Saturday, February 28, 2009

Becoming (my) mother

Oh My Gosh. I just did such a mom thing. I pulled the last tissue from the box, and as I got up to put the box in the recycle bin I thought, "No. Save it. The baby might want to play with this later."

So. Either I am super cheap when it comes to baby toys- or thrifty, depending on your outlook - OR I'm about to be a massive clutterer. No matter how you spin it, I finally understand why my mother kept all of the paper towel and wrapping paper rolls. Ahem. I mean, I now know why my mother kept all of those kaleidoscopes and play swords..

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

8 Months

Dear Jack B'Hat,
You are officially eight months old today. As usual, I look at you and wonder where the time went. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I wish you were still tiny. I am much more suited to be a momma of a toddler or kiddo. You are finally able to communicate with me, whereas before I had to guess on everything which left me filled to the brim with anxiety.

I can pretty much read you now, which is nice. And if I get it wrong you emphatically let me know! Here are some things about you this month:

1. You scoot. On your bum. You're a bum scooter. I think you started scooting last month, but you're a pro at it now. You can scoot across the room in a heartbeat and can get into absolutely everything that you should not be getting into. It's like you have menace radar, as in "Momma doesn't want me to touch that, even though she's never said it and may never have even thought about me being able to get to it, so I MUST GET TO IT AND MESS WITH IT NOW." And you do. Your dad and I try to be as lenient as possible, and of course I'm much more lenient than him, but we are acutely aware that we must baby proof everything very, very soon.

2. This is the season of sickness. It seems like every time I post, you've come down something. This time it is a very nasty cold or flu. It's so bad that this morning I contemplated taking you to the emergency room for being so lethargic and possibly dehydrated. You can't keep anything down, you're not sleeping, and you can't breathe. Just when we're at our wits end about what to do, you perk up, drink a little formula or water, and play a little bit. Nurse Nancy says your ears and chest are clear, but that your throat is red. She says the fever will probably last the rest of the week. Bummer.

3. You've grown out of your baby bathtub. That means we're bathing you in the sink. You love it, except that because of #1 on this list, we have to move everything out of your reach. You even try to stand up in the sink to reach for things. We pretty much have to keep you distracted with magic tricks and vaudeville acts so you won't jump out of your bath.

4. Your hair is finally laying down! Uncle Jamie thought you had a hair cut because he knew something was different. It's like when I have my eyebrows waxed after months of neglect and my students ask if I've done something new with my hair. Instead of the usual lie I tell my students, ("Oh you noticed? I've been using this new product that my stylist suggested and it does wonders for my color" - the stylist being Ms. Clairol), I told Uncle J the truth -that you're just freaking cute.. and you have amazing genes.

5. I don't think you've slept through the night at all this month. Maybe two nights. Maybe. A few words of friendly advice on that: STOP. WAKING. UP. in the middle of the night, for the love of God. Your parents are going (more) insane as a result of the sleep deprivation.

6. You survived your first tornado warning last night. Your silly momma knew the storm was coming and stockpiled formula and water in our "safe place" a.k.a. the closet in our bedroom. When the storm hit last night at 9 :30, I was like a sprinter in the starting blocks, ready to run to you, pull you out of your crib and make a bee line to the closet. In my head I imagined grabbing Casey Cat at the last minute, the way Indiana Jones grabs his trusty hat, and rolling us all into safety. Your Dad got a flashlight and made sure the batteries were working in the emergency radio. SO. BORING. Where's his sense of adventure? Anyway, we didn't need to perform any heroic feats last night. The thunder didn't even wake you. Sure you'll sleep through a tornadic supercell, but if I sneeze in the other room, you act like you're being eaten alive by fire ants. (sigh)

7. Words that make you laugh when whispered in your ear: pancake, dance break, wookie

I have run out of time.Or really, you are waking up from your nap, so I must sign off. I love you baby boy! And even though I joke about your foibles, you are most certainly the best kid ever on the planet! Happy eighth month, Jack.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Counting Sleep

Sleep. It's a problem. Jack, according to the experts, should be taking a morning nap, an afternoon one, and sometimes an evening one. I agree. I know what it's like for Jack to miss a nap - something akin to a fierce, roaring F5 tornado teamed up with Alien v. Predator, their mission to destroy the planet, one Momma at a time. Not. Fun. And when he finally does fall asleep after having missed a daily nap, it's like coming out of an underground shelter after a nuclear holocaust. We move very slowly, cautiously, devastated by the destruction, yet happy to have survived for now.

You may think I'm exaggerating. Some of you know I'm not.

Nap time is never pleasant. I don't really know why, but obviously it is a common problem seeing as people have written many books on the subject, mothers pass down advice about getting a baby to sleep using tricks that midwives have employed, and spells that witches have cast, since the 'infancy' of mankind. ALL parents struggle with this issue. I suppose I ought to be happy that Jack is normal in this respect.

In the past, we put baby Jack on a pallet in the living room for his daily naps, and Rich and I, after having to convince him that he wants a nap, tip-toe around the house, trying not to make any sort of noise - sneezing, whispering, breathing, blinking - that might wake the baby.

Now that he is older, Jack is able to roll off of the pallet, scoot to a toy*, and successfully avoid closing his eyes for two more minutes. That is until super mean, ugly Momma or "I hate you and your ass face" Dad comes over to put him back on his pallet for another round of "Let's torture our baby and ourselves by making him take a nap! Hooray!". Followed by either a game of "Whew, that was close" or "How to survive an F5."

For these reasons, I've decided that I will have to put Jack in his bed for naps. This is a good idea for a couple of reasons: 1. I don't have to tip toe, which actually hurts your calves after a while, and I get to breathe and blink normally. 2. If he is fussy, I can close the door and walk away, where the screaming is at least muted a little.

Reason #2 is the tricky one. I realize that I should be OK with letting Jack cry himself to sleep. But I hate it. It hurts my heart. I've never let him cry himself to sleep. I always either rock him to sleep or sing to him. On particularly difficult occassions, I would give up and let him play, convincing myself that he had at least rested.. so he shouldn't be too fussy later, right? (Stop laughing at me, all you experienced moms!)

But now's the time he needs to learn how to soothe himself. That involves letting him cry it out, way far away - all alone - in the other room.


But I tried it for the first time, today.

This is the reason I can write this post in one sitting. And enjoy a cup of warm coffee. And begin preparing the stew I want to make for tonight's dinner. All things I haven't been able to do by myself in almost 8 months. I put Jack in his bed, turned off the monitor, and listened to him wail in the distance for a while. But now it is silent in the house.

I could get used to this..

* usually it's the phone. He's learned to dial. Hey, Bangladesh: Heads up! Baby Jack has been trying to get a hold of you for weeks.