Monday, October 24, 2011

month 9

It's official. You have now been alive on the outside as long as you were on the inside. That is so hard for me to believe--3/4 of a year. I just know the last 1/4 will fly by because of all the upcoming holiday craziness.

Chicken, it has been a big month. Huge. And your changes mean my changes, especially this time. You started this month out by pulling up to a kneeling position in your crib. You were very pleased with yourself. Daddy and I lowered it that day. You're a sneaky one and you tend to make big leaps with your physical development. I didn't want to take any chances. Maybe halfway through the month, you were able to pull up to a standing position so I think we made the right choice.

You have also started crawling. You just went from looking close to suddenly being able to crawl the next day. No "almost crawling" for you. You could just immediately make your way across the room. And wow, what a difference this has made. The next day I did a cursory baby proofing in the key rooms and then just watched you interact with your environment. It was easier to finish baby proofing that way. It's been an ongoing battle ever since. I'm not gonna lie. It has been a huge adjustment for me. You can get into everything now. And you do. This weekend I had to problem-solve to try to figure out what changes we needed to make around here so that I could still do things like cook dinner and keep you alive at the same time.

Very shortly after the crawling came the pulling up on furniture. Then the pulling up on everything. You'll crawl across the room to me and pull up on me. You'd try to pull up on Maggie if she'd only stay still long enough. You love the low windowsills in this old house. They are perfect for you. And the upstairs bathroom window has a ledge in front of it that I like keeping plants on. You like pulling plants off. I think for the safety (and sanity) of everyone, those little guys may need a temporary home elsewhere.

You are very, very busy. Towards the end of the month you started being able to follow me around from room to room. It's really cute to see you coming around the corner. And as big of a change as this mobility is, I'm so glad you're still pretty slow. Things are going to get insane around here once you're walking. I have a feeling that's going to be sooner than later. You already started doing a little cruising when holding on to the couch. And I think your newest trick is that you can get back to crawling/sitting after you've been standing. Oh, and you can hold onto something with one hand and bend down to grab something off the floor and then stand up again. You're fancy pantsy.

No waving yet but you enjoy giving people 5 (usually a low-5 instead of a high one) and you clap. Most of the time when I start clapping and saying "yea" you will join in. And you say something that sounds a little like "yea" as well. You're still pretty happy but you do get cranky more. I'm thinking it's just because you have so much changing right now. That, and you have a little separation anxiety sometimes. You're fine with strangers, though.

We all got sick this month. Daddy brought home an upper respiratory infection I think. We just suffered through it. It hit you and I harder than Daddy. But it's so funny how you're in good spirits even when sick. Boy were you snotty this time. Sheesh. And again, you cut not one but two teeth while you were sicky. Chicken, you are determined to do things the hard way. I think you get that from me. Or actually you probably get that from your Daddy, too. You didn't stand a chance.

The weather has finally turned (except for today where it is nearly November and the high is 88). Fall is such a great season. I'm looking forward to being outside with you more. Of course, now there are tons of mosquitoes after our full day of rain a few weeks ago. The rain was sorely needed, and it was also fun to hang out with you during stormy weather. The little cold front we got let me make you into a little fashionista. But it's challenging to dress a crawling baby when it's chilly outside and you have wood floors inside. You can slip and slide all over the place. Oh, speaking of, you got into Maggie's water bowl yesterday...

We made it back to Austin to visit your great-grandmother, great uncle, and first cousin once removed. (Huh, huh? Mama will teach you the rules on that one day so that you, too, can feel fancy to know them.) It was a short, hectic weekend but it's so fun to see you visiting with folks. Afterwards, you started having issues with sleeping. I think we got your schedule all wacky and it's had a hard time working itself out. You know, in addition to all these new skills you're learning and the separation anxiety thing. That seems to be worst at bedtime. And you've woken up in the middle of the night several nights just wanting to be held. Mama's going to have to psych herself up to let you cry it out. Again. Gah, kid. It's going to be even worse to do that now since you can STAND there in your crib just sobbing. Not looking forward to it. But what makes up for it? This bootie in the air thing:

We also went to one of your little friend's 2nd birthday party on Saturday. You got to see a lot of people you hadn't seen in awhile. And people just love you. I think you're pretty charming like that. I'm looking forward to you growing up knowing my friends' children. I hope y'all are friends, too.

You're pretty chatty these days. You still favor "dadadada" but you've brought back "mamamama." The only thing is that the "mamamama" comes out in the saddest way possible and only when you're tired and/or upset. Good times. I don't know if we should count any of these as your first word. We haven't. Still waiting till we're clear you know what you're saying I think.

On the eating front, you are going gangbusters, too. You've had plum, potato, nectarine, yogurt, pears, peas, kiwi, beans (refried like a good little Texan), zucchini, turkey, spinach, mango, chicken, asparagus, cheese. I think we're pretty free to add new things now (with a few exceptions). You still enjoy everything you eat and really love finger foods. My new tactic at dinnertime is to feed you and then give you puffs or pieces of banana or something so you can feed yourself while I cook. You don't really like to be in the high chair without a task. For that matter, you don't really like being confined in anything for too long. The exersaucer? The Johny Jumper? Sure. Fine. For about 5 minutes.

At your doctor's appointment today you were 21 pounds and 28.5" (so I must have stretched you last month--pretty sure you're not shrinking). You're around the 85th percentile for both. The doctor said we've been doing everything right regarding feeding. And you seem to be progressing nicely with everything. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

Throughout the month I think of all sorts of things that I want to tell you in these letters. Sometimes I think about it when I'm falling asleep. I always think I should right them down but I hardly ever do. I'll try to do better about that for next month. I do want you to know how much I enjoy being your mom. Even when I'm holding you at 3am on a work night because you just seem to need love, I think about how one day I'll yearn to have that exact moment back. I love that you seem to love me now. I love that I can comfort you. Recently, I was talking to some moms with older kids, some of them my age even. They were telling me about their favorite times with their kids and lots of them (not surprisingly) listed ages that we haven't gotten to yet. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to all of it. All of it. And hopefully you'll still let me hug you and hopefully that will sometimes still be all you need to feel better.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

date a girl who reads

Funny that I stumbled across this this morning. I've been sick the last several days and finally read "The Help" during that time. When I read a lot in a short period, my mind starts thinking in the same style of the book I'm reading. Last night I mentioned this to The Husband, saying that I was thinking in poor grammar...

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

— Rosemarie Urquico