Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“Darth Vader is my fwiend”

Yoda

Little Miss loves to play “hide and sneak”; the only thing is she announces “I’m going to get under the covers and you can come find me!” before doing exactly that. Clearly she’s a little fuzzy on the rules. And because I chuckle each time, I refrain from correcting her. Sneak, seek, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

In fact, I find myself enjoying her mispronunciations and little errors so much that I often let them slide. I also do it because I know this phase will not last. I think it’s cute when she says “lellow” instead of “yellow” or when she says the w sound in place of r, like “My face is weally weally wed”. For the longest time, she said “kank you” in place of thank you.

These imperfections are reminders that she’s still so very young and so very toddler-like in many ways. It helps me temper my annoyances with her when she tries to talk above me when I’m trying to have an adult conversation or when she isn’t in bed on time. “It’s getting late” doesn’t get through to her because she often comes back with,”The sun is still up mama; it’s not night time. I don’t have to sleep yet!” How do you explain the long summer days to someone who has yet to grasp the concept of time?

I also realize that my toddler may have much to learn as she stumbles on the intricacies of our language but she doesn’t always need me to right her wrongs. She eventually catches on, sometimes much to our chagrin.
For example, before we leave her room at bedtime her dad and I would announce “family kiss!” or “family hug!” before the three of us lean in together for a hug and a kiss. It’s our thing. She used to say “sammy” kiss or hug and it was so endearing we found ourselves saying it too on occasion. Then one day, she just said “family kiss”, correcting herself on her own, and we were taken aback.

“What did you say?” I asked, refusing to believe what I heard and she repeated what I dreaded to hear. It’s a minor switch but somehow it felt like we lost something in her that day. This girl who is growing up so quickly before our eyes is shedding her babyhood each time she acts and talks a little more like us and less like her baby self.

Of late, she has been into Star Wars, even though she’s never seen the movie: “Sometimes Darth Vader (pronounced as one word, Darshader) is vewy mean. He hits Pwincess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Maybe R2D2 and C3P0 (or as she would say, CPPO) will come save them. They are nice. And Yoda is nice too. But he’s not fwiends with Darth Vader though. Well, maybe sometimes they play together with the light saber… Baby Darth Vader wants his mama. He is my fwiend…”

Jedi

All this constructed from the characters in the Star Wars ABC books and what little information we share with her about the movie. As her language develops, so does her imagination, and we love it!

StarWarsABC

While she seems to be busy morphing into a little grown-up, there are times when she firmly remains her 2.5-year-old self when she absorbs the literal meaning of everything, responding to my “oh man!” reaction with “I’m not a man, I’m a girl” or chasing a kid who refuses to talk to her at the park and yelling, “hey, what’s your name? what’s your name? what’s your name?!!!!” because we said she could make new friends by politely asking their name. We must have neglected to mention that screaming and running after someone, demanding an answer is not exactly polite.

There are days that I fear I will lose my little baby, my first, sooner than I am prepared to but on the days at the park where I have to wrangle other kids’ toys out of her hands or apologize profusely to parents when she’s eating their children’s food like I’ve never fed her before, I know she has miles to go. But then again, even if she moves out of this phase completely, she’ll always be my baby.

There may no longer be sammy kisses, but family kisses are just as sweet.

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Do you find yourself trying to hold on to your kids’ baby days? Or are you more eager for them to move on to the next phase? Who’s your favorite Star Wars character?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

There’s a baby swinging in my bathroom

BabyInBathroom

Errr…yes. That’s my baby in the swing. In the bathroom. What? You’ve never done this before?

Since last week, she has been exhibiting signs of irritability every time we lay her down to sleep, whether in her bassinet or the swing. She would fall asleep in our arms and when we put her down, her eyes would open in 10 minutes, and we’d have to do the song and dance all over again. But it feels like an act of futility when she doesn’t stay asleep once she leaves our arms.

It’s infuriating. It’s perplexing. And it’s absolutely exhausting.

There are three adults in this house who take turn doing the sleepy baby tango with her, but our overachieving almost-eight-week-old manages to tire us all. On the bright side, we may end up with killer biceps, but I’m afraid our arms may fall out before that ever happens.

We’ve tried so many variations and methods to keep her asleep but to no avail. She doesn’t like the baby carrier - we’ve tried three kinds; she doesn’t allow us to sit or rock on the chair while we’re holding her. She only stops fussing when we’re walking around with her as she lays on our chest.

We try the swing. Nope. Swing and music? Not always successful. Running water to soothe her fussy moments? Yes, but only to coax her to sleep but to stay that way? We bring the swing into the bathroom and let the faucet run (sorry Mother Earth - my baby has to sleep!). It gives us sweet relief from a fussy baby and jelly arms for oh...20 minutes or so and it’s back to the sleepy baby tango again.

We’ve googled the issue and ruled out acid reflux because at night, when I lay down next to her, she sleeps at least five hours, wakes to nurse and goes right back to sleep for the next three hours. She does sleep through the night very well for us so we get our rest. Just enough to recharge our batteries so she can wear us out again the next day. What a thoughtful child.

I hope this is just a short phase. When I go back to work, I’m not sure my poor mom can handle the tango on her own. Many people on the Internet advised fellow parents with this same issue that some babies just need to be held and that we should take advantage of this and hold our babies for as much as they need because we will not likely get this chance again. Time is fleeting after all, they said.

I would love to have her in my arms all day and night, but I also have a toddler and a house to run. How will I fit them in when my arms are already full? If I’m worn out and stressed from a cranky toddler starved for affection and a messy house with an empty refrigerator, what kind of mom would I be to my infant?

Anyway, would love to keep chatting about this but Thumper just opened her eyes again. Back to the tango. Meanwhile, misery loves company - tell me, what desperate measures have you taken with your kid(s)?

SleepingThumper A rare sighting in our house

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer song

We’ve not had much of a summer. The season has so far given us plenty of rainy and unseasonably chilly days. The weather had been so unpredictable that stepping out of our house in our shorts and tees is not always a given that it would be comfortable. Sometimes we’d have to bring along a light sweater. Even in the middle of July.

After weeks of bipolar weather, we finally had a quintessential summer weekend. It seemed like it took forever to get here but it didn’t take us long to jump in and take advantage of it with sushi, a summer blockbuster - Harry Potter’s last movie of the series, the beach, blueberry pancakes, ice cream, Chinese acrobats performing at an outdoor venue, and the Children’s museum. There was even an impromptu romp in the water fountain. Not me – Little Miss.

But oh how I wished it was me instead.

 

fountainplay1


fountainplay2

 

fountainplay3

 

In summer, the song sings itself.  ~ William Carlos Williams


* * *

How often do you wish to trade places with your kids? What’s your favorite childhood memory that you’re reliving with your kids now? Is there something you wish they could do now that you did before when you were growing up? What is your favorite thing about summer?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Syncopated rhythm

As Little Miss placed her hands on my belly, she announced with a toddler’s delight, “Your belly squeezes!”

Ouch. I guess that’s one way of saying it. Week six after delivery and I’m still soft in all the wrong places (is there a right place?). I was happy to get back into my pre-baby jeans at week three, but they were also my fat jeans – you know, the ones you begrudgingly wear after being a little overzealous at the Thanksgiving table -- so it only felt like half a win. The skinny ones are still in my dresser, deprived of daylight since the time I announced my pregnancy about eight months ago. 

Needless to say, things are still not quite what they used to be. Nor will they ever be. Before Thumper, we marched steadily to the rhythm of our lives, but now it feels a little discordant as each day presents a new challenge.

This past 4th of July holiday, we hosted a barbecue at our house and I spent most of the time rocking a very fussy baby as the rest of the party relished the lovely weather on our deck. The baby fought sleep, and she refused to be placed anywhere but in our arms. By the end of the day, I was so exhausted from preparing for a party I never got to enjoy and from consoling a fussy infant that I fell asleep with her while she was still nursing. So did she. The next day, she slept all day, when I had no other commitment. Of course.

Such are my days. It’s wonderful staying at home with my kids, but it’s also completely unpredictable, which can be frustrating. And it is also isolating for someone who’s used to participating in the constant whir from the life that takes place outside of our home.  

Week six and I am yet to fall into a familiar routine. As a creature of habit, the daily surprises that contribute to this syncopation can be hard on me, but still, these are precious days. It won’t be long before I am consumed by deadlines and commutes and am afforded only a sliver of time with them each day. Now each minute, even when the kids are tyrants, seems like exquisite luxury. l take pleasure in this gentle, unhurried passage of time as I memorize Thumper’s chubby cheeks and the rolls on her thighs, her tentative first smiles and my hilarious conversations with Little Miss who chatters incessantly from the moment she wakes until she goes to bed. Ohmygawd that girl can talk!

It’s these little things that fill my days now, and I didn’t know just how rewarding they can be until I saw my own joy reflecting back at me through my baby’s eyes.

BabyEyes

There are great moments of happiness that call for celebrations and Walt Whitman's "barbaric yawp", and then there are these moments of quiet contentment, where we're just living the every day but finding little gems that we pocket along the way or announce over Facebook (or Google+, if you're hip like that).

Today, I’m reveling in the latter. And tomorrow, I'm finally going to try to get back in shape.

* * *

What were your first few weeks like with your newborn? How long does it take you and your family to fall into a comfortable routine? What's your favorite memory from these first six weeks postpartum? And pray tell, what did you do to get back in shape?

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