Let’s be kind to ourselves, guys. Here’s an essay I wrote for Sammiches and Psych Meds. A reminder– you’re all doing it.
Tag Archives: musings
Happy birthday, Nora! Thanks for making the last year of our lives so much fun.
A year ago, right about now, we were headed to the hospital. I remember thinking (between contractions) as we headed over the Tappan Zee Bridge, what a beautiful day. Unseasonably warm. Clear blue sky. Pretty Hudson River. And then, of course, I’d have another contraction and think — Ow, ow, ow.
You’re here now, and you’re the best thing that ever happened to us. They say it goes fast, and they’re right. For a nostalgic person like me, parenthood is just a trip. Because just a second ago, you were a newborn. We swaddled you like a little potato and bounced you to sleep on the exercise ball. We couldn’t get you to sleep in the bassinet so we took turns holding you all night. Your little smooshy face, pouty lips. (That’s when you became Shmooples to us. :)) When you sneezed, you’d get your whole body into it. We’d lay you on your back in the activity gym and you’d stare up at the whale, your eyes wide and unfocused. We carried you around in the baby bjorn to get you to fall asleep, you, bundled up in a little bear suit. And we’d walk down to the river and all around. We took long, long walks. Or, we put on some music (a lot of Amos Lee and Wilco) and danced around the family room. Then, you smiled for the first time. Then, you laughed. You rolled over. You started sleeping on your stomach, your butt straight up in the air. You liked to squeal and grunt a lot. We were sometimes worried you were going to swallow a bug because you’d grunt in the stroller, your mouth wide open. You went to the beach and the pool, chubby arms and legs flailing around in the water. You grew two bottom teeth. You tried rice cereal — you didn’t like it at first, so you’d shut your lips and close the shop. You sat up by yourself. You jumped around in the Jumparoo, laughing and squealing with frenetic energy. You started rocking on your hands and knees and then you crawled. You met two dogs (“gungs”) and became fascinated with them, and any creature that was not human was a “gung” or “da.” You pulled yourself to stand. You got two more teeth. And then two more teeth.
When you are happy, you are SO happy. You like to catch strangers’ attention and flash your teeth at them. You get wound up close to bedtime, laughing and kicking on the changing table. When you hear a musical note, whether it’s a jingle in a commercial or Daddy playing a plastic trumpet, you get the urge to boogie. You sometimes look very thoughtful, very serious. You have a lot to say, although we don’t always know yet what you mean. You’ll point to a pillow and say, “Ba ba,” over and over again. You’re sweet, affectionate, curious and very silly. Now, you’re learning to stand on your own. You keep trying and falling, trying and falling, without getting frustrated.
And it goes on and on and on! We’re so proud of you and we can’t wait to see what you do next.
We love you, Shmooples! Happy 1st birthday!
Well, Labor Day has come and gone and the pool is officially closed until next summer. I will miss those lazy summer days. Nora really liked the pool. She kicked her little chubby legs and slapped the surface of the water with her palms, splashing water all over her face. She laughed and squealed letting everyone see those two funny little teeth. (I mean, those teeth are ridiculous. What are they good for? They’re just cute, that’s all.) There’s nothing like wrapping Nora in a towel and drying her off so she’s nice and warm and cozy.
I realize that summer’s not officially over yet, but I see a few leaves changing colors already. Why be sad about it? One of my favorite things about being a mom is getting to do the kid stuff all over again, from a new perspective.
This fall will be about apple picking (and apple crisp) and walking in the woods. Nora will wear cute hats and sweaters that Grammy knitted for her, like this one:
We’ll decorate our new house with pumpkins, squash and scary cats (that’s about as gory as I get) and we’ll sit on a rocking chair the back porch and where it’ll be nice and breezy. We’ll take Nora on road trips up North to Cold Spring and New Paltz where we’ll wander in and out of little stores and warm our hands with mugs of hot cider. We’ll drive up to Bear Mountain and look out at the yellows and reds and oranges for miles below. We’ll invite friends and family to our home (which will smell like apple crisp. I’m fixing to make a lot of crisp this fall, people.) Our nieces will ride their bikes up and down the street. It’ll be Nora’s first Halloween. We’ll dress her up in a cute/cuddly costume (most likely with bear ears) and take lots of pictures, and she’ll think, “What? What’s the big deal?” Nora and I will sit by the Hudson and look out at the boats. There will be a chill in the air, a cool wind rippling down the river. We’ll bundle up and head back to the car, bracing ourselves for winter.
(And why be all sad about winter? Think, baby in a snowsuit.)
What has Nora been up to lately? She’s getting so big!
She’s close to crawling. When she sees an object she wants, she flips from a seated position to her stomach and rocks back and forth.
She has an intense focus — she’ll make this grunty noise when she’s after the thing she wants — which is usually Mommy’s necklace/hair/ cheek or Daddy’s glasses/hat/cheek.
She has two little teeth on her bottom gums. Sometimes she leans over and sucks on my leg and I can feel the little sharp little buggers.
She has a really great sense of humor. We spend a good part of the day just laughing together. I laugh, then she laughs, then I laugh, then… well, you get the idea. This is therapy for the soul. Nora also finds it HI-larious when I blow on her face, wipe off the high chair with a wet paper towel, kiss her feet, and puff up my cheeks. Oh, and whatever Daddy does is the funniest thing in the world. He can just look in her direction and she’ll explode into a belly laugh.
She eats solid foods now. Bananas are the BEST. Other favorite foods include pears, apples, oatmeal, Mommy’s shoes if Mommy turns her back for one minute. She finds peas and avocados to be offensive. Seriously. She actually physically shudders.
She breathes loudly and makes this silly face:
She’s wary of strangers… which, I hear, is age appropriate. When approached by someone new, she tilts her head back and glares at the person with her mouth open. “What are your intentions?”
She makes all sorts of noises. When we’re having a conversation, she likes to chime in, (in her falsetto voice), “blah, blah, belah, belah, bla!” I guess that’s what we sound like to her.
She loves the beach and the pool. Whew!
She’s very affectionate. When we hold her, she rubs our backs, curling and uncurling her fists. She loves to be close to us (and we sure feel the same.)
She’s the best.
It’s my birthday. Yup. 33 years old.
We’re all a little under the weather this week. The common cold: sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. It breaks your heart to hear a little baby cough. This is her first cold. And you can’t explain it to her – you feel yucky because you have a virus and your immune system is fighting it off. She seems to be on the other side of the thing — at least, I sure hope so.
Okay, I’m about to have a pity party for myself. A small one. It’ll be over soon, I promise.
Feel free to skip this paragraph entirely, or get out your tiny violins. I feel blarg (which is my word for tired, achy, hot and cold at the same time, runny, sore-of-nose, etc, etc, etc.) I did something weird to my back so that it hurts every time I cough and it’s kind of hard to pick Nora up. Oh, and it’s raining. Oh, and I wrote one whole draft of this post but somehow, it got erased when I hit “Save Draft” and I had to start over.
Whew. Glad that’s over.
Here’s the upside. If I take a good look at my life on this birthday, I have so much to be grateful for. I’m a mom now, and Nora is the cutest, silliest, sweetest little person I know. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have kickass family and friends. We live in a down to earth, beautiful place with great restaurants, mountains and the Hudson all around.
This morning, I ran the shower and Nora and I steamed ourselves in the bathroom to clear our sinuses. She squeaked and grunted at me on the changing table. We’re taking it easy, watching a little TV, taking lots of naps. So, even though Nora and I feel blargy, I certainly have a lot to celebrate on this rainy birthday.
Namaste. (It felt appropriate to say this. I don’t know why, but I don’t question these things.) 🙂