Wednesday, October 21, 2015
i cannot believe how quickly this half year has passed. not that i should be surprised that the days have piled on top of each other like they always do to move time forward despite my protests. yet here i am still bewildered. i wish i could hit the pause button and keep you here for a few extra months because i am enjoying your babyhood so much.
you are so damn cute and smiley, your every interaction with the world brimming with innocence and wonder. life for you is a leisurely series of naps, feedings, games, baths, books, kisses and a stable bevy of adults who will act like idiots to make you laugh. and that's exactly what it should be for you and anyone else who is 6 months old. hell, it's what i wish my life was at 39.
we had a pretty good month together as a family, punctuated by many more firsts for you -- and some for us. we took our first family trip: an extended weekend of planes, trains, automobiles, light rail and even a boat ride. you handled your first time on each of these expertly (as long as you were being held). your daddy and i handled them with double the baggage, as is customary when traveling with children.
seriously, kid, even though you are just a 19-pound meatloaf with no neck, the five-day trip required us to bring your car seat, car seat base, stroller, diaper bag, 25 diapers, 10 outfits, 2 jackets, your sleep suit, baby bjorn carrier, white noise machine, several toys, hats, a first aid kit and a few blankets. and even then i was bemoaning the fact that we left one of your favorite teethers at home.
we visited Seattle, where your daddy was eager to take you to the Star Wars exhibit at the EMP Museum, and Portland, where i was eager for you to meet your cousins. we ate yummy food, visited a few breweries, went to the top of the Space Needle, took a daylong sailing trip on the Columbia River and saw a waterfall. you remained your cheery self through all of it, save a few screaming sprees when you skipped naps and became overtired.
all in all, we had a fabulous time and have vowed to take more trips while you can still fly for free as a passenger on my lap, where you slept during both flights, my nearly naked boob dangling near your face. your daddy and i especially welcomed the break from our household routines -- or perhaps "clawed toward that weekend as though we were escaping a burning building" is more accurate.
not that we are miserable at home. we just sometimes get tired by all of our mundane responsibilities, so the change of scenery was needed to help buoy us through the next long stretch of the same scenery. you seemed to enjoy the new scenery as well, marveling at all the exquisite nature that is inherent in the Pacific Northwest, nature that may inspire us to switch cities one day if your daddy has his way.
you particularly enjoyed the waterfall at Multnomah Falls. all displays of water interest you, in fact, so much so that when you get pissy, i've taken to walking you to the kitchen sink and turning on the faucet, which instantly quiets your crankiness and makes your owl eyes widen with fascination. your booster seat is now strategically placed near the faucet so you get a perfect view whenever dishes are being washed. it is a better babysitter than the TV.
your eating of solids has really picked up this month, though not as much as i thought it would as you still prefer the boob above all else and claw for it after every serving of solids to make sure your all-access pass has not been revoked. to date, you've sampled poi, banana, apple, carrot, avocado and sweet potato. you seem to like banana the best, the food i craved most when i was pregnant. you have decided you no longer like avocado and make a choking face like we are trying to feed you lemons whenever it's served.
your biggest discovery this month is the concept of things being inside other things. you now understand that your toys are in a bin and to access them you must reach inside or tip the bin over. you also understand that there are spaces inside the holes in my face, spaces you are determined to explore, usually while nursing. i mistook this at first for you sweetly caressing my cheek, but it quickly devolved into your fingers deep diving into my nose and mouth to tug at my teeth and tongue before trying to pull my lips off. we are now teaching you the concept of "gentle."
i think i am seeing more of your personality emerge -- and liking what i see. overall, you are a happy soul, particularly in the mornings when i come scoop you out of your crib and am always greeted with squeals, outstretched arms and a gummy grin. you seem eager and optimistic about each new day, a stark contrast to the end of each day, which usually finds you grumpy, impossible to please and demanding to be held, leading me to believe that you are a morning person.
you also seem like a social person, curious about new people and environments, which render you mute and bright-eyed until you figure out the scene, loosen up and begin your normal routine of babbling, grabbing at everything and trying to hang upside down. you play independently well and sometimes get a faraway look in your eyes when you're stuck in the car seat and looking at the changing scenery through the window, leading me to believe that you are quite the little daydreamer.
you're observant, more verbal than physical (for now) and very affectionate. your hands always land on top of my own when i'm touching you, and you never seem to tire of cuddles, smiling whenever you hear me say "kisses" before i start the smooch attack on your neck and torso. you've even begun giving hugs and burrowing your giant head into my neck when you're feeling shy or tired, prompting me to wrap my arms around you and press your little body against mine for as long as i can.
i promise to never be the first to pull away.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
this has been a banner month for you, full of many firsts, all of which you embraced enthusiastically. for starters, this month saw the first time you slept through the night, which i embraced enthusiastically, and you have continued to do intermittently. otherwise, you wake up once a night for a quick nursing session before going back down again.
i wish i can take all the credit, but there was no magical sleep training or baby whispering going on. truth is you have been a good sleeper since birth. if i have done anything to help encourage it, it's not scooping you out of your crib for every whimper or grunt. i've become more comfortable letting you fuss for a few minutes to gauge whether you are hell bent on waking up or just making noises until settling down and returning to sleep on your own, which is often the case.
of course, if you are crying hysterically, i will scoop you up immediately, as i've never become comfortable with the idea of the "cry it out" method, which lets a baby cry himself to sleep. but who am i kidding? if you were still waking up five times a night, i'd likely get comfortable with it real fast as we both need our sleep, kid, me especially since returning to work full-time.
that is another first you handled well, certainly better than i did, though it wasn't as awful as i thought it would be. i endured the weepy, sad phase a week before returning, a time when i smelled and smothered you constantly, so much so that you started pushing my face away in an effort to tell me, ENOUGH, WOMAN. I NEED MY SPACE.
the first few days back at work, people would stop by my desk to socialize, always asking me if i was OK or needed tissues, and i almost felt like i needed to produce a waterworks show for them to prove my mettle as a mother, but instead i just pointed to the photos of you i put up around my desk and repeated the answer to the burning question everyone seemed to have, "where is he now?"
i was tempted to say, "in my car in the parking lot, hopefully asleep," but i settled for the boring truth: that you were at your grandparents' house, Camp Grandma, as i've named it, where you have a crib, clothes, the baby channel and more toys than you do at home. i know i'm beyond lucky to have this arrangement and i take none of it for granted, especially the part where i get daily text message updates and photos of how your days are progressing.
you are lucky, too, to be surrounded by so much love, to have your baba and dyeda doting on you all day, who were incredible parents to me and are thrilled for the opportunity to do it again now that they are retired, noting that they can finally focus on the good parts instead of having to splinter their energies among their various responsibilities like your father and i have to now. they seem overjoyed to spend their days trying to make you laugh and catering to your every whim despite my request that they treat you like their son, not their grandson, so you don't become spoiled. (yeah, right.)
Camp Grandma also has a pool, where you took your first swim (more like a dip). considering your love of bath time, i thought you would readily love the pool as well but you seemed very cautious about this large body of water, almost suspicious, even as you kicked your legs and wiggled your arms reflexively.
i'm beginning to think this seriousness is an emerging personality trait that shows up whenever you are confronted with new experiences that you have not yet figured out. still, i will consider this first time a success as you didn't poop in the pool nor have any big crying fits. you saved the crying for your third time in and now start wailing hysterically every time you are carried anywhere near the pool. but i will keep trying, because no son of mine will be a crying sissy afraid of water, so nut up, little soldier.
at your last checkup, you were in the 50th percentile for height, 80th for weight, with head circumference still measuring in the 90th. your pediatrician jokingly asked if he could measure my head, too, saying head circumference was genetic and, sure enough, my noggin also measured in the 90th percentile.
i asked -- or perhaps insisted -- that a big head indicated higher intelligence and he confirmed that they sometimes go together, adding, at least in my oversized mind, that you were guaranteed a scholarship to Harvard despite the fact that i couldn't even get into UC Berkeley. this is why it's so important for you to do well in school, my dear, so i may live my dreams vicariously through you. thank you for complying.
your big noggin has cocked to the left since birth, causing concerns about torticollis. to remedy this, my physical therapist showed me stretching exercises that i have been doing with you regularly in an attempt to straighten your head and strengthen your neck, which is hiding underneath your many chins.
your big body is also causing you much frustration every time you roll over, which you have all but abandoned since your arm would get pinned underneath your torso and you couldn't wiggle it free. i'm hoping you grow into all your michelin tire rolls soon enough so you can become more adept at using your bulky body and reaching your physical milestones. because, right now, you are a cave baby of grunts, huffs and brute force.
at your checkup, the pediatrician also gave us the all clear on starting you on solids, which i had read should happen closer to the 6-month mark, though given the curious stares you'd give me when i would shovel food down my gullet in between diaper changes and nursing sessions, i figured we could get started a little early.
your first taste of the good stuff was watermelon, which you sucked on suspiciously at first, per your nature, and then eagerly. a few weeks later, you sampled mashed avocado like a proper california baby. again, suspicion, then eagerness. a week after that, you tasted banana, the food i craved most when i was pregnant. not surprisingly, you LOVED banana, no suspicion, and whimpered each time you finished a bite and another wasn't placed into your mouth quickly enough.
patience does not seem to be your virtue, but smiling is, thankfully. and that gummy deliciousness still reduces me (and your father) to a slushy puddle at your feet. even better are the full-bodied giggles you are bestowing on us regularly, which your father is a champ at evoking, usually by kissing your belly or neck. whenever i hear a giggling spree underway, i will drop everything i'm doing and walk over to watch.
i could watch it all day.