April 13, 2006
This month you have begun saying “NO” which is kind of cute. Cute in the way that you shake your head back and forth vigorously while saying, “OooooooOooooo” You say no to everything even things you actually do want.
“Miles, do you want a cookie?”
“OoooooooOooooooo,” you answer shaking your head and swatting at the offending cookie that I dare to offer to you. By your reaction one would think I had offered you a dung patty as a snack.
A few minutes later you will walk over to the cabinet, point your little finger up to where the cookies are kept, and scream. A scream that says, “NOW, I want a cookie, bitch. You will obey.” You are drunk on your own power.
It has become warm enough the past few days to get out our summer clothes and sandals. You have been wearing shorts, which really are nothing more than very baggy pants that end just above your socks.
Your second toe on both your feet sticks up slightly and crosses over the big toe. It is almost as if the toe has no bones, like it is a little jello toe. I want to bite it off and eat it, that is how delicious I think it is. I know that one day when you are a preteen or teenager you won’t like it and will probably be embarrassed of it and refuse to wear sandals. I hope not, but I was that age once and remember clearly how anything that seemed the slightest bit different than the norm seemed like a glaring imperfection that the entire world was staring at.
The past week you had been sleeping really well, for you anyway, and it was wonderful. But two days ago you got whatever illness is making it’s rounds now and for the past two nights you have been up numerous times crying, wanting to nurse, wanting to snuggle, wanting to make sure we all felt your pain. And we do. Trust me.
The other night you were in our bed and I got fed up with your kicking me in the stomach and pulling my hair. You were refusing to sleep. So I picked you up and put you in the porta-crib that is in our room. You couldn’t believe I would dare to put you there. You began screaming. But after about 20 seconds you would pause to listen and see if we were coming to get you out. Then you would scream again for another 20 seconds.
After doing that a few times you began yelling, “Daaaa-deeee Daaaa-deeee” Then you would pause long enough to hear your father and I trying to stifle our giggles. Rob called back to you, “Sleepy time. Go to sleep.” There was a pause where we thought perhaps you were heeding his words, when out of the darkness we heard, “Ooooooooo Oooooooo” And the rustling sound I was hearing led me to believe that you were shaking your head as forcefully as you could while laying down.
This past year I was a part of a book panel on sleep issues. I received my advance copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. I read through the book and felt like my picture should be in there with a big red X over it with the warning “NO!!” There was a lot of discussion in the book about training and avoiding sleep issues in preschoolers/toddlers by training babies to sleep. So many parents seemed worried that if their six month old wasn’t sleeping through the night it meant that six years later they would still be waking up all night long. For the record, I have never had a six year old who didn’t sleep through the night.
As I read through the book I realized that my answers and responses to the questions would have been very different had I answered them eleven years ago. I was much more anal and schedule oriented back then. Once again I found myself thinking that you really get the better end of the deal. I have already crossed all those parenting dilemma bridges. I have made my choices and moved on. I feel confident with my choices. I’m a much more laid back parent than I was eleven years ago.
Your cousin will soon be having a baby. As I listen to her talk about her pregnancy and baby, say with certainty the things she will and won’t do, and condemn the choices that other parents have made, I just smile and nod. I’ve been a mother long enough now to know that there are no absolutes.
I just have to look at your oldest brother who, for the first two years of his life, never had sugar, meat, or anything non-organic pass his lips. His butt was swathed in unbleached organic cotton diapers. He played with only non toxic wooden toys made from wood that was harvested in an environmentally friendly manner. I just want to slap my old self righteous self and hand her a hamburger and diet coke. Clearly all those vegetables were harming her brain.
Whenever I feel like I know it all, I have just to remember the scorn I felt towards parents who fed their babies Honey-Nut Cheerios, while I watch you eat a chocolate pop tart… off the floor. I have eaten my own words so often it is no wonder my ass is as big as it is.
I am a different mother than I imagined I would be, and certainly a different mother than I was when your oldest brother was your age. Some of the changes are because I have more experience, some are because I am more relaxed, and who are we kidding, some are because I am lazier. Most of them are because I realized that in the grand scheme of things, whatever it is doesn’t matter.
You love to take out all of our spice jars and tupperware and stack them all up into high towers. Then you stand up and kick them all down. Sometimes you will chase a rolling spice jar across the room and give it a few more kicks for good measure, the entire time squealing with glee. This game is something none of your siblings were ever allowed to play, and is yet another example of how I have mellowed. My motto these days is, “I can clean it up later”
Soon you’ll be a big kid, I can already see it happening, and you’ll be able to express your ideas, play games, ride a bike, wear Superman pajamas with a cape, and while I look forward to all those things and finding out more about your personality, there are things I will miss about you as a baby.
I’ll miss the weight of your body sleeping on my chest and you little heart shaped open mouth snoring. I will miss you stilted gait as you try to run away from me. I will miss your short bowed little legs, with the dimpled fat on your thighs that is perfect for kissing. ( Why can’t the dimpled fat on my thighs be as cute?) I will miss the way you enthusiastically raise your hands up in the air over your head when I say “Hurray!” and I’ll miss how even with your arms stretched up you can barely reach the top of your head.
There are quite a few things I will miss. This is just one of them:
As long as you have those dimpled knuckles I can still call you a baby.
I love you Mina-moo moo. I don’t know why your sister insists on calling you that nickname, but it has stuck, for the time being at least.
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