I've been so eager to see Connor crawl that somehow I missed that he was developing in other areas. He's had a few surprises for me this week. The first was pulling himself to his knees on the side of his crib. I realized it was time to raise the side up when I came in his room and saw him about to tumble over the edge head first.
Fortunately, not all of his surprises nearly gave me a heart attack. He's started to kiss me! He grabs my face and presses his open, drooly mouth to my cheek. It's really rather sweet! Except when he kisses me in hopes that it will convince me to give him a bite of my ice cream. Not yet baby!
Today we had a big one! He pulled himself to sitting by himself!!! He was rolling around in the floor, playing with his toys. I walked out of the room and when I walked back in he was sitting! On his butt! He loves to wait till I leave the room to do something new. I don't know what it is with that kid.
Oh, actually, there was one more. It happened last week. I was complaining to my friends how Connor seemed to prefer his Nana and the Daycare workers to me...how he preferred pretty much ANYONE he saw on a regular basis to me. I was rather put out by it. The next afternoon as I was walking into the daycare I heard him in his room fussing, working up to a full cry. The moment I rounded the corner and he saw me his whines abruptly stopped and his face split into a HUGE grin. Then, as I walked towards him, smiling myself, he raised his little arms for me to pick him up.
Oh, Connor. The moment I decide it's time to sell you to the gypsies you have to go and be all adorable and sweet. What a little tease!
Connor won't sit up anymore. He is very GOOD at sitting up, but he'd rather be crawling. The problem? He can't crawl.
I sit him up and only a few moments pass before he is leaning forward to get on his knees. He gets his hands on the ground and he bounces back and forth trying to get going...and eventually ends up on his tummy arms and legs splayed out like he is trying to fly. Once on his belly he flips over on his back and is stuck until I, the ever obliging mommy, comes to the rescue and sit him back up again.
I have cleared out my living room floor to give him extra space to roam. I thought with the extra room he might actually use rolling to get a little more mobile since crawling continues to elude him. He CAN roll both ways, but he doesn't WANT to. Once he is on his back, he behaves as though he is as helpless as a turtle and is VERY vocal about his dissatisfaction with this situation.
A few evenings back, Connor gave up on crawling and decided to spend some time just lying in the floor. He flipped to his back, dropping the toy he had been playing with in the process. It lay mere inches out of his grasp. Instead of rolling over to get it, he looked to me to hand it to him. How do I know this? He reeeeeeeached for the toy, then looking me directly in the eye with his hand stretched out he SCREECHED at me. Not crying. He was just screaming. He would reach for the toy then look at me and scream. The demand was clear. GIVE ME MY TOY! I laughed at him, I couldn't help myself. "I am NOT getting that for you. YOU get it." He was having nothing of it, though. He continued to scream his demands at me. I just waited. Eventually the frustration set in and he started to cry. I felt a little bad for him and leaned down and sat him up. He responded by grabbing my hair and pulling it as HARD as he could. I pulled my hair from his grasp and told him "NO" firmly.
The tantrum began.
I had no idea babies his age could even HAVE tantrums. Connor is apparently very advanced in that area. He threw himself back down on the ground and started screaming over and over again. He arched his back, pulled his hair, clutched and scratched at the back of his head and SHREIKED until his face turned purple. I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed. What do you do with a tantruming baby?
I chose to let him scream. After a few minutes he started to calm and I tried sitting him up again. He was still crying and complaining and then he decided he was still mad so he thew himself back down and screamed some more. Eighteen pounds of torrential impotent fury is quite the sight, I assure you.
I'm not sure how to handle this! How do you communicate acceptable behaviour to someone who doesn't understand words? Toddlers I get. Toddlers understand "no", and "go to the corner", and other such things. What do you say to a baby who is pitching a fit?
For the record, I DID try using a firm voice during the tantrum, telling him to calm down. I don't even think he heard me.
You already know, that in spite of my best efforts, Connor's first word was "Dada". It's understandable because it is the easiest word to say, and it's not like he knows what it means. He's been saying "Baba, Goo, Gee, Gaa" and several other random sounds as well. I've continued to encourage "Mama". Honestly, if I had even PENNY for every time I've said Mama to that kid...
Well...as you might already suspect, his next word wasn't Mama. The fun part is, I managed to catch it on video. To give ou a little background, I've been having Connor watch the "Your Baby Can Read" videos. He REALLY loves him. I was videoing him because I wanted you guys to see him screeching and flapping his arms at the screen (it's rather amusing), but I'll save THAT video for another day.
Today we get to see Connor foil mommy...again.
As you're watching, pay attention to the sound of the video playing in the background. It's important. Also, all the action takes place in the first 6 seconds. No need to watch the entire video.
On a different note, Connor and I had a lovely weekend. We spent a large part of Saturday with Laura and Emily at the park. The babies thoroughly enjoyed themselves, lounging in the sun and playing with their feet.
Of course we brought our cameras and had a little photo shoot. What else would we do? A few of my favorites:
(Taken by Laura)
More Happy Baby!
In this one, his eyes remind me of my brother Jeremy for some reason. I can't explain it, especially since Jeremy has blue eyes:
Call me silly...or a proud momma, it doesn't matter...in this pic I see the nobility of a FUTURE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES...drool and all.
Sunday Connor and I got up even earlier and went hiking with Wayne and his 4 kids. It is a 2.5 mile hike, half of which is up a mountain. I carry Connor strapped to my chest in the Baby Bjorn. He loves it. LOVES it. He coos and flaps his arms and gets really excited. ...of course Wayne usually ends up carrying him a little bit too. I'm working on getting in shape, but I am not there yet!
After that it was back to the park for a cookout. We had a really good time. And Bacon Burgers! Yay for bacon!
Connor learned to use his sippy cup!
For more pictures of our weekend adventures, check out my Picasa Album.
At the end of the day Connor and I were both happily exhausted. It was a simple, blissful pleasure to settle down with him in my recliner for that last nursing of the day.
This may sound bad, but one of my favorite parts of every day is when he has fallen asleep in my lap and I get up to carry him to his crib. It's not that I'm happy he's asleep (although, I am). It's just a sweet, comforting ritual that we have.
He will be peacefully conked out on the pillow and I will ease his weight up into my arms. He'll stir and his brows will crinkle. I kiss his tiny pink lips and slip the pacifier back in his mouth. He's expression smooths into languid serenity. I hold him close for a few moments against my chest, feeling the pressure of his small body against my heart. He's growing, but I can still curl him up in my arms and cuddle him gently. I whisper my love for him in his ear and pace quietly to his crib. I lay him down on his cool sheets and he wiggles down into a comfortable position. I cover him with a light quilt and turn on the monitor. One last look...it always seemed saccharine and silly to me when people called children angles, but I have to admit, I can understand it a little better now.
Of course, once that is done I still have much to do. Bottles and purees to make. Clothes to prepare. Laundry and kitchen duty. The work never ends, but these days I find I don't mind it as much.
That doesn't mean I have time to do all the things that need to be done. Here's a newsflash that most of you probably already knew. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING takes longer when you have a baby. Ultimately, there are only so many hours available in the day and now that my little screamer is on somewhat of a schedule I can't resist that sweet seductress sleep when she's so near and available. The end result? An embarrassing number of things (chores, mostly) that get neglected.
I've got a secret to confess...and it's a little gross so if you're sensitive, you may just not want to read any further.
I have nail polish on my toes that is older than my child.
Mom took me to get a pedicure sometime late in my pregnancy, and even though I couldn't see the toes hiding beneath my giant, pregnant belly, I was happy to have pretty, groomed feet. I hadn't been able to reach them in months and they'd gotten a little scary.
Since Connor was born I can REACH my feet, but somehow I never seem to find the time.
Not when loading the dishwasher requires breaking down half-a-dozen bottles, pump parts, baby food making accouterments and the like in addition to my normal mommy-food making stuff. I run the friggin' thing almost every day and still end up with left-overs in the sink that wouldn't fit in the machine.
Laundry is another challenge entirely. Do you know how long it takes to fold even a small mountain of tiny onsies? I don't have a small mountain, though. I have the Everest of clothes laying on my couch right now, that taunts me every time I walk in my living room.
The only thing that doesn't get extra time these days is personal care. Getting ready for work in the morning usually involves a brief shower and finding something to cover my nakedness that isn't TOO wrinkly from being wadded up on the sofa for a week.
Unless my efforts at expediency are foiled by the charming wiles of my son. He leaned in this morning to hug my face (so I thought) and rewarded my "aww" moment by puking in my hair. Last time it was my cleavage, so I guess I should be glad. One of these days I might learn that my child's seeming affections always come with a price! An extra shower for mommy, aaaaannnnd I'm late for work...again.
I've been trying to save money to get one of these. Connor adores riding around in the Baby Bjorn. However, cooking, folding clothes and such are not as easy with a baby strapped to your chest as you might imagine. I thought having a happy, entertained baby strapped to my back AND free hands might, at least in part, resolve some of my mess issues.
So...even though my toes are scary and my hair (which has become a pull-toy for tiny hands) is a disaster, I resist the urge to go to the beauty parlor for a trim and a pedi in the hopes that one day soon, I will be able to walk from room to room WITHOUT tripping on something shiny and plastic.
The first few weeks of Connor's life I would ask any experienced parent that crossed my path "Does it ever get easier?" The note of desperation in my voice varied in pitch depending on the day and how much sleep I HADN'T gotten the night before. Some people would smile indulgently and tell me "Yes", but most would look down at their older children, who watched their parents curiously interested to hear the answer, and told me "No...it doesn't get easier" or, the kinder ones would say "It doesn't get easier, but the challenges change." I regarded the little bundle in my arms, who was completely dependant upon me for every need, and felt both overwhelmed and helpless. How could I possibly be up for this huge task? Other people manage it everyday, evidenced by the fact that there are so many people in the world. Why did I feel so beaten by such a small person?
This weekend I sat in the floor of the nursery playing with Connor, and I realized suddenly that I was enjoying myself. A few weeks(or was it months?) I lay in the same floor shaking, squeaking, rattling, and crinkling toy after toy, drifting in a haze of exhaustion, silently begging Connor to stay entertained just a few moments longer...and I think that in some way he had to know that I was just dialing it in, because he never seemed content to just sit and play this way.
And then, here we were, each of us sitting over one of those noisy toys that has things you can twist, poke, bop, etc. He was amazing me by mimicking all of my actions. I pressed the big button and he followed suit. I bopped one of the bobbles and he looked surprised for a moment, and then bopped it too. I flicked the spinner and, as though he was noticing it for the first time, he grabbed it and tried to make it spin. Every few minutes he would look up at me and reward me with a HUGE gummy grin. I couldn't help but smile back.
As messy as the house is right now, I'm managing to beat the mess back a little at a time. Connor plays by himself more and more often and I have a chance to run and throw a load of clothes in the laundry or put some dishes in the dishwasher. I don't have to do everything once he goes to sleep now, so I get to bed a little earlier...and since he has a sleep schedule, I am actually able to get enough sleep most nights that I can function properly the next day.
Now that he is sitting up, he loves the bi-weekly trips to the grocery store and he's getting to the point where he can put his own paci in his mouth.
Without me noticing it, all of a sudden things are easier. There is a pleasant, predictable rhythm to work days, and a host of opportunity for fun and adventure on the weekends.
As much as I am enjoying him now, I have to say, I am looking forward to the new developments around the corner. One day soon when he is looking at me with one of those inscrutable expressions, I'll ask him what he's thinking about and he'll actually be able to tell me!