Firsts, Christmas, and Joy

Firsts and Joy

This morning, as Milo was cuddling very close with me in our pre-nap time with a book, he put my finger in his mouth, and I felt a ridge of bumps, just ever so slightly above his gum line. Tears sprang to my eyes – his first tooth!

This thing has arisen like a mountain range, working its way up through the tectonic shifts of months to emerge, here, in these days just before Christmas.  Oh, the joy . . . and also the fussiness.

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Milo in his high chair with a purple bow on his head.
Milo is ready for Santa

Milo’s first Christmas. Goodness. I can’t even believe it. Last year, I felt tenderness in new ways for Mother Mary as a pregnant woman. This year, I marvel at what she managed as a mother to this tiny baby in a time when men were not expected to help much at all. I imagine Joseph was a good father for his time, but did he ever take the night shift (as Philip does every other night) or bring Mary soup when she got a cold during those first months (as Philip did this past weekend)?

I want to be doing all the things for Christmas time with this little, no-longer-toothless wonder, but most days, we do well to keep us all in clean clothes, food, and a bit of laughter.  Next year, maybe, I’ll have the capacity to add in advent traditions. . . and he’ll appreciate them more then, I expect. Right now, a recycled Christmas bow is his favorite toy, so I’m celebrating that as festive.

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This week, I watched my dear friend Kelly preach an Advent sermon at her church. It was called Signs of Joy, and her wisdom about how joy and grief are often intertwined was rich for me as was her exhortation to look for joy. So today, in my sleep-deprived state – because after Philip cared for me, both he and Milo got my cold, so I’ve been on duty for a few days now – I’m finding joy in the gentle click of the wood stove, in hound dogs asleep in their corners of our couch, and in a first tooth, barely pushed into light in the body of a human being we ached for years to hold.

Joy and sorrow. Light and dark. There is a reason we celebrate Christmas at the Winter Solstice – a reminder of both.

This holiday season, may the joy outshine the sorrow in your days.  Happy Holidays, Dear Ones! Happy, Happy Holidays!


Starting in January, I will be sending a monthly newsletter (much as I did before pregnancy and Milo’s exuberance took my attention). That newsletter will include an update about what’s happening on the farm that month, some photos of the critters, farmhouse, and landscape here, a recipe that I tried, and regular discounts about upcoming farm events. If you are already subscribed to our list, you will get that newsletter automatically. But if you aren’t subscribed but would like to be, you can join in here.

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The Things We Say We Will Not Do: On Feeding Sweet Potatoes to Milo

The Things We Swear We Will Not Do: On Feeding Milo Sweet Potatoes

This week, we began a new adventure – vegetables for a five-month-old. He did not love cereal, and he clearly has no issues with digestion (the thighs on this kid). So we thought we’d just go all in.

For the record, Milo is not a fan.

But I am determined that this kid will give foods a hearty try because I want him to eat healthily and not pick up some of the bad habits (sugar addition anyone) that his dad and I have.  So we persevere.

The parenting experts I’ve most connected with over the past few months are Magda Gerber and her protege Janet Lansbury. They’re teaching about respecting babies as full people has been very helpful to me, especially since at first I was telling Milo things like “people wear pants” as if he wasn’t a person. (Those biases and beliefs we don’t know we hold slip out in language often.)  So I’ve found their advice very helpful and resonant with who I am and how I want to care for our son.

So when they said that we didn’t need to do airplane sounds or play games to get Milo to eat – that we needed to respect his wishes about food – I was totally on board. I had visions of calmly spooning food into Milo’s mouth or even letting him pick up only what he wanted with this chubby fingers. It was beautiful.

But this boy doesn’t want to eat anything but formula, and I will not be feeding him from a bottle when he is four.  Thus, out came the funny faces and the weird noises (he’s particularly fond of a noise I make that reminds me of how a cartoon would portray a giant’s footsteps), and lo and behold, that baby eats sweet potatoes. (He also dribbles a good portion down his chin.)

If parenting is teaching me one thing, it’s this – the things I swear I will never do or always do are forced to the wayside. Idealism bows to larger goals – like peace of mind and health and the calmness of spirit both Milo and I need to make it through the day.  

For an idealist and quasi-perfectionist about my dreams, this change is healthy. Healing even. More and more, I’m learning to revel in the mess. To leave the edges wild. To demand less of each moment so that I can embrace the more that is always there.

Tomorrow, we are tackling some new pureed vegetable. (Recommendations welcome in the comments below.) I look forward to it.

Giant footfalls and baby steps, friends. It’s all glorious and wild.


We are so looking forward to our Holiday Craft Fair on December 1. Dad has made some gorgeous, live-edge coffee tables, and friends of ours are planning to bring home-brewed meade for all of us to sample. They’ll be hot cider and a fire in the woodstove. Plus, lots of shopping to do.  Come on by – 9am-4pm in the barn.