My Child Makes Me Feel Like Gollum

I am pretty smitten with my son.  The extent totters on the ridiculous.  I love to watch as he interacts with his environment.  I love to make him smile & laugh.  I know he is the most adorable thing I have ever seen.  I sometimes have to make sure I’m not squeezing him too tightly when I’m getting my snuggles because I could honestly just hold him forever and be satisfied.  This golden-haired angel has made me crazy.

As I lovingly dote on him after I’ve laid him down for his nap, I marvel at my precious child.  Then the words, “I will risk no harm to him. He is precious to me” in Gandalf’s voice pop into my head, and I laugh at myself – hard.  Suddenly, I am Gollum, and James is my own, my precious.  So I tell myself to take it down a notch, you crazy nerd, and go get my chores done while I have a chance.

My Kid Needs a Helmet

Le bèbè is 7 months old, and for the past couple of months, I have noticed one thing we really needed in our lives: a helmet.  In the progression from flat-laying, stationary infant to sitting up, crawling, pulling up baby, there have been a lot of bonks, mostly on the head considering it is still about 1/4 of his body. That and the fact that my son charges head first into exploring his world.

The first solid hit was to the corner of his right eye. I just knew he was going to have a shiner; it was red & purple all over. Lesson one: kids heal fast. I distinctly remember after James’s first bout of diaper rash cleared up almost instantly after starting to apply cream, my husband & I swore our son must be Wolverine. After a few days, he was back to normal, and it never progressed to a black eye.

There have just been so many since then. Try as I may, he would find a way to fall from sitting & smack his head on the one area of floor around him that I didn’t have padded with boppies & throw pillows or just fall between them. Or he will get ahead of himself while crawling (even though he’s had it down for a while) and face plant – extra unpleasant since he started getting his top front teeth.

One day at playgroup, he lost his balance from sitting up while holding a toy so was unable to catch himself before falling onto the edge of another toy and busted his eye. That tiny slit in the corner of this right eye oozing slightly with blood sent me into near panic. But the butterfly strips I purchased were not necessary as it turned out the split was already scabbing up nicely on it’s own. Wolverine.

The other lessons I’m gleaning from this mess:
1. I will probably be getting paid back for all those trips to the ER my mom had to suffer through, since it would appear my son will be accident-prone like his mother.
2. You can’t baby-proof the world. I will not be able to save him from every hard, rough, or pointy surface. I’ll just have to steel my nerves, brush up on my first-aid, and cross-my-fingers he’s a quick learner.

So, here’s hoping the cranial awareness increases real soon or my next Amazon search might be “baby helmet.”

Poopocalypse

Dear Naive Childless Person,
If you become a parent, there will be poo.  More importantly, it will not always be nicely contained in the diaper.  Oh no, it will escape.
Sincerely, Survivor

I wish someone had written that note to me just over 7 months ago.  It’s like your brain knows a baby will poop, but it just cannot fathom the horrors to come.

The first day we brought our teeny little baby boy home, he shot poop over the changing pad onto the couch during a diaper change.  It made about a foot long trajectory down the cushion & off the side.  My sleep-deprivation delirious husband and I could only laugh because it was so ridiculous such a mess could have so quickly happened from so small a thing.  And we dubbed it “Poopocalypse.”  It was like our initiation into parenting.

There have been oh-so-many since that first experience:
– my dear husband being so distracted by the cuteness of the naked baby that he picked him up anyway and got poop in his hand… the baby pooped. IN his hand. Poopocalypse!
– the day I was changing the diaper and a little expelled gas decided to bring a little poo with it which shot onto my arm. Poopocalypse!
– and the innumerable times the diaper just couldn’t be bothered to contain all the poo, leaking it out into people’s laps, all over their clothes, and anything else at all the baby might come in contact with.  Poopocalypse!

I have no doubt there will be many more to come. We’ve yet to have any poop during bathtime and potty training promises to be eventful.

Parents even talk openly about poo.  We stalk the color, quantity, consistency of our baby’s feces as it goes through a whirlwind of changes in the first month.  Then even more fun as we introduce solids.

So, if you are thinking about having a kid, start bracing your gag reflex for the Poopocalypse!

The Battle

It would appear that my consistency has only improved with parenthood … almost 7 months later, how the time flies!

I actually went into labor 2 days after my last brief post, and that is what this post is about.  Don’t worry, there will be no gory details here.  I just feel like people who haven’t experienced it, as a mother or a support person, can have no idea what labor is really like.  I certainly didn’t 7 months ago!

The entertainment industry will never be able to fully grasp the experience of childbirth, even if it wanted to, which I am sure it doesn’t.  Most of all because you simply cannot have a scene that long.  Most movies have some version of some screaming, some pushing, maybe some swearing, but all in all after some heroic, yet brief effort out comes a baby, fairly tidy with no umbilical cord.  That is not how it works.

Labor is a battle.  It is a great effort of sheer will and determination.  It doesn’t matter if it is long or short, medicated or not, at home or in hospital – it is a fight.  A fight to bring a person into the world.  It manifests differently for each person, but afterwards there are the scars of battle, no matter how it progressed.

I look back on that experience and feel like a total bad-ass.  (sorry for the language, it’s the only appropriate word for it)  I see other mothers differently – my friends & family, like we should all be slow-motion walking with an explosion behind us.

We should probably add the fathers in there too because I have been realizing that parenthood is the war of which our labor battle is just a tiny part.  We battle to grow & birth a person.  We battle against exhaustion & frustration to learn to care for a tiny tyrant.  My current battle is with little white teeth that are throwing my norms into an upheaval.  In the future, we will battle illness, annoyance, the outside world, ourselves, and our own child as he fights his way through growing up.

Don’t think we are alone, though.  We have each other: our spouse, other parents, our parents, but most importantly our Heavenly Father.  He is the one who can see us through; when we are tired, when we are frustrated, when we are lonely, when we don’t know what to do, when we feel like we have nothing more to give, He is there.  And thank goodness for that!

Also, remember the spoils of war: the tiny miracle you hold when your battle is over, that sweet little face that thinks you are the best thing ever.  Cherish the smiles and the snuggles, the laughter and the playfulness, the cutest thing you have ever seen in your entire life that makes you want to spend all of your time just staring at him.  I love our new life and would never go back.

Parenthood is the greatest gift.  It is the battle that I willingly choose every day.  It isn’t easy, but it is so worth the fight.

Nap time is over; back into the fray!

Christmas Send-Off

I suppose today officially marks the end of Christmas week, but I hope you will indulge me by watching one more Christmas video.

If you are like me and might struggle at always keeping the true meaning of Christmas at the forefront of your mind, this Christmas remake of Hallelujah by Cloverton will at least close your season on a good note.  An already beautiful song made even more poignant, I wish I would have found this earlier on in December.  May the remainder of your year be blessed!

Tales from the Belly: What’s in a Name?

We are on our final laps of pregnancy – 38 weeks today.  I had my last appointment a couple days ago (they don’t stalk your baby with weekly appointments here if there are no complications).  Now, we are just waiting … ah patience, not one of my virtues, so maybe I should say: “now, we are just trying to stay as distracted as possible.”

I’ve noticed a trend: a decline in the number of “how are you feeling?”s – probably because most people see the big belly & know the answer can’t be that enthusiastic.  So they stray to safer topics: “when is your due date?” or “are you ready?” or “do you have a name picked out?”

The last one is always fun because the answer is “no.”  That’s right, we are weeks away, and my baby does not have a name!  He has name options, but confound it, we cannot decide.

Maybe there are just too many choices, and nothing is new.  You have some kind of connection with every name you read from the book – someone you knew once, a popular or historical figure.  You could go celebrity & name your kid after a color or fruit.  There are place names, different spellings, old-fashioned names, and family names.  My head might explode.

There are serious problems to consider: avoiding funny nicknames or initials, making sure it flows with the last name, making sure a kid could spell it.  Eventually, you end up eliminating your entire list!

Then, you think you’ve picked a name, & a month later, you don’t like it anymore.  But then you like it again, but then you don’t.  And before the nine (ten) months are up, you are so tired of thinking about it that you just throw your hands up & move on to something easier – like washing baby clothes or making your hospital bag packing list.

Maybe it’s best not to have a name picked out. What if he comes out & we realize that he doesn’t look like the name we picked & then it’s embroidered on everything already?

Or even more likely, my husband has a tendency to call people the names he thinks they should have.  He has dubbed many of our friends with different names.  Just the other day, he asked why I had been letting him call our friends’ baby Charlie when his name is George (honestly, I didn’t notice), then he decided the kid was more of a Charlie anyway.  So, if I had named our baby, he may come out & get called something different by his father & then wouldn’t everyone be confused!

At this point, we’ve simply told our family & friends that we won’t name him until we meet him with a promise to not take 3 days like Wills & Kate.  We usually do our best work with a deadline anyway.

Giving and Receiving

As with all things in life, I think we have seasons of giving and receiving.  Sometimes, you have it all together and are perfectly poised to lavish on others.  Then, there are times of transition when it is your turn to receive.

I find it easier to be on the giving end, doing for others, sharing with joy.  I love getting someone a good gift, knowing they are going to love it!  Or the excellent feeling of helping someone in need, looking past yourself to those around you.  It’s a wonderful position to be in.

Right now, we are on the receiving end.  So much love and support has poured in from family and friends, both near and far, in celebration of the approaching arrival of our little dude.  We have been floored by the limitless capacity for thoughtfulness and generosity that the people in our lives have shown.  I am so grateful for each & every gesture, kind word, and gift.  It is such a big transition to go from a couple to a family, so many things will change, but I feel ready.  My cocoon of support reassures me.

So today, I give thanks for each of you.

And whatever season of life you find yourself in, be grateful for it.  Receive the love and kindness with grace & gratitude, so when it is your turn to give, you may give joyfully & freely.

HARVEYGREY

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