Monday, May 18, 2009

Sam Walks

Sam took his first truly unassisted steps today.

We were in the front yard and he started playing a little game with me. It involved letting go of my hands and standing on his own for a few seconds before falling backward into my embrace. Standing and falling tickled him to no end, but it was clear that he especially loved the standing part. Because Karl and I will do anything to make and keep him happy, we pushed the game to include taking a few steps between us. After a few assisted steps, Sam finally did what he had never done before: from a standing position, he lifted one foot, moved his little body forward, put that foot down, lifted the other foot, moved his little body further, then put that foot down. He walked. For the first time. He carried his sweet, precious body from me to Karl using the balance, strength, and footwork he's been practicing for the past several months. It was enough to make me cry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life Size

The cats are edgy from being trapped inside for two days. Can't let them out in the rain with all this white furniture. Just can't. I know how they feel, though I'm too happy about the rain to let a little cabin fever get me down. Plus, I'm starting to relax into my new schedule; been a full-time nanny for three weeks now and it's starting to grow on me. My life has grown quite small. Just me and the babies and their relentless "schedule." We stay close to headquarters - the living room - most of the time, venturing out on walks through the neighborhood when we start getting titchy. We take "field trips" to the grocery store, Costco, or Target when the planets align just right. This tiny life of mine may sound boring, but as the boundaries of my outward life contract, my inner life expands. Being Sam's mother is the most soul satisfying job I've ever had. An innate wisdom, once so deep as to have been invisible, has made itself known and changed me for good. Despite appearances, my daily existence reminds me of a line from Whitman's Song of Myself, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." That's me. Large and strangely multitudinous.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Perfect Sunday

The shadows are growing long, signaling the end of a perfect Sunday. It went something like this: gorgeous winter weather, breakfast out, a quick trip to the annual kite festival at Zilker, a meeting with my new "clients" at the park near Big Stacy Pool, and a nice chat with Eden before Sam's bath. Sam fell asleep easily about half an hour ago and I have decided to sit with my thoughts before moving on to more mundane tasks, the sorts of things that need doing before the start of a new week.

Sitting and writing as the sun sets draws out the perfection of this day. I've been trying to cram in a thoughtful, well-written blog at night, right before bed, which has so far proven to be not only difficult, but downright idiotic. I seem to grow less intelligent in direct proportion to Sam's increasing age. This latest attempt to express myself clearly and engagingly at the end of every long day of mothering one, now two, soon to be three, babies is, I now realize, pretty stupid. I read the crap I churn out in the exhausted dark as proof I have no talent, which opens up a whole big box of fear and anxiety about my future professional self that is hard to ignore. It's a mean cycle I'm anxious to break. So. I'm luxuriating in this fading sunlight hoping a new, less frustrating, more productive habit will emerge.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Toof

You'd think after ten and a half months I'd be quicker to diagnose Sam's ills. I'm not. For the past two nights, it's taken us almost three hours to put him to sleep. Tonight, two hours into the struggle, I finally snapped to the sad (though exciting) fact that the first of Sam's top teeth was coming through. Poor Sam. He lay in bed, writhing and kicking, fighting sleep and all my best attempts to soothe him. He's finally asleep after a dose of Tylenol and a couple of teething drops. Me? I'm feeling dull-witted and spent. I remain hopeful, though, that one of these days I'll get the hang of this mama thing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Train Sounds

Sam hates train sounds. As soon as he hears the whistle blow, he turns his big eyes on me and asks wordlessly, "Again?" He whimpers a little and his mouth and chin do a sad little dance. I feel terrible and say so. I explain that it's just a train, that the sound he's hearing is the whistle, that it's a warning to people to stay off the tracks. Then I explain what tracks are, but he keeps those big, mildly alarmed-looking eyes on me and I finally say, "Train. It's a train, Sam. It's okay. It's not going to hurt you. I won't let anything hurt you." As much as I hate seeing him frightened, I do love comforting him. It breaks my heart in so many achingly warm ways.

This reaction of Sam's has persisted for a week or so. It must be torture for him because trains go by all day and night. We only live a few blocks from the tracks and we tend to keep the windows open when the weather is nice so I get that look often. Today I did something I hadn't done before. Instead of my usual long-winded explanation, I simply said, "train" over and over again. I said it slowly and purposefully the way I do words I'm trying to teach him. He seems hungry for these sounds and watches my mouth intently, so I draw them out for his pleasure. I find they sound new and foreign to me this way. Today I realized you can't say train purposefully without ending up with a smile on your face. It's not a real smile, but it's the shape of a smile. Try it. Train. See? Anyway. Sam got it. The more I said "train" the more I smiled. Before I knew it, Sam was smiling, too. He'd forgotten his fear after losing himself in the word. I took it as a tremendous victory.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sam's First Party

We went to Delilah's first birthday party today. It was Sam's first real party. The babies - Sam, Judd, Greta, Delilah, Olympia, and Violet - hung out on blankets in the backyard while the parents mixed and mingled, mostly on the blankets in the backyard. I've never been good at parties. I'm nervous around people I don't know and uncomfortable with small talk. As I watched Sam sitting and playing in the company of the other babies, I wondered if he was having a good time. Was he wishing the others would show more of an interest in him and what he was doing or was he perfectly content? My heart ached for him - as it does about a thousand times a day - when I imagined the big and small hurts he'll have to endure along the way. As soon as I found myself hoping he doesn't grow up as socially awkward as his father and I, I realized that some of the more interesting people I know are terrified by other humans. Bottom line, I just want him to be happy and fulfilled and fear I won't do enough of the right things to help him get that way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gettin' It Done

I love that Sam goes to bed at 5pm every night. It means that we wake up ridiculously early, but I get so much done in the evenings. It's almost 11:30, way too late to be going to bed, but here's what I've accomplished in the past several hours:

Harvested cilantro and mustard greens from the garden
Replanted lettuce and carrots
Planted Sweet Peas
Tucked pine stray under the strawberries
Made granola
Dried, marinated, and baked tofu
Made applesauce
Washed, trimmed, and sliced strawberries to freeze
Packed applesauce for freezing
Took all food scraps to the compost pile (in the dark)
Washed all the dishes
Blogged about it!

If it sounds like I'm bragging, I am. This is hardly usual, but Sam's bedtime makes days like this possible. Oh. I think we also had our first playdate this afternoon. I'm new to this stuff, but I think our visit with Kim and her sweet Olympia constitutes a playdate. After we left Kim's we went to Goodwill for clothes, then home for a walk then a bath then bed for Sam. Whew. I love my life.