Born at thirty-seven weeks all of seven pounds and two ounces and nineteen inches at birth, we called him Bruiser. And though he has a million other names, Bruiser became a literal nickname over the weekend when he slipped on the saltillo tile at my mom’s house while trying to stand up at the brick fireplace – this resulted in a fast-growing knot and a bleeding brick scrape above his left eye. WHILE MY MOM WAS SITTING SIX INCHES FROM HIM.

And that fact would be even more upsetting had his first boo boo not been MY FAULT when sometime in January I had picked him up from the crib one morning and did too much multi-tasking that ended in alligator tears. A difficult diaper change, he was in my arms and I distracted him with gentle growling and nibbles on his arms, hands, and face. Things were going so well in my arms that I decided to grab his pajamas with my teeth so that I could unbutton the pajamas with one hand while still holding him with the other. I had no idea I had done something until he started screaming and crying in my arms. And as I laid him down to unzip his pajamas I discovered a reddened BITE MARK I had left on him. He was fine by the time I finished with his diaper, but I was crying at that point, absolutely MORTIFIED.

For the most part, he looks the 10 1/2 months that he is, sagging diapers and chunky legs. But sometimes, out of nowhere, he looks all toddlery like in this photo. The bumps and bruises are temporary but will repeat themselves (except for the biting, I learned my lesson there!). The breathtaking reality, however, is that the growing up is forever.