Son CJ will be a year on March 29. He can now enter a room, say, the kitchen, and open all cupboard doors not rubber-banded shut and empty them in a matter of seconds. Last night, while I did dishes, he layered the floor with baking trays and muffin tins, which made a most satisfying crash as they landed. He then got stuck head-first in the corner cupboard. Then he practiced opening and closing the heavy kitchen drawers and attempting to heave-ho the largest of the pasta pots. Nothing delights him more than to march about hoisting high an implement at least three times his height: brooms, hockey sticks, et cetera. He also loves to toot on a plastic recorder or bang a drum, and will stop mid-stride at the sound of a good dance beat to bop up and down. I’ve also just realized he is talking to us using actual words–“da do” for thank you, “na-na” for nurse and/or mama, head shake for “no,” “ma” for more, et cetera. He waves bye-bye, and last night climbed the stairs in the dark (guess he’s put aside his fear of heights) and ran into big brother Albus’s room to wave an enthusiastic and loving goodnight.
There are more photographs on the parallel photo blog, but above are a few. He’s been running to the front door to wave hello and goodbye, or to watch his big siblings playing outside in the cold. And two mornings ago, I let him eat (destroy) a muffin all by himself.
He still nurses several times a night, but he just fell alseep by himself for the First Time Ever. Naptime, and I laid him down, tucked him in, came down and read stories to Fooey. We kept listening for the enthusiastic screams of protest, but they never came. A little fussing, and then silence. He was fast asleep. My goal is to be able to kiss him goodnight and leave the room. I know it’s possible, because Albus was falling asleep contentedly by eight or nine months; though the girls were much later. Apple-Apple was twenty-six months, and Fooey was about twenty months. In fact, I couldn’t get Apple-Apple to sleep without pushing her in the stroller. After she was weaned, Kevin did bedtime, and when he was travelling for work, I would have to call a friend or grandma to sit in our quiet house, Albus fast asleep, while I pushed Apple-Apple round and round the block.
Ah memories. Can you tell I’m trying to distract myself from worrying about another subject entirely?
Update on The Knee: it’s shattered, according to x-rays, which explains why the swelling never subsided. My sweetheart is at the hospital as I type this, waiting to be assessed by an orthopedic surgeon. He hasn’t eaten all day in anticipation of possble surgery, and was looking a little wan. And in pain. He’s very stoical, however, and fundamentally optimistic, and I know he’ll be doing all that he can, and probably more than he should, as soon as the surgery’s over. But darn, I hate waiting, and not really knowing. Good thing the kids are having friends over after school, and I’ll be more than occupied from 3pm on with the purposeful basics: school pickup, snacks, cooking, supper, cleanup, bathtime, bed.
Time for a cup of tea.
Well, that was short-lived. CJ spent at least half the night in our bed. I’m not sure whether this was because I was too tired to move him out, or because everytime I did move him out he seemed to reappear again. I went to bed at the same time he did last night. 9:30. I’m pretty sure Apple-Apple was still awake (she has these torturous prolonged bedtimes, seemingly endless cries for water bottle or kleenex or jammies are too itchy or she’s too hot or too cold or she just can’t fall asleep.) Lucky for us all, once asleep she’s as sound as they come.
In any case, I was grouchy. Bed seemed the best option. The serenity following our holiday, which I’d optimistically planned to keep, uh, forever, has dissipated ever so fractionally amidst the hairiness of schedule, of having to be somewhere at a particular time. Mostly, it’s dragging children to events in which they have no stake that’s hardest. Fooey and CJ bundled up and tossed in the stroller to take the big kids to school. I’d complain too. CJ woken out of a nap and dragged along to Fooey’s music class, where for entertainment he has his mother, a banana, and an empty hallway. Et cetera. No matter how organized, how much time I’ve left, there comes a moment when I’m shouting, “Put on your snowpants, now!” and then regretting it instantly (Fooey hates shouting). Or worse, “We’re leaving without you!” Never true, and rarely motivating, as the kid has no interest in coming anyway. But I’ve been doing some deep breathing and back-tracking and attempting to focus on the larger picture: does it matter if we’re five minutes late for Fooey’s music class? Or for anything? I don’t want to become cavalier about responsibility, just realize that rushing accomplishes little except to put everyone in a lousy mood.
It’s interesting how my mood really affects the mood of the household.
It’s also interesting, if unrelated, that our family ate an entire loaf of homemade bread for breakfast yesterday morning–and CJ and I ate oatmeal instead. That’s slightly alarming when contemplating future appetites, and my own plans to bake all of our bread from scratch. Because I’d gone to bed early last night, I woke up early and started a fresh batch of bread. My life revolves around food.
So far, so good, in the eating out of our stores experiment. I’m planning to do a regular Sunday update and round-up on food.
Apparently CJ did wake and squawk briefly several times last night; Kevin said these episodes lasted mere moments, but because he was in another room, and we’re running two humidifiers now (so much for cutting down on energy consumption), I didn’t hear the babe and instantly leap to grab him up and feed him back to sleep. He is now 20 pounds, 6 ounces. Weighed today. I’m noting that here because I seem incapable of noting it anywhere else.
I’m only a tiny bit torn about moving him out of our room. Mostly I’m looking forward to reading before bed (while lying in bed), and to resting more consistently, ie. more than an hour or so consecutively. And I’ll still get to bring him into bed for snuggly night feedings, just fewer and further between. It always seems to come to “it’s time.” This may be the case for every transition. Something just tells me when it’s time.
To speak of a more fundamental transition, I’m finding myself in this New Year thinking often about life beyond primarily childcare. Researching possibilities. Feeling excitement, even impatience.
Kevin stayed home Monday morning so I could write, and he reflected afterward how these moments will never come again. You either decide to spend this time with your growing children, or you don’t, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t spend this same time with them later. They will be grown. You can’t sit on the kitchen floor while CJ practices standing and taking a step, and Fooey gobbles handfuls of peanuts perched on a stool, talking utterly non-stop. Sometimes it feels too slow, too boring, too quiet. Sometimes it feels like you need some positive feedback, some notice, some worldly recognition. That feels vain to admit, but there must be something in human nature that craves recognition, recompense, for work done. But this isn’t regular work. You might even argue that it’s not work. It’s living, life. It’s experience. It’s definitive.
And I’m trusting that I’ll know when it’s time to shift my focus, that I’ll know when my time has come to get up off the floor. Maybe it will be when CJ can run away from me, or when Fooey has her nose buried in a book, or when Apple-Apple can cook supper, or Albus can walk to school by himself. I’m just guessing. I never know it’s time … till I know.
He did it! He slept through the night! Well, mostly, and enough. I sense that he’s actually more comfortable sleeping by himself. Less restless. I fed him at around 5 this morning, in our bed, and within an hour he was wriggling and sweaty; so I carried him back to his own crib.
He’s still sleeping now and it’s time to put the porridge on. These mornings are so very dark. Snow this morning, too.
There’s something about lack of sleep that puts me in the blog-mood. My baby will not sleep at night, and apparently is also refusing to sleep during the day. He’s in the sling right now, lazily chewing my hair and stuffing banana-scented fingers up my nose with a look of supreme exhaustion upon his gorgeous features, hanging on by the sheerest of threads to consciousness. Of course, if he does decide to fall asleep, I will have to wake him up anyway to get to Fooey’s afternoon “recital” at her music class.
But it’s my own sleep deprivation, not his, that makes me want to type. I’m too tired to analyze the whys and wherefores, though I’m sure something applies. I was up approximately once an hour last night with this child. He refuses to nurse during the day unless he’s beyond starving and nothing like a banana is in sight, yet at night he seeks milky comfort to lull him back to dreamland … last night I saw midnight, 2am, 4am, 5am, 6am; those were the ams I recall seeing, anyway. By 7am the whole house was up, woken by Apple-Apple’s surprise nosebleed. Did I mention we also had a child, who shall remain nameless, pee on top of the toilet lid last night? That was my second unexpected opportunity of the evening to really clean the bathroom. The first followed a series of reckless baths. I’d no idea what had rolled under our tub since the last flood. Apple-Apple asked whether I’d found a dead mouse. Nope, just a giant fuzzy hairball.
You can thank me for that image later.
I’ve just laid CJ down, awake, protesting but weak. If he falls into sleep now, I’ll be dragging him out of dreamland in, oh, twenty-seven minutes or so. I run on precision timing.
Was just packing the diaper bag for aforementioned outing, and discovered an old cloth diaper lingering, shall we say, in one of those handy stuff sacs. Maybe we’ll go disposable just for this event. At the rate this day is going, I anticipate solids arriving somewhere mid-performance. And no, he’s still awake. His howls just took on real drama. Twenty minutes till departure.
I’m going to go pick him up now.
This is the second day in a row that I’ve made the choice to hop out of bed, brush teeth, and start the day earlier than required. I’ve never been a morning person. Bed has always called louder than anything else, so the thought in my head this morning as I stood looking at bed, still in pajamas, debating, was, “Why aren’t you calling me?” Habit made me hesitate, confused; is this what morning people feel like? Like extra sleep wastes time that could be spent awake? The sensation was unfamiliar, baffling. My instinct was not to trust it. But then I thought, maybe this is some new and entirely unanticipated early bird phenomenon working its way into my system. And I went cheerily off to floss.
Maybe that tincture from my naturopath is working miracles. Maybe the new haircut has me feeling bouyant. Or maybe it’s CJ turning eight months. (He’s eight months today! Insert a paragraph of exclamation points here signifying immense disbelief). Maybe it’s moving that much further from the exhaustion and blur of those early baby days. Maybe it’s getting out to a reading, and then, later, for a drink. On a Friday night. Maybe it’s all this walking we’re doing. Or the great enjoyment I take from my kids. Or something hormonal. Who knows.
But I’m going to make a pot of coffee right now and savour the grey morning. As soon as I’ve moderated the smallish battle (ah, siblings!) going on behind me.
[Have to add a PS. I just re-read and edited this post about four hours later, and must note that though I may feel fabulous at 7am, I really really should not be writing for any form of publication at that hour. The post was full of errors and repetitions and clumsy rhetorical attempts. Brain not quite up with body, at that hour, apparently.]
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