Tuesday, May 24, 2011

October - December 2010

TY = Thank You. 

Do infants miss the womb? He snuggles right up to sleep alongside. Sometimes he rams his head and chest into us while still asleep, seeking a closer connection. 

The baby is finding his emotional range, living life more intensely. He is happy and shows it, and now also gets angry and shows it. Having a baby expands my own emotional range: more joy, love, pride, empathy, anxiety, fear. 

Random thought: It's nice to have a baby in the house. 

My start to a children's picture book: Chickens chickens cluck cluck / Ducks ducks quack quack. Here's a third line: Fire trucks fire trucks fire trucks trains. 

The baby is rolling around a lot. New game: I lie next to the baby and lift my head with great effort and flop it down. It makes him laugh every time...does he remember when lifting his head was like lifting the weight of the world? 

October 25: His first solid food is steamed broccoli. 

October 26: Baby models a Hallowe'en costume (jack-o-lantern) on a daytime community television program, which will air on October 29. On the 31st we dress the baby in personalized green doctor's scrubs. My brother dresses up as 'wolfman' and comes over to give out candy to the neighbourhood kids. 

It's autumn, my favourite season. I rake leaves while holding the baby in a carrier. His sweet pea knit hat, from maggiepiecreations, is almost mowed over, but rescued in time. We do outdoor renovations. We eat pumpkin pie. We celebrate Thanksgiving with food (and thanks) a few times over.  

November 1: Simultaneous night-weaning and putting baby to sleep in his crib in his room. He starts sleeping through the night with minimal fuss immediately. Getting enough rest makes all the difference for me...I am more lucid during the day, and dream at night again. 

I start reading doctor blogs and articles. I download well-baby doctor appointment checklists and kindergarden curriculum resources. I read about emotional regulation in infants. I learn about Montessori methodology. 

We do the stay-at-home mom outings: play dates, play groups, park, library, mall (children's clothing stores), grocery store (treats & baby food), work visits, portrait studio, baby-friendly restaurants, mom-tot programs. At six months we are looking outward again and at return to work after this second half of maternity leave. 

I shop for baby's first Christmas, such as a customizable Boynton book: "Are you a cow?" and sit him for a mall Santa picture & ornament. We book a family cruise for early 2011. 

Our friends relate to him in their own ways. I catch a doctor friend observing with professional detachment, a prospective mom noting how 'good' he is, and his godmother holds him and accepts him like a gift every time. Our friends with three kids organize play around him safely, more attentive than we are of the risks their older kids pose in offering choking hazards.  

November 29: Parents rely on and train their kids to be adaptable and tolerant...to be socialized and to accommodate their parents. We have a weekend where we push him by exposing him to lots of people and places, and have him in the carseat and stroller a long time. He finally protests vigorously Sunday night, when he is again in a carseat in the dark, late, and hungry. He has his first tantrum, which I break through by playing him his favourite song, "You lift me up," performed by Connie Talbot. He stops, breathes deeply, makes eye contact, and wraps his fingers around mine. 

December 10: I obtain my provincial driver's license! 

December 11: We go to my husband's company seasonal children's party: we ride carnival rides, receive an Eric Carle soft book which doubles as a crib bumper, reject Santa (again). It's too much for him - he falls asleep in the carrier, and our friends' kids look wistful watching him, especially the youngest, who was sleepy, and at 33 pounds can still be held but not too long.  

December 13: Seven months old! We register in guardian-accompanied swimming and baby sign language.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident EaterSuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life InsuranceThe Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fifth month thoughts

The baby is congested, and chokes a bit after feeding. His eyes widen in shock when he momentarily can't breathe through his nose. I think that I don't want to have a brave baby, one who is wise beyond his years due to suffering. Those who are healthy are surprised each time they experience pain. 

I'm learning that parenting doesn't mean both of us doing the same thing and interacting with our son in the same way. For us, it means each of us doing different things so in total the baby has everything he needs. One of us might be called on more to hold and soothe the baby, based on how the baby responds to us at a given time. One of us is more attentive when bottle feeding. Later on, we will introduce our interests and see what holds and drives our child's attention. 

September 15, 2010: rolling back to front! We call to him to roll over and he calls out like a pup sometimes - he's a young urban puppy (yuppy). He's learned to hold onto the side rails on the change table so he isn't moved around as much when being changed. In his car seat he holds onto one side and twists his body to grab a toy with his other hand. 

Laying in a supply of children's reading...including 37 years/194 issues of Stone Soup for $100 USD (shipping extra).

We start to think about options after my one-year maternity leave...grandparents are an option. I have the thought that if more people love him he may not need as much from any one person. Right now it's easy, but his emotional needs will be more complex later. 

Those 'second baby' thoughts began as soon as we brought him home and placed him, sleeping, in the bassinet at home. 'Having children' is an abstract proposition until that first one comes along, silky-haired & slow-blinking to sleep, after which there is enough positive reinforcement that we feel equipped for another...in time. 

Three things that work for us: co-sleeping, using a baby carrier (Ergo Baby), breastfeeding (planning to continue for 1 year+).

We host a visit with my high-school friends, who have now become a health promotion manager, a pastor-to-be, and an aspiring actor / aspiring project manager. It makes me consider whether motherhood was what I expected. I didn't realize I'd love him so much, though I must say he is loveable. He hugs my hand and forearm to his chest with both hands. It's also more work than I expected but at other times it's easy. Since I work in human resources, I think about how people find their life's work, how work shapes them, and how work environment & work relationships enrich or diminish people. 

My official job title: Human Resources (Supervisor)
My unofficial job description in one sentence (what I really do): Keep management out of trouble & employees happy. 
How I got here: National online post-secondary recruitment campaign (jobs.gc.ca).
Why I'm still here/why I stayed: Good fit of skills/needs/interests to job/environment. 
Best part of the job: My actions often have direct, visible, positive impact.
What I would change: A little less process-focus / greater flexibility.  
Advice for someone considering this job: Gain experience first, and then fill in the gaps with training. 

We visit my grandmother & uncle & family, and it makes me wonder how my generation will grow up, and whether the cousins' kids will play together often enough to be friends.

September 26: Word on the Street festival! 

What I love: When I walk him into a dark room, he doesn't make a sound while waiting for more light, trusting in where I am taking him. He wriggles when he's happy, with his whole body. His throaty laugh. His quiet examination of his surroundings from the safety of my arms. The wild kicking of his legs. The slow dawning of his smile when my husband and I are laughing, from curiosity to amusement to sharing in the laughter. The silent wide-open smile. The spark in his eyes looking at a toy or novel object. The quiet cooing as he seeks to tame the big overhead fan above. The practice of sounds over and over, playing at babbling. How, sitting quietly in my lap, he'll carefully tilt his head all the way back to look at me. How pleased he looks sitting on a visitor's lap. The furrowing of his eyebrows. His sneezes, sighs, and yawns. How his fingers curl around mine, and then tighten into a fist. His grippy toes. The way his hair grows on the top of his head. The way he smiles at his own reflection. 

Gourmet RhapsodyBruno Munari: Drawing A Tree (About the Workshop Series)InstructionsWaiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a FamilyA Week at the Airport (Vintage International Original)Heart to Heart (Lurlene McDaniel)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One-year birthday party!

The best thing about having a birthday party for a child is making loot bags!