Archive for June, 2011
i last wrote you a letter when you were six months old. since then, you have grown an inch and gained over a pound. (i.e. you weigh 21 lbs, 14 oz, and are 29 1/4″ tall these days.) at eight months, your bottom front teeth finally popped out, and they’ve had sole chewing responsibility since. (more on that in a bit.) at about 8 1/2 months, you began to crawl. and now? you pull up on anything that might possibly support your weight, you cruise, you try so hard to stand on your own.
you are your own man, son. you are much more free range than your sister was at your age, mostly on account of our baby-friendlier home setup. there are no dogs with anxiety issues to watch out for, and there is a playroom with plenty of toys on which to drool and chomp and bang and throw. and so you crawl around the house
like since you own the place, as jude polices your every move: “ziggy, buddy, that’s not for babies, not for babies, NOT FOR BABIES!” she bellows as she hovers above you and steals away the remote control. and then she turns on the tv and asks to watch thomas.
currently, your favorite food is: yes. you LOVE every sort of food: cheerios, raisins, everything your mama purees for you, bananas, chicken, beans, pasta, cheese, bagels, lentils, hummus, carrots, etc etc. you want to taste anything we are eating. and then you rock back and forth in ecstasy as you chew like you have molars, making the “milk” sign–which we’ve interpreted as your way of saying “omg you guys, this right here is as good as milk, if not better.” then you clap your hands together – your way of signing “more”. and then you open your mouth in expectation, like a baby bird.
you continue to be an EC rockstar, sir. thank you. sometimes, you even crawl to the potty when you’ve got to do your business. you have made our lives so much easier, and our diaper maintenance so much less.
you are now fully, legally adopted. your mama is now protected to remain your mama, always. you are sealed together like the mother and son you are.
you laugh. oh, my ziggy, how you laugh. you giggle and snort and you find delight in your whole world.
you sing along now–with ABCs and the theme to thomas, most reliably. you hum and rock back and forth in your delicious baby-dance way. already, you match notes. color me impressed, mister nine month old.
you are in what i like to call your first adolescence, wherein you are in limbo between baby and toddler. your limbs are sort of gangly, your face changes shape and expression constantly, you actively communicate (and get all pissy when things don’t go your way) and then you settle in and nurse like a fiercely hungry newborn. i’m simply standing here on this threshold with you, trying not to miss a moment of your ever-fleeting babyhood.
you sleep. this development has come as an utter shock to your moms, honestly. because, here is what sleep looked like up until last week: your crib was in our room, mostly because we couldn’t figure out an interim plan before you and jude share a room. we didn’t want to give up our one spare bedroom, since we often have overnight guests. but. you weren’t sleeping in your crib much at all. at night, we could plop you down after you passed out in my arms. and there you would remain until approximately 2am, at which point you’d wake up wailing, because you could presumably sense the close proximity of my milk. i’d groggily pull you into bed with me, latch you on, and we’d both pass out. you should know that you would continuously eat until morning.
it was kind of impossible to come up with a sleep-training plan with our setup. and so we just didn’t. we just kept on with that arrangement, until i was simply too tired anymore. i confess that i loved co-sleeping with you, zig. since i work so many long hours, it was the most uninterrupted time i had with you. my body craved to have skin to skin contact with you. but neither of us were sleeping soundly.
and so we conceded. we moved your crib to the guest room and simply plopped you there instead one night, ready for the inevitable fight. but guess what happened? you slept. all night. in your bed. fluke, right? wrong. we’re on a winning streak of nearly two weeks now. you and i both are sleeping through the night. i’m SO proud of us.
(yes, you cry when we put your down for naps in your bed. but an hour turned to 30 mins turned to 15, and now you’ve got it down, mostly. [and dear internet: no-- we did not simply let our son cry it out.])
sorry i am so verbose about the whole sleeping thing, son. but, until you have two kids of your own, you simply will not understand what a miracle it is to experience simultaneously sleeping children, especially overnight. i am downright euphoric.
alright, my wonderful boy, i am going to end this letter to you now.
until next time, know that you are my beloved, and that my lack of monthly letters has everything to do with the lack of free time to write, and nothing to do with you being a second child. i promise.
i love you and love you and love you.
what that photo doesn’t show is that an hour previous–at 6 am–you’d woken up with wet panties. (for posterity: most nights, you keep your panties bone dry.) you demanded new panties, new jammies, and new sheets with the confidence of a foreman. and the moment you were sure that all of your demands would be met in a timely manner, you farted loudly and yelled to the sleeping house, EXCUSE ME!!! when i shushed you, you said, “what? i said excuse me.”
such is our life every day with you. you are equal parts little girl who doesn’t always make it to the toilet, bossypants with detailed instructions, and comedian. your aunt shannon sent your moms a journal called “my quotable kid”, and we are already filling that thing up with gems. because your budding vocabulary and lack of inner monologue make for comic gold. like the time when you confused cumin with human? you were concerned that i liked to season quinoa with humans. we explained to you that such practices are taboo.
you are still obsessed with thomas. with your mama’s help, you’ve become quite the collector of the die-cast trains. you often line them all up–not unlike rapper 50cent and his fleet of escalades in an episode of cribs, circa 2003 (all pop culture references likely to be forgotten by the time you can read this)–you survey your possessions. and then you list the ones you do not have: do i have henry (pronounced “hangry”)? no. do i have ferdinand? no. do i have edward? YES!
you are equally obsessed with the thomas and friends shows–not the sedate, live-action model episodes starring george carlin, ringo starr, or alec baldwin, though; that would be too merciful on your dear mothers. instead, you LOVE the crappy ass cgi ones, because, and i quote: “look! their mouths move!” somehow, thomas’ ability to move his own mouth when he speaks makes me find him all the more insufferable. but i love you, and you love thomas. so i keep it to myself until you’re out of the room, at which point i make fun of his stupidity, narcissism, and impetuousness with your mama. and then we make dirty jokes about busting buffers and bubbling boilers.
for the record, you also love the original collection of stories (in which some engine is always “paid out” for being daft or being too big for their proverbial britches). we read them every.single.night.
you love iphones. you have them completely figured out. you’re pretty great at angry birds, and your mama has accumulated a number of thomas games for you. but your favorite thing to do on an iphone? watch kitty videos on youtube. “mommy, may i PLEASE watch kitties on your phone?” you often ask the minute i get home from work, before you even say hello to me. and you don’t simply want to watch adorable or funny videos; you want to watch them with us. you love to see our reactions. you love to laugh with us. this is your current favorite.
oh my darling girl, i could write forever and ever about you: how you love your brother and proactively share with him. how, when mama explained to you what a panhandler was, you replied with all sincerity, “i have money. that guy can have my money.” how you call everyone you don’t know “that guy”, regardless of gender. how, if we let you eat any more sausage, you’ll probably develop gout by age 4. how you really, really want to be a big kid. how you already are a big kid. how your current favorite songs yankee doodle and señor don gato.
i love you, my hilarious little girl. as ever, you are my joy.
right now, i’m sat at a little coffeeshop in south austin with a steaming cup and a bagel, laptop fired up and ready to be productive. this delicious scene is a whole lot like my life pre-kids, with one exception: it’s all happening at 7am. i have an 8 am appointment with my therapist, which will serve as a check-in as to how i’m managing the fragile balance between being a mother of two and winning the proverbial bread. (how am i doing? pretty ok: it’s hard it’s fine it’s hard it’s necessary it’s hard.)
so yes, my life is decidedly different now that i am a working mother. you couldn’t pick me out of a lineup with all the straight working moms, either, except maybe if you had access to the back-and-forth emails with my lawyer as i secure a hearing for my partner to adopt her own son. because that is the only difference. otherwise, i am tired and wistful and committed and hardworking. just like any other mom. but: i’ve already written about all of this, here.
fyi, it is now 12:15pm. i’m typing in between bites of a quick lunch. at this rate, i will finish my post by friday…
for the past few years, i’ve written both about the uniqueness and the universality of my family. this year, i want to write about something else: my own mom.
here is my intended audience: average conservative christians, who (at best) believe that my family is not necessarily God’s ideal, or (at worst) are pretty sure that i am living a life in active rebellion toward God altogether. they wonder how to be in relationship with someone like me. is this you? great, you’ve come to the right place, because i have an answer for you: be like my mother.
quick stats on my mom:
is 73 years old.
was married for 35 years to my dad before he passed away.
lives in the rustbelt.
leads worship at her pentecostal church.
is a long time trekker.
recently got into dr who, and is totally obsessed.
it took me a long time to come out to my mother. i didn’t do it until i was 25, and when i did–over the phone–i was full of clammy-handed shaky fear that i would be judged. rejected. instead, after the requisite “how did this happen? what did i do wrong?” sorts of questions, she simply told me she loved me. she did not understand, but she loved me.
when i said to her, “what would you have said if so many people you loved told you that the love you and dad had was wrong, sinful, an abomination?”
her reply? “i wouldn’t have cared.”
over the years, i’ve approached her with trepidation with news of a partner, of relocation to live with said partner, of pregnancy–grandchildren! and the dad? not so much a dad as a donor. a donor who is a friend of ours. and no, i’m not involved with him like that. h and i would be moms. how? well, she would adopt our children.
i even said the word “insemination” to my mom, which was awkwardest of all.
i know that my mom does not know exactly what to make of how i’ve gone about creating a family. but her faith in her God is bigger than the constraints of her theology. she trusts that i am being wise with my own soul, and she does not feel responsible for saving it. her God loves unconditionally. she loves me. she loves h. she loves uncle g. and she fiercely loves her grandbabies. any disagreements are kept to herself, because, as she has told me earnestly, many times, “it shouldn’t matter what i think”.
most recently, i called my mom to tell her that h and i are getting married–after eight years together–this summer. in boston. at city hall. before i even let her respond, i said, “i know that you probably have a lot of conflicted feelings about this news, but at the end of the day, i hope you are simply happy for me.” she paused for a moment, presumably looking for the right words to say, and replied, “city hall. how exciting.”
thank you, mom.
[ahem, finished post at 7:15pm.]