Sunday, December 16, 2007

Month 9: A Bad Morning

As a mom, I would like to think that I'll always have the right answer - the right words, the right reactions, the right amount of patience.

This morning I had none of that.

Being a parent is teaching me about new things - among them, the limits I didn't know I had. New amounts of love I didn't think possible, new abilities to wake up (willingly) at 3:00 a.m. if my beloved needs me, and new limitations on just how much "aaahhh!!!" I can take. Somehow, this last limitation took me nearly ten months to discover.

You're probably expecting a long list of all the bad stuff Daniel did this morning, or the one giant disaster he caused. But he was fine - in a good mood, even. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my Nyquil hangover. But whatever the reason, this morning was a bad morning.

I guess I'm mostly surprised at how quickly that "I need to get out" feeling arose. Most days, it never happens. But this morning all it took was 30 minutes of feeling like ever other word out of my mouth was "Daniel, no..." as he managed to bee-line for the TV, the stack of DVDs, the one shaky table, and every other baby-hazard in the room. His energy level reached new heights and suddenly my patience reached new lows. For the first time I felt like I had no idea what to do with him. I couldn't make him laugh, he didn't seem to want to play with me, and I felt inadequate.

I snapped. I needed to get out, get away and get some fresh air. I got dressed, loaded Daniel into the car and headed for church. I checked Daniel into the nursery as he looked at me with "Mommy don't leave me" eyes. I left him anyway, and head to my office to catch up on work I missed while sick.

As soon as I sat down in my office, Sobfest 2007 began. Absolute breakdown. Tears, anger, the whole nine yards. Poor Fernando came and found me halfway through. The guilt of not knowing how to parent is overwhelming, and even worse is the feeling of Daniel not needing or wanting me. I think I cried for 45 minutes, not knowing even what about exactly.

I felt awful that I even needed a minute away from him - what kind of parent am I? I feel jealous when Fernando plays so well with him - wrestling and evoking uncontrollable laughter from Daniel, who rarely laughs that way with me. I feel hurt when Daniel pushes away from me, or wants me to put him down... then embarassed that I'd get upset at a baby for his actions.

After I ran out of tears, I went to pick up Daniel, who by some mistake was in the wrong classroom. He was a mess - hungry, tired, wet - and entirely needing his Mommy. And for that instant every wrong was righted - at that moment he needed me.

We drove home, and as I unload him from the car he curls up on my shoulder, sleepy and sweet. We change his diaper and cuddle under a warm blanket for a bottle before naptime. He's currently passed out, snoring quietly, with his rhino in one hand and a blanket wrapped around his legs. No doubt he's storing up for his next bout of energy while dreaming of a world where wall outlets aren't plugged. My little man.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Month 9: Before I Forget, Part III

This is, hands down, the most delightful stage we've encountered yet. If I could freeze time, and keep Daniel at this age for just a few more days or weeks, I would. Every day we seem to have more and more fun (and consequently, I have had less and less time for writing about how much fun we're having. I'm home sick today, which is the only reason I am taking time to write this one).

Before time flies all too quickly again, it's time for another installment of "before I forget" even though I know I've already forgotten things that should be on this list.

I never want to forget...

- How he loves straws... and learned to drink tiny sips from one.
- How he carefully picks up Cheerios one by one, somehow maneuvering them into his mouth.
- How much he loves bathtime, and loves standing and holding onto the faucet.
- How jerky and quick his crawling can be when he wants to get somewhere in a hurry.
- How his babbling evolves daily... the word du'jour is "bah-doo" over and over.
- How he entertains himself by standing, sitting, standing, sitting, standing, sitting...
- How he really WANTS to stand with no hands, but doesn't quite have the balance yet...
- How he loves veggie poofs so much that he shoves all of them in his mouth (using both hands) without chewing or swallowing.
- How when he's sick, he gets very affectionate, laying his head on our chest and shoulders.
- How he dies of excitement when we pick him up from daycare - first laughing then crying if we don't pick him up fast enough.
- How dining room table chairs are the best baby gates ever!
- How every church volunteer or daycare worker falls in love with him the second they meet him.
- How he has to have his rhino (Zona) or his turtle (Diego) to sleep.
- How he snores quietly when he falls asleep in his car seat.
- How he runs his fingers over our teeth and lips in complete fascination.
- How he monkey crawls sometimes... on his feet and hands.
- How when he's really congested, he'll blow "boogar bubbles". Ew!
- How he loves his little Santa hat, and will leave it on all day long.
- How his poop smells worse and worse every day! And yet we still celebrate when it happens.
- How his favorite snacks come right off the kitchen floor... before we can stop him.
- How it's absolutely impossible to keep him clean. Impossible.
- How quiet he is when he first wakes up - sleepy eyes and puffy face... just looking around the room.
- How banging his hands on doors and walls can amount to 30 minutes of entertainment!
- How he looks like a different boy every day - and my eyes have to re-study every detail.
- How my heart actually breaks with the unexpected amount of love I feel.

On a less nostalgic note, we are getting ready for Daniel's first plane trip, and I have to say, I'm terrified. He is not a "sit quietly in laps" type baby, but since he's under 2 years old, we didn't have to buy him his own ticket (to save $300-something bucks). I'm worried for those little ears during take-off and landing, and I'm worried for our sanity (and the sanity of those around us). It's an evening flight (two flights, actually) and I'm sure Daniel will be sleepy and fussy. I know we'll all survive those few hours, but I'm still nervous.

Anyway. He'll be ten months soon, and then a year before I know it. I cannot believe how quickly it's going, or how much fun it is! Those first few weeks were rough (I'm not gonna lie...) but everything afterwards has more than made up for it! Here's to a successful flight(s) and a fun Christmas family get together!