Thursday, May 28, 2009

Aidric 9 1/2 Months


In the past month you have started to develop quite a little personality. You have big grinny, squinty-eyed smiles for Mommy and Daddy, beguiling ones for strangers, and a combination shy-turn-away with bug gummy smile chaser for special occasions.

You love to slap and drum any surface in your path. High chair tray - SLAP. Table top - SLAP. Mammy's belly - SLAP SLAP SLAP.

You are now cruising along everything and even transferring from couch to coffee table. Yesterday you let go of the chair, balanced standing up for 4 seconds, and then sat slowly down. I was so proud of you.

You are getting very good at feeding yourself and having a grand time with that. Then you realize that you have been sitting for 15 whole minutes, and it's time to get moving again, for the love of Pete! Your diet now is pretty diverse. You are eating carrots, polenta, peaches, pears, tofu, Ezekial bread with sunflower seed butter, whole grain waffles with flaxseed oil, blueberries, apricots, cheerios, Crispix, buttered raisin bread toast, kiwi, and yogurt in addition to your staples of sweet potato, banana, cereals, and avocado. Yes, I know, there is very little green veggies in that list.

You are doing all kinds of cute little arm gestures too. Hands up! Then arm out like you are Price Is Right model. Then you wave your hand up in the air! "Hi ceiling fan!"

You are saying, "bubble", "Dad-Dad", "Ma-Ma", and "bob-bob". I think "bob-bob" means Grandma because that's what you said nonstop when you saw her.

You have now tooth #2 coming in! Two razor teeth! The first one appeared about two weeks ago. Now I only nurse you when you are really hungry, so you don't practice your new chomping abilities on me. Ouch.

I haven't talked of this much, but you really don't like the car. If you are napped and fed, and it's not too late in the day, and it's not too hot, and there is no sun hitting you, and Mercury is NOT in retrograde, you will TOLERATE being in the car for maybe 15 minutes. After that, it's inconsolable screaming with so many tears and sweating and hyperventilating, and then my head explodes and collapses in on itself like a neutron star. We don't go too far.

But we go to the playground pretty much every day. You love it now. There are things to climb! And sand to eat! And other babies to watch! Oh, you talk to other babies now and smile at them. I just melt. Thank God the playground is a 5 minute drive!

We had a visit from Christy, Dave, and Hadley and a visit from Grandma. I had my best friend and Mom here for Mother's Day! It was wonderful and also total chaos. Trying to sight see in LA traffic, connect with them, eat, and have fun while coordinating around two different baby schedules, and all in 2 1/2 days. We all survived. I was so moved that Christy, in the midst of rearranging her life to prepare for a new job, decided to spend some of her last days of freedom by coming to visit! Thank you, Christy. That meant so much to me.

And your grandma, my Mom, also came to visit. It was wonderful to see how sweetly you bonded to her. I never heard you babble so loudly like you did with her! We went to the playground, did some shopping, and played with your toys. It was so nice to have someone to talk to and help out a little. Even to have just one relative living here would be wonderful beyond words. But we all have each other and that is the most important thing.

We had another earthquake the other night. We were eating dinner, and you were in your crib sleeping. We ran to you. I had to hold back tears. It wasn't a bad earthquake; Nothing even fell down, but I was terrified for a few minutes waiting to see if there would be more tremors. I held you and didn't let go for an hour. Daddy and I just held hands and looked at each other with renewed thankfulness for what we have.

I think that this 9 month mark has meant a big change in your emotional/mental development. I really see a little boy emerging. You want to investigate and explore your surroundings. MOVE MOVE MOVE. All day long. You are pretty good at entertaining yourself. I am so happy that I had that bliss of holding you all the time before you were crawling. I still treasure our cuddles, nursing time, and our walks. I would miss the early closeness if it wasn't such a blast to see you climb, cruise, and discover all this fun stuff! Like WHEELS! And DOORS! And BUTTONS!

You wake me up at 5:45 with a big old whine. Once I can finally pry my eyes open, I love to see your sleepy, hungry, crinkled up face. Your eyes are pleading for me. I pick you up, bring you back to my bedside to nurse you. We are both warm and drowsy and still. I sit there, just relishing the quiet and feeling your soft weight on my legs and belly. This bliss, too, is temporary.

I love you,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Level 1 Mom

I spoke about feeling depressed in my last post, and I have been warmed and so encouraged by many understanding and supportive responses. I think that depression is a tricky demon because I couldn't see what was happening while I was in it. I feel much better now. I want to go out and do things. I want to visit my friends. That haze of melancholia is gone most days. On the days I feel a bit sad I at least know that it's just hormones and it will go away. The thing that really bothers me about how I was feeling is that I don't remember much. I know there were so many smiles, giggles, milestones, and just the day-to-day things that are gone forever. Those first weeks of sleeping next to Aidric in bed, holding him close constantly, and gazing at each other's faces are so blurry and blend into one image now. Thank goodness we have 100 gigs of pictures and video.

It is such tragedy that the early time with your baby that is expected to be so sacred and joyous can be such a dark and confusing time. Is it just hormones? A chemical cocktail of sleep deprivation levels of melatonin, stress hormones, and all those lovely female hormones making it so hard to climb out from under those feelings?

Or is it that I just don't have the mental and emotional fortitude to handle the difficulties?

You see, I feel that I have spent most of my life just floating along. Too frightened and insecure to take chances and sabotaging them when they came along. I learned to just get by. I would take the easy job with minimum wage, stick to a guy that would have me so I could stop burdening my Mom, and just let the years go by. My friends from high school moved away, found good husbands, made babies and started careers while I painted, traveled, and thought nothing about the future. I shopped at Salvation Army, stole bagels from work, went out dancing, and stayed way too long with guys in co-dependent ignorance.

But eventually women close to me started having babies, and I saw for the very first time how happy that made them. I started to see children as something other that the screeching demons I would notice in CVS. They were amazing and sweet. I saw that look on my friends' faces when they looked at their babies. That look. You know what I mean. I knew I had to experience that. But I wasn't in the right place. I looked at myself. Great. A part time teacher, part time plein air painter, no man, no plan. Oh, well. I guess I will survive without knowing what it's like to be a Mom.

But then I met Mark, and I wanted it all: the house, yard, and baby. Wanted it real real bad. I wanted to live up to the responsibility for once. I wanted Mark to be proud of his wife.

I wanted to be truly challenged. I wanted to be important for something. I wanted to love someone like the way I saw my friends do. And I am, and I do. I only just realized this. I finally feel like I am really living. Sure, I still feel too overwhelmed some days, but I am fighting and trying to be a better person every day. For Aidric. For Mark. For me.

The next big challenge is to balance the things I need to do with being a Mom. I need to paint and practice yoga to be the balanced and calm person I want to be, and to be the role model I want Aidric to see. I just need to figure out how to make that happen when I usually don't have the time to cut my toenails.

We all have challenges in life. Some are environmental, and some are self-inflicted. Would I have had a better experience if we weren't in this awful apartment? What if I had had someone here to help out? I will never know. I can get mad that we have no dishwasher, no laundry, and no central air in the 100 + summers. I can let our crummy landlord get to me. I can curse every motorcycle, fire truck, and helicopter disrupting Aidric's nap. But what good does that do? I know that there are so many people who handle much much worse. And for those of you who have houses with yards, modern conveniences, good jobs, and quiet neighborhoods, I hope you appreciate the kingly affluence you have!

As for me, I feel truly alive, challenged, and adapting. I am focusing on the things that I have that make me happy, rather than the things I would like to have. And I am so blessed to have such good caring friends who have been so understanding. I feel like I am starting out, a level 1 Mom, on a new adventure.