Nine Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Today you are nine months old.  This weekend your paternal grandma came up to visit with us (well let’s be honest, she came to see you!), and I think she was quite blown away by how big you have gotten and how active you are now.  I am, too, frankly.  It is a little unfortunate that her visit seemed to coincide with your separation/stranger-anxiety phase, so you were a little shy with her and much preferred to have me or Daddy around while you hung out with her.  But she couldn’t stand to wait any longer to see you again, and you did have some very good playtime and peek-a-boo sessions with her, if not quite as many snuggles and hugs and kisses as I’m sure she hoped for. Next time will be better for all that, I’m sure.

According to the baby development emails that I get, this is your fortieth week of life.  I gave up counting weeks myself a while back – now I’m doing good if I can just believe the actual number of months that have passed since you were born, as they are still flying by way too fast for my taste – and I know this isn’t going to reverse itself. Given that you were born a week and a half before your due date and that you didn’t actually exist for the first two technical weeks of my pregnancy (period math – someday you may care, I think), you have now been around longer outside of me than you ever were inside me. While I know that my conflicting feelings are normal, and every mother feels this way, I am still astounded that I can be so excited over every tiny stride forward you make in your development and at the same time a little saddened that you are less and less teeny tiny every day. Of course I want you to continue growing big and strong, but at the same time I am always going to miss your newborn-baby-ness!

You are going to be crawling proper any day now, it seems.  You can go backward pretty easily, while forward is more of an army crawl-scoot hybrid at this point.  You do a lot of rocking back and forth on hands and knees, though, so I think it is going to surprise me any second now to see you motoring all around as if you’ve been doing it all your life.  You’re going to keep the dog on his toes, I can tell.

We haven’t added a whole lot to your diet in the past month, as getting you to slow down enough to drink a bottle or have a good nursing session is still a bit of a struggle what with ALL THE THINGS that need exploring and examining all the time, so we have been trying to focus on making sure you get plenty of milk.  I am very thankful that you are still nursing, even though it pretty much takes a dark-as-possible bedroom and lying down either before bedtime or naptime or right after you wake up.  Every once in a great while I actually get to cradle you while you nurse if I catch you awake but still sleepy enough, which I relish, but for the most part you will hardly tolerate it, preferring to have more space of your own for kicking and wiggling. And forget little snacks on the couch in the living room, or anywhere else – everything is just too much of a distraction for you.  But as far as new solids, carrots are going over well, as are peaches, though apples are still your favorite by far (if we don’t count Os, which is what I’ve been calling Cheer.ios).  I had lofty intentions of not giving you any grains until the one-year mark, but I failed to convey that to Grandma, and I think it would be a silly thing to be too strict about – the Os are definitely good for helping you develop your pincer grasp. Not too many of them make it to the floor anymore, much to Dexter’s dismay! But I think his day is coming, as you haven’t yet really taken much to finger foods, so you aren’t purposefully throwing things to the floor yet, either.  He’ll be really happy when you figure out how much fun that can be.

We have gotten a little bit better about a bedtime routine (about time, right?) in the past couple of months.  So long as you’re not already overtired, we now have storytime before sleepytime.  I am always amazed that, as easily distracted as you can be, you do seem to enjoy reading books.  Most nights we can get through at least two or three, depending on the length.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a favorite (of mine, anyway – I’m not sure if you’re really as into it as I am), and you are enthralled by the page of Goodnight Moon that has only the picture of the tiny mouse on it.  When we get to that page you usually rip the whole book out of my hands, flip it sideways, and try to eat the mouse.  I love it.  Makes me laugh every time.

Your language and communication continue to evolve.  We still get a lot of ‘ma…ma…muhhh…mehhh…MUHM!’ sounds, and the bbbbbbb motorboat sound has become a warning of sorts that you’re not too thrilled with whatever is going on at the moment – a precursor to true fussing or crying, it seems.  We are also hearing lots of Das and Nas, some Yas and Tas and Guhs (and those consonants followed by various other vowel sounds).  Lately you’ve been doing some head shaking, more of the No variety (side to side).  It doesn’t seem as though you associate it with the word no; I think it’s more just an interesting sensation for you.  You’ve also started doing this thing where you scrunch up your nose and sort of pant through it, like a tough guy face with huffing and puffing.  It’s hilarious, and you think it’s hilarious when we do it back to you, which I of course have to do every time I catch you doing it.  Grandma caught a picture of you doing it – it’s blurry but captures the expression pretty well:

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Last but definitely not least this month, we finally (not that I’ve been looking forward to it) have the beginnings of some TEETH!  Both your bottom middle two are peeking through.  They don’t seem to be bothering you too much, at least not constantly, but it seems like they still have a long way to go before we can say they’re fully in – and then more will quickly follow, I’m sure.  You will rarely let me put a finger in your mouth to check them out, but if you grin wide enough they are just barely visible.  Yet one more way that you are morphing right before my eyes from baby to little boy – no need to hurry on that, young man.

I can only imagine, and I do, all the fun that is right around the corner…but I am trying my hardest to stay where we are, and be present for the present, not getting too worried about what’s next. Wherever we are now is always where I want to be with you, Ike. Kisses and kisses and kisses, as I say to you while covering your still-chubby-for-now cheeks with them (good thing Mama hardly ever wears lipstick, right?).

Love,

Mama

Twenty Questions

Mkay, so I started this last night with the intention of just typing and not editing anything, but I faltered halfway through and didn’t finish it – here we go (again)!

What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?

Paper towels in the bathroom (at work) after washing my hands.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Don’t have an iPod and not sure how to even retrieve that info from my iPhone (where I have the most music), if it’s even possible.  I generally just leave it on shuffle/random and skip past songs I don’t feel like listening to.  It’s a silly way to listen to music when I could make actual playlists, but I am indecisive and lazy about organization of…most things, but I liken it to the way I also enjoy scanning through the radio stations on a commute every once in a while, just to see if I’ll hear a song I hadn’t thought of in a long time.  Radio in my city generally blows, though, so I don’t often get that lucky.  The song I play most, though, is on CD – Muse’s Madness.  Ike used to fall asleep in the car to it all the time when he was tiny, and I still try it when he gets fussy while I’m driving, but it doesn’t work much anymore.

What is your favorite quote?

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does.  The stupid things you do, you regret…if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.  ~Katharine Hepburn

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Pretty much all of them, but if I had to pick the worst, I’d say cleaning the bathroom.  Things are awfully dusty around here, too.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

The closest thing to exercise that I manage is yoga.  I wouldn’t say that I have a practice outside of snatching up Groupons for all the new studios that keep cropping up all over the ‘burbs here.  I am, however, signed up to run a Warrior Dash in August.  I should probably start thinking about training a little bit for that, maybe. Soon.

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

Weekdays, arriving at my parents’ house to pick Ike up, and getting that big smile when he sees me.  Weekends, lying in bed as long as I can after waking up and listening to baby babble, having our nonsense chats.  Saturday is my favorite day of the week, year round, and I love spring, so let’s say May.  When green things start poking up out of the ground and flowers start budding and blooming, I feel better.  To put that all together, I’d say waking up on a Saturday in May, windows open to let in the scent of the lilacs outside the bedroom.  Can’t wait to do that with Ike this year.

What is on your bedside table?

A lamp, a Kindle reading light that I designated a night light, the copy of Anna Karenina I’ve been trying to finish since…I think I was still pregnant (!), and a stack of Ike’s books.  Right now, there are Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a Cleveland Indians book, and a couple Sesame street books about numbers and shapes.  Also usually a glass of water. Surely a good deal of dust.

What is your favorite body part?

On me?  Years ago I would have said my hair, but since about three months after Ike was born it’s been shedding like crazy, so for now I guess I’d have to go with my feet.  As far as feet go, they’re pretty not bad.  Neglected, being near the end of winter now, but a pedicure is within sight!

Would you use the power of invisibility for good or evil? Elaborate.

I can’t imagine not getting a little evil with it, at least.  Hopefully I wouldn’t have to choose absolutely between the two, and could use it for a lot of good and a little evil?  Fund some Batman-type do-gooding, or something like that.  Force the most fortunate to help the least.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

Probably somewhere in the 23-25 range.  Finishing school, falling in love, getting married.  Good times.

What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Pay off all our debt.  Depending on the jackpot, maybe I could still make a serious donation to March of Dimes or something similar (would require much research) and take a serious vacation.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Consistently atrocious grammar.  Occasional fuckups that don’t cause actual confusion, I can generally deal.  But COME ON.  It’s not that hard to get the basics right, most of the time.

If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be?

This is a hard one.  Since I’ve come to terms with my atheism/agnosticism, I’m much more okay with not knowing things that are just unknowable.  Everything I can think of, like…will Ike be happy and okay even after Mike and I are dead and gone, leads me to more awful possibilities where that wouldn’t be an applicable question.  Yeah, I don’t like this idea!  I’m going to cop out with this:  will I die content?

At what age did you become an adult?

Probably 23, when I graduated and officially moved out on my own after school (even though I basically had lived with Mike for a year or more already) and got a “real” job related to my degree.

Recommend a book, movie, or television show in three sentences or less.

The Wire.  If you haven’t seen it, go on a binge – watch as many as you can at a time, and you will not regret it.  It’s tragic at the same time as it’s hilarious and thought-provoking.  Good, good TV – and I even like some bad TV now and then!

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Not nearly as many things as I did that SHOULD have gotten me into trouble!  I was a pretty wild teenager, but I was extremely crafty at not getting caught.  I like to think of it as being young and stupid, but not quite recklessly stupid.  Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll – standard, stereotypical stuff.  Without going into much detail (here anyway, if you ask privately I will divulge more), the one time I nearly got into actual legal trouble involved an ex-boyfriend so dumb he admitted to a drug abuse charge in order to report drugs as stolen (it wasn’t me!).  Thankfully, there ended up being no juvenile record (nor is there an adult one!) to have sealed, but only due to me being lucky and/or smart enough to do dumb things in intelligent ways.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

I’m not sure, honestly, if I ever have, as impossible as it sounds. I know I requested some things as gifts when I was a kid (NKOTB, etc.), but I have never been a big purchaser of music.  Most things were given to me by friends who made copies of their own for me.  I may have bought a copy of STP’s No. 4 after I lost the one my brother gave me for a birthday, I think.  Love that album, still.  Even when I fall in love with a song, I can’t justify spending money on it when I know there are ways to hear it for free (I know, the artists should and do hate people like me).

If someone wrote a book about you, what would be the title?

… And She Got Away With It, Too

What story do you wish your family would stop telling about you?

Probably the childhood one from when I was apparently regressing a bit or being upset about not being the baby – when my (younger) sister was learning to cut her own food, I was being stubborn about cutting mine, even though I obviously had the ability.  She’ll still offer to cut my pancakes for me whenever the opportunity arises.

True or false: The unicorn is the greatest mythical creature. State your case.

No way.  When I think mythical creature, the first thing I think of is Cerberus.  Three-headed dog!  Actually, I have a hard time suspending belief; I don’t get into sci-fi very much at all, and I like fiction that is at least possible, if not plausible.  Still – any one of these creatures sounds more interesting and intimidating than a unicorn to me!  Plus, the whole thing about only virgins being able to capture a unicorn (yeah, I totally had to look that up, too)? Gag.

A day late and way more than a dollar short….

Yesterday I was featured on PAIL’s Monday Shapshot.  Here are a couple more photos I took during the same banana breakfast on Saturday morning:

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So that was a fun look back at what was a pretty nice weekend.  This week’s pretty much turned to crap already, frankly.  This morning as I was driving down the highway to drop Ike off at my parents’ house before work, a little star in my windshield that we had “repaired” a while ago decided it was high time to get crackin’.  Literally.  Not sure how well you can see it here, but it split almost all the way across, near the bottom of the windshield.

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Was actually kind of cool to see happen, but it would have been a lot cooler if I didn’t have to pay to have it replaced.  I’d even settle for the middle-of-the-road-cool of having a clue as to how I’m going to pay to have it replaced. Terrible timing, as all unforeseen financial obligations are, I suppose. Motherfucking MEH.  I had really been hoping to purchase the digital files, or at the very least a few more nice, larger prints from Ike’s six month photo session, but it looks like I can pretty much kiss that idea goodbye.  Breaks my heart a little bit, but clearly having a structurally sound windshield on the car in which he’s most often transported is more important.

I would really like to get back to actually writing more often here.  Too many months have gone by in which I’ve barely posted anything beyond my letter to Baby Ike, and while I’m still amazed that I even get to do such a thing, I can do better.  I hope, anyway.  I don’t know if it’s some seasonal affective-type stuff, and hopefully not delayed PPD, but I am feeling not so chipper lately.  Not that chipper is a word I’d actually use to describe myself even in the best of moods, but you know what I mean, I’m sure.   I probably just need more sleep (and to write a post about that, at some point, too). Thankfully, PAIL also has the perfect meme to get me going again, at least with posting SOMETHING, if not actual writing – I have 20 questions to answer, hopefully tonight.  Please feel free to harass me if you don’t see them, along with answers, posted soon!