Today is March 8, which is the birthday of two old pets (Maggie the black lab and Grunt the pig) and the 13th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. You are also 3 months old today. That’s 3 months of you breathing the same air that we breathe and letting us admire your little fingers and toes. I remember examining your pinkie fingers when you were a newborn and the fingernails on your little fingers were almost unfathomably tiny. I looked today and they look like normal fingernails, which makes me sad because it’s another sign that you are getting too big too fast.
There are so many clichés that apply on an occasion like this, but it comes down to this: it doesn’t matter how hard we try to savor these moments with you, you are growing and changing so quickly that we hardly discover one version of you before that version is outdated and we’re discovering a new you.
I had thought before you were born that one of your nicknames would be “Ty-Ty,” but that hasn’t stuck. Instead, we call you Titus, Little Man, Dude, Sweet Boy (you are such a cuddler), T-Man, T-Funk, T-Bug and, perhaps our favorite, Tito (Spanish for Titus). I’m so surprised that Tito has stuck, but we discovered how fun it was to call you while we were in Hawaii last month, and there are so many great things that rhyme with Tito: Tito-Cheetoh, Tito-Dorito, Tito Torpedo and Tito Bandito. Your Grandma Kitty keeps trying to add “Tito Nieto” (“My Grandson Tito”), but I don’t think it rhymes as well as the others.
You have been the easiest, sweetest baby I could have imagined. Ever since you were born, you’ve hardly cried unless you were hungry or just on the verge of falling asleep. And speaking of sleep, you take after me in loving your sleep! This was a bit of a problem when you were a newborn and I had to wake you up because you needed to eat, and it would take me half an hour just to get you awake, and you’d hardly eat. But now? Oh, you are a dream baby (no pun intended): you sleep for 7 or 8 hours almost every night, and sometimes you sleep for as many as 9 hours. Until you have kids of your own, you may never know how amazing this is at 3 months, but suffice it to say that there are a lot of sleepless mamas with 6 or 9 month-old kids who envy me.
Just before we were in Hawaii in February, you started to do quite a bit of talking, and it was so fun to drive around Hawaii and listen to you talk to your car seat toys. You said lots of concerned “oooh” sounds, and you love to make high-pitched squeaks and squeals. You seem to really like talking to your Grammy Annette; there’s something about the pitch of her voice that resonates with you and makes you carry on quite a conversation with her. Your talking has only gotten cuter since Hawaii. Just this past Sunday morning, you woke up and ate around 7:00 and then sat in your swing and talked to yourself for the next two hours. I wish we could bottle your cheerful sounds and sell them on rainy days.
You’ve also been deliberately smiling for over a month now, and your smiles make my heart sing. Your Uncle Pax commented, though, that you looked like a very serious baby because you were never smiling in pictures. Well, just last week I finally got some pictures of you smiling (even if you were smiling before, you’d freeze up and stare blankly at the camera), and every time I look at them, they melt my heart. Obviously I can’t see into the future, but you are such a happy baby now; I delight in your happiness and pray that your life will exude joy that will bring delight to many others as well.
Your learning curve has been so steep in the last few weeks. You’ve gotten really good at finding your thumb, or any other finger that you feel like sucking. You seem to favor your left hand, so I wonder if you’ll be left-handed. You’ve started really examining things like the mobile on top of your swing and the little swimming fish on the monitor attached to your crib. You used to prefer to be held over our shoulders, but now that you’ve discovered the world, you like to sit against us looking out. You’re also grasping things a lot; not grabbing at them yet, per se, but when you get a hold of something, you sure do like to hold on tight. You got a sock monkey hat for Christmas and I put it on you yesterday even though it’s still a little too big for you. It’s SO stinkin’ adorable! It has these long strings coming off of the ear flaps, and you’ve taken to holding onto those strings in your car seat or while you’re sitting on someone’s lap. You’re on the verge of laughing, and I can’t wait; you’ve laughed a couple of individual times, but nothing like the hilarious belly laughs of the little baby whose video is going around the Internet right now, of him laughing at his daddy tearing paper. Soon enough.
For posterity’s sake, you might also like to know that your daddy started working from home in January, so you are the rare child who has not just one, but two parents at home almost all day. As I write this, your dad is making me a latte, which is a big perk for me of having your daddy work from home. You don’t appreciate this yet, but the big perk for you is that you get to see him off-and-on all day. We take turns getting you up in the morning or after naps because you have a really cute waking up routine. When we undo your swaddle, you stick both arms straight out above your head, flex your jaw and pull your head to the side, and then you make little fists and rotate them around. And often you just lie there and grin at us when we lean in to say good morning. What a way to wake up each day (especially after a full night’s rest, thank you very much, little boy!).
Being a momma (I haven’t decided yet if I want to be “mommy” or “momma”) is so much more fun than I ever imagined it would be. I so love to hold you, to talk to you and see you flash a smile when you catch my eyes. I often look up from changing your diaper and you are staring at me; and then you smile a little bashfully at me. You really like to be “free and loose,” so I linger over diaper changes and let you air out while we talk to each other or I read a book to you. I’ve started changing you sitting down on the floor so we can have a good time of it, and then we often transition right into some tummy time with more books or singing or looking at your stuffed giraffe. You like it when I sing the “Oh-Way-Oh”s of “Walk Like an Egyptian” or when we pump your arms and legs really quickly to pretty much any sound effect. Such a little boy!
I left a life of traveling the world in order to spend hours sitting on the floor with you. But I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything.