April 23, 2009

The Z Files: Month Three

Dearest Zane,

You turned three months old a week ago. Three months is kind of a big deal, little one. It's a milestone you have taken on with gusto!

At the beginning of this month you were babbling, giving us short little reports and expressing yourself in little bursts of "gah"s and "ooh"s. We would run to grab the video camera, wanting to capture this little voice that had emerged, as if it might disappear without proper documentation. Now, several weeks later, you are chatting it up with us every chance you get. Each morning you go on about who knows what, the dreams you had? the meaning of life? I'm not sure, but you are SO thrilled to share it with us, and we are completely jazzed to be on the receiving end of the morning monologues. You also find various things to comment on as the day progresses. In fact, today you made it clear that you were NOT pleased to be awakened by our neighbor's barking dog. You seriously complained. You didn't cry, you just went on for several minutes in your own little language, matched perfectly by your deep, grumpy tone and vivid expression, about what a terrible thing it was to be so very very tired and not be able to sleep. You did fall back to sleep though and I am looking forward to seeing your happy face when you awake fully rested. At the end of the day, you give us a nightly report, sometimes for an hour or more. And never have we, two adults with some serious attention deficit at times, been more captivated and engaged. You have got us hooked little man and we’re hoping this conversation never ends. Keep talking, keep telling us how it is.

Another daily habit of yours is breaking out your gut-busting laugh. Seriously, not a day goes by that you don't find a reason to laugh till you cry. This is one of my favorite qualities about you. A few of the things sure to get you giggling are: dancing with Mama and Daddy, making funny faces in the mirror, listening to Mama or Daddy go on and on about whatever it is we find so important to talk about, and always, always, that first moment after Daddy comes home when you realize that the both of us are there, together, with you. This moment fills you with sheer delight. Today, as we made our way through the grocery store you began to crack up spontaneously and I swear I have never had such a moment of transcendence while picking out produce. Thank you for bringing laughter into our lives. I hope we never stop finding a reason to laugh at each day, together.

This month, you had a reason to cry as well. You don't cry often. In fact, you seem to avoid it if you possibly can. You don't cry when you awaken in the middle of the night, you don't cry when you are hungry, you barely cried when your nap was so rudely interrupted a little while ago. You do let us know you are awake, or hungry, or unhappy, or tired - you are a great communicator. You just don't often do so by crying. My hope is that you simply haven't found the need to cry often. But when you fell off of the bed this month, you cried. You cried HARD. You also cried hard when we had to hold your head in place for the x-ray that followed. And you had every right and reason to, my little love. Before I go any further here, I must tell you again how very very sorry I am that you were hurt, that you were scared, that you went through what must have been a confusing and overwhelming experience. I wish with all my heart I would have been more careful that night and not have put you somewhere you could fall off of so easily. I wish I would have done a better job of protecting you. But I am telling you this for a reason. I want you to know that there are very valid reasons for crying and that it is ok to cry when you need to. I will not always be able to comfort you or wipe your tears as quickly as I did this month, I will not always be able to prevent the cause of the tears, and that will be agonizing for me - but I will try my best to always be there for you when you are hurt or afraid or just need to let the tears fall. I always want to be there for you, in the tears as well as the laughter.

Just a few days before you officially turned 3 months old, we were reduced to tears ourselves. We shed tears of joy (especially your Daddy) as we shared in your baptism and later spoke our vows and our blessings to you during the blessing ceremony we held for you in our home. There is so much I want to tell you about these rituals and why we had them, but I think I will write more about that elsewhere. I do want you to know what an honor it was to write and speak promises we made to you as your parents, what an honor it was to write and speak words of blessing and hope for you and your future. I hope what we shared will stay with you in your heart and will be like lamplight shining upon the road you find yourself walking in your adventure to come.

Well, dearest one, I could go on and on....I could write about how your eyes get darker each day and are now a stormy shade of brownish-gray that reminds me of a painting I painted in high school of a murky lily pond. I could write about your smile, or how you cling to my shirt as we nap together. I could write about how we play music for you as we rock you to sleep and how we read you stories as you stare intently at the pages and sometimes kick and squeal in delight. I could write about how you move your hands with so much intention now, grabbing your toys and blankets and bringing them to your mouth, hitting the toys in your car seat, grabbing the elephant from your bouncy seat and tossing it, reaching for my face and cupping my chin or holding my nose... I could go on and on....

You are already an incredible person and my heart breaks at how fast you are growing up, right before our eyes. At the same time, I could not be more proud or grateful to be in the front row cheering you on. Keep dancing. I will try my best to keep up.

Much love,

April 15, 2009

For Keeps

This morning I had one of those moments where I suddenly realize I am living out a dream I had long ago. As I walked a mile to a neighborhood coffee shop, Zane strapped to my chest in the Ergo, the sun shining brightly, a slight chill in the new Spring air, little buds poking out through the earth alongside us, neighbors smiling and wishing us a good morning - I was overcome by the awareness that I had dreamt this many times before.

I walked, childless, through three Springs prior, dreaming of days like today. Dreaming of my little one joining me in the sunshine, experiencing the relief of the warmth after the winter, delighting in tulips pushing their way through the earth. I also spent countless hours in coffee shops, alone, fantasizing about bringing my child to my favorite spots, or new ones we might discover together. I thought about sharing with him/her these tastes of beauty and comfort. I thought of sharing myself through the things I love.

And there I was this morning. Doing just that. I was the mom I had dreamed of. My son, so much more than I could have hoped for. The day, even more glorious than I had imagined. I had arrived.

This morning was a much needed antithesis to our experience Saturday night.

Saturday evening, I was getting Zane ready for bed. Mr. Spicy had left to run a few errands and get a haircut. I propped Zane up on his Boppy pillow on the bed as I walked three feet across the room to fetch some pj's from his dresser. Like I had done dozens of evenings before.

You know what is coming next right?

"Thunk!" - I still can't get that sound out of my head.

I turned and everything went black, except for the image of my son, head down, in a completely unnatural position, on the floor. On. the. floor.

My mind kept trying to process it. It was completely unfathomable. He didn't belong there. On the floor. Why was he there? How did he get there?

Before I knew it, he was in my arms, against my body, screaming. Tears rolled down his cheeks, his eyes wide and wet. I ran with him to the phone. Called my husband and screamed incoherently about the baby. falling. come home. need to go to the ER.

I clutched my baby tight to my chest as I waited, and he calmed down within minutes. I alternated between calling out to God to "Please let my baby be OK! Please help!" and berating myself, "I am such an idiot! I am so stupid!"

The truth is, I was telling myself that my secret, dark fear was coming true.

The fear I have had since he was born. The fear that I would surely do something somehow to break or ruin this perfect little being who so graciously had come into our lives. The fear that I could surely not be trusted with such an amazing and perfect gift. The fear that I would surely do something to fuck it all up.

By the time we arrived at the ER I was a mess. I could only sob uncontrollably as the triage nurse asked what had happened and tried to reassure me that these things happen to everyone.

There were a terrifying few hours ahead. Hours that included holding his head down for an x-ray, hearing that the x-ray showed a possible skull fracture, being told we may have to have him admitted and observed overnight, taking him for a CT scan after being advised about the large amount of radiation involved, and then....the relief. The relief as the NP came in and assured us that the CT scan showed no fracture, no brain bleeds, we were clear to go home.

And just like that. It was over. We were going home. To our own bed. To our life. Everything was going to be OK. I didn't break him. I didn't ruin him. He was fine.

I still have multiple flashbacks throughout the day, hearing that "Thunk!", seeing him crumpled on the floor, feeling all my oxygen leave my lungs. I am second guessing myself everytime I pick him up or put him anywhere. I can see danger around every corner, all the possible horrific outcomes fly in my face. But even this is fading ever so slightly, becoming ever less powerful.

And mornings like today help me believe. They help me believe that everything just might be ok.

That I might not ruin this.

That this gift might be for keeps.

April 09, 2009

Dressed for Success

Quick post. I have 2 minutes free.

Thought I would share some photos of how I find myself dressed lately when we go out.

Our favorite: The Ergo

Second fav: The Maya Wrap

And ....the pouch. Best for little newborns. Sorry about the messy bathroom* and my stylin' winter pjs. (our house was FREEZING that day)

The Ergo is amazing. I wear him in it when I grocery shop, run errands, wash dishes, cook dinner, etc. I get two free hands, get to have him all snuggled up against me, and he gets held and gets to experience everything I am doing with me - we both win! And the Ergo gives me no back pain at all. And bonus? Wearing an extra 14+ pounds for hours a day qualifies as exercise!

The Maya Wrap is great, super versatile and works great for the newborn stage (Ergo is not as newborn friendly in my opinion - there's a newborn insert but it's bulky and weird). The sling allows me to carry him on my hip or facing out and is good for shorter periods since it does tend to give me some back pain after extended wear.

The pouch is easy and light and worked super well when he was smaller. Technically I could do some of the same holds in it as I do with the ring sling to adapt for him getting bigger, but it just doesn't seem well-suited for a larger baby as much.

Are any of you Mama's out there wearing your babes, or have you worn them when they were smaller? Or any expectant mama's planning to? What are you using? What are your favorites?

* You might notice the Huggies in the background? Yes. Well, Mr. Spicy and I are in a passive aggressive diaper war. Even though we have gorgeous, clean, environmentally friendly cloth dipes, he insists on buying a bag of disposables "just in case" and switching to them when he changes Zane. Then I change him back to cloth - and around we go.