Small Things 12-31-12
1. Last day of the year, and all I can think to do to celebrate is have a quiet evening at home with The Boy and “the big boy”. We’ll put the baby to bed as per usual, sip some wine after dinner (Lamb chops!) and call it a night around 11pm. When I wake up it’ll be a new year.
Sounds sort of boring to anyone else I’m trying to describe it to, and sort of wonderfully perfect when I gloat over my perfect New Years plans to myself. Sort of like my whole life.
Of course, New Year’s Eve is the one time when I love me some whiskey-spiked eggnog, so perhaps tonight’s ‘boring’ will include some dancing with a lampshade on my head as well.
2. I really enjoy assembling things. I all but shoved The Boy out of the room when he wanted to help me assemble the big boy’s new train table. And the display easel I bought for him. And the baby’s Big Wheel trike.
I know. There’s something really wrong with me. I can’t wait for next Christmas so I can assemble something else!
3. This morning, I woke up at my usual time (6:46am, when Henry’s clock turns yellow, signalling to him that it’s time to get up) to a soft voice saying “Hello momma.” Then he patted my cheek til I opened my eyes.
Which was kind of immediately. Baby’s not supposed to be in the bedroom!
Turns out that the dry air from our forced heat has once again caused the wooden doorframes to contract, meaning that most of the doors in the house are unwilling to remain firmly latched–specifically, one of his bedroom’s two doors. And the locks in this house are all old and recalcitrant, so we mostly just lost the ancient keys & called it good. No biggie, save that this means the baby is now roaming the house in the morning instead of calling for me from behind closed doors. Baby gates went back up today, and I’m hoping that he’ll not start roaming before 6:46 or there will have to be MORE gates put up in his doorways, and I’m already tired of latching the doors behind me at the tops of the stairs.
But a whispered, “Hello Mama,” was kind of a nice way to wake up, I have to say.
4. I’m pretty sure if it had ginger & garlic in it, that I could feed Hen dog kibble & he’d ask for more. Child inherited my taste in food, that’s for sure. Won’t eat Mac & cheese, but any curry anywhere is his favorite food ever.
I did get him to eat “pizza” with us a couple of nights ago by turning his into ‘calzones’ so he wouldn’t get his hands dirty. (Hand to forehead–why didn’t I think of this before!) It’s been killing me that he doesn’t like my pizza, but he really does. He just doesn’t like to get messy, and if you’re two, open-face pizza-eating is a messy proposition.
5. Hen has started making up silly stories–telling me he climbed up a ladder to turn on the lights right before he went outside in the snow in his stocking feet! Then he laughs uproariously and waits for us to join in. Also, he’d like to fly, and asks me many times a day to teach him how to do that. Also, he has dances for many many things: Bandanas. Donuts. Bunnies. Sitting on a high stool (which is, apparently, the height of excitement if you’re Henry). These dances almost all include stomping, twirling, and giggling. Usually to a jumbled assortment of shouted phrases from Christmas carols, (“Glory to the newborn king!” “Joyful and triumphant!” “ALL IS CALM ALL IS MILD!”) for which he has developed a clear fondness at lullaby-time.
Scolding the baby has, sadly, become much more common as his daredevil inclinations get the better of him. I find it really interesting to note his reactions to being yelled at, or even just told ‘no’. He immediately wants a complete recap of the interaction.
ie: If I tell him to get down from the kitchen stool while I’m cooking he’ll do so, then ask, “What Henry just did?” I’ll say, “You were too close to the hot stove and I asked you to get down.” “What then?” “Then you got down right away because you’re a good boy and you listened to me when I asked you to do something.” Which satisfies him and he’ll go on to the next thing. But if I leave out that last bit he gets really upset. Kid wants his props for doing what’s right! It actually does seem like he’s working through the logic of what just happened–like he’s making sure he knows which part he did wrong & which part he did right. Which I find encouraging. I hate saying ‘no’ all the time and I’ll be happy when he’s a bit more self-regulating.
He’s always taken great comfort in saying solemnly–almost mournfully–”Mommy Loves Henry” and having me say it back to him: “Yes I do. I love you so much!” but lately, I’ve been noticing he does it more right after he’s been scolded for something, which just breaks my heart. Now, since I’m already a very affectionate mommy and I spontaneously tell him he’s loved, and hug him, and kiss him, many times a day, I have thought I might be overdoing it, until I noticed how much he seems to need to hear the words when things are hard for him. He knows it, but he really needs to hear it, too. I guess we all do. So I’m trying to say it more, and to say it immediately after–or during–a scolding without him needing to prompt me. “No you can’t do that, Hen. I love you. But no.” And it does seem to be helping him bear the awfulness of being thwarted a little bit easier.
His language skills are getting pretty sophisticated. He comes up with these complex sentences that just blow me away sometimes. Kid’s got an awesome grasp of the abstract, and loves knowing the perfect word for any situation (wonder where he gets that from, with two parents who love to write!) Today he wanted to know what to call the blades on a ceiling fan. I told him, and he asked if they were sharp like knives, too. Really? I didn’t even know he KNEW the word ‘blade’ in connection with knives.
And he negotiates like a pro. Well, actually, he just reiterates what he wants, rephrasing it in different ways each time, hoping that one of his declarations will get a different response. “Mommy give Henry to sleep?” “No, Daddy’s putting you to bed tonight.” “Maybe Mommy give me to sleep?” “No, Daddy’s giving you to sleep tonight.” “Actually, perhaps you puts me to sleep tonight?” “No, Daddy’s putting you to bed tonight.” “No, I don’t think so. I think Mommy gives me to sleep tonight!” Since it’s wheedling and not outright whining, and since he’s smiling all through it & usually giggling by about the 8th variant, I think it’s adorable. It will be less so in another year, I’m sure!
Also, he’s starting–finally!–to get the hang of pronouns. Not all the time, and not always the right one, but he’ll often say “I” or “me” now instead of referring to himself in the third person all the time. Not when he’s upset, but when he’s relaxed it’ll come out the right way.
Talking babies are the best. Everything is so much easier with words. I visited a friend with a new baby over Christmas, and while I know new babies are supposed to make all people weak-in-the-knees with covetousness, I have to say that toddlerhood is pretty darned wonderful and I wouldn’t trade this time for anything. Don’t get me wrong: Hen was an easy baby and I loved getting to know Newborn Hen, but this time of his life? Let’s just say I’m having the time of MY life getting to know Little Boy Hen. Two is pretty wonderful, all the No’s and stubbornness are more than made up for by the “I love yous” and the chokingly tight hugs that come out of nowhere and make up for all those years of no baby hugs at all.
Happy New Year to everyone out there. I think most of my readers these days are also mommies, but if there are any IF sisters out there still trying, still hoping–I’m thinking of you, hoping that 2013 is the year that brings you your family in whatever shape you decide to let it take. When I think of letting this blog lapse, and realize that had I not been blogging, had I not been connected to this community, I might never have taken the steps I did, might never have gone forward with DE IVF, might never have held my son, I feel compelled to keep this story out there and accessible. Sometimes, the story has a happy ending–or rather, it has a new beginning, and turns into a new story.
This is never the way I anticipated creating my family, but now that Hen is here? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy New Year–and may it be a better year than any that have come before.