1 & 1/2

Archer turned eighteen-months on Thanksgiving and although I realize that 1/2 is only 1/2 as meaningful as a 1/whole, I have a soft spot for half-birthdays as it doesn't feel like so long ago that I introduced myself in halves and three quarters and thirds.

"How old are you?"
"I'm ten and a half. How old are you?"
"Eight and three quarters."

And as children we understood perfectly.

And as adults, or shall I say, parents, we still do:

"How old is your child?"
"Sixteen weeks" or "Seventeen months" or "forty-seven months..." (which is when I have to do the math on my fingers.)

Before I had a child I was always annoyed with the parents who rattled off their children's ages in months like I was supposed to know the difference between thirteen months and twenty-six months and thirty-three months and so on. Why couldn't she just say my kid is three and three quarters?" I always found it to be some strange parent-language but now that I have a child, I get it. I do.

Because when you have a baby, ever day counts. Ever week matters. Every month is a revelation, a collection of milestones so vast, it is easy to forget that they have even happened.

Archer, now eighteen months, has suddenly over the course of several weeks,turned into a little boy. And sometimes when I look at him, my heart melts. I fall between the floor cracks in gooey strands. Those eyes. That little belly-laugh. Those ever-cold hands and toes like chubby berries. Can I eat them? Delicious!

Today I was describing Archer to an old friend on the phone and I got teary-eyed trying to explain the emotion I felt looking at this photo.

How in the hell could something so perfect come from me? How is it possible that this tiny beam of light didn't used to exist?

And I felt suddenly blindsided by love. Bumping into everything and skipping down the sidewalk and over-tipping the hostess who isn't even allowed to accept tips in love.

And so I went to him, asleep in his crib, with his legs tucked up under his chest and I just stood there like a fool, staring with mouth agape, shaking my head like, "who are you?"

Seriously. Who are you?

Who is this little boy walking across the street, in the cold, with his hands outstretched for balance. How is that he can be walking toward me, with his little shadow tripping beside him? He wants ME to pick him up. He wants ME to love him and hold him and pick the boogers from his nose. He wants ME to fall asleep on in the shower, with water in our faces and rubber duckies on our heads. Me. ME? But I'm just me.

But to him I'm me x infinity. Super-me. Like my mother was to me and hers to her and so on.

And sometimes I watch him for clues. For expressions that look like mine, dirty looks, cockeyed glances, crooked smiles.

When I saw this photo I thought. "Yup, he's mine."

The posed look I always have in photographs, and his face making the same expression. I laughed. And then I cried because it's hard to believe he is my baby sometimes.

There are times when I don't believe it and I seriously think Archer can't be mine, that he has somehow come from a distant planet and is some kind of alien messiah sent for the greater good of earth. (It makes more sense in my head. I swear.)

Then of course there are the days when parenthood is like trying to rescue bees from a swimming pool (knowing right well you'll probably get stung) but that's for another day.

Parenthood. Bees. Little boys with great big eyes who walk on two feet and fall down and laugh and scream and wipe their eyes when they're sleepy and lie down on their blankies in the middle of the cement and play peek-a-boo.

A half birthday may not be much, but to me, the mother of a 1.5 year old, a half birthday is huge. Eighteen months. So fast.

One day I won't count months anymore. Soon it will be years. Something I can't even begin to imagine. But even as the months fly by and the weeks and the days practically disintegrate, I am grateful. And thankful. And in love. More in love than ever. Looking forward to tomorrow morning when I get to wake up to Archer's open-mouthed kiss on my cheek and fingernails clawing at my face like stingers. Always my little bumble bee.



BabyonBored | 10:30 PM

Oh my Gawd, that was inspired. And I know exactly what you mean. I never ever in a zillion years thought I'd feel this way but I do. I'm like a big puddle of Jell-O instant pudding in her presence. Gotta go cause she's still fucking UP!

Anonymous | 10:35 PM

17 months, and three days. I completly understand. Great post, again your words hit home.

jdg | 10:58 PM

that was quite wonderful. it's nice the way having kids can open up those parts of you were you thought were closed when you got married: the giddiness of a new and growing love.

Anonymous | 11:54 PM

beautiful. you make me want to have kids right this second. don't worry.. i'm not going to :) love you.

JChevais | 4:23 AM

I still tell people months for my two kids.

If I say that my son is 7 and my daughter is 6, I get bugged out in surprise eyes.

If I say my son is 7 & 1/2, people instantly understand that there are 18 months between the two of them.

Your boy is a gorgeous little thing. Happy Half Birthday!

Unknown | 5:29 AM

awww... great post. They change so fast - the months are important to count. Happy 18 mo Archer!

Anonymous | 5:33 AM

I love your website GGC. I think one of the things that brings me here is that Archer and George (16 months) are so close in age, and you remind me of myself and how madly in love I was with my older son Aidan when he was just a baby.

I love George madly too, but it is so different for me having two kids. Attention is divided. George just doesn't get all the awe I bestowed upon Aidan, and that I see you bestowing upon Archer.

Sometimes coming here reminds me to spend some time in that awe place with my baby George. Because he really is awesome, and breathtaking, and a miracle and totally a little person unto himself with his own identity, seperate from just being the baby of the family, the brother, the second.

So thanks for that.

Love ya GGC, what can I say.

Mom101 | 6:37 AM

Whenever I come here, I never know if you'll make me bust a gut laughing or bawl out loud but I always know it will be great. This is no exception.

You speak for so many of us - you go through all the pain, the labor, the pregnancy, thoes insane early months and yet, you still wonder how this little person came to be here, came to be yours. Sigh.

merseydotes | 6:57 AM

I think I stopped counting months sometime between 2 and 2 1/2. Now, Petunia is just over three, and I have stop and do the math before I can answer her age in months. (It's 37 1/2, btw.)

It is so eerie to have a kid who looks like you and makes your facial expressions. Sometimes Petunia makes these faces that just kill me because I totally can see myself in her. At those times, it feels like a physical part of me is in this other, tiny body and I just want to wrap her up in my arms.

Anonymous | 8:07 AM

Ari is 11 months today, and you've made me cry. Thank you.

foodiemama | 8:29 AM

happy 1 1/2 dude!

Anonymous | 8:48 AM

That awe is one of the most universal aspects of parenting, and yet also one of the most difficult to describe. In this post, you did as good a job as anyone ever could.

Kristen | 9:28 AM

I love the way you express your experience of and with Archer. That was beautiful, as usual.

Anonymous | 9:39 AM

How? How is it that you take the things I feel often, the things going on in my head that have no language to them, just feelings, and you put language to them in such a perfect way? How do you take those powerful waves of feeling and write them out?

I'm breathless by your writing again and again, but I'm more breathless because you've reminded me of all the things I've thought about Gabe and how in the hell I managed to be a part of creating someone, a person who lives and breathes and laughs, who will grow up. It really is a miracle.

Jonathon Morgan | 9:45 AM

I remember that moment totally. The moment when, all of the sudden, she wasn't a baby anymore...


Chicky Chicky Baby | 10:01 AM

I just gave my husband grief for calling our 19 mos. old daughter a 18 mos old.

No! She's 19 months! That's light years away from 18 months.

I love this age, every day there's something new to marvel and love. This was a wonderful post, GGC.

Keri | 10:18 AM

What a SWEET tribute to your little equally-as-sweet-if-not-more boy! I even got teary-eyed because I feel the EXACT same way about my baby Lochlan as you do about your baby Archer. Motherhood is so fabulous! =)

motherbumper | 10:31 AM

Happy 1.5 Archer! Another wonderful post GGC and I might have to write the same when Bumper turns 18mths. Your post made me feel all warm inside.

Anonymous | 12:02 PM

so much more articulate than the way i usually say "she's so cute i could squish her head until it pops"

Unknown | 12:35 PM

I laughed at that photo too!

I just lay on my bed and watched Sonny as he fell asleep. Watching his mobile, trying to talk to it. He couldn't see me and I dont know if he knew I was there or not. I am so in love with him.

I know that exact feeling of looking at your child and wondering who they are. Of the jealousy that spikes me if I try to imagine anyone else being their mum. How did I create such perfection?

Anonymous | 2:25 PM

My 22 mo old is running me ragged right now so it was so refreshing to read this and remember the good old days and picture his face fondly as you talked about Archer. Lovely.

Anonymous | 2:57 PM

Happy belated 18 month birthday to Archer!!! (my daughter turned 15 months last Friday). What a beautiful pic of him and lovely pic of the two of you together.

I know those feelings, I still feel them. I look at my 41 month old, oops, I mean nearly 3.5 year old, and think "when did you turn into a little man?" He looks like a little "man" now, the babyness is gone.

Everyone says the kids look like me. I see it, sometimes. But I always feel a bit of pride when people tell me that - b/c the kids are dang beautiful and if I'm blessed to actually look like them a bit, it's a compliment!

Does he fall asleep on you in the shower? My daughter did that once, the only time I've showered with her, and I was just floored and in awe.

BTW, I heard "OPP" on the radio last night and thought of your version, although I couldn't remember any of your words. I thought about telling hubby about it, but knew he'd look at me like I was crazy and not get the humor anyway. Or worse, accuse you of being a hairy pervy man.

Anonymous | 3:16 PM

I have been feeling the EXACT same way about Caleb lately. Of course, I could never even come close to expressing it the way you have. I keep trying to explain it to my hubs, but he just doesn't get it. Don't get me wrong, he loves his son to death, but not in the my -heart-is-gonna-burst-if you get any cuter way that I do.

Mommytojacknjas | 3:43 PM

AWWW :) isnt is amazing!

Binky | 4:01 PM

Say it, sister.

mrsgreen | 4:36 PM

I have been reading your blog for a couple of months and really enjoy it. I am a mother of an almost one year old, and am constantly amazed by the tremendous love I have inside for her. Our little people represent all that is good and hopeful in this world. Archer is a lucky boy to have you as his mama.

PunditMom | 5:01 PM

This is such a beautiful post. You must save this one for him. When he's a man, he will love it.

As for age, R. is "6 and 3/4" (thank you very much). And, believe it or not, I am still loving her more every day, even as she is on the verge of seven -- as someone said the other day, on the verge of the age of reason. That is very scary and exciting to me!

Anonymous | 5:53 PM

This post is so true.
We don't measure in terms of weeks and days because we don't notice change in ourselves that rapidly, but with children, it's all so quick, so rapid, their always learning, developing.
This post made me miss my brother, I missed months eighteen and nineteen, and it'll be so good to get home in time to see month twenty.

metro mama | 6:12 PM

Lovely post. Jane is 18 months and 1 week. I can't believe how much of me I am seeing in her now. Surreal.

MrsFortune | 7:14 PM

Yeah, I did the whole weeks thing, and now I'm on to months ... it all goes way, way too fast. You are so beautiful, I love you and your baby.

MrsFortune | 7:15 PM
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dougranno | 7:55 PM

Very sweet post, but I gotta be honest...I cant do the month thing. My kids are 1 and 3 until there 2 and 4 and that drives my wife crazy.

Hey: I gotta be me.

Momo | 4:08 AM

It's so great that you share a little of yourself with me...It feels like so...whatever you write about it has been a must for me for several weeks to read your posts...amazingly you succeed in captivating my attention...consider this, taking into account that I'm a gemini/rooster as you are...you know what I'm talking about!

Anonymous | 11:44 AM

There is no love like the love you have for your own child. It's simply the best, better then all the rest. Cheesey Tina Turner, I know! ..hehe

Anonymous | 11:44 AM

Great post. Thanks for letting us in on it :)

Emery Jo | 12:52 PM

oh, archer, I love your face. I had a dream I saw you two on an airplane and we all were bestest friends.

ewe are here | 2:01 PM

I really really really love this post. Because I understand. All of it. I still can't get over my little boy (he's just a few weeks older than yours) and the fact that he's mine!

I, too, celebrated the 18 month birthday this year, or as I call it, the Unbirthday. A special family tradition in my case.

Momma Bean | 7:50 AM

Just lovely. I hope you don't mind that I linked to you. I just feel exactly how you do about your boy. It's overwhelming sometimes.

petite gourmand | 11:08 AM

I totally get this.
I wrote a very similar post (yet not half as eloquent) as this last month when lulu turned 18 months.
It has to be the most delicious age..
though I seem to say that each month that passes.
happy 1.5 archer!
love the pea coat & hat too.

Anonymous | 11:16 PM

Dave Chappelle put it great when he said (about his son), "You used to live in my balls, man... and now you're making jewelry out of macaroni! You're a bad m-f!"

And I got exactly what he was saying. You too, this was perfect!

Anonymous | 9:31 PM

These tributes to Archer always make me think about my own small "beam of light"... Such an awesome post! I totally understand and your words make me want to pay attention to every detail even more!