Fourth Month, Fourth Baby

Dearest Julien,

There have been three months between the last time I wrote about you.  But, oh my son, if I could pry open my heart and show you the scrolls upon scrolls where words that transcend time and space have been transcribed;  all for you.

2You are simple ease, the kind that is lemonade sucked through a straw on a summer’s night.  You are quiet observation, like the first peer at the cosmos through a telescope.   You are so complete in your divinity, so rooted in your Hereness.  Our family often revolves around you – literally – and it’s a dynamic dance of bouncing and giggling and holding and swaying and occasionally fighting over you.

Julien, I am in smitten with you as our fourth baby.   I still cannot believe I have been so blessed to get to mother and snuggle and cherish another baby; another being born from love and from my body.  You so easily fit.  On my hip, in our arms, in my heart, in this family, in our wacky wild lives, and in-between me and Daddy in bed.    I think about the many boulders that sit like sentinels beside my beloved Agua Fria river.   I have found that certain ones beg to be lounged against, the desert heat radiating from their smooth surfaces.   And how they are so ergonomic in the way they cradle my entire body.  And somehow it makes perfect sense that when I think about these mammoth minerals formed by billions of years of earth-drama, I think of you.   Because, yes, we fit.  And it feels like I have returned home. photo 2

Julien, you are a welcome gasp.  That sound, that feeling,  exactly.   It is the simplest way I can come up with at the moment to describe your Everything.  Because I breathed in that exact gasp just two weeks before you were born when I witnessed my first brilliant neon meteor streaking across the sky.   And I knew with ferocity that it was you.  And the next night, winding down through the mountains in our van, your Daddy and I saw another.  And his gasp brought me to tears…”It’s so beautiful!”, he proclaimed.

photo 5Our Julien, your name means sky.  Because you were born from it, whirled together in the star stuff soup.  And your middle name, Atlas, a map connecting your bones to ours.    Yes, Atlas was also the god that carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.  But I prefer to think of it as a reminder that you always have the world at your shoulders;  access to unlimited love and adventure and possibility.  Let the world rest upon you gently, my son. Feel it between your shoulder blades like the hands of a masseuse, smoothing your muscles and knots out so that you can stretch your body and heart infinitely.

Julien, our sky map.

Moments after your birth. Photo by Jeanette LeBlanc

I have been writing your birth story in my head for months.  It has been the hardest story for me to write down and I realized that the only reason is because you are my last baby.  How do I put down on paper such a story? The finality of it seems too daunting, too overwhelming.   And, the other truth is that I am too tired at night to glue my eyeballs to the computer screen.  And so I trust your birth story will be recorded when it all feels settled in my heart.   Let me just say, I loved your birth completely.   I mustered the will to somehow birth you with incredible ease, with a gentleness I’d never known.  I was quiet and fortified in the process and I am still astounded by this gift you gave me.

photo 1A few nights ago, while holding you before bedtime, Daddy said “I am so glad you are here, Julien.  Mama was right: she knew there was another one.  And of course it was you. What would we do without you?”

You have made us – this family – a “half a dozen”.   May you forever feel how cherished you are.

Now on to the obligatory list, for posterity’s sake.

At four months you:

  • Giggle and smile and babble and screech at your siblings and Daddy and me
  • Raise your arms up when you are angry (which is really only when you are tired)
  • Prefer to fall asleep in the Ergo carrier
  • Are my easiest baby to transfer sleeping into our bed
  • Finally decided to take a binky at about 3 months old (but you don’t rely on it)
  • Just found your feet about a week ago and love to grab them with your chubby fingers
  • Coo a three syllable word that I swear is “I Love You” (seriously)
  • Crane your neck to watch your siblings playing
  • Wake up about twice at night to nurse
  • Go to bed rather predictably at 7:30 pm
  • Love naked time
  • Still have a stork’s bite on the back of your neck and an “angel’s kiss” between your eyes
  • Are my stinkiest baby (you take more baths than my other kiddos, which still isn’t alot)
  • Love to watch TV if it happens to catch your eye
  • Awaken happy in the mornings and often lay beside me jabbering and staring up at the fan and grinning
  • Are bow-legged and pigeon-toed
  • Are our baldest baby
  • Have gotten so much better at your dexterity
  • Love to hold blankets in your hands and snuggle them up by your face
  • Took a bottle from Daddy a few days ago for fun (just a few ounces)
  • Are a quick, down-to-business nurser
  • Have gone on a number of family hikes (always asleep in the Ergo)
  • Like to spend time with Daddy in the morning while Mama tries to sleep in
  • Weigh 15 lbs
  • Already had an ear infection (a few months ago)
  • Love to take cat naps all day long (but are also a good long-napper)
  • Still like to say “Egg/Eggy” (we say this was your first word)
  • Have the adoration of your sisters (Lyric loves you too but the girls go gaga over you)
  • Finally met your Midwestern Aunts and Uncles and cousins on Easter (your first flight with mama!)
  • Always calm down instantly to the sound of the hair dryer (and always have)
  • Haven’t really made friends with the car seat yet (but you get better every day)
  • Enjoy watching the “baby in the mirror/on the iphone camera”
  • Love to swim in the bathtub and take showers in mama’s arms
Your first flight
Your first flight

My winter baby, you fill me up.  Again and again I am overflowing.  Thank you.  I love you like the breath I just exhaled and the one I’m preparing to take.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelly says:

    Beautiful photo of your family and the newest member at his birth!

    1. leighsteele says:

      Thank you, most gracious Kelly! 🙂

  2. cara peczkowski says:

    So special, so deep, so beautiful! I love how you love him & can express yourself in writing! Xoxoxoxo

  3. Mangala says:

    Utterly adorable…love his eggy head and those intensely alive eyes. Such a perfect darling baby.

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