Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Busy Day

Cole has been trying to eat our food. Well, not literally, but his behavior is definitely pro-food. When we eat, he watches our food all the way up to our mouths and his arms get stiff and shake. Even his legs get in on the action—stretching out and quivering.

So, on doctor’s recommendation, Cole tried his first food today—rice cereal mixed with formula.

As the spoon first neared his mouth, his body tensed, shook.

His mouth popped open in excitement.

The baby spoon slid in with the sweet, delectable treat.

Of course, most of the cereal goo mostly slid right back out onto Cole’s bib, but the enjoyment of finally being included in this mysterious dining ritual was seen across his cheeks.

Then it was off to Touch-a-Truck where that is precisely what we did. We all had our favorites: Nick loved the black hawk helicopter; Genny liked trucks with loud horns and the bouncy dog ride, which made it seem like you were jumping around inside a dog’s belly; I was most interested in seeing the inside of the mobile police unit trailer (very cushy) and meeting the police dog. Cole, on the other hand, was not so pleased with the flocks of children honking and tooting the various noise implements in the vehicles.

After lunch at home we were off on one more adventure—going to Treeland to buy seeds and plants for our garden.

Genny is now passed out on the couch.

Cole is being changed by Dad.

And I am wondering, once again, what’s for dinner.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

What Is

The sounds around me: Cole nursing, smacking his lips, and purring, cars on Broadbridge Avenue swooshing by, birds tweetering (not twittering), Genny’s spider movie’s character shouting, “Squirt! Squirt!”, the subdued clacks of my keyboard.

The smells around me: key lime cheesecake, Cole’s head, reheated fish and canned corn.

The thoughts around me: my lower back aches, my right arm hurts from holding Cole, I have a headache, I’d like another piece of cheesecake, it’s going to be a busy weekend, I love spring.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amen to Nannies!

Just when I thought I was going loony insane with motherhood, I see this article!

Laura T. Coffey sums up very well how I feel. It’s not that I don’t love and enjoy spending time with my children; it’s just that I don’t want to do it every minute of the day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Especially in the case of a sleep-deprived (and own life deprived) mother.

After non-stop mothering all day long, when my husband comes home at eight pm, guess what? All I want to do is sleep. This is not the makings of a deep and romantic relationship. My husband is a saint, of course, and understands my need for sleep whenever I can get it, but I would really like to be able to spend time with him without fantasizing about sleep!

I imagine that this is why the human species evolved the way it has. Babies nap not because they need to, but because mothers need them to nap. If there were no baby naps the human being just might be extinct right now.

So when a baby doesn’t nap for some reason on any given day, it is the mother who suffers. And all humankind. At least all humankind that lives under that same roof.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

He’s a Healthy Baby

At Super Stop and Shop I saw a woman with a baby in a carrier. This baby was eight-and-a-half months old and weighed the same as Cole. Yes, the baby was a girl, but still.

I have a big baby. And now that I’ve said it so many times, that’s become his “thing.” Cole IS the big baby. Perhaps I should stop all this labeling right now before it gets out of control.

Cole is simply the size he is. Not that there is anything wrong with being a big baby, or a big grownup for that matter. I guess I just don’t want him to get stuck with a label so early not of his own choosing.

It’s amazing how much we label ourselves and others even when we know it’s not healthy.

This is especially true when it comes to the labels applied to body image. I’ve noticed most people who comment on Cole’s size use the same safe label that I model—big. How different would it be if he were an older child in the 95th percentile for weight? Would he still be big or simply fat? Would he have adorable chunky legs that I like to call ham hocks or would they turn into thunder thighs?

And why am I so focused on his body anyway? Yeah, I know—he’s a baby and we’re delighted in their cute, new bodies. We can’t stop talking about the arms, legs, toes, etc.

And I do love the roundness of his “big” tummy. I know that it’s only “baby fat” and he’ll probably lose it all and be a skinny little guy, but really, I only want him to be healthy.

Hmm…maybe that’s a good label? My healthy baby.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Cole had his four-month check-up today, which included three shots to the thighs. He screamed mercilessly, of course.

The nurse commented on his chunky thighs, “He’s only four months old?” Yes, but he is in the 90th percentile for weight.

What must a baby think as he is stabbed while his own mother holds him down? Talk about buried trauma and anger toward the parent! Anyway, he seems quite content now, so hopefully he won’t get a fever or be extra fussy.

I should have tried to squeeze in a nap earlier, but now Genny is home from school, making a time-out for Mom an impossibility.

I believe it will be another leftover Easter dinner night, but I guess I’ll have to draw the line at three nights in a row of the same food. Although Genny probably enjoys eating the same foods repeatedly, just as she savors the same Care Bear movie over and over.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Unexpected Life

I’m struck by this quote from A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson: “Doesn’t change occur only when we stop living the expected life?”

How difficult it is to not fall into the “expected life” of a mother. As a mother, our entire waking hours are seemingly devoted to taking care of others, of putting others’ needs before our own. This is the role we are supposed to play. This perfect mother is who we are expected to be.

Thank goodness that this mindset has changed some. I do say “some” because I think although it’s easy to say we know we need to live our own lives and selves apart from being mother, it is harder done than said.

I want and need a balance of me as Sheila and me as Mommy. I know this, but am I willing to work through the guilt of not being the perfect “mom”?

Can I embrace and be proud of my unexpected life so far? Yes. Now, I must work on living that forward.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Easter Thing

We did the Easter thing today. You know, the bunny came. Genny did not notice that the bunny didn’t leave anything for her four month old brother, but did leave some Peeps for her parents.

Today, once again, it hit me hard how much of a parent I am now.

I was sitting in the very back row of our minivan with Genny in her booster seat, Nana sat with Cole in front of us, and then Nick drove with his dad next to him.

We slowly traveled up Route 8 in the right lane to my father and step-mother’s house. I pointed out forsythia bushes and willow trees to Genny and then it turned into a contest to see who could spot them first.

I had on my happy sing-song voice as I tree-spotted, even though I was not feeling cheery. There was a sense of Genny playing up her own happiness at our sport. Perhaps I only imagined it, but it felt as though she is already aware of her own passing childhood and was trying desperately to grab onto it.

Just as I did as a child.

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