Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I was reminded of the set-up we endured for several evenings almost exactly three years ago, when the younger of our two cats was a brand new kitten. We were living in a much larger house, with a floor plan that made it possible to close off one half of the ground floor from the other half. Rob would sit in the living room with the older cat, while I sat in the bathroom with the needy kitten and sang whatever songs popped into my head. Occasionally, we'd talk to each other through the closed hall door.
It feels strange--and kind of sad--to spend so much time soothing our little creatures that we barely see or talk to each other.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I turn and face the road again. "Sometimes I can't believe he's even real."
"You say that a lot," my mother remarks. "You need to get used to it!"
I guess I do talk (and write) frequently about my feelings of wonder and disbelief when it comes to Westley. He's almost eleven months old. He's probably not going anywhere at this point. Except that he is--looking taller every day, itching to walk, vocalizing and gesturing and acting more like a toddler all the time. I'm with him practically all the time. And I can't quite believe him.
It's very weird when something you wanted for a long time finally becomes a reality. I've wanted to have a baby--to be a mother--ever since I was three and found out that a baby was something you could have. For most of my life, a child of my own was just a dream for the future. Some day... Now that some day is today, I realize that I don't really know how to be as a mother.
Having a baby was hugely life-changing, of course, but not in the ways I expected. After about the fourth grade I started to hate my birthday, because I always expected to feel different now that I was officially a year older, but nothing changed; I was still just me. Westley's birth was the same. I expected to feel radically changed after he was born, but I was still just my normal self (apart from having an intense craving for pancakes). And in those first few weeks, a lot of the expectations left over from my fantasies about what having a baby would be like were unmet. I made a conscious effort to stop expecting anything, so as to avoid disappointment.
As a result, I'm often surprised by what I find when I look around. I don't expect to get used to it any time soon, and I'm not sure I want to. It's a joyful surprise. I don't want to take my little boy for granted, or to compare him to some fantasy baby. Not expecting and just experiencing really brings home how lucky I am. I've won the jackpot......................................
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I was interested to realize how profoundly my relationship to "vacation" has changed since Westley was born. Before his vacation, Rob got his boss to okay the time and when the start date rolled around, that was that. His primary responsibility effectively disappeared for a week. I tried to imagine what I would have to do to make my primary responsibility "disappear" for a week. Obviously, I'd have to make arrangements for someone to take care of Westley, and I would want to make sure the freezer was stocked with frozen milk, because although he eats all manner of table food, the boy still loves him some good mama milk. And that, ultimately, would mean lots of pumping both before and during my imaginary (unlikely) baby-less week.
It's strange to think about the elaborate support system that I'd have to put in place to take time off from my "job." Truthfully, not being responsible for Westley for an entire week sounds kind of miserable. Even when we've had the shittiest of shitty days together, I can still bring myself to miss him when I get in bed and he's in his crib in the other room instead of being all warm next to me, breathing his milky breath in my face. If I were away from Westley for a week, I'd probably drive myself crazy thinking about him and wondering what he was doing.
I guess, then, that what I'm feeling left out of is not the vacation itself, but the ease of arranging it. I just want support system-free time-off planning. Crazy, I know. But sometimes it's all about just having the stupid cake, whether or not you actually want to eat it. Because your husband has cake and doesn't even have to think about it.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
You are ten months (and three days) old. You are in double digits, and it won't be long before we measure your life in years instead of months. I call you my Toddler Boy, even though you're not toddling yet. You crawl everywhere, sometimes faster than I can catch you. You would very much like to climb into the fireplace.
You pull up on everything, including me. You grab my hair like it's a hunk of rope and hoist yourself up. You continue to like every food I offer you, with the notable exceptions of flavored soy yogurt (plain is fine and dandy), applesauce (apple slices are where it's at), and apricots (not acceptable in any form). Recently, you turned some kind of corner with food and decided you knew how to chew. You would eat a whole banana by yourself if I let you.