Category Archives: Monthly Letters

Two Months Old

Dearest Sprout,
Well, you turned two months old on Thursday and I’m just getting to your monthly letter now. I’m guessing this is sort of the pattern with the second kid, and I hope you don’t feel lost in the shuffle. Right now a lot of your life is spent getting dragged around to your big sister’s activities. At some point you might object to this, but so far you’re remarkably accommodating about it. We hoist you in and out of your carseat, in and out of the sling, in and out of the stroller, and you sleep or look around or eat or, pretty rarely, fuss. I am in favor of this demeanor, so please keep it up. Thank you.

Pretty Baby

This is not to say that you’re not coming up with new tricks, however. This month you’ve added smiles and babbling to your repertoire, both of which are pretty awesome. Daddy is definitely your favorite person to communicate with – he gets the biggest grins and the longest chats – closely followed by your big sister and your other relatives, with me as a veeeerrrrrrry distant last. Which: WTF, kid? What am I, chopped liver? I only GREW you and BORE you and stuff. I mean, don’t feel obligated or anything.

Man, being a baby is hilarious

I really can’t complain, though, because the smiles and coos are pretty adorable even when they’re not directed at me. And you seem (knock wood) to have figured out your days and nights, so while we not getting tons of sleep, we are at least getting more than last month, and frankly, I’ll take what I can get.


Tomorrow we’ll go get you weighed and measured and see how much you’ve grown since the two-week mark. No telling if you’ll be as off the charts as the Hatchling, but seeing as how you’re already in size two diapers and 3-6 month clothes I’m pretty sure you’ll get the stamp of approval. The nursing is going better too, so we’re mostly just using formula for when we’re out and about or if I have to leave you with Daddy for a meeting. This is especially nice at night, allowing me to nurse you without the lights on in a semi-conscious state. Mmmmm … semi-consciousness.


And that’s really about it for this month, kiddo. You’re doing everything you’re supposed to do. Oh, and also: You didn’t poop in my mouth this month! Which is awesome. So I think we’ll keep you. Now give me some smiles!

X-treem baby closeup


Three Years Old

Dearest Hatchling,
Boy howdy. You turned three years old yesterday, and what a year it has been! I thought the difference between one and two was big, but the difference between two and three is … also big! This year has been all about growing up, physically, emotionally, verbally, mentally – you’ve been covering all the bases. You’re wearing 5T clothes and toddler size 11 shoes, and you dwarf every other kid your age at school or on the playground. At some point in the future your Viking-like proportions may be a hurdle to get over, but right now you don’t see anything odd in being a good head taller than your peers, and neither do they. Here’s hoping that lasts.

Girls with hats

But your physical prowess is not limited to growth – oh, no! You also are really good at playing catch – I mean, you actually catch the ball a lot, which is pretty good for age three – and you have a scary throwing arm. Perhaps softball is in your future? But then, we wouldn’t want to deny your possibly greater talent for the terpsichorean arts. You’ve loved to dance pretty much since you could walk, but you’ve now reached a point where you can incorporate others’ choreography (you’re particularly fond of the “dancey-dances” from Yo Gabba Gabba) in addition to creating your own. Often, this past winter, as soon as Daddy got home from work, it was dance time for the whole family. You’d spend maybe 10 minutes carefully explaining and teaching us new moves (“Ok-ok-ok, now how you do DIS one is, hands WAAAAY uppa dee air! Good job, evvyone!”) and then it was follow-the-leader time in a joyful free-for-all. Sure, sometimes you look more like you’re channeling Elaine on Seinfeld than Leroy from Fame (Original Fame reference! HOLLA!), but either way the result is purely awesome to behold.

The little ballerina advances

Verbally, you’ve expanded your vocabulary by leaps and bounds, and if you’re still not *quite* as articulate as a lot of kids your age, it certainly doesn’t stop you from communicating with us. Sure, your pronunciation often verges on Swedish Chef, but your dramatic arts are Sarah Bernhardt all the way. The gestures! The expressions! The condescending smiles! The vehement stomping of feet! At our weekly parent and kid class, the teacher refers to you as “exuberant” and that pretty much sums it up. You have big feelings, big reactions to things, and that is both wonderful and exhausting.

Ellie's third birthday

Speaking of wonderful, you’ve been a real trouper throughout the whole pregnancy/birth/baby invasion process. Having a little sister is a beautiful thing, but it’s also a biiiiiiiiig change from being the center of attention all the time, and I’m frankly bowled over by how generous you’ve been with the transition. You love to hold and kiss the baby, and you’re the first person to alert us if she cries or seems at all unhappy. The other day after a tiring morning out, you were on the verge of a major tantrum, but when the Sprout started crying you stopped and said “help baby sister, Mama,” so I’d be sure to know it was OK to tend to her first.

Daddy and his girls

In fact, you’re regularly willing to step aside, stand back and wait for the baby to be cared for before asserting your own needs, and this makes me a little bit sad – because who likes making the switch from star to co-star? – but mostly enormously proud. I know lots of parents who mourn the passing of babyhood or toddlerhood, who miss the previous stages as much as they look forward to the coming ones. I’ve never really felt that way, because you just keep getting better and better with each year. You’re an amazing big sister and an amazing kid, and your daddy and I know we’re so lucky to have you for our oldest daughter. Here’s to another wonderful, exhausting, exuberant year.

Ellie's third birthday


One Month Old

Dearest Sprout,
Holy hannah, I cannot believe that it’s already been one month since we welcomed you into the world! I’m going to do my best to write you monthly letters for the first year, just like I did for your big sister, but let me apologize in advance if I don’t make it every month. I had no idea how EASY it was with only one kid until I had two.

Sister worship

I must say that, overall, your birth was a lot more relaxing than your sister’s. Sure, you came two days early, but you timed it for when our doctor was on call and Daddy was already off work, so we can’t really complain. My, but you were (are) a big baby, though! Almost three whole pounds bigger than your sister was. Way to raise the level of competition from the get go. It took the medical team quite some time to get you out, even with the C-section, and there was an audible reaction to your size as soon as everyone laid eyes on you. “Oh, that one’s at LEAST 5 pounds,” joked the nurse anaesthetist, and then everyone started laying odds on how big you really were. (The OR nurse called exactly at 10 pounds, 5 ounces.) You dwarfed the other babies in the nursery, and wowed all your visitors with vivid impressions of a grumpy sumo wrestler.

Freshly hatched

So: one month seems to be treating you pretty well, though as I recall it’s the second month that started getting rough last time, so don’t think you’re off the hook or anything! So far you’re an amazingly mellow and sweet little babysquab, happy to sleep and eat and stare around, only crying when you’re hungry or gassy or way past needing a new diaper. To say that your place of residence is a little more chaotic than when your sister was a month old would be a vast understatement, but happily you’ve taken it all in stride, snoozing away while the Hatchling shrieks or dances or pitches fits in the background.

Three Robinson Women

On the one hand, I feel bad that you’ll never get the exclusive, undivided attention that your sister got when she was your age. On the other hand, I’m much more relaxed about my ability to parent you, so the attention you are getting is probably less likely to send you into therapy in later years. It all comes out in the wash, right?

Soooo sleepy

Already this month, you’ve tackled learning how to nurse (still working on that one), getting a bath (hated the first one, loved the second one), getting your nights and days mixed up (you could stop that now, if you wanted), and, oh yes, shooting poop into your mama’s face. You’ve been busy! As for the rest of us, we’ve been pretty busy, too, adjusting to this new addition to the household. I can say pretty confidently that all four of us are pretty tired and overwhelmed, working on getting more sleep and settling into a more normal routine. But the most important thing, as your father observed the day we brought you home from the hospital, is that “our family feels complete now.” Thanks for completing us, baby girl. Now quit pooping in my face.

She's either concentrating, or DARING you to mess with her


Two Years Old

Dearest Hatchling,
Holy Toledo. You’re TWO! I can hardly believe it. Looking back at your 1st year letter, it’s like you’re a completely different person. You’ve passed a lot of major milestones this past year, kiddo. Walking, for example. That’s a pretty huge one. And talking, also quite huge. You have so many words now I can’t even count them all, and you’re also turning into quite the mimic. The other night a Subway commercial came on talking about “five dollars for a foot-long” (which if you ask me sounds like nothing so much as a cheap blow job, but then I’m a perv like that) and without even watching the TV, you started saying “fi dolla foo” over and over again. Your father thought it was high-larious. I kind of felt like maybe we should turn off the TV.

A girl and her Grover

Also, hair! You have that now! Which is good, because it would have been awkward going to college essentially hairless. Not that I ever worried about that, at all. No sir-ee bob. I admit that, at this point, I enjoy playing with your hair far more than you enjoy having it played with, but you can revenge yourself on me when you hit fifteen and decide to give yourself a hot-pink mohawk. Good times.

It's almost spring!!

If there’s one thing I’ll remember from this past year, it’s your incredibly joyful nature. You really are just an amazingly exuberant kid. And it’s not just your fatuous parents who think so – almost everyone we know comments on it. One of the mothers at your ECFE class wanted to know if you were taking joy pills; another one told me she loved it when you come to class because the mood of the whole room lifts. And it’s true! You just love being around people and exploring everything that life throws at you. From the awesome welcome dance + rap that you do when people come over to the house, to the deafening “HIIIIIII” you yell across rooms, across streets, across whatever, coupled with your patented homecoming-queen wave, you’re a one-person positivity machine.

Little Miss Hollywood

Or at least you are about 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent? That’s where the two-year-old/born drama queen thing comes in. As joyously exuberant as you mostly are, when you get riled, you get R-I-L-E-D. You’re definitely at that point where your reach exceeds your grasp sometimes, when it does, all hell breaks loose. There is stomping, there is screaming, there is hitting (though you mostly hit the coffee table or other inanimate objects) there is even the occasional rolling on the floor with irate abandon. But at this point, the tantrums really don’t happen very often or last very long. (This is where all the parents of older children start laughing to themselves in a just-you-wait kind of way.)

The perpetual motion machine

Things you especially love right now: Elmo, cooking in your play kitchen, naked time, going to the park, the kitties, and making new friends. Things you aren’t so fond of: being told “no,” leaving the park, and getting dressed. “Discipline” is a concept we’re just beginning to address, and so far you’re not quite hip to how it works. Mostly when we really seriously tell you not to do something you give us a long, semi-verbal “explanation” of why you weren’t really doing that, or alternatively why it’s actually totally ok for you to do it and we just need to UNDERSTAND. Complete with hand gestures and an oh-so-reasonable tone of voice. It’s pretty freaking funny. We can’t wait until you can completely talk, because I’m sure your rationalizations will be worth their weight in comic gold.

Cindy Lou Who Conducts: A Series

You’re getting to be such a big girl, Hatchling. Not just size-wise, though your growth continues to be so off the charts that I have to reassure parents on the playground that you’re not a retarded 3 year old (“Ohhhh, she’s only two! That makes a lot more sense”). It’s also your mental and emotional development that’s come so far. We’re in a new ECFE class where the parents separate from the children about 1/2 way through. On our first day I was preparing myself for a major meltdown, as that’s been your usual response to me leaving you even just to go upstairs to the bathroom. But you did so great! I told you I was going to go across the hall for a little while, and then I’d be back, and after a hug you said “OK” and “bye, mama” just like it was no big deal. I was so proud of you, and so relieved, and just a little teensy tiny bit sad that you’re getting to be so grown up.


It sure is nice having you around, kid. We love you the mostest, and we can’t wait to spend another year together. Happy Birthday.

The Robinson Ladies


Twelve Months Old

Dearest Hatchling,

Today, you are ONE YEAR OLD. Jumping Jehosaphat. I can’t believe it’s only been a year. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I remember this time last year like it was only weeks ago: getting pitocin to induce labor, the doctor using that weird crochet hooky thing to break my water (I actually thought that was pretty cool), barfing from the labor pains (not so cool) getting the epidural (extremely awesome, so much so that I think I asked the anaesthetist to marry me), and then pushing and pushing and coming soooo close to getting you out. And then your head got stuck and wouldn’t budge, and after three hours of pushing it started to swell, and we had to have a c-section after all. And that was really just NO FUN AT ALL. They don’t tell you in birthing class about the deep, to-the-bone chill you get from the anaesthesia, how your teeth can’t stop chattering because you’re so, so cold; or the nausea and attendant ralphing that happens when they’re wrestling with your intestines to get to the baby inside. Not that it mattered, because pretty soon there your little head was, popping right out of me and talking up a storm right from the moment you hit the air. (“It was like a scene from Alien,” says Mr. Squab.) And then they pulled the rest of you out of me and I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t really see you and everyone was telling your father to tell me what flavor you were, only he was kind of delirious and couldn’t really tell so it came out kind of like “it’s a … girl?” And I was really surprised, more so than I’d thought I would be, but SO excited, because there you were, our own sweet baby girl, and now we could really get to know you.

Baby Doll

You were pretty damn cute right from the beginning, I must say. Which was a good thing for all concerned, because while you were a model child in the hospital, once you got home we had some trouble in the eating department. My milk just didn’t come in the way it should have, and your tongue was tied, and oh! It was a struggle for both of us. I remember numerous times trying to nurse you before going downstairs to show you off to some of your many admirers, and crying and crying to your father that I just couldn’t DO it, it just wasn’t working, and why was it so hard? And then trying to compose myself and put my hostess face on and tell the guests about how wonderful it was to have you home. Stupid social conventions. Daddy was a big help, though, even while he was having a small freak out at the fact that he was a father now. Which, let’s face it, is a pretty big deal.

Sleeping on tired Daddy

We figured the eating stuff out eventually, though. Just in time, in fact, because around about 6 weeks you decided to hell with being out of the womb, this whole external world thing sucked, and could we please just go back to how things were? Which you expressed by crying. All. The. Time. I look back at posts from that period and think, yeah … maybe one kid is all I need. Frankly, it was rough going for a while there, and if putting you back in for the “fourth trimester” had been a viable option, believe me, we would have strongly considered it. No sleep, no idea how to GET sleep. A general sense of not knowing what the hell we were doing – and your daddy and I aren’t generally used to that feeling. Nor do we really enjoy it. In fact, it pretty much blows. So like I said, it’s a good thing you were so damn cute.

Sleeping Angel

However. I can’t really complain too much, because while the first three months were less than blissful, and you didn’t sleep so much until about 5 months, you’ve always known how to balance out the bad stuff with a killer smile or a sweet coo, and your father and I have spent the last 7 months being amazed at how lucky we are to have such a good baby. It’s not just that you’re good natured, though you are that. It’s that you have such a large capacity for enjoyment. You’re one of the smiliest babies I know – people remark on it all the time – and you really just get a huge kick out of most things, be it new activities, new foods, new people, or a cool new seat.

Daddy is funny

Looking back, I can’t believe how much we’ve done with you even at at tender age. Two cross-country plane trips. One new country (Canada, but still). Two family weddings. Gadzoodles of road trips, from 90 minutes to 5 hours at a pop. As someone who prefers to avoid fuss and bother whenever humanly possible, these are things I’m kind of surprised I had the mental energy for. But we did it, and you came up trumps every time.

Ellie-bird 2

One of the best things about having you around has been the opportunity to watch your personality develop day by day. I can remember in the first months talking with a friend who had also just had a baby, about how sometimes we worried that we might not recognize our own kids right away in a group. Much as we loved you, nigh unto worship, it nevertheless remains that teetiny babies are much alike in their adorable lumpitude. But lord, that didn’t last long! You’re most definitely a little person now. There’s no mistaking you for anyone but your very own self: sweet-natured, strongly opinionated, probably foul-mouthed and with a notable penchant for cheesy poofs and kitties (to eat and play with, respectively).

Camera! Gimme!

Even the normal baby milestones you have to hit in your own way. Teeth? Sure! How about we start cutting them insanely early and then keep going until we have a whole mouthful? Crawling? No, thanks. You preferred to stand at about three months, unassisted at 9 months, and walking (hopefully) any day now. Talking? Actual “words” are so limiting; you disdain them. Far more fun (and practically as communicative) to babble all the livelong day in your own unique Hatchling babycabulary. I imagine at some point in the near future – but not before you’re good and ready – you’ll suddenly start spouting entire sentences out of thin air. Just because you’re contrary like that.

Just kickin back in the laundry B, yo

Milestones this month: no more third nap! You’re down to a mere 11-12 hours a night plus two 90-120 minute naps each day. No one can say you’re sleep deprived. You’re about *this* close to walking, which isn’t close enough to take any solo steps, but is close enough to make you royally pissed off that you can’t get where you want to go on your own. You’ll see something you want across the room, cruise along the coffee table until you get to the end, wave one or both arms and cautiously lean in the direction of the desired object, realize you can’t get to it without help, and then whammo! Insta-tantrum. It’s like living with a small, grumpy, non-verbal maharajah: all we can do is salaam and distract you with something shiny. Fortunately, that’s not too difficult to do.


Favorite things this month: Going to the park and swinging, eating fresh strawberries or extra-garlicky hummus, reading Ohmyohmyoh Dinosaurs, playing your new piano toy, and flirting shamelessly with family and friends. Least favorite things: Getting dressed, having your teeth brushed, being in someone’s lap when you want to GET DOWN, being on the floor when you want to be IN SOMEONE’S LAP, and sleeping in strange places. Your quietest times are in the mornings and evenings, when you like to snuggle with us on the sofa as we read to you or watch the news. Your loudest times are when you’re in the bath, where you excel at completely drenching whoever is bathing you. You’ve got the best smile and the most infectious laugh of any person I know, and snorgling your tummy is such a mood lifter it should probably be illegal. All of which is to say: we’re most pleased to have made your acquaintance. Happy First Birthday, little girl, and many happy returns.



11 (and a half) months old

Dearest Hatchling,
Last Sunday you turned eleven months old. I didn’t get a chance to write your letter on time because of being in the middle of tech week for a show I’m directing, a phrase I’m sure will resonate through your formative years and result in a deep and abiding resentment of all things theatrical. That’ll learn me.

Actually, I don’t know who I’m kidding: I had to take you with me to the theatre last week and you just about lost your MIND you were so excited to be there. I brought you into the dilapidated dressing room/greenroom and you stood against the ratty sofa and babbled and bounced and laughed out loud at nothing at all. You checked out every nook and cranny of the building, and then sat happily on my lap while I ran lines with one of the cast members. You clearly know you’re a theatre baby, so we’ll hope the resentment will be saved for when I refuse to let you play with Barbies or go to Cabo San Lucas on spring break. THAT I can live with.

New Age Leprechaun?

Your Uncle Stan says you’re going to be a performer when you grow up, and maybe he’s right: you certainly know how to work an audience already. You’ve developed what your father and I can only call a “shit-eating grin” that you pull out whenever something particularly pleases you. You adopt an underbite, and show all your little teeth, and crinkle up your little eyes in a truly mischievous manner. You may be your father’s daughter in many respects, but the shit-eating grin? That’s from your mama, babydoll. You remember that.


Speaking of teeth … well, I won’t speak of them because I’m sure everyone we know is sick unto death of me bitching about how many teeth you have. Suffice it to say that I am now the proud owner of several permanent tooth-sized dents in my nipular area, and at the rate you’re going we should be able to make some fat cash in the coming months harvesting teeth from your ever-burgeoning gums. “Ellie’s Tooth Booth” we’ll call it. It’ll be a hit.


You’re still not walking unassisted yet, but you can stand like nobody’s business, and one of your favorite games is to stand in the middle of the room and have your daddy flail his arms at you like he’s going to knock you over, just missing every time. You think that’s HILARIOUS. Your Tante Laura can get you to walk holding onto just one of her hands, but you won’t do that for anyone else. You’re working at it, though – we can almost see the cogs spinning in your brain as you figure out how to get ambulatory. Baby steps, kid. Baby steps.

Heh heh ... I can stand ...

Milestones this month: you’re getting SUPER fun to read to. You definitely have favorite books now (Sandra Boynton is always good) and you anticipate the pages and sections you like best, even mimicking the appropriate sounds – a cat’s meow, the baby hippo saying “bee-bo,” saying “oops!” when the turkey can’t figure out where to put his clothes. It sounds so minor, so little, but I just enjoy the hell out of reading to you. Reading was – is – such an important part of my life, something I get so much joy and comfort and knowledge from, and I feel incredibly lucky to get to pass that along to you.

Hi, Mama!

In more mundane news, you’ve outgrown your wee little orange shoes that I got you for Christmas. I loved those shoes, dammit. Fortunately, now that you’re a size 5, you have like three new pair that you couldn’t wear before – whee! Just wait until you’re big enough for handbags!

Chatty Cathy in action

You’re acquiring new sounds all the time, including some this month that your father says make you sound like you’re cussing us out. When you really get going it sounds something like “doi doi doi ding ding dang dooee nah bah bah mamama MAAAAH!” To which the only possible response is “okay, then!” You loooooove other kids (to whom you also speak in your cussing voice; that should be interesting when there are actual words involved) and you’re never happier than when your cousin comes over or we take you out to the mall or the park or somewhere else where you can watch those other small people doing their small people things. It’s finally getting warm enough to be outside again, and I see a lot of parks and playgrounds in our future. Now if we can just work on not actually eating the playground sand, that would be a good next step.

Three Sweet Girls

I can’t believe we’ve had you around for almost a year, kid. Just ca-nnot believe it. I’ll save the reminiscing for next month’s letter; for now I’m just enjoying the ride. Hope you are, too.


10 months old

Dearest Hatchling,
Yesterday, you turned 10 months old. It’s been a tough month health-wise, with a bad chest cold at the beginning of the month and a bout of what I can only call the Bolivian Death Flu at the end of the month. It’s no fun being sick, obviously, but you’re remarkably good natured about it, even while projectile vomiting and explosively pooping … AT THE SAME TIME. Oh, the laundry we’ve gone through. Thank goddess you have more clothes than Imelda Marcos has footwear, or we’d have been up shit creek without a onesie, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Just kickin back in the laundry B, yo

Illness aside, this has been a banner month for your personality, which is even more explosive than your diapers. (Ok, I’ll quit with the poo references.) The babbling! And the laughing! And the funny expressions and gestures! They are all multiplying exponentially. The kitty licking his paws or your daddy whipping a sleeper around his head or your cousin doing pratfalls in the living room – they all send you into paroxysms of shrieking laughter. Or, even more funny, you’ll just let out a little chuckle, a Beavis and Butthead-esque “heh heh heh” which I’m sure is just a little preview of the many, many occasions we’ll share a juvenile laugh at something only we and frat boys would find funny.

Cousin love

You’ve developed some fairly awesome new movements this month. The flapping motion that you’ve been doing for a while now has a new twist where you let your wrists go limp as you move your arms up and down. You look like a gay, gay, gay person or possibly a backup dancer for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, and frankly I’m thrilled either way. Gay zombies rock. Your other signature move is to shake your head vehemently from side to side. Sometimes you do this just to be funny, but sometimes you really do seem to use it to mean “no” or perhaps more accurately “HELL, no” as in “Woman, do not MAKE me get out of this highchair and show you where you can stuff that spoonful of strawberry yogurt. Uhn-UH.”

Dood! Check out the fright wig!

You’re still not crawling; when you’re horizontal you prefer to roll. BUT, and this is extremely exciting for us parental units, you’re starting to stand all by yourself!! You can only do it for a few seconds at a time so far, but you’re pretty solid for those few seconds. Your favorite place to play right now is standing at the coffee table, holding on with one hand and using the other one to grab whatever’s in reach. When you get hold of something really interesting, you grab it with both hands and voila! Standing all on your own! You hardly even notice it, but your dad and grandparents and I all think it’s pretty damn neat. I’m guessing it won’t be long now before you take those legendary first steps, and then whoa, Nellie. And Katy, bar the door. And oh, my stars and garters, we better safen our fasty-belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. The Walking: I’m not sure I’m ready for it, but you sure seem to be.

Mmmm, baby sugar

Naked time is still one of the best times of the day. All we have to do is start zipping your socks off and you start squealing and wriggling in anticipation. Over the last few days a new dimension has been added as you’ve begun to discover your pooter. Boy, are you interested in THAT part of your anatomy. Whenever we change your diaper you’re grabbing the lotion bottle and sticking it between your legs, or reaching a hand down to grab a little pinch of what I fondly refer to as your Wu-Tang Clan. Tonight, during naked time, you used your father as a prop to get right into a full downward dog position with your hands around your ankles in an effort to see what exactly was going ON up there. Ah, vaginas. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a long, fruitful and satisfying relationship with your lady parts.

So much yummy chub

Let’s see: vomiting, pooping, babbling, shaking and wriggling, standing, nakedness and cooch-grabbing. Yep, that’s month ten! It’s a roller coaster ride with you, kid. A really fucking adorable roller coaster ride.