Eleven Years.

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Eleven years ago today we met and it was love at first realizing we had the same haircut.

No, but really. It was as close as it gets to love at first sight (despite the tumultuous road ahead). The first 6 years seemed to go so slow with all the long distance phone calls and letter writing…but the last 4 1/2 have flown by in a whirl of joy. Cliché is my name, but there is no one I’d rather endure the stress of moving, adjusting to new parenthood and feeling homesick with than you. And certainly no one I’d rather share the joy of laughing through life and watching a child grow and learn with than you.

Whatever souls are made of, yours and mine are the same.

February 5 posts of yesteryear.

2015

2013

2012

Family Milestones

If you’ve known me or read this blog over the course of the last few years, you know that February 5 is a special day in the Dill household. Call us sickeningly sentimental, but it is the anniversary of the day we first met in 2005. So! This year marks 10 years since our awkward teenage selves encountered for the first time. And since JP was born on the 5th of the month…a happy collision of celebration has occurred; John-Paul is 3 months today! So here’s a grainy family photo to commemorate.

JP giving lots of cares.

JP giving lots of cares.

Since I’ve written our story before, I figured I’d take the opportunity to write a JP update! See the links above for a blast through the past if that’s more your jam right now.

Hurdles we’ve overcome

Like I’ve said, life with a newborn is hard. Not because the tasks are difficult, but because they are constant and repetitive. Now that JP is a little bigger, he can go longer between feedings which allows me to get off the couch more. And because he can go longer between feedings, he sleeps longer at night. He slept all the way through the night (kind of) once, from 9pm – 4am. I go to bed with him usually, so that meant I got a full 7 hours (YOU MOMS KNOW HOW MUCH FANTASTIC THIS IS). But even on the nights that he doesn’t sleep all the way through, he often gives me 4-6 hours at a time, which feels like a miracle of miracles after waking every two hours for a while. I do think, however, that we’ve had it pretty easy. JP was never a crier, and so even when he did get up he only cried until I picked him up and nursed him. He usually went right back to sleep without much of a fight (not always, but usually).

He also only poops about once every other day now, so that makes my day to day a little less messy. (My apologies, future JP. These are the things a mother’s diary are made of.) (Ironically, as I work on finishing up this post, JP gifted me with a massive diaper bomb.)

Also, we can check off first flight alone with an infant off the hurdles list. That hurdle contains sub hurdles, including but not limited to: how to pee when traveling alone with an infant, carrying two bags and a baby through Chicago O’Hare, dealing with the rudest staff from United Air (that’s for another post, but if I can avoid it I will NOT be flying United again), and a 3 hour time change. But it was all very much worth it because I had the pleasure of introducing John-Paul to these fine people and many others – again that’s for another post!

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Things I miss about John-Paul as a newborn

I miss my little old man baby! My little Benjamin Button! That puffy, wrinkly face! The wrinkled up forehead. His scrawny legs, oh, the scrawny legs! Those have been gone for a while. Mostly though… I miss the way his top leg would shoot out straight like an arrow when he was getting latched on to eat. Now he’s latches much easier (praise the Heavens) and nursing doesn’t seem to require as much focus from either of us – which is AWESOME! But I’ll miss that little, straight leg.

What I’m enjoying right here, right now

John-Paul loves two things: Getting his diaper changed and bath time. It’s funny, because he used to hate both of these things during his first month of life. Now, I get that boy on his changing pad, take his diaper off and he transforms into the Lord of the Dance. I actually enjoying changing him because he is so happy – I’m talking huge grin, flinging his arms, looks like he’s running a race kind of happy. I can’t help but laugh and let him live sans-diaper as long as possible. In his baths, he is content, relaxed and causally splashes his little feet around. Then he’ll look up at me and give me a content little smile that melts away all the frustrations of the day.

John-Paul tends to keep his long, skinny hands in little fists…but it cracks me up because they’re not just in fists – he keeps his thumb tucked between his pointer and middle finger (making the letter T in ASL). Unknowingly, he also signs A and S and, on occasion, the letter N. He just waves those little letters around all day. His palms get all sweaty because his little hands are balled up so much. Ah, I love him.

Speaking of his hands, (really, how much can she  talk about his hands?) he is also starting to use his hands more (when not in fists), so when I feed him he’ll grab onto my shirt or rub my side and it just kills me with the sweetness! Sometimes when I’m holding him upright to burp him, he is so relaxed and wraps his little arms around  my neck, and I want to stop time.

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When JP was a newborn, I felt weird talking to him or reading him books. Now that he responds with facial expressions, it is so much easier! He even will look at the books as I read to him – and that makes it feel like I’m actually doing something good for him instead of just talking to myself. It’s easier to get motivated to actively parent, rather than sitting there and watching him all day.

What I look forward to in the upcoming months

I’m excited to watch him learn how to interact with the world around him. He has already started to recognize and respond to Josh and I; He follows us with his eyes around the room, and looks for us when he hears our voices. When we sing and dance, his eyes light up and he gets a huge smile on his face – it’s precious. But I’m excited for him to start reaching, grabbing, and interacting with his surroundings. He’s starting to, and I’ll expect he will more as his head gets more stable and he’s able to roll and sit up. More than anything…I can’t wait for him to laugh! He laughs a little in his sleep and it’s so darling. I just know his laugh is coming…and soon!

I am so thankful to have met my J, and that our love has grown so much that this new person has come into existence. It’s certainly not easy! But as Blessed Mother Teresa said, “For love to be real, it must cost- it must hurt – it must empty us of self.” JP needs me, needs us, around the clock. That costs (sleep, energy, independence, flexible schedule…), it hurts (hello, BIRTH and exhaustion) and it definitely makes me empty myself (because I don’t always feel like doing the things I need to do)…and then Christ fills me up with more love! He gives us back whatever we give tenfold. Thank you, Jesus! You are good; You are trustworthy.