My sleepy son plays peek-a-boo in my elbow as I rock. As his eyes get heavy, he reaches his fingers up to touch my lips. I kiss the tips as he looks up at me, his eyes reflecting so much more than the sleep he needs. In them I see his old phoenix soul sharing the thank you and the you’re welcome we feel for each other. Because of those eyes, I know there is more to the universe than what we see, and it is good. Then he turns back into my elbow and the baby giggle as I whisper peek-a-boo, breaks the spell, and I laugh back. Now, please, go to sleep, little guy.
Tuesdays at the house are really packed. I get home from work sometime around 6, and we usually want to have a decent dinner together. This means cooking, which is no biggie, but I teach bass lessons at 7:30, and that does make everything compact.
Well, last night was really, really packed together . . . most of the dinner was made by 7:15, and I finished eating right as Jesse arrived for the lesson (we never got to the potatoes, which were still cooking at this time). In a perfect world, I would have just finished bathing CJ right before every-other lesson, but that couldn’t happen this time. So, as I’m teaching away, Duffy took CJ up for his bath and read him a story.
Just as I was finishing up, Duffy came back down – no fussing from upstairs. I asked her how bedtime went & she admitted to crying. Very pregnant hormones and reading The Velveteen Rabbit apparently do not mix. I was told CJ simply looked confused as his mommy cried.
Of course, I’m not writing this to make fun of my pregnant wife (sure, I may tease her mercilessly, but it’s always meant in fun), but to talk about The Velveteen Rabbit. Obviously, there is a big part of the root of Calvin and Hobbes in there. Did you have a Velveteen Rabbit? If so, what was it? Mine was Lion Kitty Cat (pictures coming this weekend). I went everywhere with Lion Kitty Cat. I remember making a big fuss at an airport, as I didn’t want to part with my little friend to put him through the X-Ray machine. Of course, once he went through, he told me on the other side that it was fun & that he wanted to go through again. What about you? What did you have that you “made real with love”?
I’m sure that all babies go through the same thing – but it really is amusing to watch a baby try to crawl forward, only to propel himself backward. Of course, I’m a little bit evil for finding it amusing, but it is.
I really hope some of CJ’s teeth break through soon. The constant chewing on anything he holds on to (be it my finger or nose) is starting to hurt.
My schedule has been so busy the last couple of days that I’ve somehow avoided changing a poopy diaper. Something tells me that is going to change pretty shortly.
There really isn’t anything more awesome than having your child fuss, look up at you, and smile. There really isn’t anything more heartbreaking when a happy kid looks up at you & starts screaming.
It appears that I’m turning into the parent who sings, and Duffy is turning into the parent that reads. This works, though I need to increase the size of my lullaby repertoire.
I will be very happy when I’m no longer dealing with formula on a daily basis.
A week or so ago, John posted a question about baby sign language apps for the iPhone on Twitter and Facebook. (We won’t get into how social networking is the main form of communication in our marriage these days.) This is something I had thought about briefly but never really seriously. As it happens a lot, my husband’s inquiry led me to think about it more. I know the ASL alphabet and a couple of basic signs, but not enough to make it useful. As I am the one who’s schedule, while just as busy, is more flexible, I took it upon myself to find a handy guide. I started using different signs like dog, cat, food, hungry, I love you, etc. yesterday. Poo is the most self explanatory sign I have ever seen. Anyway, CJ is… intrigued. He has always been a rather observant baby, but the look on his face as he tries to figure out why I am waving my hands around like that is priceless. Obviously, he hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that the signs mean anything, but he definitely knows I am doing something different intentionally. We’ll see how it goes, but I am having lots of fun with it.
Mondays & Wednesdays are hard for me. They always start the same – sleep gets interrupted in some fashion (usually the dogs starting to stir or CJ starts fussing — sometimes the alarm actually manages to chirp at 5:00, but that’s rare). I get up, change the baby (assuming Duffy hasn’t already done this), hand the baby do Duffy, and deal with the dogs. After walking & feeding the ungrateful little bastards, I push myself to work out, then I shower, then I dress, then I’m out the door.
My little bit of morning time with CJ on Mondays & Wednesdays is quite limited, and during it, neither of us actually awake during that shared time.
Of course, I then spend all day working. After work on Monday, it’s a quick dinner and then symphony rehearsal. On Wednesdays, it’s straight to band practice. I get back to the house only after CJ has gone to bed (and, to be honest, it’s not long until I fall asleep, myself).
So last night was a bit of a treat – I get home around 9:30, walk in the door, make two bottles for overnight, head to the bedroom to find an awake little dude. We got to play for about half an hour, and it was very sweet. He had a real fascination with my nose. And I’m pretty sure that I need to keep the beard at least long enough so that the kid understands what facial hair is, though I wouldn’t mind if he stopped trying to pluck whiskers off of my face.
Of course, in the course of playing, I placed him face down on the bed and proceeded to watch him pull himself closer to the edge (Cosmo had just jumped down, and apparently following the black dog was something that just had to be done). I won’t say it was a “real crawl”, but it was pretty darn close — normally, when he tries to make himself go, he gets frustrated once he realizes he’s moving in reverse, and this time he was certainly moving in the direction he intended to.
So, our hopes of not having to deal with a mobile child when Leila joins us may be futile.
I’ll be the first to tell you that owning dogs doesn’t prepare you, in the least, for parenthood. I mean, from the moment you can bring one home, a dog will be just fine if you leave him alone for an hour or two. Sure, you need to give them attention, and feed them, and look after their needs . . . but they’re completely different scopes. The best parallel I’m coming up with is entering a knife fight with a basic knowledge of how to operate a butter knife. Sure, there may be some basics that remain consistent between the two (namely, don’t stab yourself) – but you’re better off saying “I know how to operate a butter knife” and “I know how to win a knife fight”, just like you’re better off saying “I know how to raise dogs” and “I know how to raise kids” (as opposed to the “I know how to raise dogs, and therefore I should know how to raise kids”).
With that said, there is a maneuver that every dog owner knows — how to pretend you’re still sleeping early in the morning. Once you stir, a dog knows you’re up, and that signals the beginning of the day — there is no going back. You’re getting out of bed, you’re taking it for a walk, you’re feeding it. But, sometimes a dog will think “it’s the beginning of the day” and you can convince the dog to go back to sleep by simply staying still.
We employ the same strategy with CJ — he’s a kid, and he emits random noises throughout the night. Sometimes he’ll let out a little cry. Sometimes a fart. Sometimes a laugh . . . if they’re spaced well-enough apart, I employ the “I’m still sleeping, whatever distractions are out there will go back to sleep” maneuver. Nearly always, this maneuver directly leads to the child crying – but not today.
No, today he started laughing. For a good 10-15 minutes before my alarm went off (at the very evil time of 5AM because I’m a glutton for punishment), CJ sat in his crib, laughing. It wasn’t constant laughter, but he would let out a happy little squeak every minute or two. When the evil alarm finally chimed in, I walked over, picked him up, changed his diaper (he had not soaked through), and got him over to mommy for feeding while I dealt with the dreaded puppies and their demands for exercise and food.
Now, if only every morning was as simple…
The little guy has been sleeping better & better. As a parent, this makes me incredibly happy. Little guy goes to sleep sometime between 8 & 10 and (typically) wakes up sometime between 4 & 6 (this would sound horrible to college John, but it’s certainly not so bad, especially when present-day John goes to sleep sometime between 9 & 11). The problem with CJ falling sleeping half-decently is that his diapers simply don’t hold his stuff for that amount of time. We’ve gone to the “overnight” diapers, but they’re still not making it through the night. Whoever gets the pleasure of getting the crying CJ out of the crib usually gets the pleasure of stripping off his soaked clothing. Fortunately, CJ loves being naked, so this isn’t an entirely unpleasant way to start the morning.
The other night, though, was a weird one. Friday into Saturday, CJ started fussing at about 1AM. “Ok, a little blip in the plan”, said I, as I got him up to change him & feed him. Honestly, the timing here kind-of worked for me — I mean, as he was only asleep for a relatively short amount of time, it would mean that there wouldn’t be the typical overloaded diaper issue wouldn’t be an issue. On top of that, I was half-awake when he started stirring.
So I get up, change him, and feed him. About 45 minutes later, a sleepy CJ is simply playing with the bottle, and I go to put him back down, but he starts crying, wanting to be held. I hold him. I sing to him. After nothing really works to make him want to go down for the night, I take him into bed with me — nearly always, parent cuddles work.
This time, they didn’t.
The “funny” thing about the incident is that he wasn’t really fussy once he got into bed — he was simply awake. Wide awake – as if I accidentally gave him a bottle full of espresso instead of formula. He was happy. He was laughing. He was trying to grab the puppies (who, in turn, were trying to avoid him and get back to sleep). For two & a half hours, he was simply awake.
Since that night, he’s been sleeping like a champ – meaning that we’ve been changing the sheet on his crib like champs, too 🙂