asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘baby

Dear Jariel,

One year ago you were born into the oversized mesh underwear I had just changed into ten minutes prior. We’d made it to the hospital this time, barely made it into the room nearest the assessment area, didn’t make it onto the bed. They gave you a perfect Apgar, and they gave me the best peanut butter on toast I’ve ever had. You woke up every hour that first night and, uh, to date there’s been only marginal improvement. It’s okay, though. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

imageLately you’re a velcro baby. There are times I suspect you’re trying to literally meld into one entity with me, as if I could absorb you like an amoeba if you smushed hard enough. It’s cute, but incapacitating. I function with one hand, one eye, and half my attention. I feel like I need to apologize to everybody for my inability to carry on an undistracted conversation.

You took your first step (singular) at eight months, but it took three months before your desire to walk surpassed your love of the Mowgli crawl. I think you finally realized that walking frees up your hands to hold things, or push over furniture. There was that one afternoon you chased your sister around the house as she handed you pieces of nori – basically paper you can eat! Which is all you’ve ever wanted, at least until I started giving you free rein at the playground. Then you were all, What are these crumbly little grains hmmm must taste test …

imageYour first word was mama, but I’m beginning to suspect that, all this time, you might actually have been saying mum mum, as in FOOD. Considering the overlap between the two, I suppose I can’t fault you too much. You eat very well, despite being on the leaner side, and you’re willing to try anything (see above re: sand). Your appetite is robust and your pincer grasp is masterful, but the mess is new territory for me, and I’m not even new at baby-led weaning. Your sister never gleefully squished her food into her hair.

Since unfamiliar people get immediate poker face treatment, most don’t know what a cheeseball you are. You like to climb onto the sofa and throw yourself around bodily, shrieking. (Yes, once you threw yourself clean off. Ouch.) The other day you were doing this, happy as a clam, when suddenly your mouth started bleeding. But you just kept going, leaving mouth-shaped blood stamps in your wake. It wasn’t until the day after that I figured out what happened: you severed your upper lip tie. And you didn’t even react.

imageYou may be wary of new people, but you adore new environments. Who was it who said that being a baby is like being in love, in Paris for the first time after having three double espressos?* Well, I believe it. I can see it in your face. Every time you point to a seagull, every time you scrabble at the sand under your tiny shoes, every time you spot a water fountain at the mall. And when you interrupt your antics to sidle over and lay your head under my chin, it’s how I feel about you, too.

Love,
Mama

 

*Alison Gopnik

Dear Jariel,

photo 5Two weeks ago you turned six months old. You’re a wide-eyed little tumbleweed with self-inflicted nutty professor hair. You’re remarkably chill when out and about, but when it’s a chill day at home you’re a fussbutt because you get bored.

We thought your sister was overachieving, but you flipped over for the first time at three weeks. By four months you were rolling across the floor. At five months you began pulling up. You’re crawling now, a true hands-and-knees crawl, because the caterpillar shuffle was so two months ago. You’re cruising and walking assisted. Very recently you’ve started trying to stand unassisted, and to stand up by yourself. Clearly you don’t care about those old-timers who say it’s bad for your spine or leg musculature or linguistic development, I’m never sure which.

photo 2Speaking of linguistics, I’m officially counting “mama” as your first word. You say it clearly and often enough, although only when you’re just so fed up with it all omg PICK ME UP NOW! You’ve just come off a phase of your favourite sound being “rhza rhza rhza.” You also do “baba” and “yeh.”

My babies hit their milestones early, but when it comes to sleep, they are broken. BROKEN!

Unlike your sister, you nap in the crib, and you’re transferable. However, you only nap for half an hour at a time. You don’t self-soothe. Instead, you spring up like a freaking jack-in-the-box and wail.

At least night stretches are longer than half an hour, I think. I’m not counting. I don’t want to know.

photo 3Sometimes I still can’t believe I’ve got two little punks. Yet, as much as I could really use a good sleep and an extra set of arms, there are pockets of time when two are easier than one, because you’re entertaining each other. I imagine these moments will only increase. Seeing you light up for your sister is worth the (thankfully rare) occasions both of you are screaming at once.

馒头, I can’t get enough of your gummy chuckle, full-body stretches, and marshmallow thighs. The way you arch your brows and wrinkle your nose. The curl of your eyelashes.

I think you’re miraculous.

Love,
Mama

(For Ashelyn’s birth story, go here.)

Thursday morning, sometime after 9AM. Kevin is preparing to leave for an appointment when I tell him I’ve had a few contractions. I can’t say for sure that it’s labour, but given the circumstances of my first birth – an emergency unattended homebirth – we alert the midwife.

She suggests a warm bath, which slows the contractions but doesn’t stop them. I feel them the same way I did with my first: a low frontal burn, not particularly acute. We call my parents, who come to pick up Ashelyn for the day, and arrange to meet our midwife at the hospital.

photo-1

It’s a little past noon when we arrive. Kerry checks me: 4cm dilated and, she says, “quite thinned out.” Contractions are roughly 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long, but don’t bother me too much, so Kevin and I are instructed to go for a walk.

We wander around the hospital for an hour or so and return reporting some progress, but nothing remarkable. I’m still at 4cm. We get a curtained-off unit in the assessment area. It was quiet earlier, but now more labouring mothers are arriving, many of them making much more of a racket than I am. The wait for a room is long.

At 3:30PM, I feel a sudden pop, like a water balloon or a giant baby hiccup. Then a gush. “Oh,” I tell Kevin (who was dozing off on the assessment bed), “my water broke.”

Up until now, contractions had been well within the realm of manageable. My midwife kept asking if I felt any pressure, and I hadn’t. Neither had I felt like making odd noises. But the first contraction after my water breaking doubles me over, and there it is all at once: pressure and the urge to push. Plus the involuntary growly noises I remember making at Ashelyn’s birth.

photo-2

They usher us to the nearest labour & delivery room, thankfully just around the corner. I don’t, however, make it onto the bed before the next contraction hits. I feel a burning “ring of fire” but higher up, in the area of the cervix. I feel baby’s head moving down … and out.

The body slides out with the third contraction, and then the nurses are heaping warm towels – heavenly! – over the two of us. “I feel better now,” I say unnecessarily.

“I’ll bet you do,” one nurse grins.

photo

Jariel Jayden, born February 12 at 3:43PM. 7lbs 4oz at 38w4d, he’s almost a full pound heavier than his sister was – although both burst forth in the same kind of hurry.

So, four days after your first birthday, you finally decided to take your first independent steps. Six of them, if I counted correctly. So you walk now, when you want to, but more often than not you still don’t want to! Unless it’s to cross short distances. You’re very fond of walking on your knees, however. People always comment on your knee-shuffle.

001

I’m drowning in a sea of white fuzz.

Your dance moves have really diversified. Sometimes you bounce, sometimes you sway, sometimes you bop your head, sometimes you raise your arms. Or any combination of those. You’re more likely to sway to slow songs and bop to upbeat ones. And you dance when I sing … aww!

Early this month you figured out how to unlock the iPod touch. Push button, slide touchscreen bar. How ..?! You always flip the device upside-down so the home button is on top.

A better photo pending, hopefully.

A better photo pending, hopefully.

You purse your lips in a piglet-face pout. The trigger word for that is face. As in, “Show grandma your funny FACE,” or, “Blue steel FACE!”

When we ask, “Where’s your nose?” you can point to it. But you also erroneously point to other parts of your face about 20% of the time.

At the beginning of the month you started saying, “Aww yeah!” but it’s since evolved into the Chinese exclamation, “Aiyah!” Or, more often, “Ai-YAAA!” You like to yell this as a greeting to strangers.

Your new complaint syllable is “miu miu miu.” There’s also “byao byao byao,” which happens to sound like the Mandarin for do not want.

Sadly, you no longer eat everything. Meals were so easy when you did! I can’t be sure now if you’ll refuse something. Like leafy greens; you seem to not like those anymore. You make the most hilarious disgusted faces – complete with shudder! – and you’ve started daintily dropping undesired food off your highchair. Sigh. You like meats and grains, usually. The newest hit has been starfruit.

It’s easy to tell when you’re done eating, because you start playing with your food, smushing it into the highchair tray with your finger.

Lately you’ve been wanting to nurse more than ever. You insist on nursing to sleep again, after a period of not needing to. And at night, when you wake up, you ask for it! “Hi.” Whimper. “Neh neh?” It’s SO CUTE ARGH I CAN’T SAY NO.

More theatrics: This is your “Why?”

003

And this is your “Oh no!”

IMG_3596

mua ha ha

Posted on: 2 April 2013

A: Mama.

S: Can you say “daddy”?

A: Mama!

K: What about 爸爸? (Chinese for “daddy,” pronounced bà bà.)

A: Ma. Ma.

K: Ba!

A: MUM.

S: I’m winning.

Tags: ,

Dear Ashelyn,

One year ago today, you were born in our bathroom, while your father freaked out because he didn’t know how to deliver a baby. (Well, now he does.)

IMG_3586You’re always bucking the script. Remember how you were crawling and pulling up and cruising and climbing at six months? At the rate you were hitting those milestones, you should have been walking months ago … but you’re not! (You do, however, “walk” on your knees.) This month you’ve been willing to walk while holding my hand or holding onto our fingers, but before, whenever we tried, you’d just become dead weight. Totally uninterested.

Do you realize this is infringing on my bragging rights?

I thank you for that.

You’ve started saying “hi.” It comes out more like “aye,” but people get the idea, especially since you say it repeatedly: “Hi. Hi. Hi!” I carry you in the Ergo, and you greet anyone who happens to come alongside us.

You also say “oh wow” and “uh oh” (originally “woh woh”). I know when you drop something on purpose because you’ll say “uh oh” before you let go.

Last month you were nodding and shaking your head in response to hearing the words “yes” and “no” … now you nod to mean yes and shake your head to mean no. Let’s go outside! Yes. Want another strawberry? Yes. Shall I take you for a minute and give mama a break? No.

IMG_3569You clap in response to “yay” and “good job” and “好棒啊!” When we say it’s time to brush your teeth – four now – you run your finger across your mouth like a toothbrush. When you see a stray tissue, you’ll use it to “wipe” the nearest surface. Then you’ll pinch it into little confetti bits. You know both the Mandarin and English words for “kiss,” and you give them freely, generously, maybe a touch too indiscriminately.

In the evenings, you flop backwards in bed and kick your legs crazily in all directions, a throwback to when you were mere weeks old. Part of me is still taken aback whenever I see babies younger than you are; wasn’t it just yesterday you were the newest of them all? And now, now you say “mama” and smush your nose into my face.

IMG_3561Some mothers say they no longer remember life before their little ones, but I do. I remember late nights and lengthy internet browsing and leisurely meals. I miss those things sometimes, but I’ve found parenthood to be remarkably good at exposing the selfish parts of me, prying them away without anaesthetic.

You’re worth it.

Love,
Mama

When I was pregnant, one of my parenthetical fears was that our noisy, hulking beast of a vacuum cleaner would scare the baby.

Turns out vacuuming lulls her to sleep! Sometimes. Only if …

  1. She’s decided not to sleepfight.
  2. I’m wearing her in the Ergo while I vacuum.

My back says UGH but any weapon in the anti-sleepfighting arsenal is too valuable to reject.