I’ve been composing this post in my head for, well, since you turned 5 months old almost 3 weeks ago. Work was too busy for blogging, and all of my spare time at home has been devoted to getting you to nap (Jesus, are you ever going to sleep during the day for longer than 15 minutes?). I am jumping at this brief opportunity–you have been sleeping for 3 minutes and I figure I have around 10 before you start inserting your limbs between the crib bars and then screaming for me to free you.
This past month was full and frenzied from my point of view. I was finishing up work for the year, which doesn’t deserve any further comment here We also went on your second road trip–a family reunion in West Virginia, where you got to meet your great-great aunts and lots of cousins. We stayed at Papa’s house, which you loved, because someone was holding you all the time, even when you were napping, and I swear you looked at me at one point just before dropping off to sleep all, “See, this is what naps are supposed to be like. You see I’m not screaming? Remember this next time you try putting me in the crib.”
On Sunday morning, a few hours before we were supposed to leave Papa’s house, Aunt Mary called to tell Papa that Nanny D. had died. You got to meet Nanny D. at Easter, and she was so glad to get to spend time with you. I’m glad she got to spend time with you, too. I spent lots of hours playing and sleeping and drinking grape Kool-Aid and eating spaghetti at her house when I was a kid. I’m sorry you won’t get to experience those things with Nanny D., but there are lots of people in your life who will fill the gap. I know you will eventually understand it in a way you are too young to comprehend now, but you are so loved by so many people.
You started eating solid food this month on your doctor’s recommendation. I was planning to hold off on the solids until 6 months, but since you’re a bottle baby Dr. L. thought it would be okay to launch the hard stuff. I’m in the minority on this issue, but you are thriving, you’ve never had an ear infection or any other illnesses, you have been alert and observant and aware for a frighteningly long time, and when I sign to you at feeding time you watch me with such intensity that I am certain you’re going to start signing your own creation theory any day now. When you haven’t won the Nobel Prize by age 25 you can blame me for not breastfeeding you, but for now you’re leaps and bounds ahead of many of the babies we know in real life, some of whom are older than you. But I digress.
So far you’ve eaten, in this order, rice cereal, apples, carrots, bananas, and oatmeal. As expected, your first few bites of rice cereal were met with much gagging and retching, but after a few days you were sucking the spoon like it was a chicken bone full of juicy marrow. The next week brought apples and more gagging, and some sort of noise I can neither explain nor replicate, and when I laughed at you for making it you puckered up and cried. Sorry, but you do have a flair for the dramatic. Unfortunately for you, your dramatics don’t really affect me; I invented those tricks. I got to eat whatever I wanted as a kid. I got to take my plain Mickey D’s hamburger happy meal to the Taco Bell because I “don’t like” tacos. I got to eat cinnamon toast and Cheerios before bed because I was hungry since I just couldn’t eat that meatloaf we were having for dinner. I am only recently not a picky eater; I do not want you to be a picky eater. So yeah, I laughed at your apple noises–and dreaded your introduction to carrots, all the while wondering if I could put cinnamon in your evening cereal. Pshaw. You are full of surprises, and one of those surprises is a sincere devotion to the carrot. You love carrots. You eat carrots with amazing fervor, as if you have been waiting your entire short life for carrots.
The only thing you like better than carrots is your new jumper-bouncer thing. I think its technical name is “jumperoo,” but even typing that makes me feel ridiculous, so I’m hereby renaming it the River Dancer. You LUH-HUVVVE bouncing. Bouncing has brought about a whole new set of sounds and facial expressions, and I watch far less TV since this source of entertainment entered the house. I shot some really bad, really dark video of you in the River Dancer using my regular camera, and since I didn’t know I couldn’t flip the orientation of a video clip, what my readers are about to see is a) shadowy and b) horizontal when it should be vertical, requiring them to crane their necks to the left to watch. They will understand, though. They’re nice that way. And they will be glad they watched because then they won’t have to ask why I named your jumperoo “River Dancer.”
I also celebrated my first Mother’s Day this month. I am not into ceremony, and I don’t like being the center of attention, but your Nonna made sure I got cards and goodies. They are sweet, and it was nice to be celebrated, but the real celebration, the kind that makes you feel full of joy and pure elation came later, when it was just you and me and we were getting ready for bed. You were sitting behind me in your Bumbo seat jabbering and chewing on a rawhide (KIDDING! I kid) while I brushed my teeth and washed my face. Suddenly you got very quiet, and your silence startled me because you are VERY smart and I’m waiting for you to figure out how to beam yourself to other parts of the house, or to Nonna’s house, where you will probably be allowed to eat nothing but carrots and plain Mickey D’s hamburgers for breakfast until you are 18. But you were still there, and you were still breathing, and you were watching me with a look of satisfaction on your face. I looked down at you and before I had a chance to say a word your face melted into a smile, and your arms and legs started waving, and you made your little happy monkey sounds (see video), all as if to say, “Yes! This is my mom! Isn’t she GREAT?” I can’t imagine any gift you could ever make or buy to top that moment. And just so you know, I echo your sentiments. “Yes! This is my daughter! Isn’t she GREAT?”