starts (or already has) doodled or draws because you will want to KEEP THEM ALL. I keep all of my boys’ masterpieces in my special box and need to find something bigger because it is overflowing. Thanks for sharing your updates and for the shout-out to all the moms out there!

  54. My son is about one week older than yours (basically the same, and I love seeing photos of what Charlie is doing!) we took his bottle totally away about 2 weeks ago. We started before that going down to where he only got a bottle at nap and bed, then just bed. We read that babies around this age still want very much to please you (if you ask for something in their hand they will usually give it to you) and it is easier to just take it away now than to wait until they are 18m. So one day when they were all clean I just packed them away in a box. He knows “ba-ba” and hasn’t asked for it once. Good luck! Whatever you do probably won’t scar him for life

  55. Emily, you’re so right! Someone once said to me “having a child is like having your heart outside your body.” It’s one of those things you never know till you know…
    Motherhood is this amazing,terrifying journey with so many emotional highs and lows. It’s always nice to hear from fellow moms just how meaningful it is to them too. I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a 6 mo old. I thought it would be easier with number 2, but all of that love, all over again is so overwhelming. It truly is the most unconditional love that can exist.

  56. What a gorgeous family!

  57. Your blog is so candid… absolutely love reading about you and Charlie. I have an 8 month old and girl… the struggle is REAL. 🙂 xx

  58. I come for the design…but I probably stay for posts like this. Thanks for the teary-eyed smile this morning.

  59. I love this. Pretty much at the same place with our daughter except she’s a little older at 18 months. Don’t feel too much pressure to get rid of the bottle. What we did at night was give her the bottle and then go read books and brush teeth. Then she goes to sleep on her own (but naps she needs the bottle to sleep). Just don’t feel too much pressure about it, they are only small for so long and with the bottle she feels like a tiny baby still and I seriously look forward to it every day.
    xox

  60. Adorable!

  61. I have a son a few months older than yours and just wanted to say you nailed it. This is all so true (down to the angst over the night-time bottle). Thank you so much for sharing!

  62. Yes! I completely relate. I have an 18 month old girl, my first. This is the first time I’ve really felt like a role model to someone. I see her imitating me and all I can do is try to be the best version of myself for her. Often, I surprise myself with the kind of mother I am turning out to be. It is not exactly what I had imagined after a fight with my parents when I was 15 and thought “when I have kids, I’m going to let them get a tattoo whenever they want!”

    Do you ever find your friends without kids trying to relate to you by comparing your kid’s struggles and milestones to their pets? I was guilty of this pre-baby, but now, I know it is not at all the same thing.

    Thanks for this. I love your posts on motherhood.

  63. He is adorable!! And I agree with so much of this. Becoming a mom has been the hardest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever done.

  64. wow, this is a great post. my hat is off to you on your honest and being able to see the big picture while also keeping in mind the little things. it is so refreshing to hear a mom being honest about it all and as a mother-to-be, i truly take your words and mentality to heart. i don’t know you but i am proud of the mother you are and strive to be every day. oh and that charlie, breaks my heart with cuteness!

    – Jaime

  65. Such a lovely post. Such a real look into a mother’s heart and mind. I’m expecting my third right now, and I’m looking forward to meeting this baby and spending time with them so much because, just like you said you just don’t freak out with subsequent babies as much, since you’ve been through it before — I’m just so looking forward to that aspect of it. But the funny thing is, I still freak out about new steps we go through as my oldest ages. Poor oldests. (I’m an oldest, which only makes me understand what I’m doing all the more! lol… No pressure there, mom brain.)
    Thanks for being so open and real with your words. It’s always so nice to not feel alone in this big messy, awesome adventure.

  66. beautiful. 🙂

  67. The first year with the first babe is so hard! With my first, I really thought his naps and eating habits were a reflection of my ability as a mother. So on a day when he napped well and ate well I felt great about myself and on days when he didn’t, well… I didn’t.
    When my second and third came along, I had the gift of perspective. I knew the first year wouldn’t last forever, best to just get through it as well-rested and happy as possible. And once I saw how different from each other they were, I knew it couldn’t possibly be all about my mothering. It was largely just how they were wired.
    I went to a wonderful parenting workshop a few years ago, when my first was three and very stubborn. The instructor talked to me about seeing his stubbornness as “persistence,” something that might make getting him out the door or away from a puzzle hard now, but would likely translate into a kid who can see a project from beginning to end and knows how to make a commitment. And my job as a mother was not to make him less stubborn, but to help him use his persistence in the best way possible.
    Which is all to say, mothering is a wild, wonderful ride! It only gets better from that first year, I promise!

  68. Hey Emily!

    Thanks for being so honest about your life over the last 14 months. I’m finding that I have developed such a confidence in your experience because you are so darn real about it all. Reading your thoughts makes me feel hopeful that my husband and I can pull it off too. Also, please check out this lamp! https://www.etsy.com/listing/161943309/balloon-lamp-designed-by-yves-christin?ref=ss_listing

    I’m not sharing with you for any reason other than the fact that I know you love balloons, Charlie, and fun design (of course not in that order…). I thought it would be so cute in his room!

    xo!

    Kathryn Parker

  69. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, a mom named Starr got rid of her baby monitor and she and baby (and subsequent babies) slept well. And she didn’t worry about potty training until much, much later. And they all lived happily ever after. The End.

    He’s so cute. Just focus on that and don’t worry about the rest.

  70. Yes! My son Jack is 16 months and you described the first year of being a mom so well! I can completely relate. Jack still drinks from a bottle but we’re working on it! And brushing his teeth is impossible. I work a lot after Jack is asleep at night too. My house is a constant wreck because I work instead of clean it!

  71. “I consider every single day a total gift” … me too. I tuck moments like snuggles and hugs, glances and kisses into my heart. … a big turning point for parents, especially of young kids, was unfortunately Sandy Hook. And often, when my son is “misbehaving,” I try to remember that those parents would give anything in the universe to be experiencing that with their child.

  72. You wrote this post beautifully. For me, being a parent feels a lot like having your heart live outside of your body. If you understand that, feel that, and act on that, then you are doing it right–and your heart is OBVIOUSLY running around outside of your body, chasing after cats and giving goats hugs at the petting zoo. : )

  73. Emily-

    Thank you for writing, and writing honestly. I am 35, 6 months pregnant and more worried about raising a child than giving birth. I appreciate reading your story. Thank you.

  74. What a lovely post, he is such a cutie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    http://www.mintnotion.com

  75. My youngest child turns 18 this week, so it feels like I am in the home stretch. Having been a mom for over 20 years, here is my advice… Enjoy it! For all the good and bad, it all washes in the end and it goes by so fast!
    p.s.
    It’s okay to turn off the monitor.

  76. Hi Emily – this is a beautiful post. I have a 14 month old daughter and i love to follow along with your updates on Charlie. It’s so interesting to hear about other babies at the same stage, so thank you for sharing. We still give our daughter whole milk in a bottle in the morning *and* evening! I suppose I should start thinking of weening her off that, but she gets giggly when she sees the bottle and just loves it. Oh, and I haven’t even thought about toilet training. geesh. She is just getting confident with walking further than 5 feet or so. She also takes two naps during the day (~10-1130 and ~3-4) She goes to bed around 7:30/8 and sleeps ’til 7:30. She has done that consistently since she was 7 weeks. As I write that, i realize I am jinxing myself and either she will regress soon or go goth or something on me when she’s a tween. p.s. i also have those crazy moments where i think, what if I just accidentally drop her or fall down the stairs with her. People tell me it’s totally normal and I believe them : ) lastly, I’d love a post on the items you’ve discovered to be toddler essentials!

  77. Beautifully said. That is motherhood in a nutshell. Though I wish I’d gotten to feel that “I did this!”…”I am women, hear me roar!” My body wouldn’t make babies do other women made me a Mom. I think no matter how the babies come–we feel inadequate and indispensable, fun and impatient, successful and an utter failure. Every hour is different!

  78. I have a 15 month old son, so I love your Charlie posts, and…I hear ya!! Thank you for putting into words what I, and SO many other mums I know, feel every day. x

  79. A lovely piece, and really captured what all parents think! 1piece of advice that I was given with regards to the bottle… I began to top up the bottle with normal full fat cows milk… So if they had an 8oz bottle of formula, I use to do 7 of formula and 1 of cows… Then a couple of nights later do 6oz of formula and 2oz of cows…. Until eventually it’s pretty much cows milk, but done in a sneaky subtle way that even a child won’t notice (well hopefully, they are pretty clever!)…. Hope that helps, it work with my two…they love their milk before bed and when they wake up (warm ofcourse as their still rather fussy!)…. But getting lots of calcium for strong teeth and bones etc….

  80. This was beautiful! and so true! I have a 16 month old and completely relate to everything you said here. You are doing a wonderful job though, go easy on yourself!

  81. First of all, you look great, don’t worry about that so much. Secondly, welcome to parenting! You guys are doing just fine, and I’ll tell you, my kids are OLDER, almost 23, a 21 year old and a 19 year old, and reading your post brings back memories. You will worry, and you will worry, and you will have fun, plenty of it. You’re doing great, you are being a parent and balancing all the things that go with that. There will always be something, even at my kids ages. Haven’t you ever heard someone who is much older, like kids are grown, married, have kids of their own, say “you are still always their mother”, well it’s true. So, hey, you’re doing great.

  82. i love love love reading your motherhood posts! i’m due with my first in june and i truly appreciate anytime a mom gives a legit and honest (and still entertaining!) glimpse into motherhood. not to mention how hearing about your bleak fears when you see things like open pool gates makes me feel a lot less crazy since i already know i’ll be that way 🙂 so thanks for that!

  83. Thank you for this! My son will be two months old on Sunday, and I’m having those same feelings where I think I’m nailing things and then something comes up and I feel like I’m failing. Like we cannot seem to manage to get enough Tummy Time in, and he doesn’t eat the way I was told he should. But then I watch him raise his head off my shoulder, and he’s gaining weight, so it must be ok. And he could definitely use more friends, but everyone we know either has much older kids or is single, so I guess I need to find some mommies to hang out with.

  84. I have a 1 yr old and something that gives me a lot of comfort whenever I’m consumed by worry about whether or not I’m doing the right thing is thinking about all of my friends and how I have absolutely no idea how their parents raised them. For sure they were not all parented the same, but you know what? They’re all awesome people regardless.

    I also have fraternal twin 6 month old nephews who have really different personalities from each other and from my own son. I used to think that many different parenting styles can lead to a good kid but now I know that there HAVE to be many different parenting styles because individual kids are so different! My brother and sister-in-law have done the exact same things with both twins and received very different results. One wakes up in the middle of the night, one doesn’t; one still needs to be swaddled, the other grew out of it; one is 2 pounds heavier than the other even though they offer both the same amount of food! Kids are just different, and so are their parents. You’re the best for Charlie and it looks like you’re doing a great job!

  85. He is seriously the cutest kid ever!!

  86. Which Weelicious book do you recommend? I see she has a few.

  87. Favourite post ever! I’m a working-from-home mom and I loved your words of encouragement for the working mom!! It’s hard, especially the physcological stuff like guilt eh! You are clearly an amazing mom doing a perfect job. I’ve had six baby boys!! (Sadly lived our worst fears and two of those boys are identical twins who are now in heaven) and I can’t thank you enough for pointing out that nothing.else.matters but a healthy happy family. Definitely lose the monitor and don’t stress the play dates either!! Simplifying is always a good answer to managing things. Kids are happy playing with dirt. I remind myself of this constantly. Ha ha. We had another baby boy after losing our twins just after you had Charlie so my Watson is almost the same age and I’ll always see Charlie and be reminded of reading your blog during my hospital stay the last month before Watts was born and being excited to be a mom again after such heartbreak. And when you’re up in the middle of the night wide awake thinking about paint colors (like me) and then suddenly you’re imagining harrowing nightmares worst-case-scenario scenes (like me) just say a simple prayer, I promise it helps when you’re feeling alone with your thoughts and your husband is sawing logs. Ha ha. Love you Emily!!

  88. Ah, motherhood….it’s like you realize for the first time you have something to lose….so I hear you about the slightly irrational fears. Try to trust in the good out there in the world and keep on doing your best! It’s the best you can do, and Charlie doesn’t need a perfect mother, just one who loves him the best she can!

  89. Its like you blinked and he became a boy, no longer a baby. He is just so adorable and handsome. He has your lovely smile and coloring, but you can see Brian in him too. I love seeing this side of your life too. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  90. Lovely post!!

    ….. But yes, get rid of the monitor! It was one of the best things we did, because no one needs to be woken up by gassy squirms. No one. (We share a wall with the nursery, so we definitely hear her.)

  91. Charlie is sooo cute. And he’s such a big boy. I have a son exactly Charlie’s age (so I’m always looking for a Charlie posts) but he doesn’t look so … grown up. Or maybe he’s just not so nicely dressed:).

    I wish I coud write somenthing that would make you stop worrying/obsessing so much. I don’t think I can but I’ll try anyway:). Think this: EVERY single person you know was a child once. Have somenthing happened to them? Somehow they survived and so will Charlie. Why wouldn’t he?
    Also, do you think it matters, when Brady started brushing his teeth or when Ginny was potty-trained? It matters that they did, right? So will Charlie. He will show you when he’s ready, so stop google’ing.
    And I’d like to add, that in Poland I don’t know a single child that would go to gym/music class at the age of 1. And it is popular belief, that children do not need socializing before they are 2. Belive me: children here develop just fine and by – Polish standards – you are a SUPER-MUM:).

    Sorry for such a long comment and un-asked advice.

  92. Oh, I love your Charlie posts! My little guy, Clyde, is 16 months old. He said ‘Momma’ to me and everything else that he loved before he turned 1 year old…and then stopped. Until about 15 months. But its back and cuter than ever. Now I am officially ‘Momma’ and his favorite things have their own names as well as ‘more’…everything he wants/loves is ‘more more more’. And just wait for the ‘more pwease’. You’ll give him anything for that sweet little ‘pwease’. 🙂 xoxo

  93. Hiya. I love the Charlie posts too. I have a 2.5 yr old daughter and it all resonates. I especially appreciate hearing about the anxiety and fear all wrapped up with all the other good, wonderful, who-knows mom stuff. It’s all a lot and I like seeing it in writing, so thank you. And the perspective given other family’s situations and needs. Agreed, and well said. It’s helpful to read about things that we do differently too. I haven’t been able to ditch the monitor but I appreciate entertaining the idea vicariously! Maybe #2 😉 And, I agree with others about not worrying about a certain amount of social time yet, whatevs! As a prior pre-k and k teacher, sometime before then is good, but don’t worry yet. And, I also wouldn’t worry about the bottle. Why? My daughter bf until 2 and always nursed at least a little before bed, what’s the difference?? I *think* the bad thing for their teeth is when they fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth (while in bed) so milk just sits in their mouth. And, yes, we should probably all brush our teeth and our kids’ teeth more, ha! But my mom told me this and I love it (even if it’s not tots true ;). You know that sweet, perfect baby breath that they still manage to wake up with? That means they don’t have tons of food stuck in their teeth. When they get (adorable) kid stinky breath in the morning then they finally have enough nooks and crannies to be getting stuff left behind (even after brushing). Charlie probs still has perfect baby breath at 14 months. Enjoy 😉 XO

  94. Emily you nailed it, totally. This motherhood thing is a completely engulfing tidal wave of love and vulnerability that also feels like a crap shoot, on so many levels, in every way.

  95. I’m not an eloquent writer, so I hesitate to post (a smidgen). But your transparency here deserves some kudos. You are doing an amazing job with your sweet little guy. (I honestly feel like when we are authentic about our experiences, they are so much more meaningful.)
    And keep writing these Charlie updates. I love them. And because after missed sleep & work & subsequent children & 1 million loads of laundry & a few years & additional milestones & 3 years old (oh my gosh – the hardest year for me yet — they are little short little dictators), you will forget so much.
    And now I’m going to add in the cliche “it goes so fast” because as much as I actually detest that phrase, even from cute little old ladies, they are right. (darn them) I know this to be true because my oldest just turned 10 and the other day my husband told me, “We need to start looking at colleges; we are more than halfway done with her!” Anyway, all this rambling to say: “Rock on, mama.”

  96. beautiful post. you pretty much took the words out of my heart. i have 3 now but still have these thoughts in my head…

    at the end of the day, our children are thoroughly loved and we do our best. that is all we can do. charlie is so very lucky to have you and your hubs and you guys are doing such an awesome job. he is happy and healthy and knows he is oh so loved. what a blessed Charlie he is.

    and i wouldn’t worry too much about his teeth…they will all fall out. thank God for His wisdom in that. lol.

  97. I’m not a mom, I’m not sure I’ll ever be. I come here for the design posts. I was one of those readers who said they prefer to keep the Charlie posts out of this blog… HOWEVER this post is great. Honest, yet not too over the top or TMI. I enjoyed reading the whole thing. I think you’ve reached a great balance here!!!!

  98. Oh Emily, Dear.
    Well said… you summed up first-time parenthood as the utterly confusing, roller-coaster, random, mind-scramble of complexity way that it is. Love/hate, High/Low, elation/despair, resentment/gratitude, and all the exhaustion that comes with it. Just enjoy…We’re all right there with you.
    Rachel
    PS Last week a car backfired on my street and I literally dove off the sofa and tackled my son to the floor to shield him from the imaginary gunfire. Only when you love something so much are you irrationally tormented by the thought of losing it. It’s normal. We’re moms. 🙂

  99. You are amazing. A brilliant post.

  100. I have a 14 month old delicously adorable blondie boy waiting for me at home (on a plane heading home as I type this).
    My ped said start brushing at 1 year OR 6 teeth, so hey!
    Thanks for this post…it’s as if I wrote it myself

  101. Emily, you expressed my exact same feelings so well! I am amazed with your ability to put into words to all of these emotions. I have a 14 month old myself and this is my first time at the parenting thing. I am always wondering if I am doing it right… Always exhausted but at the same time happy. And always trying to be the best working mom and wife at the same time! My house always suffres though lol! It looks like a mad house, and my organizational skills are the worst! so I will keep visiting your page to see if I can improve in this area.

    Thank you for this! I feel I am not alone with my crazy feelings 🙂

  102. Reading this while I’m at work, sitting with my headphones in watching my 10 month old take her afternoon nap on my dropcam. She started finally crawling yesterday after I finally became resigned to the fact that she might just be one of those kids that never crawls. Just when you think it’s not right, they show you they’re going to do it in their own time…. She’s currently sitting up in her crib (brand new as of this morning) and I’m creepily spying on her because I miss her today. As a full time mom/full time worker, your post really rang true to me. There is nothing better in the whole world than being a Mom. Nothing better, nothing more draining!

  103. I also have a 14 month old son that looks so much like your charlie. Everything you wrote was spot on. We just transitioned from two naps a day to one longer nap in the early afternoon and I find that it has really helped with his sleeping through the night. I remember people would tell me “as soon as he turns four months he will start sleeping through the night” nope, not for us! It’s still a struggle. He has his good weeks and his not so great ones but I could finally say that more often than not he sleeps through the night. His bedtime used to be 8:00 and I think he was so overtired that he would keep waking up. We brought it down to 7:00 and it made a big difference. He is also a picky eater. Going to try the smoothies like you suggested. Also, what you say about the anxiety of the uncontrollable events is definitely my biggest struggle. I love my son so much and a lot of times I get consumed by negative thoughts. Learning to be more positive and to enjoy the gift that is this life! It’s nice to know I am not alone on this one. Love your blog and everything you create.

  104. Because I think you probably use your com-box not merely as a personal conversation, but as a gauge of reader demand/interest, it probably behooves me to type this response rather than merely think it.

    I am an infertile woman who will never have children. I also love design. You and I don’t have the same style, but I love your spirit and enjoy your blog. And I am very happy for you that you have been able to have a beautiful, healthy child (after a bit of difficulty, I understand).

    And the suggestion that a reason for living OTHER THAN raising a child is a “less legitimate” one makes me consider whether I should continue reading. I am sure you didn’t think about that implication when you wrote it, but I’ll be honest – I think you should have.

    All the best.

    1. It’s truly unfortunate that you had to read it that way. I’m pretty sure that’s so not what she meant; I’m sure your reason for living is NO LESS legitimate. I thought she worded her experience perfectly: when someone has a child, her reason for living CHANGES. What she wrote feels very inspiring to someone like me, who may or may not become a mom in the future. But what do I know, I’m not there yet.

  105. Oh boy- Charlie is seriously adorable. I used to say that having a child is like taking your heart out of your body and putting it out into the world- so vulnerable! My first grandchild is a few months older than Charlie and I know my daughter will enjoy your post. As did I.

  106. Beautifully written, love your charlie posts!

  107. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE TEETH AND THE BOTTLE! Also, here’s some advice, since I went through what you are going through about a year ago and am about to do it for the second time in a couple months.

    Brushing teeth on a baby/child who can’t really cooperate by keeping his mouth open seemed a little crazy, so we waited until we could get him to open his mouth when instructed. He also saw us brush our teeth every morning for a couple weeks and became interested. I think when he was around Charlie’s age we were brushing his teeth semi-regularly. Anyways, he went to bed right after his bottle for the longest time and to this day, at 2,5 yrs old, he’s got healthy teeth. He eats sweets on a regular basis (thanks, grandparents living next door). Some nights we even skip brushing his teeth if he’s really cranky and we just want bedtime to be over asap. I think as long as he’s not sipping on juice/milk all day long he’ll be fine – constant contact with sugar in drinks is probably worse than traces of diluted formula. So don’t worry. Work on it, but don’t beat yourself up about it.

    As for giving up the bottle, at some point my son started putting his hands on the bottle while I cradled him and fed him before bed. I slowly let him hold it all by himself and then started cradling him less tightly, then just kind of sitting him close to me, then just being in the room while he drank his bottle. Then at some point we started giving him the bottle as “dessert” after dinner, then we would brush his teeth and put him to bed. By this point he was putting himself to sleep without us in the room and wasn’t sleeping with a pacifier anymore, and was maybe even halfway through transitioning to a toddler bed. He didn’t complain about the bottle. Then we started putting the formula/milk in his training cup. He didn’t compain, but he decided he wasn’t really into straight-up milk anymore – he was only in it for the bottle.

    There, hope this is constructive and detailed enough 🙂

  108. Such a great post! Pictures are perfect…as is Charlie! Just a word about that coat. When your Charlie has his first child, you get a new one. That new coat is never on a hangar or hook. You love that snuggly coat more than anything in the world and every day you get to wear it is heaven.

  109. what a sweet post! i have a six month old boy and i get overwhelmed at how fast its all going! your charlie is as sweet as can be and you deserve a huge pat on the back for even getting to your blog to post with everything else you have to juggle! love reading and seeing all your creativity! thanks for taking the time to give us all something to get inspired by!

  110. THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS!!! It’s 11pm here in Australia and too exhausted a mamma explain all the why’s but thank you!!