Posted by: emjb | October 21, 2006

Eleven months

nathanhidehand.jpg

photo courtesy Dean Hall

In the last few weeks, it seems you’ve grown up, all at once. Maybe it’s the change in the weather, which meant we had to get you some big boy warm clothes (size 2T, and probably bigger by springtime). In your new long sleeve shirts and socks from the boys’ department, wrestling with your sippy cup and holding your graham cracker, laughing a real “huuuh-huh, heh heh heh” laugh, I spy, with my little eye, someone who’s pretty much a toddler.

You’re so close to walking, so very close, and it took you less time to get the hang of standing than it did to learn to get up on all fours. Once you’re walking, running will happen in a flash, then jumping, then being upset when I won’t let you leap off the couch and bust your head open.

We’ve been taking it slow with teaching you to eat solids, not rushing things…but it’s time. You’re going into daycare soon, and they don’t feed you formula and strained sweet potatoes. They want you to use sippy cups and nibble real food. We’re a little conflicted about rushing you, but at the same time, we were probably being lazy. It’s so much easier to make you a bottle, so much nicer to cuddle you while you eat, because it was the only time you were still. But that’s not what you need anymore, so we’ll have to give it up. We’ll have to learn to be satisfied with your regular, hug-and-go style of cuddling, with holding you upside down and playing giddy-up on our knees, with kisses snuck in while you twist away to grab something that’s caught your eye. With rocking you to sleep and rolling you up in a towel after your bath and squeezing you dry while you holler in protest.

So we put tiny bits of cooked pasta and garbanzo beans and peas and whatever else we can think of in front of you at mealtimes. Mostly you don’t eat them, you squeeze them in your huge-for-a-baby hands and frown. Mostly if we put them in your mouth you squeeze up your face in disgust, then make a horrible “ack ACK ack” exactly like a cat with a hairball. Every now and then, you decide something is tolerable, like dried apricots. But it’s slow going.

Despite that, one side effect of teaching you to pick up things off your plate and eat them is that you’ve realized you can also pick up things off the floor and eat them. I don’t know what you were chewing on at your grandma’s this afternoon, but it was already swallowed by the time I got to you. That was six hours ago, so I guess it wasn’t anything toxic.

I’m so excited for you to be going to school, though I try not to think too much about the fact that you’ll only be seeing me and your dad before and after school and on weekends. It feels like a demotion, like we both ended up the non-custodial parents in a divorce and now only get you on weekends.

It’ll be harder on us than on you. You’ll have so much to do and learn and play with that your little brain will hit light speed. In the meantime, we’ll be sitting at work wishing we were playing patty cake with you. It’s the right thing to do, but we’re not having an easy time with it.

I couldn’t imagine putting you in daycare three months ago. You were still so little, such a clingy needy baby thing, happy in your two naps routine, a bath the biggest excitement you could imagine.

But now it’s just one long nap a day, and you get bored in the bath after a while and want to start messing with the faucets. You can get from one end of the apartment to the other in about 1 minute flat, and I can tell that you’re looking for new things to do. When we took you to visit the preschool, you watched the other kids with fascination, yearned towards the unfamiliar toys and play mats, flirted with the teachers, and got peeved when we didn’t let you play but took you home instead.

So, it’s time. I hope your old mama can learn to adjust, because it’s only the beginning.

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