It’s now Sunday evening Monday morning, and I’m still having a hard time grasping what happened in Connecticut on Friday.  I saw some headlines via Facebook on Friday morning shortly before we headed into our lunchtime holiday party, and remained fairly glued to my phone throughout, hoping that the initially reported numbers of dead children would be some kind of mathematical fuckup, a false accounting, anything that would make that final number go down, not up by one or two more in the end.  I tried to not think about it and participate in the silly reindeer games during the party, but laughing and enjoying myself felt so horribly wrong.  I desperately wanted to just get up, walk out to the parking lot, and drive to my mom’s house and hold Ike. When I got there a few hours later, she hadn’t even heard the news yet.  I didn’t want to tell her.

I have tried to avoid the news, at least televised – I definitely do not want to see small children trying to explain what they had seen.  I don’t have anything brilliantly insightful to say about it.  It’s horrifying. No explanation could possibly be satisfying.  I don’t know that there is anything we can do to truly prevent all recurrences, but I also don’t think that we should live in fear of something you can never see coming anyway.  I am just trying to enjoy my child, every second that I have the opportunity.  I don’t know what else I can do, other than hold on tight, and still know that I’ll have to let go at times as well.  I am thankful that Ike is still way too young to need an explanation from us.  How can you explain the incomprehensible?

I have seen references a hundred times this weekend – look for the helpers.  There are bad people that do bad things, but most people are helpers.  Thanks, Mister Rogers, for helping us remember that.


Five Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Yesterday you turned five months old.  This week also brought your first case of the sniffles, which probably concerned your parents more than it did you.  A few snotty sneezes, a crusty nose here and there, and some serious booger action, but thankfully no fever or anything else.  You’ve maintained your fairly even keel through the whole thing. I’m sure you’ll make up for it in your coming months and years, but so far you have really taken it easy on us.  I have either blocked most of it out (possible, but doubtful), or I could count on perhaps one and a half hands how many times you’ve fussed for no eventually apparent reason or cried for any longer than seems reasonable.  Very cool of you, kiddo.  Please don’t think that it goes unnoticed or unappreciated that you are such a happy baby.

You continue to do cute baby things, which though expected and perfectly normal, somehow astound me nevertheless.  Such as, finding your feet.  AMAZING.  Ridiculous, right?   But I’m pretty sure that is exactly how it’s supposed to be, for us and for you.  You’re not rolling over on your own with any regularity yet, maybe once or twice mostly accidentally, but you love to be rolled from side to side, and there is perhaps nothing better than standing on one of our laps and bouncing and jumping.  Your squeals of delight are the best sound I could ever hope to have fill our home.  (I’m leaning on Grandma to look for a Jolly Jumper or the like on sale – pretty sure that’d be the best Christmas present evah in your book right now.)  You’re babbling more and more with us every day, or as Grandma puts it, singing us all songs.

If you don’t end up being a dog person, I’ll be mystified.  You’re fascinated by Dexter, as well as Maggie, Grandma and Grandma’s doggie.  She’s become your little weekday buddy, barking to welcome you every morning and giving you something cute and furry to keep your eye on all the time.  Thanksgiving will be great for you, as Aunt Susie and Uncle Chris will be bringing their crazy puppy, Piccadilly, as well as Uncle Mikey and Aunt Steph’s dog, Maynard.  DOG PARTY! Hopefully we’ll manage to get some video of you taking all that commotion in, because I’m willing to bet their antics will crack you up.

We’re getting ever closer to your half-year mark, which will open up the door to the great big world of food for you.  I am equally excited and apprehensive, but I expect you’ll pace yourself and make some adorably disgusting messes that will quickly ease my angst.  Daddy is super excited, as he’s all about cooking up some delicious things whenever he has the chance, and I know he can’t wait to share that enjoyment with you.  I don’t know yet if I’ll get talked into giving you a dab of mashed potatoes or anything else at Thanksgiving, but by Christmas you’ll probably have three or four things on your little mini-menu.  It’s going to be so much fun!

It goes without saying, but it seems silly not to say it anyway – we love you so much.