Category Archives: Motherhood – Mama Byrd

You’re 16 Months Old


Dear Ian,

It’s been a couple months since I’ve written you! It’s not because I have nothing to say. It’s mostly because every day I tell you what I want to say to you! But someone reminded me that I might forget the little things when you are older. I forget everything as it is so I’m going to try to keep my favorite little memories locked up tight for years to come. Someday I want to tell you about all the stuff that made you, you!

So much has changed from the time you turned 1 to now! It’s amazing how you went from a chubby little baby trying to stand on your own, to an adept little baby (I refuse to call you toddler yet!) zooming past us like a spry little old man. Your all over chubbiness has melted away overnight and left you with a toned little baby body. It reminds me of the baby dolls I used to play with when I was little. Your arms curve inward and curve out and your thighs and calves are rounded with newly formed muscles. The only reminder of the rolls you once had is the globular belly you keep full at all times. You really do amaze us with your appetite! I’m always gloatingly pleased when grownups are shocked and awed with the foods you eat.  I’m so happy you aren’t keeping Cheerios in business!

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Ok I can’t resist. Most surprising food you like:

  1. Olives
  2. Shrimp and Salmon
  3. Green beans
  4. Mushrooms
  5. Tahini (Unfortunately sesame seed bit the dust thanks to allergies)
  6. Spicy food
  7. Lemons
  8. Black beans
  9. Earth’s best food purees: Carrots n Broccoli (Kind of taste like vegetable stew)/ Carrot Split Pea n Kamut (This one actually makes me gag a little)

Most surprising food you dislike:

  1. Ice cream
  2. Sugar cookies
  3. Avocados
  4. Pineapple

At 16 months you have accomplished quite a bit! You can climb stairs by yourself and you like to do it several times a day! You are very active which is awesome! You also like to climb mom and dad. Last weekend we had lunch with a friend and you bounced on my shoulder looking over the booth wall while simultaneously eating half my salmon. You are learning how sequences in activities go together so you are a very good helper around the house. You feed Chance, (“Ch” or “D” in your words)your dog, his supper, help load the washing and dishwashing machine, sweep and give us a heart attack each time you try to help clean the pool. You love the outdoors and dirt. You would stay outside all day if we let you.

Things I never want to forget about you right now!

  1. You are so outgoing and friendly! You wave to most people and animals and say hi! You melt me with your tender heart.
  2. You are obsessed with going in the shower and making noises to hear echoes. You have to touch the shower head several times too just in case I might turn the water on for you.
  3. You show Chance affection by patting his back and laying you head against it. Then you bow your head to Chance so he will lick it.
  4. When you want someone to come to you, you hover your hand above where you are standing and make an “Ah” sound with a questioning inflection on the end of it. If we don’t come immediately you squat lower and lower to the ground and add more of a questioning lilt to your voice to show more emphasis. It’s absolutely irresistible and always ends with me squeezing you while smothering your wiggly self with kisses.
  5. You love water. I don’t even know how to explain how much you love water. It intrigues you. The sound, the feel, the way it looks. Everything about it pulls you in and captivates you.
  6. So your kind of going through a screaming phase. I’m much better with screaming than crying but your dad has a hard time when you are screaming at him. Sometimes you scream to talk or play with us. Sometimes you scream at night just to hear yourself. Oh but the times when you don’t get your way… those are the screams to remember. We can actually see you inhale to fill your lungs with air while you form a perfect oh shape with your mouth. I imagine the sound you make is similar to that of the Screaming Banshee of Ireland. It leave the ears ringing in protest.
  7. You have happy feet. You stomp them and laugh and I think you’re going to be a great dancer one day!
  8. You learned to emphatically shake your head no while saying no. It’s helpful sometimes and cute all the time.
  9. Ok so I’m super crazy proud of this one. So I hum and sing all the time. Your dad does too actually. Just a few weeks ago you pressed your little lips tight together and with a thoughtful face turned away from me you started humming your own tune. I could not contain myself! When I gushed that it was beautiful you looked so pleased! Now you hum in the car or when you are in a quiet introspective mood. We make sure to tell you how pretty it is. I hope you always hum your own tune in life.

These are busy days where weekends melt into weekdays and weekdays melt into months. The To Do list gets longer and longer and the laundry piles up. While I don’t always know where the time goes I do know that my silver lining likes to put his pudgy feet on my face and giggles when I munch his thighs. I know there is nothing brighter than the big toothy grin you readily give to us and the world you embrace. I know that you are a crazy baby monster who jumps on our back and squeals and laughs and loves. You’re a blessing and I only hope to bring as much joy to your life as you bring to ours.

Until next time little munchkin-butt.

Love you always,

Mama & DAAaaaaa


Year One


leave-it-to-beaver-familyI thought I had this mom thing covered. When I was pregnant everyone told me the first year was going to be hard. After watching my older siblings raise their brood for many years while I was in college I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and somewhere in the back of my mind I carried a small amount of pride thinking that I had a decent idea of how hard it was going to be.

I was wrong. My pride was misplaced.

I am waving my white flag shouting you win! You win parents who never claim to have everything together. You win single mom’s who have somehow managed to raise children who are not juvenile delinquents. You win sleep deprived zombie mother dragging her protesting toddler through the Harris Teeter freezer section. You win mothers who wear your yoga pants like a badge of honor.

I surrender.

I have seen the light. There are things I have done. Choices I have made that are irrevocable. There’s no turning back now.

I have eaten leftover yogurt off of Ian’s face. Let me repeat that. I have eaten food off of someone else’s face???? When faced with the choice of (a)sleeping in vomit covered clothing tonight and washing the sheets tomorrow or (b)postponing an exhausted crawl into bed so I could put clean clothing on I’ve done the unspeakable. I’ve forgotten what day it was. I’ve forgotten what thought I was thinking. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have all of my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. I’ve forgotten what exactly that phrase even means. Who has time for idioms anyway???

Last week I broke down to a very wise friend of mine. She is a single mom and I have a massive amount of respect for her. I asked her how she does it. How do you give 100% all the time? She shared her secret with me and it turns out there is no secret. You accept your new life, embrace the new way of doing things and try not to stumble on the things that may not have turned out exactly how you had them planned. You do the best you can with what you’ve got and hand the rest over to God.

A year ago if someone had asked me what I was expecting I would have said, “Oh, I know it’s going to be hard.” “Of course it’s going to be worth it!“. I’m both delighted and slightly frazzled by how true those statements are.


It’s going to be hard:

  1. You’re probably going to lose some friends in the madness. Not everyone is interested in jumping on your roller coaster and it can feel pretty lonely. But you’re probably going to gain some friends in the frenzy because there are a lot of people who don’t mind the change even if they don’t have kids.

(I’m still scratching my head on this one but I’m thankful)norman-rockwell--santa-s-helper-december-27-1947_i-G-52-5271-V5RZG00Z

  1. You’re not going to feel great about your outward appearance. I mean you’ll be happy but recharging your batteries is going to be really low on the To Do list. Fortunately, you’re going to feel great about how strong you have been!

  (Oh you can deadlift 200lbs? Well I’ve gone 8.5 months without sleep or makeup. BAM!)

  1. You might need a veteran from this war zone to tell you it’s going to be alright. You hear a lot of advice from a lot of people. None of it is going to matter until you’re crying into a dirty sock you thought was a dish towel …you thought was a tissue. That’s when you are desperately going to need a seasoned mom to tell you this is all temporary.

   (I find that even vomit can seem cute when it’s temporary but I don’t recommend sleeping in it if at all possible)

  1. You aren’t going to like your husband. There I said it. I’m a terrible wife. In all honesty he is probably going to try every bit as hard as you are but you had a nine month head start on adjusting to this little human being part of your life. (Give him time and try to keep your head above water.)1921-07-09-Saturday-Evening-Post-Norman-Rockwell-cover-Boy-Holding-Screaming-Baby-no-logo-400-Digimarc
  2. Mommy Brain. It’s a real affliction. If we are being honest it should be called “the baby usurped 80% of my working memory”. But the latter is shorter and easier to remember and EASY TO REMEMBER is the key phrase here. It’s like a switch gets flipped and suddenly you forget everything and start eating food off of other people’s faces. You forget your brother’s wife’s name. You forget the name of those purple things that grow on those green things that make wine. (I say good morning to my coworkers multiple times most mornings.)
  3. Nursing. I did it for a year. Does that negate the thing I said about not liking my husband? By the end of your breast-feeding days you’re going to feel like you’ve spent more time topless than a tribal woman captured in National Geographic. Yes they are still yours but no matter how you try they are still going to look like milk cartons in your mind.
  4. What you consider relevant is going to change drastically. You are going to hate that for a while until you realize that the entire year you spent watching Brittany Spears spiral into crazy town and then rise from the ashes maybe wasn’t the most productive use of  your time anyway.
  5. This year you become a caregiver, a shoulder to cry on, a personal life coach, a bodyguard and an adult most all the time whether you feel up to the challenge or not. I loved Ian immediately!!! But I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. The first year you are going to work really hard to start building a relationship with a complete stranger who speaks an entirely different language. You are his person and he can’t survive without you. Enough said?


It’s going to be worth it.

Is it really worth it?

Maybe if I rephrase the question the answer will be clearer.

Is falling in love really worth it?

Beacuse that’s exactly what it is. It’s falling in love!!! It’s flying and crashing and crying and laughing. Sometimes when Ian is screaming and crying I feel like Martha Stewart’s publicist doing damage control and hoping a carrot soufflé will make the bad dream go away. There are days I want to crawl under my covers and pretend I’m not a mom, but like Jack Twist I’m a goner. It’s too late. I’ve fallen in love and I don’t know how to quit my little dude.  For every effort I put in, I get unmeasurable returns.



Scientifically I can’t measure it. Mathematically I can’t come up with the formula. Psychologically I can’t determine the behavioral measures but he thinks I’m cool and I think he’s awesome too. I think William Shakespeare says it best.

“Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs.” 

Yes it’s hard. Yes it’s worth it. No I have not actually made my child a soufflé.

On to year two!

Happy Birthday Ian!


You are so important and special to me and your father. Your great big family loves you more than any words could ever express. We are so thankful you are part of our little world now!

Happy 1st Birthday to a brave inquisitive and loving little boy.

May every day of your life be a great adventure!!!

May you always bring light to this great big world with your smile!!

And may you always know love, laughter and true joy no matter what path you travel!!

And of course we love you so much little bean!



















































Just to Say Hello


Dear readers!

My my my how life can spin and whirl you in dizzying directions! For the past couple months my husband has been traveling much more than usual for work. I work full time too and that doesn’t leave much time for baby Ian and me to hang out. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices and cut the fat. I miss you all terribly though! I promise to write much more in the coming months to make up for my absence. In the meantime I will tell you what I’m working on!

I am slowly but surely planning our little boys very 1st birthday and getting ready for a snowy home grown Christmas in Pennsylvania. I fully intend on inundating you with pictures and stories by then. For now I consider myself lucky if I remember to put both ear rings in my ears and have matching shoe!

My ultimate goal is to slow down as soon as I can and reconnect with you! What do you think of this my friends? Stay with me and I promise to have lots of humor and kookiness in the coming year!

Here is a sneak peak at little Ian’s birthday plans!

We saved a couple trees with Paperless Posts! They have awesome online cards and we were able to order a hard copy of the card as a keepsake!

I call his birthday party theme Jungle Chic! Ian loves anything gold or silver so we thought it would be fun to incorporate this into a more traditional safari kind of theme. So here is my Inspiration Board full of things that make me smile and hopefully make little Ian a happy 1 year old on his special day. I’ll post pictures from his party soon. Thanks for sticking with me during the sparce writing periods!


It’s a jungle out there!

Much love – The byrd

Breaking even – 9 Months


Dear Ian-bean,

Today we had your nine month checkup. The doc said we have officially reached the breaking even point. You have been in this world exactly as long as you haven’t. I can’t believe it has been 9 months since I was rubbing my stomach and trying to imagine what you would be like.

It’s kind of crazy to think about this past year. For us it has been life changing for certain but for you it has been 9 months of new and foreign things every day. The way I see it is for roughly 273 days you have been climbing the equivalent of Mt Everest!  It makes me realize how strong and ambitious you are! You have woken up every day with the same tenacity and zest for life regardless of how long or overwhelming the prior day was for you. That makes me so proud of you Ian! I hope you will always greet life with the same exuberance and drive!

This month you started interacting with us more than ever before. You question us with your eyes and with noises. You are starting to get better with your motor skills. They say you are supposed to experience separation anxiety around this time but I’m delighted to say while you do notice when we leave, you are still happy to hang out with Grandma and Papa or your aunts. You flirt with pretty girls in the grocery store and reach out to strangers to be held. To be honest you seem to love people and they all seem to adore you right back. To me it seems that you feel secure and confident enough to explore what you don’t know or understand!

So after 9 months of getting to know each other you can’t quite put into words how you feel but I get the feeling that you kind of like us. You are everything and more than what I expected. Your smile can pretty much erase a horrible no good rotten day. I would do just about anything embarrassing or stupid to make you laugh. The sparkle in your eyes reflects the most inquisitive mind. You dedicated to figuring out how every little detail works in this world. Sometimes I just watch you in wonder. How on earth did I end up so lucky? You truly are a unique little boy. You are such a source of joy. You are the baby Don Juan Demarco! God help us if you figure out how successful you can truly be at getting people to adore you!

Something I haven’t mentioned in any of my notes to you is how many people have helped make your first 9 months in this world so special. Your Grandma Atkinson, your Aunt Sarah, your Aunt Kim and on some lucky fun Fridays your Aunt Demeatra watch you when I go to work. So much time is being spent teaching you and showering you with unconditional love and patience. We are very blessed Ian-bean. If there is one thing to remember it is how fortunate we are. If ever you start to think things look bad remember that as long as you have people who truly love and care for you; you are wealthy indeed.

9 months


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So you have lots of fun facts for month # 9!

  1. 4 is the number of teeth the Ian-bean has sprouted
  2. 87 is the percentile for weight and height you are in
  3. 18 months is the size clothing you wear
  4. 7 to 10 ounces is how much solid food you usually eat per meal! (That’s a lot for that little belly)
  5. Your favorite food is bananas and Greek yogurt mixed together
  6. You love to make noises and sing
  7. Your favorite toys – A clear plastic cup and some rubber ducks in the tub and Sophie the giraffe
  8. You like to drink water directly from water bottles. Big gulping sips while soaking your shirt.
  9. You crawled and pulled yourself to a standing position in the same night
  10. You have hair and some of it is curly!
  11. You are learning to brush your teeth!
  12. You like listening to Bob Marley, Billy Holiday, Buddy Holly and recordings of the sitar off The Concert for Bangladesh You still love punk rock though so daddy seems ok with me cultivating your interest in other types of music.
  13. You are sleeping through the night from around 7pm to around 7am. Go little bean go!!!


Everything about you is changing so fast now! I’m sure I missed something but let it suffice to say you are wonderful and I’m proud of you.

I love you yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Mom n Dad


Shine On You Crazy Diamond – 8 months


Dear Ian,

It’s your mother. I wonder if you will read this someday and laugh. So you are beginning nine months this week. Month 8 was something special! You have changed so much in one month it has me spinning on my heels! In one months time you have managed to sprout more hair, your very first two teeth, and a couple inches in height. I can’t even imagine how shocking this is to you. It is astounding to me.

In one weeks time you went from swaying back and forth in your walker to speed demon roller derby baby. Poor Chance adores you but he is unable to get near you without sacrificing a digit! For months you have tested the spandex in the bungee cord of your bouncy seat. However you have now turned the door frame into ground zero for your personal bungee trampoline.

Something that tickles me to death is how much you seem interested in art!  There is little more you love than to sit on my head and pat the muted pastoral above our sofa. Yesterday you discovered the framed picture I have in the kitchen of a frog painted on a feather. You really like to touch the framed quilt we have too but I think that one is mostly because it’s soft.

The one thing you love as much as art is music. You love to make music with objects. You love to slap your thighs like a drum and hold your fist up to your mouth and make humming noises. You love to sing and hum yourself to sleep and when you wake you love to listen to everything from Fleetwood Mac and The Cars to Buck Owens and David Allan Coe.

Things I want to remember about you from this time:

*You are a sweet boy. You like kisses and hugs and snuggles. You are tender-hearted. Speaking to you crossly brings you to inconsolable tears. However, you also have a stubborn vein that runs through you. You don’t like things snatched from your hand.

*When you don’t want to go to sleep you fight sleep until you are falling over. However, when you want to sleep you will fuss until we put you in your bed. At that point you may sleep for hours and hours until we wake you.

*You are getting so playful! Yesterday you were running in your walker and I was crawling toward you saying “I’m going to get you”. When I came closer you opened your mouth for a kiss so I kissed you back and you squealed with excitement and then ran the other direction!

* You love to crawl all over me and your dad. I think we are your “base” or safe zone while you are trying to figure out this standing/walking thing. It’s hilarious to watch but slightly painful to endure.

* You got your first tooth and then another back to back. They are your two front teeth!

*Just last Wednesday (August 20th) you surprised us and slipped crawling and standing up on your own into your repertoire!!



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So Mr. Ian those are my take aways this month. Your feet are forever growing and your smile stays big and warm so I think we are on the right track.

We love you more and more every day and are so proud of you!


Mama and dad



7 Months …ish


Dear Ian!

I am your mother and I am a wild mess. Every morning I wake up and look at the wonder of you and then the rat race begins! I tip toe through the house and get dressed in the dark and if your dad is home I give the dogs a scrunch and head to the job. Most mornings I don’t put makeup on until I get to the office parking lot and more often than not I don’t put makeup on at all. I leave an extra toothbrush and deodorant at work for those extra special mornings when I’m really a spastic mess. My bed head that the ever so fabulous and stylish girl in Payroll is envious of, comes directly from my at home hair dresser aka the fluffy drool stained pillow I would really like to be laying my head on right now. Five O’ Clock comes early and it never hurts any less even when it becomes routine but I visualize myself successful with ultra-white teeth, freshly pressed clothing and hair bouncing with just the right amount of body and the perfect shade of color. Sometime when I get to work it is a struggle to speak the English language but I manage to get 8 hours of work completed (most days) before rushing back home to see you and your dad.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom but I pictured myself being much more polished at it! Life is funny and you’ll see that the best way to handle it is to take it all in and learn to laugh and embrace the unexpected things. I hope you’ll learn to have a plan but I also hope you’ll be willing to abandon it when your plan no longer fits where you are in life. Sometimes having the carpet pulled out from under our feet is the best and most exciting thing that ever happens to us!

So you are 7 months and some change! How did you grow so fast!?

You are the most special little stinker in the whole wide world! I feel proud and kind of responsible when you sing because singing is a big part of how I communicate with you. I sing to sooth you and I sing to make you giggle. Your dad plays you records to so I’m certain that is a big part too. When you sit up you smack your hands happily on your thighs and I mimick you to get a laugh. I don’t know what it means but it’s fun to watch! You love hearing your own voice as much as we do! Sometimes you whisper dadadada and mamamama and nananana and sometimes you shout DADADADA and MAMAMA and NANANANA! It’s a big time experiment! Serious business!

Let’s see…you’re 20 and a half  pounds now. You are wearing 1 year old clothes and your feet are pretty big but still really soft and I kiss the arches all the time which makes you smile. You bounce and reach out as we cart you around on our hips, shoulders and wherever else you will fit. You gurgle and hum in your chest when joining in on our conversations and you love looking at ceiling fans.

When you’re sleepy you grunt and rub your drool all over your face while rubbing your eyes. You fuss going down and you fuss waking up but you sleep like a rock. I mena the other day I lifted your armand put it back down and I got no reaction!

Your thighs are roly, your cheeks are round a flush and your little taters (bum/derriere whatever) are the cutest hunks of chub I have ever seen (and yes, I squish them because I’m mom and I can..for now).

I’m sure I’m missing milestones but the biggest milestone is you’re almost 7.5 months! That’s a pretty big deal! It may be time to start planning that 1st birthday party for you! At the rate I’m going I need to start a little early.


Mama and Papa

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