asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘motherhood

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

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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

Dear Ashelyn,

You’re six months old! You don’t look much like your newborn self; your complexion has lightened considerably, for one. Do I even remember how to handle a floppy infant?

You haven’t been floppy for a long time. A couple weeks ago you surprised us by pulling up into a standing position in the bassinet … and almost pitching over the side. Is sitting up not enough for you? You’re really good at that now, no more toppling over. Now you want to hold onto our fingers and do squats. Girl, I can barely do squats.

You’re a robust one, for sure, brimming with energy and eagerness. Lately you’ve been working on your crawl. Though it’s still in caterpillar-shuffle territory at the moment, I’ve a feeling that won’t be for long. You’re hitting every milestone so early I have to remind myself it doesn’t mean anything beyond bragging rights for the parents; all babies learn to walk and talk in the end.

I still think you’re a genius, though, of course. That’s my prerogative as a mother.

Two favoured syllables have surfaced from your abundant chatter. One is “ngar,” the happy word. I like to watch you say it, the odd way you work your tongue to shape the sound. The other is something like “nya” or “yeh” (as in, “Nya nya NYA NYEH YEH!”), clearly a complaint along the lines of, “Why aren’t you picking me up?!”

When you’re really excited, you scream. And sometimes you’ll beat your arms against your tummy in accompaniment. You know your uncle David, the one who’s always all up in your face? He’s your future drum teacher.

I’ve seen you cross-examining your fingers, slowly clenching and unclenching your fist. Undoubtedly scheming what to snatch out of our hands next, how to stuff it into your mouth before we can stop you. Already you’ve swiped one of my mugs off the counter, where the handle broke off against the kitchen floor.

Last Sunday you somehow managed to give your father a nosebleed, WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP. Apparently you were napping in the sling when you entered thrash mode and attacked his face. One of your fingers went up his nose and scratched a little too hard. When I arrived at the scene of the crime, you were still sleeping innocently, and your father? He rolled his eyes at me, a wad of bloody tissues in his hand.

See, this is why daddy sleeps in the spare room. Unfortunately you aren’t the greatest of sleepers, though I wouldn’t say you’re a terrible one either. You haven’t slept more than eight hours in a row; recently it’s been closer to four or five, occasionally less. We might want to do something about this soon.

Anyway, you make up for that by pooping in the potty! So far I’ve caught five and missed one. Yes, that’s six poops total over a span of three weeks. Yesterday you pooped twice, perfectly normal peanut-butter poops, after ten days of complete pooplessness. Even I was close to calling the newborn hotline. Except you were still so happy! If this is how your plumbing works, well, let’s just say it’s not far from my normal but very, very far from your father’s.

Also, even though I can’t tell when you pee, we’ve caught five in the potty. Easy catches, like after naps. The cool thing is you seem to have made the necessary associations on your own. And you’re so proud of yourself afterwards.

For better or worse, motherhood has awakened a part of me that will always be aware of your existence. Even when someone else is looking after you, there’s a corner of my psyche preoccupied with where you are, how you’re doing. I wonder if this ever lets up. It’s alright if it doesn’t, because you are a delight.

Love,
Mama

I don’t want to be that kind of mother.

You know, the kind who takes herself too seriously.

The best parenting advice I’ve ever come across to date goes something like, “treat your child as if s/he were the seventh of ten children.” That’s what I want, I think – perspective.