Tomorrow’s forecast says 70 degrees!!!!
Our unit seems to be growing boxes. Everywhere I turn, a new one has appeared. Christmas is certainly coming. But one of these was not a Christmas present. Following the fall, I purchased a Japanese mattress for sweet bean. It lays on the floor and makes falls far less scary. Unlike a crib I can still cuddle with him before he goes to sleep. And, it had arrived, and lay in wait in one of those boxes.
In another box were his sheets, flannel to keep him warm, painted with bears and penguins and bunnies and moose to keep him smiling. So, yesterday we paired the sheets with the mattress and tried out the new sleeping arrangements. It was wonderful. I slept for the first time since the fall, and boomer slept with us since the bean first arrived on the scene. It seems she also yearned for a Japanese floor mattress; nothing else would do. I woke this morning sandwiched between boom and bean and I really couldn’t be happier.
Also, lest I forget, I really do have the best dad in the world. We shared some time on the couch after he picked boomer up from the groomers (she had gotten into something that warranted stronger stuff than I had.) It was really lovely. Even though I never really do know what to say.
Just before he fell asleep, bean brought his foot to his mouth and chewed on his button toes. It was his first time adopting that classic baby pose, and he already seems an expert.
Today, too, he rolled over on his mat. He loves to roll on the bed, in his crib, on the couch, on pillows, on any soft surface available to him, but the mat was never his jungle gym of choice. But now, with that first roll, he is exploring his surroundings with renewed interest. He rolled not once, but twice. And with his habit of rocking on his hands and knees I believe this little bean will be chasing boomer around in a matter of weeks.
And my own first: I completed 100 squats at bodyweight (120 lbs) for time. I took a whomping 32 minutes and 14 seconds to complete the task. Intending to retest in 3 months, I have a goal of 20 minutes. My physical condition is in bad condition right now, but I have big plans for improved strength and endurance as well as overall athleticism. The workout was last Tuesday, and today I am finally able to walk again with a semblance of grace. The past few days I resembled a baby giraffe.
I am not pleased with my lack of commitment for, nor my whiny attitude toward, working out. So what if I have to begin again; the road has always been long, but that’s never stopped me before. This will NOT be a first.
Today, bean let me hold him like a baby. He submitted to that classic newborn position, cradled in the crook of my arm, sleeping there with utter peace upon his face as it was within my heart. He’s not let me carry him thusly since I began to wrap him. His gassy belly likely prohibited the hold as entirely uncomfortable; air escapes more easily when one is upright.
This sweet remembrance of newness brought tears to my eyes. The little peach even let me recreate the lovely moment to show A; we both couldn’t stop grinning though, for it seemed a game it was such fun.
Chuckles and giggles ensued on this glorious day. It was a treat to walk to the dog park, and the to do it twice! A joined us on our second excursion, fielding both bean and the boom.
One last thing, before he grows: I love it when bean holds his hands together and attempts to bring them over his head still clasped. His proportions are such that he can’t quite manage, and it is just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.
Sometimes, when I’m swiffing the floors or listening to music or lying in bed or breathing, my mind wanders to Austin. It’s 2012, the first day if classes. I’m sitting in the front left corner, closest to the door: my seat always and forever. First to enter, last to leave, there’s no reason for me to take that seat other than it was my place when my world was physics and the physics guys and the physics room. I rounded out an odd foursome of an endurance machine, a hockey player, and a guitarist who usually seemed high but rarely ever was. I am alone on this new adventure, but finally, after two long years of waiting, felt like myself again. Here is where I belonged.
I never made it to Austin, but that picture and its sentiment lingers golden in my mind. It was a logical choice and, according to the pros and cons list I drew up over two months, a good one. I was satisfied with the decision.
But when I let my guard down and that daydream arises, reality often stings.
My second regret: leaving Carderock so soon. What a stupid girl I was.
But then a little hand shakes me out of my meloncholies. I know all my decisions, however awful, led to him. And to my time with him. No amount of Texas sunshine can replace a single moment with him. I’d take a dirty diaper over hallowed halls any day.
I just wish my daydreams would wander into possible futures instead of possible pasts. The latter seems such a waste of time and saltwater.
I usually write these posts as I nurse the sweet bean to sleep. His nighttime routine begins with a bath, which he loves, a massage, which he loves or tolerates, depending on the day, and finally pjs, which he hates with all his little heart. He screams as though his shirt is made of brambles and tiny tears meander their way across his cheeks, splashing onto the sheets. Once his arms are punched through I swiftly arrange him between the pillows, fortresses blocking the drop to the floor, I flop down beside him and he pops on and off until the injustice of dressing is forgotten and he drifts off to sleep in a suck suck suck pause rhythm. About 45 minutes later I’m free to go and have a few minutes to myself. Recently I’ve been blessed to share these with A, who has graciously rearranged his coaching schedule to cover the morning classes.
Yesterday defied the norm, the norm that had been ours for six months, following us to the northern neck and Norfolk and all the way to San Francisco. Bean was as far away from tired as he could get so we played. We sang. We watched our hands make shadow puppets. He chewed on various objects and my face. I tried desperately to release my chin from his grasp (his toothless bite is not to be reckoned with.) And finally he turned over and began to stroke the pillow: pulling at it, patting it, and rubbing it. He did this until he fell asleep. Astonished, I lay with him for a while, watching as his hand slowly relaxed and finally fell to his cheek. I softly creaked my way out of bed and the sleeping babe remained. It wasn’t until an hour later that he required a bit of my company.
I have much to say on the subject of my hair, but reason number 232 for why I wish I had not chopped it off is there would be more for baby e to tug. No matter how hard he pulls, it’s a sweet feeling and one I know is fleeting.
So, hair, start growing.
Enter ever deeper into my hippie world: today we joined a birth circle. Required to attend a Bradley birth class in order to bear bean at the Birthing Center, for twelve weeks we gathered each Sunday to watch videos of that great, messy, hairy miracle of birth. It was not my ideal way to spend a Sunday. I had read all I needed to know about the Bradley Method on books and watching other women’s labor did not in any way make me more comfortable with the prospect of my own.
The very last class, we heard from couples who had gone before us, taking each step we did three months earlier. There were a range if stories, but the majority of them were sobering: only one natural birth, six medicated with two of those resulting in c-sections. Many mothers cried as they recanted their stories. I felt for them, crying with them, and wondered what would become of me and the little bean who was on the verge of escaping the dark warmth of my womb.
Though we faced Hell those few weeks after bean arrived, his birth was as smooth as it could possibly be. I recounted the events tonight in front of three round bellies and four other six month olds. I am so excited for these new parents; life is amazing with love like this.
I did forget to tell them one thing (and I’m sure many other things but this one I at least remember I forgot): with my labor came uncontrollable shaking and an icy chill. The next time this happens (if I am so blessed) I’ll have to do my best to sing “shake it off” in between episodes of chattering teeth.
The days pass quickly. Weekends are short and it’s seven weeks until Christmas. So too this period of struggle for bean seems to be drawing to a close. His rash is fading, his poop is not bright green nor is it bloody nor does it smell worse than a three-day-dead rat, and he smiles more than he cries. I’d say that’s a win.
We braved the freezing air this morning and ventured to the dog park. Bean did not much care for the wind or the windchill so what began as a traipse and a wander transformed into an awkward shuffle to get indoors as quickly as possible. Not wanting to jostle the poor child to death, it was an eternal seventeen minutes before I was turning the key to the back door, and when inside I discovered that e was cold through and through even beneath his five layers. I have a lot to learn in my new role as a winter mom.
After that chilling debacle, A returned from the gym (oh how I envy him his every day workouts, oh how I miss being sore) and off we went to the Apple store. It seems that my computer is slowing down because it’s aging. It is inconvenient, but I’m not too put out. Right now it’s just a fancy music player. And for that I’d rather have a piano anyway.
After confirming my computer’s decrepitude with a genius dressed in blue (please bear with my Fitzgeraldian phrasing) we walked next door to William Sonoma. I enjoyed a sample of hot apple cider and attempted to get the attention of a store lady. Upon being ignored in preference of someone else who had not been waiting as long as I had, and then being told rudely that I would just have to wait again, I exited the newly-vile premises. I stole with me as much cider as I could carry. That sweet autumn ambrosia did nothing to deserve such rude company.
After shopping for groceries and procuring coffee, we drove to my parents’ house. Our visit was lovely. In addition to the happy grandparents, we saw my dear little brother and the first sight of a back-to-normal bean and his ever-ready grin. It was a good two hours.
If bedtime is any indication, tonight will be a rough one. But today was rather wonderful.
Well well well, little bean seemed to be a bit more himself today. Each time we went outside he laughed. LAUGHED I tell you. Big huge grins and giggles for about five minutes straight. But quick as an electron falling he snapped from smiles to tears, screaming in the cold for reasons my sluggish mind could not grasp.
Each time cuddles and a mad dash in doors calmed the shouts, and he would fall asleep within minutes. His sleeps we’re not restful but they were plenty and vigorous. From each nap he woke with readier smiles and greater independence. I even got to go pee by myself.
A great deal of our success is due to A. He came home early, wrapped bean up, and gave me two whole hours of blissed out sleep.