When Will was very little, he liked movement. I would pace the house with him every evening to calm him and get him to fall asleep. During those precious moments, I would sing to him. I sang whatever songs came to mind, and those songs have become his soundtrack. He reacts when he hears them because he has heard them since birth. I thought I would include a list of Will’s lullabies, and my favorite portions of them, the lyrics that are dear to my heart.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland
This was one of the first songs I ever sang to William.
Favorite lyric: “If happy little bluebirds fly above the rainbow, then why, why can’t I?” It just reminds me that I want Will to know he can do anything he puts his mind to as he grows up. This lyric was so special to me that I started calling Will my little bluebird, and I even got a tattoo in honor of him and his attachment to the song.
“When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss
I feel like Alison Krauss was never as “big” as she deserved to be. She has such a soothing, beautiful voice, and this was one of my favorite songs as a child. For some reason, this popped into my head when Will was only a few weeks old. To refresh my memory, I put the youtube video on and danced with Will to it, singing along.
Favorite lyric: “Old Mr. Webster could never define what’s being said between your heart and mine.” That lyric makes me cry to this day. There’s absolutely no way to put into words how a mother feels about her son.
“I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday
When my grandfather was alive, he loved to sing and dance. One of the songs of his “era” and a song he loved was “I’ll Be Seeing You.” When Bop died, I knew I wanted to get a tattoo in his honor. I wrote about him, thought about him, remembered times we shared together, and nothing fit. For the longest time, I toyed around with getting a shamrock because he was an O’Neill or getting an anchor because he served in the Navy. Still, it just didn’t fit. Then one day, I was talking to my mom, and the song came up. It just fit.
Favorite lyric: “And when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.” The lyrics are exactly what I feel about my grandfather, and it is a song he used to dance to. Now, I sing it to my son, to remind myself that no matter how far you are from the ones you hold most dear, you can see and feel them. And to remind my son that he comes from a long line of great men and someday, he’ll be just like them.
“My Love is Your Love” by Whitney Houston
When I used to sing to Will and began getting tired of repeating “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” I tried to think of songs mothers sang to their children. This song came to mind because the little child in the background says, “Sing Mommy” in the opening of the song. Hopefully, someday, William will utter those words to me.
Favorite lyric: “It’s okay as long as I got you, babe.” Self-explanatory.
“I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack
I don’t dance, but this song is such a precious wish from a mother to her child. Dance is a metaphor. She wants her daughter to literally dance when she has the opportunity. But it’s really about putting yourself out there. I want Will to have the fullness of life, to take chances, to know he is loved in every step he takes.
Favorite lyrics: “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, never settle for the path of least resistance. Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’ and lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’. Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.”
Full Name: William Thomas Rodriguez
Nicknames: “Prince” (he was born the week of the royal wedding) and “Will” (after Mommy and Daddy’s favorite movie, Good Will Hunting)
Born: April 23, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
Weight at birth: 7 lbs 15 oz
Weight now: 19 lbs 10 oz
Length at birth: 20.5 inches
Length now: 26.5 inches
Milestones: Started crawling a week ago; says Dada; thinks now that he can pull himself up and crawl, that he can climb and stand on EVERYTHING; his eczema patches have disappeared—woohoo! And I think he’s starting to learn how to wave and clap.
Clothing: He wears mostly 9-month clothing. Some 6-9 month onesies, rompers and shorts still fit and he wears 12 month pajamas.
Sleep: Takes a morning nap, an afternoon nap, and sleeps from about 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. on weekdays. On weekends or vacations, Will wakes up around 6:30 a.m., eats half-asleep, and naps with Mommy until 9.
Crying: Umm, he doesn’t. He’s just not a crier. He pretty much laughs at everything, and only cries if he’s overtired.
Likes: his grandparents, our dog, his soothie pacifier, walks in the stroller, climbing, sleeping on his tummy, running in his walker, pulling Mommy’s hair, knocking over towers of blocks, playing in the bath, books (more to eat than to read), “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and Mommy’s singing voice ❤
Dislikes: his swing, wearing shoes, the sun in his eyes, and anything that requires patience (I wonder where he gets that from)
Well, that’s it. Thanksgiving’s over. Not even 24 hours after eating that last bite of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, Americans rifle through circulars, plot their Black Friday buys, and break out the Christmas trees and hand-painted ornaments. To some, Christmas means everything to do with faith, hope, and the birth of a savior. To some, Christmas means cookies, candles and flights back where you feel truly at home. To some, it means giving—gifts wrapped in ribbons and bows, service at homeless shelters, or maybe just time and energy to the children you miss so much when you’re overwhelmed with the busy-ness of daily life. To some, it means a feeling of loneliness and loss, a time to remember those who have gone before you, a time to wish they were here to celebrate with you. To some, it means scarves, mittens and that first peaceful blanket of snow.
It means reading my son The Night Before Christmas and showing him how to dig treasures out of his stocking.
It means his first ornament—a little glass shoe with all of his birth statistics written on it—donning the tree for the first of many years.
It means singing “Silent Night” as I rock him to sleep. It means being thankful that although I work full-time and mommy full-time, I chose a career that gives me 18 precious days in the winter and even more days in the summer to relish every moment with my son. It means my presence—just being there. Him and me. And it means giving all my love because I’ll never need to get anything for Christmas ever again.
I cannot understand how pregnancy seemed like the longest nine months of my life, yet these last (almost) eight months of William’s life have flown by before I could even catch my breath. When I look at the pictures that my friend Charlotte took of Will when he wasn’t yet four months, I am again taken back by how beautiful he is, and how often he is changing.
In October, we went to a pumpkin patch and Will donned his first Halloween costume for trick-or-treating at the mall. He is the cutest astronaut in the universe!
What doesn’t change over time is Will’s personality. When he was seven months old, another dear friend of mine, Taylor, offered to take Will’s portraits in a studio and to shoot family Christmas pictures as well. As if I didn’t take enough pictures already… But Will loves the camera!
In these last few months, I have made an effort to follow blogs, take advice from friends, and really make the best of every moment I have with my son. My son. Those words still sound so strange. I want Will to have fun and to learn every day during his childhood, and I want him to know that when I’m with him, I’m with him. He has my full attention. Despite living with what I used to think was a mild case of OCD, I have enjoyed allowing Will to take part in various sensory experiences. We have played with finger paint (on the high chair, I might add, which would have caused the pre-mother in me some serious anxiety). Yes, I stayed with him every moment to make sure none of the paint went into his mouth or eyes. We started with “What do red and blue make?” Then, we ended up mixing all the colors together.
I have taken a couple of “sick” days this year when I was really yearning for some extra time with Will. On one of those days, I posted a sick day blog but I didn’t post any pictures of all the fun! We played with pots and pans, stacked rings and blocks, went to the store, read books, and played in a makeshift ball pit. I bought a ball pit set and poured them into the playpen. Will rolled around in the balls, held one of every color, tried to put them in his mouth, and of course, laughed.
One of my favorite times was our spontaneous trip to Green Key Beach. My mother, my husband and I took some beautiful shots of Will’s first experience with sand. You can see the amazement on his face. We also pushed him in the swing–which he loved. Even though the weather was a little chilly, it was an absolutely glorious sunset.
Another day after work, I decided to repeat the beach trip. This time, it was just Will and me.
The other night, we put food coloring into ice cubes and let them melt in water in a container on his playmat. Will loves playing with bath toys any time of day–he is definitely a water baby! It was fun to watch him try to catch the ice cubes!
Everything about my son amazes me. He is happy all.the.time. Literally. Everything and everyone can make him laugh. My favorite aspects of his dynamic personality is his sweet spirit when he first wakes up and his belly laugh. He is also a huge fan of sticking his tongue out.
He started crawling–small movement at first–a couple of weeks ago. This last weekend, he decided to take off. He also cut his first tooth. I am grateful that even though I had to go back to work when he was four months old, he has saved each and every milestone for my husband and me. At our home, he is turning into quite the little rambunctious climber.
It’s hard to believe we are about to celebrate our first Christmas as a family.
It’s hard to believe that I, Shannon, the one who said she’d never be a baby person, the one who cringed every time she heard a baby cry, the one who struggled her whole pregnancy, the one who never changed a diaper, the one who feels like she doesn’t have a crafty gene in her body… has become a mother. And most days, I hope, a good mother.
I have realized many things over these last many months. But one of my major realizations is that I finally understand the phrase “You’re gonna miss this.” Because I know I definitely am going to miss this. Every little bit of it.
My students and I read “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyons this week, analyzed it for sensory language, and then created our own. I am laminating my students’ poems and creating a book of them because they turned out FANTASTIC. My students asked me to write one that would be the first page of the book. So here it is: