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Off the charts

Off the charts

Pause the scene and rewind. Mind if we play it again and again? Put a piece of tape over fast-forward, though, because I don’t wanna miss this. Not this. I wanna remember your smile shining from your eyes, your skin smelling like warm butter, and your little hands running up and down my cheeks. Will...

usPause the scene and rewind. Mind if we play it again and again? Put a piece of tape over fast-forward, though, because I don’t wanna miss this. Not this. I wanna remember your smile shining from your eyes, your skin smelling like warm butter, and your little hands running up and down my cheeks. Will you say MOMMA once more? Pretty please? It’s my very favorite sound.
There’s a whole world of manuals, books and charts declaring your first words wouldn’t come until you hit the 11-month mark. Dear Max, it looks like we hit the verbal milestone a bit early. And you know what? We’ll take that win. I got an email this morning sharing a mealplan for 9-month-olds: pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and lasagna for dinner. I give you bits of this and bites of that, but all you really enjoy is nursing. Do I worry you’re behind on feeding? Not a bit. Little love, I know you’re gonna eat pizza with dad and butternut quinoa squash with mama soon enough. As for now? Just enjoy your milk. You do you.
You know that old saying “if I had a dollar for every time…?” It’s used to demonstrate frequency and patterns, and I’ve started adding the phrase with “every time someone told me you were teething.” Dear Max, everyone from the grocery cashier to the Starbucks barista to your well-meaning pediatrician has told me that your first tooth is about to hip hop pop up any day now. I’ve been hearing that your first tooth is on its way for a good 6 months—everything from drooling to sucking to being a bit fussy is a sign—yet your sweet gummy smile is still beaming up at me. If I had a dollar for every time someone said you were teething, then I’d have Gordon Ramsay prepare your pancakes, Jamie Oliver make your grilled cheese, and Rachel Ray serve your lasagna. What’s that, you’d still just want mama’s milk? That’s OK, too.
IMG_2458Phewsh. That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about all the sleep experts telling me you should be getting 10-12 hours in your crib by now. Really, 10-12? That’d be nice for both of us. You and me, Mr. Max? We’ve been up all night for years. You had parties in my stomach from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. before I met you, and now you wanna play with mom and pop during the wee hours.
IMG_2595Am I sharing your secrets? Maybe mama shouldn’t tell the whole-wide world that you’re a little behind the charts when it comes to eating and teething and sleeping. But you know what? You’re ahead sometimes, too: You were fast to crawl, to stand and to cruise (a word for walking around the house with hands on the walls or furniture).  In life and in baby milestones, don’t worry about being first or last; focus on doing your best, and the rest will follow.
I’m not worried whether you get a tooth this year or love mac n’ cheese by your first birthday. You wanna keep these slumber parties going another couple months? OK by me. Feel free to keep leaping the mobility charts and walk before anyone thinks it’s possible. ‘Cause here’s the thing: You’re gonna figure it all out. Imma let you do you, and, as your mother, I’m gonna exhale and let you master this big world according to your very own timeline. My job isn’t to track your daily progress, little buddy; it’s simply to love you (and help you) through it.
Hey, Max? You’ve got this.

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