baby steps

When Eddie was small like Charlie, I never once took a sick day to stay home with him if he felt under the weather.  Cort was unemployed, so he was home with him almost every day (we did keep him in once or twice a week daycare because he LOVED it).

When Eddie was born, I had the three months of summer off (aka my maternity leave), and then I ran back to work.

I was rarely alone with Eddie when he was little since Cort wasn’t working and we did everything as a family or they two of them were home alone.

Yesterday Charlie was home sick from daycare.

Monday we got the call that he had a fever of 102 and would need to stay home the next day.  Eddie could go because he had already had “The Sickness” (and I think his little friend–his daycare mom’s daughter–gets bored without him there).

Since it was my turn to take a day off, I put in for a sub and took a stack of work home with me.

First, Charlie slept until 8:30am.  Boom.

The patient

The patient

The rest of the day was unproductive, but awesome.

As I laid on the floor on my tummy pushing balls back to Charlie as he cheerfully picked them up and tossed them at me, I realized I have never ever done something like this with Eddie.

I never got the privilege to be his sole caregiver when he was this age.

Charlie and I spent 6 months nonstop together after his birth, the first three just the two of us most of the time.  Today we got a little of that back.  I ignored my piles of work and my household responsibilities to play peek-a-boo and watch as he learned to put objects in their correct places.  He practiced pulling up on me only to let go and show off his standing alone skills.

When he needed a little rest, he found my lap and lounged there as I watch the Today show.

When Cort came home for lunch, he was doing his “look at me stand by myself routine” and he TOOK TWO STEPS toward Cortney.

We showered him in praise and kisses.

He won’t do it again.  He just laughs at me and sits each time I try.

But Tuesday, February 26 was the day Charlie took his first steps.  To his daddy.  For both of us to see.

It didn’t happen at daycare when we were at work.

He is at daycare for over 40 hours a week.  But he took his first steps on a random day at home.

I don’t remember Eddie’s first steps.

I know I wrote them down somewhere, but I feel like they happened while I was working.  To Cortney.

And even though the little traitor Charlie walked to Cortney, I got to be there.

In the front row.

Cheering.

Preschooler Steps

What’s written on tomorrow’s date on the calendar has been staring at me for over a month, and I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

I thought this wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but I find myself ignoring it as a way of denial.

Tomorrow night Cort has a Preschool Information Meeting for getting Eddie signed up for preschool.

I really thought I would be ready for this.   I thought I would be excited for Eddie.  I mean, I am excited for Eddie.  Academically he is totally ready to be in school.  I can teach him just so much before he needs someone who is dedicated to knowing what and how to teach 4 year-olds (which Eddie will be this summer).  Between his daycare mom and myself, Home Slice can count forward to 20 and backward from 10.  He knows all his letters.  He can recognize his name when it’s written on something.  He can color in the lines (when he wants to, which is not often) and he can hold a pencil/crayon correctly (when he feels like it, which is not often).

We do lots of literacy stuff: he can predict, make connections, infer, and even tell stories based just on pictures.  He even recognizes some words.

He plays nice with others and knows how to share.

But he is ready for organized learning.  Something Cort and I can’t provide since we both work full-time out of the home, and something his daycare mom can give him just so much of with babies to take care of too.

And so, this fall, my oldest baby will go to preschool.

I didn’t think it would, I don’t know, hurt so much that he will be going away.  I mean, it’s not like he’s with me during that time of the day anyway.  He’s always at Renae’s house and I am at work.

But somehow, knowing my little boy will be going to school three afternoons a week is…like a punch to the gut.

Like I said on Monday, I know he is ready, but it’s just so hard for me to let go.

This is another one of those steps that is ready and so excited to take.  And I am too, except…it’s terrifying to relinquish another bit of control.  Another bit of being the only one in his life.

That sounds creepy and weird, but I mean it in the least creepy and weird way possible.

I mean it in the way of a mom who is doing her best to raise independent kids, but who enjoys having them depend on her.

So I have a bit of denial about the fact that my first baby will be old enough for school in the fall.  Even if that school is “just” preschool.  Even if there won’t be a missing boy from my daily life.  Even though I know he will have an amazing amount of fun and excitement…as will I when he tells me all the things he learns and does.

I’m just not good at change.

Which is really why Cort is going to the information meeting.  His listening ears are not clogged with anxiety and worry like mine are.

So this week learn about preschool; next week sign him up.

Pardon me while I hug him a few hundred times to try to keep the remaining baby-ness squeezed tightly in there.

Pipey

I have written about many difficult things here.

Whenever I had something hard to write, I would wait patiently for the words to come…and they always did.

But this time, for whatever reason, it is more difficult.

It’s embarrassing to me that this is what is hard for me to write about.

I’ve talked about bottle feeding with more confidence than I am about to talk about this.

I’m not so much afraid of being judged for this than I am nervous about being misunderstood. I realize there is a simple solution.  But it’s not the solution that is weighing on my heart.

I’ve found words to describe the monsters that lurk in my brain, but I am not sure how to put words to this thing that is on my heart.  This thing that should be easy.  This thing that should not be…well…a thing.

So I guess I just have to tell it.

<Big breath>

Eddie had his first dentist appointment this month.  He will be three and a half at Christmas, so we knew it was time.

Cort made the appointment for a weekday morning and took Eddie.

The very first thing the dentist asked was, “Does Eddie suck his thumb?”

She could tell just from looking at how his teeth are coming in that he sucked on something for comfort.  His front teeth are a  bit forward and his bottom pushed a bit back making an exact spot for…his pacifier.

Cort admitted that while Eddie did not suck his thumb, he did have a pacifier.

Her simple directions: get rid of it.

Sigh.

I know.

I know he needs to get rid of it.

Right now he only has it a night at bedtime.  Not at all during the day or even at nap.  Just bedtime.

But it needs to go.

(see, I am crying.  Why am I crying?  Why is this so hard for me?)

I know I could just take it away, but something in my heart wants to prepare him.

I know my Eddie.  Things are so much more difficult when they are not “his decision”.  That may sound like I pander to my child; I don’t care.  I want to teach him to use his words and to negotiate and to communicate his feelings and thoughts.

Cort talked to him on the way home from the dentist about it.  Eddie heard the dentist say it.  He knows.

His only response was that he didn’t want to get rid of “Pipey”.

So I talked to him one night as I put him to bed.

“Hey bud, what did the dentist say today?”

“I don’t yike the denst, mom.”

“Why not, bud?”

“Her said I not have Pipey.”

“I know,  bud.  I know.  Do you know why?”

“Him is bad for my teef.”

“Yup.  He is bad for your teeth.  You are just getting too big for Pipey.”

“No.”

And that is where it ended for then.  I just didn’t want to press him.  He had snuggled himself down next to me and it was clearly starting to bother him.  So I just let it go.

can you see that it has holes? He loves it even with the holes.

Yes, Eddie calls Pipey a “him”.  He will call other babies’ and kids’ a pacifier, but his is Pipey.  It is an actual person to him.

The next night I brought it up again and told him all about the Pipey Fairy who would come and take his Pipey and bring him something new to love at night.

He wasn’t impressed, but he bought the idea.  He asked her to wait a while yet.  He told me he wanted “moe time” with his Pipey.

I went upstairs and cried.

Cort and I discussed that with all the work we are doing trying to get him to learn to stay in bed at bedtime (another post I am working on), we weren’t going to make it tougher by taking Pipey.  But we would keep the conversation going so he remembered that their time was limited.

Cort talked with Eddie about it one night and Eddie said he couldn’t get rid of Pipey because Lamby would be lonely.  They sit together in his bed all day waiting for him.  What would Lamby do without Pipey?

So Pipey isn’t just a person, but a friend.  Pipey and Lamby go together.

Cort and I talked about it and realized it is always that way:

Yes, you can go get Lamby and Pipey.

Here, we brought Lamby and Pipey for you.

No, we didn’t forget to pack Lamby and Pipey.

 

They are a team

People?  This thing just gets more complicated.

Eddie sees Pipey as a lovey.  Not just a soother.

He sees Pipey as part of a team.  Pipey and Lamby.

I realize that the “easy” solution is to take the pacifier, tell him that is that, and be done.

But our hearts won’t let us do that.

So go ahead and judge, but we aren’t taking it away just yet.

Yup, we are making it more complicated than it needs to be, and I think it might be as much for us as for him.

I am probably projecting my own sentimentality and fear of losing the “baby” onto Eddie.  I realize that.

But I also know that Eddie and I are very much the same person.  We need to face change slowly…to be totally ready for it.  And so we wait.

Tonight we talked about it again.  Eddie showed me that his Pipey’s holes have gotten bigger.  I reminded him that soon Pipey wouldn’t work and he would have to give him to the Pipey Fairy.

“But I yuv my Pipey.”

“I know, bud.”

“But I won’t have him ever again?”

“Nope. Not once you give him up to the Pipey Fairy.”

“Aw. What I do with no Pipey?”

“You will just be a Big Boy.  We all had to give up our Pipeys at some point.  It’s almost your turn.”

“Ok. But not yet, mom.  Not yet.”

No. Not yet, bud.  But soon, I’m afraid.  Very soon.

 

magnificent 7

Dear Charlie,

This weekend you passed the 7-month mark.

Daddy, Eddie, and I were supposed to be in Chicago on the day you turned 7 months, but instead we all were exhausted and fighting colds (you too), so we stayed home.  All of a sudden I looked at you and said, “hey! you’re 7 months old today, Bird!”

And you flashed me one of your brief, mega-smiles.

You are at the most unbelievably awesome age.

Around most people you are a quiet observer, but around family and those you know and love, you are full of smiles and coos and belly laughs.

Every day it amazes me how similar yet vastly different you as a baby are than what having Eddie as a baby was like.

I know I compare you guys all the time, but I was not prepared for what Eddie was as a baby (a tiny version of all my attitude and moodiness), so with you, I was prepared for fickle, crying, high emotion (no matter what the emotion, with Eddie it was turned up to 11…still is), and the excitement that is EVERYTHING.

While you resemble your brother, you have your own way.

I recognize the baby stages of teething, putting everything in your mouth, grasping, and so on.  But the way you go through them is just different.

You are quieter.  More observant.

But you want to grab EVERYTHING.

Eddie was content with whatever 2 or 3 toys we put in front of him.  Not you.  You want the whole basket of toys and you want to empty it yourself.

They you grunt until we fill it back up so you can do it all over again.

While you love to put all the things in your mouth, you definitely prefer soft things…like the leather ears on the wooden dog stacker thing or the tag on your puppy.

See those keys?  Eddie jammed them down his throat and choked himself repeatedly so we had to take them away.

You are obsessed with “figuring them out”. Oh you gum them, but it’s not a “see if you can fit all of them in your mouth at once” game. It’s a “huh. these are not all the same. why is that? eh, I’ll taste them” type of experience.

You are sitting completely unassisted.  Although you will get yourself back on your tummy or back because your mode of transportation involves rolling and flailing.

I know if you decided to you could get yourself from your tummy to sitting.  But you just don’t seem to care about that right now.  You are perfectly content to have us set you on your booty–criss cross applesauce–where you can watch your brother’s antics and smile at all of us and clap your hands in approval.

While getting you to look up from what you are doing to smile for the camera is impossible, I wish I could show you the cute smiles you give.  You have a million faces that you pull.

You have a flirty half-smile I see you give Renae and daycare.

You have the toothy grin you give me when you haven’t seen me all day…or for five minutes.

You have the giant smile paired with the happy “growl” you do when you see daddy because he tends to bury his face in your next and make growly noises.  It’s hilarious that you identify him by this sound.

You have your giggle smile when we tickle you…because you are SO ticklish!

You have concentration face where your face gets all squishy and your cheeks get droopy and you won’t look away from what you are “figuring out”.

You have the “bird lip” face where it seems that you are looking at us like we are all fools and you know better.

You have the eye twinkle with just a hint of a smirk that makes us believe that you may just become the “naughty” one.  Or the “smart” one.  Or both.

You really don’t cry much.  You yell at us in anger, frustration, hunger, and sleepiness, but you don’t cry much

Although if we take too long to respond to your anger?  You might cry.

But really, even your mad face is so adorable.

And while you can totally sit on your own, you are VERY into grabbing ALL THE THINGS.  And sometimes that means you reach just a tad too far.

But you know what?  We let you reach just beyond your grasp.  Even if it means you fall.

Oh we scoop you right up, but then we encourage you to go for that thing again.

And you do.

You are definitely strong-willed and determined.

I like that.

I know I will NOT like it a LOT while you are growing up, but those are incredible things to have as an adult.

You and Eddie share a fierce independent streak, but again, they manifest themselves so differently.

While Eddie is not a risk-taker and needs us to fall asleep (still!) and never wanted to hold his own bottle, you fall asleep when you’re tired and grab the bottle and get the job done on your own.

Eddie wants so badly to be a big boy.  He always has.  He wants to play with the big kids, go to school, and move it move it!  By seven months he was pulling up to his knees and getting ready to crawl.

You have zero interest in these things.  You seem to be enjoying babyhood.  Your now.

You let us snuggle you and play toys with you.  You’re not determined to do the next milestone, but instead laugh and play and enjoy the one you’re in.

Eddie needs us for 3 seconds to warm up to a situation and then any hint of shy leaves his body.  You are more reserved.  You are quiet longer.  You don’t just jump into smiling and babbling at just anyone.

I don’t keep track of your stats like I did with Eddie.

That was a new mom thing, I think.

It’s not that I am neglecting remembering you though.

With Eddie I had to cling to the stats because I was sick.  I wasn’t the mom I could have been.

With you, I don’t need the stats to remember you.  I soak up your baby-ness every day.  I breathe in your smell and smooch your baby fat.

I did these things with Eddie too…but because of being sick, it was hard to sort the good from the not as good. And I can’t remember them so well anymore because even the happy happened in a fog of ick.

With you, I am doing so much better.

I don’t know how much you weigh or how long you are.

But I do know that your fingers are short and stubby compared to Eddie’s long, delicate fingers he had.

I don’t really keep track of what solids I give you or if I am on “track” or whatever.

But I do know you enjoy food as much as your brother did, even if it took you longer to understand the weird new texture in your mouth.

I don’t know what percentile you’re in.

But I do know that your once delicate features have grown plump and round and so very nommable.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that your existing could make me a better mother all around.

I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough love.

I was afraid you would take away from Eddie in an irreparable way.

Oh it hasn’t all been rainbows and easy days around here since your arrival, but there have definitely been more sunny days than rainy days.

More smiles than tears.

My sickness is still there lurking, but I am doing much better at managing it.

You and your brother and your daddy pull me through and make me whole.

I can’t believe seven months have gone by so fast.

And at the same time, I can’t imagine you not being here.

Did that time really exist?

Somehow I think no.

You were always here with us.

In some way.

************

The monthly comparison….

at the same age…

current day comparison

you two are brothers indeed.

And I love you fiercely with ever fiber of my heart and soul and mind.

xxoo <3 Mommy

The Birdman Groweth

Dear Charlie Bird,

You are five months old today.

Over the past couple weeks I have been painfully aware of how quickly you are growing.  You are suddenly not a tiny little infant anymore.  You have entered the smiley baby stage.

It’s getting harder and harder to get a picture of you holding still.  Something is always blurry from movement and motion.

Hand waves and foot kicks.

Turns of the head without warning.

Shaking a toy like a Polaroid picture.

And of course now there is the struggle to get you to even look at the camera.

I can be dancing and making raspberries and just generally being a complete fool and you will. not. look.

Your concentration is intense.

It is really something new every day.

More and more you can “play” on your own.

You bat at the things hanging from your activity mat and learn to hold them. You have figured out that if you kick the supports of the mat, the music will start playing.  You know that if you push your feet on the ground, you can turn yourself.

However, your least favorite position is lying down.  Oh, you’ll be happy for a little while, but you really want to be able to see what is going on.  And as this new month starts, it’s obvious that you REALLY want to be DOING what everyone else is doing too.

You dig on sitting in the Bumbo and the bounce seat, but not for long.  It’s almost as if you are frustrated that you need assistance to sit.  But you can’t do it on your own yet.  And you get frustrated when you can’t do it yourself too.

We busted our the exersaucer this month.  You were wary at first, but after a couple weeks of getting used to it, it’s growing on you.

I can’t help but notice all the ways you are different from your brother, though.

By five months with Eddie, we put the bounce seat away, because he WOULD NOT LEAN BACK in it.  You are perfectly willing to chillax in it…for awhile anyway.  Also you prefer to be at face level with us if you’re in it, which means we are either on the floor with you, or you’re on the counter/table while we stand.

Eddie thought the saucer was the best thing ever created.  You are taking your time to fully enjoy it.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s because you can see Eddie running around doing stuff and you’re all like, “WHY AM I STUCK?  WHY CAN’T I MAKE MY LEGS DO THAT?” Because you LOVE to stand if we are holding you, just not as much in the saucer.

Eddie was sitting on his own {sort of} by give months.  You’re not quite there yet.

Eddie had cereal before five months.  We let you try oatmeal and bananas yesterday.

You were not impressed.  At all.  In fact, you still have the tongue thrust thing going on and other than tasting it, I am fairly certain you didn’t actually swallow much.  You just didn’t understand opening your mouth.  This is also way different from Eddie who, when we gave him his first taste, lunged forward, mouth open for his second taste.

You just gave me stink eye.

Maybe we will hold off on solids for a while longer.  We did switch you to #3 nipples on your bottles, though, and you seem to get less bored with your bottle now, and actually eat it.

One way you are like your brother is that you both got your first two teeth almost exactly on the day you turned 5 months.  Eddie got his the day after and yours came in the couple days before.

You  handled it differently, though.  Eddie would get a little crabby, have a bit of a fever and some diaper rash and then, POP, a tooth.

You just got pissed and pushed everything on your sore gums.  And then gave us stink eye like it was our fault.

So we got you an amber necklace.

Boom. No more crabby baby.  Just a slight fever for the past week and over the weekend you were rewarded with two little teeth that finally cut through.

Oh baby boy.  You are growing.

I held you in my arms tonight when I guess I could have been writing this post.  But I knew that writing this post was not my priority.  Yes, I want to record these days and times and feelings for you…for your kids…for…history.

You are what people refer to as an “easy” baby.  But that ease means that the last five months flew by so fast I hardly  noticed.

And then there was this baby boy–so different, yet in so many ways the same as the tiny bird that was handed to me in the hospital in March.

I traced my finger over your face and you didn’t flinch.

Your little bird legs have a plump layer of baby fat over them.  Your fine little arms now have the tell-tale baby chub that looks like someone put rubber bands around your wrists.

I found myself wishing I never had to go back to work.

I’ve never felt that before.

My chest tightens thinking of not cuddling you and smootching on you all day every day.

Of taking naps with your warm little baby breath in my face because you love to nuzzle up close to fall asleep.

Of memorizing your facial expressions and responses to absolutely everything.

Of knowing you better than everyone else.

I didn’t have that with Eddie.  He stayed home with daddy after I went back to work.

You and I are like one person still, my Charlie Bird.

Knowing that by the time I write you your six month letter I will be back working and you will be at Renae’s full-time sort of kills something in my heart.

You have healed me from so much hurt.  So much pain.

Eddie made me a mommy by being first.  He will always have that.

But you?  You let me be the mommy I always knew I could be.

And I am so not ready to give that up to only evenings and weekends.

I love you, sweet Bird.

xx oo

Mommy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...