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    Entries in george (8)



    It was George's birthday, it was Zelda's birthday. We had parties. I was going to write things about them, but everything I started to say was uninteresting. My kids had birthday parties like pretty much every other kid has at some point in their lives. 

    (I love this picture for many reasons but one of those is that Autumn is just cruisin' the internet)

    And the bowler:

    (his favors)


    we already won the sweepstakes prize


    I'd tell you why, but I don't know.


    our journey to dreamland


    That kid right there, he started out as a 12 hour a night sleeper. Does he sleep through the night? people would ask me. Yes! I could say, without lying. Well, without telling untruths, that is, because I was definitely lying. Next to him. All night. And all morning. Because that kid, right there, he slept from midnight until noon as long as he had a bosom for a pillow. Well-meaning folks suggested that I try waiting until he was deeply asleep, then rolling away from him to go about my day. As though I hadn't tried that. Have you ever forcibly waited until noon to get out of bed? If you had, you'd know that the urge to pee strikes around 9:30 and that scenario probably doesn't need further explanation. 

    He woke up if I even thought too hard about scootching over, and it went double for naps. The penalty for my ambition was always the same: an underslept baby with one target for his displeasure. Me. so, I got a Kindle and went with it. I was so well-read back then, you guys. 

    He slept in the sling, with his papa, too. That was nice. On weekends, I got a break from lying down with him (Let us pause for a moment, parents of more than one, to laugh and laugh. 



    Hoo boy! Yeah. Okay. Anyway.) and that continued until he was well over a year old. At fifteen months or so, he nightweaned and moved into a crib, a change prompted by his obvious need for more personal space at night. His kicking and flailing were keeping everyone, himself included, awake, and the crib gave him boundaries he seemed to enjoy, coupled with room to move and make sheet angels. But getting him to sleep at night was HARD. I'd nurse him and hand him over to Nathan, who put in one to two hours per night sitting next to the crib, singing and humming, shooshing and patting. And naptime? I, pregnant and afflicted with a bad case of the breastfeeding heebie jeebies, was unable to nap-nurse like we'd always done. So Nathan dashed home on his lunch break and made a nap happen, then drove back to work, rarely having eaten.

    George was elated to receive a hand-me-down toddler bed, but fell out of it a few times, so we reverted to the crib. It started feeling a little desperate, like this particular toddler was going to need this papa-led patting and shooshing routine well into grade school. Nathan and I had no evening time to ourselves, the lunchtime dash was kind of ridiculous, and, more than once, we both wondered aloud if this level of attention was counterproductive. We knew families who "Ferberized" their kids, and if Facebook and casual conversation were to be believed, their evenings were full of primetime television shows and cocktails. In short, they seemed to be having a lot more fun than we were. But, we persisted, because being unresponsive to our son's expressed needs felt like the wrong thing to do. 

    The funny thing about raising kids is that things gradually get better and sometimes you don't notice. I couldn't tell you the date of George's last dirty diaper (because that would be pathetic, a little), and I don't know exactly when he stopped throwing all of his food on the floor. Similarly, the sleep routine got shorter and shorter until we decided to try something new. 

    For the past month, I've been putting George to bed. We do "stories and nummas" -- books and a nurse -- and then he lies down. I turn off the light and we talk about his day. I sing Moon River and Take Me Out To The Ballgame, really slow, as per his request. And then, I leave. I leave him there, blinking at me in the hallway light, saying no, I love YOU! And I shut the door. And he goes to sleep. 

    I never thought we'd get here. Or, rather, I knew we would, but it seemed a far-off fantasy like I'd imagine when he was a baby. The patter of jammy feet on wood floors, the eating of grilled cheese and soup on blustery days: these feel like distant, hazy idyls to the mother of a six month old. What I'm most proud of, besides his accomplishments as an independent sleeper, is that we got here by honoring his needs, his wishes. We kept him feeling safe, and in that feeling of safety, he grew into what we hoped he would, what we needed. I sometimes miss the feeling of lying there next to his baby body, devouring a novel while he snored, looking down to see his eyelids flutter open that gummy good morning smile. But another funny thing about raising kids is that there's always a next thing, another thing to love. And that retort? No, I love YOU, mama. God, is it good. 


    three months

    Three months passes quickly these days. This year. Suddenly I have a six month old I set down on the rug in the living room, only to see her little face peek into the dining room while I help her brother with play doh. Her brother, who asks me to help him build a Curiosity space ship to blast off from the swirly turquoise and green ball he's rolled into planet Earth. There are many planets in our solar system, he tells me. That's true.

    And the other one, the one who's scooting her chubby buns around a full 2 months earlier than George even considered trying? She's one of those babies who gives babies a good name. Who gives expectant parents hope. Who sends fear straight to the heart of new boyfriends whose dates coo at her gummy, grinning face and exclaim Oh, I love babies! Sorry, dudes.

    We moved, we've been entertaining (and entertained), and posts about those things may be coming up in addition to some real talk about potty learning and having two kids. But right now, we're enjoying the fleeting nice weather. I hope these three months have treated you well. 


    our endless numbered days


    The holding pattern is different this time. It looks more chaotic in some ways, but homier. More wintery, with readings and re-readings of the Corduroy saga, grilled cheese sandwich eating and cookie baking, different shows on the television, and more often than I'd like. Baby stuff being set up, always with the repeated explanation that this new apparatus, those tiny diapers, the clothes waiting to be folded are for the baby.

    We're snowed in, like the rest of everyone here, and making soup, doing the wash, taking naps and grading papers. Trying to get outside to play, but with bursts of enjoyment rather than the unabashed, day-long cold weather love I see in people's photos, on the faces of the neighbor kids pulling each other down the street on sleds. My boy is my boy, indeed. The snow is pretty, from the warm indoors, once the requisite snowman's been made.

    I wonder if he knows what's about to happen. All the talking about, the making room and unpacking probably can't prepare you to meet the person who'll be your number two, the "other one" to your "soccer ball," the one with whom you'll share a bedroom and a back seat and, eventually, some phone conversations about your dumb old mom and how she screwed up.