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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Crawl or Not to Crawl

Until I saw Leo crawling circles around Sam on Sunday, I was only mildly concerned about my son's immobility. Monday found me obsessed. I blamed myself. I rationalized. I became anxious. It was still on my mind early this morning, so I googled "ten months not crawling" and was immediately relieved. I happened upon a parent's board filled with reassurances and stories of children either not crawling at all or crawling and walking at far more advanced ages than Sam's. It was enough to cast all doubt from my mind and I started the day reflecting on all the things that make Sam so special.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sam and Delilah and Leo - Oh My!

Because I was able to find a full-time baby, Delilah (the baby I've been watching part-time since November) won't have to go to daycare. Yay! The timing couldn't have been more perfect - for me and Delilah's parents. Securing two families in a nanny-share means I'll soon have full-time employment. It's a bittersweet accomplishment considering the paltry compensation, but I'm very relieved. I get to stay home with Sam while earning enough money to cover most of my expenses AND I can quit my months-long job search. This is huge. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out, but for now I'm enjoying the soul-satisfying calm that has replaced the fear and anxiety I've been feeling for weeks.

Karl sent me this link:

It makes me want to:

A) Move to Paris
B) Start my own Parisian-inspired daycare
C) Come back as a Parisian toddler
D) All of the above

(The correct answer is D.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Look at Me. I'm a Nanny

Looks like the little nanny service I've been trying to get off the ground is going to happen. Danielle, Bill, and their sweet 10-month-old son, Leo Luca, came by this afternoon to check us out, see if we might be a good match. We all hit it off from the start and quickly decided to give a go. I'm gonna be a nanny!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back on Track

Ouch. Five posts in six months. I am ashamed. Rather than dwell on my failures and linger in the past, though, I vow, here and now, to post something (anything) everyday until Sam's first birthday.

My usual excuse for not writing creatively is that writing for money leaves me spent at the end of the day. After churning out hundreds or thousands of precisely chosen words for someone else, I have no words left for myself. Since I haven't had a regular freelance gig since November, that excuse no longer holds water. So here we go.

Sam has grown into a beautiful, sensitive, FUNNY ten-month-old. He is highly verbal, issuing forth a range of sounds that include murmuring, laughing, babbling, and happy screaming. He's started mimicking the phrases "uh oh", "bow wow wow", and "da da". The first time his version of "bow wow wow" left his lips, my breath caught as if I were in a falling elevator. It was like witnessing a miracle. I had the same feeling the first time he really laughed without being tickled, the first time he rolled over, and all his other firsts. Sam has yet to crawl - he hates being belly down - but has started showing an interest in walking. The not crawling thing is occasionally troubling, but I've read that some babies just skip it and go on to walking. That's cool, I think, and imagine that this quirk will someday end up in a best selling biography written about him after he's found a cure for cancer or brought an end to world hunger. In the meantime, we're spotting him when he stands and guiding him as he takes little steps toward whatever it is he wants. In other words, we're all in training, preparing for when the steps get bigger and the falls harder to take.