There are a lot of cliches that float around when birthday time comes along, especially first birthdays. “It’s gone by so fast,” “it seems like just yesterday he was a newborn,” “they grow up too quickly,” and so on, and so on… I thought long and hard about making the obligatory sentimental post for Eric’s birthday, but honestly, it’s just not there.
I’m one of the strange moms, it seems, that rather than being so sad that her little baby is turning one, I’m absolutely delighted. This has been a phenomenal year, and I can’t wait for the next one. For every milestone and exciting moment that has passed, I know there are two more right around the corner. This year has only been the beginning of what is one heck of a ride, one of the most amazing journeys of our lives.
It hasn’t been the easiest year. I never expected it to be. From the earliest troubles nursing to the latest troubles teething, there have been challenges to meet, and we’ve done each one pretty darned well I must say. He has, indeed, gotten so big; I can hardly equate the big guy that tackles me from across the room with the itty bitty newborn that fit all too neatly into the crook of my arm. Now, naps together in my chair have limbs sprawled every which way, through the arm, between my legs… I don’t think that’s going to work all that well for much longer, but we enjoy it. He has, indeed, changed a lot; I remember rejoicing in the fact that he would – gasp! – push his head up just a little and flip it over with ever-so-careful effort, and now we’re cheering him on as he lets go of my leg and stands there, just a little wobbly, for a good 30 seconds before dropping or, more often, tackling me with glee. No steps yet, but he’s getting there. We have a heck of a time getting this on film though!
He’s gone from a little newborn sleeper to a little boy with an incredible personality. How can I not celebrate who he is? There’s no sorrow in how far he’s come! I’ve always been a little different from most other people, I guess I’m proving it again.
I have to say, I teared up just a tiny bit this morning. Not because of his birthday, but because of the reception we got at daycare. Every time I wince at the cost and think that maybe we should have done a home daycare, they remind me again just how great they are, how lucky we are to have such fabulous child care. Walking in the door, they had a big sign that proclaimed, “Happy 1st Birthday, Eric!!” We get the door open and there’s a cry of, “There he is!” “It’s the birthday boy!” “Baby Eric!” Both of the morning ladies and a couple of the older kids rush over, wishing him a happy birthday, and I’m told quite soundly to “hold on just a minute, don’t leave!” One of the ladies disappeared into the infant & toddler room, returning a minute later with a pair of gift bags, a mini cake, a party hat, and a camera. “We got him a cake! Can he have it??? We’re going to have a party! Can you stay to open presents??”
Yep, they’re going full out today. They got party hats for all the kids in his room (they’re all toddlers or nearly toddlers), they’re going to try to get them all to wear the hats and get on the carpet for a picture. The two that were there already got him cards and gifts – some super adorable clothes – and they told me that the primary lady in the infant/toddler room also was getting him something… (This is also the lady that, the other day, said if we ever needed a babysitter we just had to ask!) As I was leaving, they were discussing the fact that one had her camera, but not many pictures left, that’s OK, the other one had her camera too, and the primary lady might bring hers too when she gets in. I brought my camera in, since I’d brought mini cupcakes and figured they could be a treat, so they assured me that I would get some pictures too.
It is so, so much easier to come to work when I know how well he’s taken care of and loved over there.
First birthdays are cool. Here’s to one amazing year, and starting out on another one.
I got home today to discover that everything that has been shipped to me has arrived in town.
From the post office, a little slip of paper saying my package from my parents with Eric’s birthday gifts will be at the post office waiting for me.
From DHL, a sticker saying they will try again tomorrow to deliver my Canadian Harry Potter book, or I can call to arrange pick up.
From UPS … a box with huge graphics exclaiming that the contents are our gift portable DVD player from DirecTV sitting in plain sight on the doorstep.
Am I the only one amused? UPS loses…
Yep, that’s right. Weaned. I hardly expected it to go this well or quickly, but not being one to mess with a good thing, when Eric took quite nicely to his sippy cups on our trip to Kansas I jumped all over the opportunity. For a week, fewer bottles and more sippies were migrating to daycare, and this past weekend there wasn’t a bottle in sight. Eric, for what it’s worth, isn’t drinking quite as much in one sitting, but he seems happy all the same. He even – say it ain’t so – is eating a bit more table food to compensate. (Daycare informs me that he still does not approve of their lunch menu, however.)
With weaning comes another delight: milk. True milk, truer than anything he’s had since he was 5 weeks old. That nasty formula stuff is going to stick around a while longer, but we’re starting to get him used to milk and, if we wanted, we could probably make the switch right now and he wouldn’t complain. The worrier in me that has been told formula until a year has me mixing – not to mention the can and a half he still has left at home. I won’t be buying anymore, though, and my wallet rejoices that fact. It’s weird, though… It seems like just yesterday I was trying to figure out just what formula to give him, and now it’s gone. Time flies.
I’ve learned to be a sneaky mommy in all of this as well. Not so much with the drinks, he’s good with the drinks. Food, on the other hand… He’s still as picky as ever. He barely has a lunch at daycare because he won’t eat what they give him. (Of course, my opinion on that is that if he’s hungry, he’ll eat.) I did learn, though, a trick to sneaking some meat into the child: put a slice on his cheesy bread. He loves loves loves it when I cover a slice of bread with shredded cheddar and stick it under the broiler. A thin slice of deli meat goes great between those two layers, and he gobbled down a good 2/3 of it before chucking pieces onto the floor in his baby demand for dessert.
And man, dessert. The kid can put away a whole banana. So much for sharing!
I guess that’s nothing to complain about though. He’ll eat fruit. Man will he eat fruit, he loves the stuff. If I can’t have a child that likes his veggies, I’ll settle for one that likes his fruit. I wish I knew what changed in there that turned Eric from loving any of the jarred veggies to hating them all, period – but such mysteries are never solved.
In other news… Tomorrow is my citizenship interview. I’m not nervous or worried, just psyched and very curious to how it will all go down. Expect details later in the week. In the meantime, have a video.
I love my mommy group, but sometimes it’s just not good for me.
I joined it online at 3 in the morning while watching Eric sleep in the only place he would at that point: my arms. Or maybe I was pumping, I don’t know. All I do know is that I wanted something to do and TV sucked so I finally joined the forum I’d be stalking for months. They’re an amazing group of women, and have made an impact on my life in ways as simple as some laughter and as massive as Aleah’s life and death. Unfortunately, it’s a group of moms that, when pregnant, were due in July. That means that all but about 6 are older than Eric, many by a month or more.
So when they’re all talking about how their babies are saying real live words – hi and kitty and car and a plethora of others – and my son barely demonstrates mastery of mama and dada in any kind of context, I wonder. I don’t worry, because I see in other ways that he’s smart and really takes to stuff when he wants to, but I begin to wonder if there isn’t something I’m supposed to be doing that I’m not.
In lieu of words, though, he’s decided that this week it’s all about in and out. This can be a simple thing for him: he emptied out his turtle (it’s got a bowl in place of a shell that, if you push the head, it spins around whatever’s inside the bowl) and tried to put the tractor from his exersaucer in it. He also spent his entire bath Sunday putting his rubber ducky into his bath cup and taking it back out. Every now and then the cup would fall over and float away, and he would diligently chase it down, set it up, chase down the ducky, and start all over again.
He also likes to put things in other people’s mouths, though, which is where it gets a little more interesting. Or at least, he likes to put things in Mommy’s mouth; I can’t speak for his doing it to anyone else. Yesterday, after quite thankfully chewing on his teether for a while, he popped it out of his mouth, reached up, and tried to shove it in mine. I guess he was trying to share and make me feel as good as he felt to have it – which is sweet, except when you’re getting smacked in the mouth by a half frozen teether. Eric understands many things. Gentle isn’t one of them. I played along though, opened my mouth and bit down on one of the frozen gel beads, and in exchange received an uproarious laugh. I opened, he pulled it away, then we did it all over again. Yep. We have a new game.
When he does have a toy, he also likes to use his fingers. First he was discovering my mouth and how it’s just like his – tongue, some teeth, open and shut. He would reach in and just feel my teeth, quite in wonder. Then, one time, I close my mouth and very gently gnawed his tiny finger. Boy, was that a hit! He thought it was absolutely hilarious that I would chew his finger just like he’s chewed mine. Now, any chance I get, I go for one of his hands and pretend to munch on it and he just laughs and laughs. He will pull his hand away, and then extend one finger and poke at my lips until I open up and do it again.
Does it say something about us that our favorite game is “eat the baby”?
I am also proud to say that he has learned that he needs to tip bottles up in order to drink out of them. Just in time to start weaning, yay! This does, however, give me a feeling like he might learn how to use traditional sippy cups the same way he learned straws. In fact, the other day I gave him his with some water in it and he sucked back about an ounce – which isn’t really that much, but is a lot more than the nothing he always used to get.
He’ll be 11 months this weekend. That’s only one more month until his birthday. Now that is pretty crazy.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.
Change is in the air on Waterdeep. The aspect of the game that drew me in – what, seven years ago? – is coming back to life and I’m sitting on the sidelines watching it happen. It comes down to time. When do I have time? When I could be sleeping? Sleep is more important. Absolutely, positively, more important. Oh, I know, or when I could be spending time with my family otherwise. That’s it.
Time is a funny thing. Time and priorities, where it goes and what you do with it. I know, a couple years ago, I preferred to spend my time on games mostly. I have a stack of PS2 games sitting on a shelf collecting dust. I have three must haves that I’ve barely touched – I love playing them when I can, but that isn’t very often these days. I would spend days on end tinkering with web designs just because I could, creating things with no real purpose, playing around. Obviously, I still do that some, but it isn’t nearly as much and the focus I put into it isn’t nearly as much.
Where’d all of that time I had go?
I’m almost a year into this motherhood thing now, and slowly I’ve found balance, but it isn’t anything like the balance I used to have. The whirlwind of nursing and pumping and diapers and naptime and bottles and tears that were the first six weeks faded into a strange juggling act of work and home, boss and baby. Eric’s bedtime changed, and suddenly I have an hour in the evening for me on week days, and that’s miraculous. I actually pulled up a game last night and blew away half an hour before bed.
It’s still a lot of juggling though, and it’s still all about priorities. Yesterday, I got home with Eric and was faced with the novel ability to do whatever for half an hour while supper baked in the oven. I looked around and said to myself, Self, when was the last time you dusted? I didn’t know. I still don’t. John came home and found me crawling around on the floor with Eric, chasing him around the partition wall between the kitchen and the living room. He was laughing. I was laughing. The dust was laughing, because it got to live another day.
If anyone ever shows up at my house, I’ll be mortified. Until then, it’s between the three of us. Because with so little time not devoted to the must-do’s and the have-to’s, when I’m faced with the decision between playing with Eric and doing housework, it’s all about one thing:
Smile wins over the dust rag every single time. And that’s what it’s about. Time. There’s only so much of it to be spent with this little baby mine, and no chore, no video game, no book can hold a candle to that.
Parent Bloggers and Light Iris are doing a blog blast about where time goes. Someone’s going to win a ticket to a conference, but honestly, I’m not that into the prize. I just love the topic, and can’t wait to read what other people have to say on the subject. Take a read.