a new beginning

Dear Gus,

Welcome to the world, Little Man.  We call you Gideon, Gideon James, Little Man, Giddy, and Gus.  It’s a good name.  We really like your name.

Consider this your first official letter… a state of the family, if you will.  You’ve already logged some serious events in your short month of life and I wanted to get them down before I lose them in the fog that is coping with a newborn.

We all fight our own special dragons in this family, and you are no exception.  Your battle started at 22 weeks in-utero when Kelly found that your right foot was slightly clubbed.  Now, you have your very first cast.  You’ll receive a new cast every week for a month and THEN you’ll get to wear a special snowboard at night until you’re 4.  I know, right? Awesome.  Score one for the wild and wacky.  Welcome to the family.

Bud, you’re a tad high maintenance.  You absolutely refuse to fall asleep on your own.  Your sister was not a cuddler, so this is all new to me.  I will give you another month or so of extreme handling and then… well, then you gotta make your own sleep.  You also have some colic issues which lead to periodic inconsolable screaming.  We are all impressed with your lungs and perseverance.  You’re very cute, though, which has helped you win over family and friends despite your decibels.

I have so many prayers for you, Little Man… so many dreams.  I have little experience with boys.  Boys, well… boys are a mystery to me.  Your dad will teach you what it is to be a gentleman, a rebel, and a champion.   He will also teach you to spit and whistle, two things I cannot do. Your sister is dying for you to be a bit bigger so she can swing with you and run with you and play hard with you.  Get ready.  You’re in for a world of adventure once she gets ahold of you. I can only protect you for so long.

As your mom, I hope you’ll hold doors open for people… both girls and boys, old and young.  And, I hope you’ll like to read.  I hope you’ll sing in church… up front or in the chairs- doesn’t matter.  And, I hope one day you tell me you love Jesus with all your heart.    I hope you’ll embrace being a cowboy and be a big help on the farm.  I hope the quiet out here brings you the same kind of peace it brings the rest of us.  I hope you’ll be respectful of every one you meet, and I hope you’ll speak up for those who have lost their voice.

You are loved by so many… and we are all just getting to know you.  Sweet boy… you were expected, you were prayed for, and you are very welcome in this house.

Now, please go to sleep.

Love, Mom

If you have any advice or prayers for Gus, by all means leave them in the comments.  We’d love it.


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), a bloodhound (Hank), 2 barn cats, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

19 responses to “a new beginning

  • Amy B.

    From the mother of one Gideon James to another, it is a great name and boys are an amazing surprise – I didn’t know much about them either, but can’t imagine it any other way now.

  • Amy

    Oh he is SO cute! You know, those second babies,i think, need more snuggling at night to make up for not getting ALL the attention during the day. I also think they learn early how to stand up for themselves 🙂
    I found it was easier for me to sleep if the baby was with me….I got more sleep that way, which was all that mattered 🙂 And now, Aub sleeps through the night in her crib without a peep….i think she would have done it at 18 months no matter what i did earlier…..
    stubbornness will serve them well later in life, right?!

  • Stephanie

    Oh what a face! And what a life so far for this little guy. All this cast/snowboard stuff sounds very stressful but like everything else you make it look and sound so easy, Kate. Cohen was not a cuddler, a rocker, a kid who wanted to be sung to or anything like that. Have you read “The happiest baby on the block”? It works. I am so serious.

  • Mandi

    I was also going to recommend “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” It changed our lives! We are big believers in swaddling…although I’m not really sure how that works with casts and snowboards. We also used a “heartbeat” bear during sleepy time and that really seemed to sooth the kids and calm them down so they could get to sleep. Hang in there, Friend. It WILL get better!

    Little Gideon is absolutely adorable and so lucky to have such a neat family to take care of him!

  • Amy L

    So I have no advice on the sleeping baby no. 1 was a difficult puttosleep child and so my approach changed with no. 2 and no. 3; I would relaxed them after eating, swaddle and walk away. I personally couldn’t sleep with the babes in my room because I listened to EVERYTHING and found it was best for my sanity to have them in the next room.

    Gideon is adorable and resembles his father!

    I’ll say a prayer or two for you as well. These are not the easiest of days for a mama (of 2)!

  • Jtp

    oh I love your letters….and secretly I think babies in casts are sooo cute!!! Second only to little kids in glasses…. He is precious and you have such a talent with writting 🙂 Oh, I hope you find some sleep soon…..I really do!

  • Chris

    Seriously, one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a long time. I absolutely love your letters.

    P.S. I was colicky too. I STILL feel bad for my mom. I think she’d probably tell you: don’t worry, it’s horrible for a while, but then it goes away. From one formerly colicky girl to a little colicky boy, you can do it! You have the best mom ever, just like I do!

  • Miss Laura

    He is such a doll. I mean, look at that face. Heavens.

    That procedure sounds fantastic! Makes all the sense in the world. And can I just say, that snowboard apparatus rocks. The look on that baby’s face totally sold the whole treatment for me 🙂 The best thing about it is that he won’t remember it at all, and it will save him so much pain and trauma later. You guys are good, good parents.

    Give me a ring if you need anything! Anything at all! Sonic and Target are at my fingertips! 🙂

  • janna

    Dear Gus, I haven’t gotten to hold you in my arms yet, but I’ve had you in my heart since long before you were born. I have lots of prayers for you and your whole family, but for now I pray you learn quickly how much you are loved, by your family, your friends, and your God. I pray that you will change the lives of those in your world. And I pray that you will soon give that sweet momma of yours a smile and a bit of a break. I love you, Gideon James.

  • beckyswann

    Dear Gus! You are one blessed kiddo! Ellen wants to come sign your cast! We will be praying for that sweet little foot of yours too!

  • Kim Aguilar

    When I was a baby, my foot turned in and I had to wear a special brace at night, but I don’t know for how long. I don’t remember any of it. Neither will he, probably. It’s just amazing what kids can endure. My little nephew has had over 10 surgeries for his double cleft palate. He’s my hero. So so brave. But it’s tough on his mommy and my brother, to see him suffer. Understandable. Here’s one of my current favorite quotes: “Communication from God to men and women is a reality.” –Dallin H. Oaks. He knows Gus and He knows you. And when you ask for guidance, you will receive it. And when you ask for comfort, it will fill your soul. Keep the faith, you are not alone.

  • heather

    hi katie kate. oh wow, what a cutie (number one.) number two…..two kids must be really really hard. i admire you and you amaze me from where you are to where i am. your words are kind, and loving and sweet to your dear son. you are right, we as moms are all blessed…and exhausted!!

  • Lou Kuhn

    Thank you so much for including the link in your blog. The whole process is so interesting. I am always amazed at what we can do.

    I also enjoyed “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, however I cheated and watched the video on You Tube. Ella did not sleep outside of someone’s arms for the first two weeks. We tried swaddling her but, she would always break free of the blanket. Some of our friends recommended “The Miracle Blanket” which is basically a baby straight jacket. Ella screamed bloody murder when we put it on her but, within 3 minutes she calmed down and slept on her own for stretches of 3-4 hours at a time. I usually put her in it around 9 or 10 and then can sleep in 3 hour increments until 6 or 7 the next morning. It has been a life saver for me getting sleep at night. You can get a miracle blanket at most baby stores. It is the best $30 I have ever spent. Maybe one of your friends will have one that you can borrow to try out.

  • Heather E.

    Gus, you’re amazing. And your sister has set a high standard for you. Get ready. Now about your fantastic foot: I’m so proud of you! From my experience as a former ortho nurse… please don’t uh, you know, “go number 2” while the doctor and nurse are applying any one of your casts. They really do mean well. They and your folks know what is best. If you do this to them, no one in the room will hold it against you. Actually they’ll all laugh hysterically some day–maybe even soon. But it will be gross, messy and possibly call for a redo. That equals 2 casts in 1 day. Blah.
    Katie, you continue to inspire, bless and amaze me. As for the sleeping… no idea. I don’t have a newborn, but all the other comments make me want to read that happiest baby on the block book. We were “Babywise” folks. And “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” Worked with Ian, and with the twins. But that’s a breed all of it’s own. twins, I mean. 🙂
    p.s. can we sit by you at the Buddy Miller show?

  • Carley

    Oh my lanta… Giddy.. that is the cutest little nick name ever! He’s a doll.
    Hope things start to smooth out for all of you soon.

  • Rie

    Hey! I’m way behind on the catching up of all things electronic-communicado. I blame it on vacation and airport virus colds and I actually kind of like it. But not the resulting mucous part. That’s annoying.

    Anyhoo, I’m commenting to say that I also had my very own “snowboard” when I was but a wee chica. There was something wrong with my right foot, it was angled all wrong or something. 🙂

  • Zoe Speer

    He’s a cutie!
    Sorry I don’t have any advice 🙂

  • Margie

    Katie – I read this on my iphone the day you posted, but didn’t comment b/c I don’t know how. (Iphones weren’t made for the likes of people like me.) But I think you already know what I’m going to say: the crying, the screaming – it’ll all be done in about three years. Mostly. These letters will serve to remind you THEN that was was very real NOW. And sorta painful at times.

    Love those pictures. Can’t wait to read more – about spitting, whistling, and being a gentleman. We readers have a lot to look forward to.

  • lisahudson

    Dear Gus, someday it will dawn on you, too, how amazing your mom truly is!! In the meantime, we’re praying for those little jimmy-legs of yours. Hugs and kisses from the desert.


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