Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wanting Useless Things (Though Not for Myself)

I don't know if many other moms and dads have suffered from a similar insanity, but considering I've never been a shopaholic, it's stunning just how badly *I* want these Baby Bloch ballerina slippers--which cost about $40, by the way--for my baby. Who can't even walk yet. And won't tolerate anything on her feet. It's just stupid, I know it. But look:

Right? All the little details--the little elastic bow at the front and all that. Exactly like real ballet slippers...but mini! I can see how these in toddler sizes wouldn't have the same suck-you-inability. Even before I had R--and wasn't crazy about babies--I always thought baby shoes were cute. But these literally make my insides squelch. I can hear an actual squelching sound.

The strange thing is that Baby Bloch doesn't seem very popular in the US. What little stock I could find--yeah, I searched, just out of curiosity, of course--was not very nice. They seem much more popular in the UK and Australia. No idea why. Just like golden syrup and hot custard sauce, I guess there are some great things that may never catch on over here.

Or maybe it's the first picture that greets you on the Baby Bloch website. I mean, I can see how the impression they were going for was adorable. But does anyone else see an unfortunate resemblance between the two bald and bashful souls below (okay, baby has a bit more hair than the action movie guy)?

Do New Stuff

Dear R,

There have been several exciting developments in your life lately.

The first is that you now have a top front tooth to accompany your two bottom teeth--all the better to bite you with, my pretty. That's right, clueless mom had to be nipped in the nipple about eight times before the light bulb came on. You're still accidentally biting me here and there, and frankly, it's painful and terrifying, now that there are sharp edges closing in on mom's tender flesh from two sides. Thankfully, you're not doing it on purpose...yet.

The other milestone is that you *definitely* spoke today. I mean, you've been saying things that sound like words for a long time, but admittedly, it all kind of sounds the same and sometimes it's hard to tell whether you really know what you're saying--like how you say "mama" when you're hungry or tired. But today, you extended a credit card in my direction, so I took it, then gave it back to you, saying, "Dozo." You then held the card out to me again and, with your little bird mouth pursed, cried, "Duzu!" We passed the card between us many times, and every time you gave the card back to me, you would say "dozo," or "duzu," rather. Maybe it's because I'm your mom, but I thought this was so cute. I wanted to share the moment with your grandparents in Japan--they would have been thrilled--so I tried to film you doing this, but you promptly tossed the card aside and lunged for the camera. I guess this is something that will be recorded only in my memory. And on this blog.

One other thing is you've started giving me goodnight kisses. Oh, sure, sometimes you just want to gnaw on mom's face with your brand-new, razor-sharp teeth. But last night and tonight, after our last nursing session before bed, you stood in my lap, put your hands on my shoulders, and repeatedly pressed your mouth to my face, very gently. You then kind of nuzzled my cheek and rested quietly against me, which was a surprise. You've never been the cuddly type. In fact, you haven't fallen asleep in my arms since you were a newborn, always preferring to be set down in your crib when you're getting ready to sleep. It was particularly sweet, considering in contrast the many harrowing bedtimes we've gone through before this.

I love you, little bird.

The Truth About Mom

Dear R,

Your dad's away on a business trip right now, I just ate an egg sandwich for dinner, there are books and blocks strewn all over the floor...and I'm in heaven. I don't know how I'll be as you get a bit older and I have to start setting a good example, but for now, your mom is a genuine slob.

It distresses your father to come home to a messy house, so, after you're in your crib for the night, I usually try to undo the wreckage throughout the apartment dealt by your wee hands. You seem to have an affinity for chaos (which your dad has somehow decided is all my fault): Your first task of the morning is always to head straight for the coffee table and drag out all the magazines (which your dad has been begging me to throw out--but who am I to remove the bedraggled pile of parenting magazines that bring you such obvious delight?). When set on the floor before a jumbled heap of laundry on your right and a stack of folded clothes on your left, you'll invariably head left. And if anything is sitting on a low shelf, you cannot rest until every last object is whacked to the ground.

But here I am, sitting in our exploded living room, blissfully choosing *not* to clear up. Ahhh. Of course, before dad comes home, there will be some seriously frantic housecleaning done by me. But not today.

Friday, October 9, 2009

From Me, To You

Dear R,

This is my first letter to you. You're eleven months old right now, but still very tiny compared to all the other babies your age. I worry about this, and not just cause I don't want you to be a shorty like your mom, when you grow up. But I'm breastfeeding you--still going--and giving you lots of different kinds of very high-calorie, nutritious foods, so I think I'm doing my best by you, baby.

You've always been a very adventurous eater. Your first food was mango. Your first meat was lamb. Your first bread was a crusty sourdough--though this you mostly clutched to your chest and sucked on. You like spicy foods--curries, even. You hate plain boiled vegetables, although you will make allowances for edamame and peas.

You have your monthly obsessions. Last month it was gadgets and footwear. This month it's Edward's leash and the dishwasher. You've been nonchalantly plucking all the safety covers off the electrical sockets (damn IKEA so-called child-safety products). You've also begun inching closer to the toilet bowl, god help me. And will you never get over your need to overturn Edward's water bowl?

I've been going crazy lately with my spray bottle of white wine vinegar. Supposedly it's antibacterial, so I've been spritzing everything you may come in contact with, with it. The fumes give me a headache and make me worry if there are any risks to a baby regarding overexposure to vinegar. That sounds ridiculous, but I think it's possible to overdo anything.

Look what you've got me doing: cleaning. This is the power you have over me, baby girl. Not even your dad's endless grousing could get me going before.

You finally sprouted two teeth this month and your pink gummy smile has been altered. You don't look so baby-ish anymore, and I guess that's about right since you're almost a toddler. So now, when I Google one of my million worries about you, I sometimes have to try typing, for example, "toddler" (instead of "baby") + "thumb biting" + "horrific wounds." Yeah, your new teeth have left multiple punctures on one of your thumbs and it looks terrible. Supposedly, it's a pretty normal occurrence. You may even develop a callus, a thumb-sucking callus.

You know what? You seem to be torturing Edward less. Or he's getting smarter about running away. Thank god, I thought that poor dog was going to start developing bald spots.

Okay, this was a pretty mundane letter, wasn't it? But this is the kind of life you and I live these days and these are the thoughts that occupy my mind about you. It's funny, I thought I'd get frustrated with such things. Even your increasing clingy-ness, somehow I'm handling it okay. I even find it kind of cute how sometimes when I walk toward you, you'll come barreling over to meet me halfway, as if we've been parted for years (rather than the seconds it took for me to wash my hands for the 11,000th time that day). It's nice to be needed that much--who would've thought?

I love it when I pick you up and your whole body wriggles happily, like a puppy. Or when we've been together the entire day and yet, in the midst of your endless quest to examine every inch of our apartment, you'll still pause to catch my eye and give me a broad smile, like you're telling me, "I like being with you." Your dad and I need to be more like that with each other. We've been together so many years now, I think we forget to let each other know sometimes, simply that "I like being with you."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oh my god, how do people do it? How do they blog *with* babies? My last post was in May, when R abruptly stopped napping. And now she's almost one. Most of all, I feel bad for not having recorded all the little memories of my baby that I'm sure are slipping away each day, as new ones take their place in my mind.

I've heard of other moms who write letters to their babies, every few weeks, and I always thought this sounded very nice--both for you to look back on and maybe also to share with the child when she's older, to let her know how much she was loved. Because your emotions and attitudes toward your baby change as they grow, and some of those feelings are even lost, I think. The patience and adoration can be challenged when your little pink bundle begins transforming into an increasingly independent being. I see exhausted mothers in supermarkets with their toddlers and they have this look on their face. It scares me--that brittle expression. It's difficult to imagine bearing an attitude like that toward R one day, but I know she won't be this sweet, soft, and non-vocal forever.

I'm thinking of changing my posts into little (or long, if I can) letters written directly to R. I wonder if this will motivate me to write more frequently. But I also wonder if I should make that a separate blog, instead.

But as with most interruptions these days, R's woken from her nap. Yes, she is napping again, thank god.