Monday, January 14, 2013


My baby turned 18 months old last week!  SOB.  Where did eighteen months GO?!  When did the wee smidge of a baby with a dusting of blond feather-hair become this sturdy, laughing toddler-person who is on haircut #2?

I’ve been aware of turning time and passing stages as Hunter moved through babyhood, but I always looked forward too much to the next milestone to mourn the departing day.  But now we are moving into toddlerhood, and babytime is so very almost slipped-through-my-fingers gone.  And oh, the mourning?  It’s finally here.  Because my baby is waving bye-bye at me, and he’s never coming back.

I want to clutch at these last few days, hoard them away in memory so at least I can take them out and remember.  The shutter has been clicking, but I want to journal too, to put the memories into words.  And so, a collection of random “word pictures” of my 18 month old:

He loves to eat.  food he can feed himself is the biggest hit.  Little man is close to self-sufficient with a plastic fork, and manages a spoon nicely with mashed beans or avocadoes.  He stubbornly insists on holding utensils like a grownup, which of course doesn’t work very well with baby fine motor skills, but he persists, transferring the fork daintily from fingertips to fingertips, and then wobbily to his mouth.  Despite all my best efforts he has turned into a true picky eater; loving a food one minute and then flinging it against the wall the next.  Argh.  The one food that is always a guaranteed hit are his grain-free cinnamon squash pancakes.  The day I added cinnamon to the mix, he gobbled them up with a ginormous grin on his face, and then stuck two thumbs into the air and splatted sticky hands together in baby applause.  Needless to say he got seconds.

Independence is the new word of the day.  He’s perfected this angry parrot squawk which means “Mom, let ME do it!”.  When I see him struggling over a task, tongue peeked between his tightly pursed lips, any attempts at help are met with a chubby hand held imperiously in my face.  He also knows how to roll his eyes and does so frequently, blue irises disappearing for an exasperated moment behind his outrageously long sandy eyelashes.  He’s loving, affectionate, tempestuous.  His moods change faster than windblown clouds. Most of all, it’s becoming apparent that he is first and foremost a comedian.  He does everything for show.  Instead of merely hiding behind a curtain and then peeking out during hide-n-seek, he swooshes the curtain over his face, holds perfectly still for a silent moment, and then sweeps it aside with the aplomb of a ringmaster.  “Ta-da!”  When I fall over in feigned shock at his amazing reappearance, he goes into a fit of high-pitched giggles and repeats the performance until we’re both too weak from laughing to continue.

He’s not walking yet, though he can stand independently for a few seconds.  His crab-crawl is lickety-split-fast, and his absolute favorite activity is escaping my grasp in the library and scuttling in between and under shelves, giggling hysterically the closer I get in pursuit.

Yesterday he colored with crayons "correctly" for the first time. He scribbled a crayon on paper and his eyes opened wide as he saw the purple scrawl.  Gurgling in delight he hauled on my pant leg to show me the masterpiece.  Then, humming quietly to himself, he used every.single.crayon in wide, sweeping rainbows of color.  After we put the crayons away, he went back to the paper quite a few times, tracing the drawing with his pointer, cooing quietly to himself.  I thought my face was going to split from smiling so hard.

We've been dealing with a lot of fussing at work and home lately, so last week I laid down the law: "Okay, I'm not going to pick you up when you're whining.  You have to be happy and then I will pick you up!"  After a few episodes of copious tear-shedding on my feet, Hunter got the idea.  Now, he scuttles over, signs up, then pastes on this huge gap-toothed grin.  Every time.  Heartmelter.

He is bright, shiny and hilarious.  And I am so, so blessed to have this little dude in my life.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year?  Are you one of the scoffers who maintains that no one keeps resolutions anyway so it’s a silly practice – or do you cave into the romanticism of the whole thing and do it anyway?

Most of my family belongs to the scoff party, and while I agree that the concept of resolutions shouldn’t be limited to a couple of days at the beginning of each new set of 365, there’s something tantalizing about the year ahead.  Like a blank diary, all crackly-stiff leather, with cool, slippery pages begging to be scribbled over with ink.  Or like a map with an idle compass in the center – you just have to choose where you want to go.

So I’m going to fall in with the masses this year.  While these aren’t “new” resolutions, this will be the first time I’ve inked them onto paper.  (<< I actually wrote this in the back of my planner, so I did really use ink!)  And because I’ve become a compulsive organizer, I’ve categorized my resolutions this year.  Does anyone else do that????

Practical Plans (ie: these had better get done or else)

-- get better about time management and organization.  I cannot stand another year of racing out the door late to work, while the front door bangs shut on the sea of chaos inside.  I’ve discovered from keeping other people’s homes clean that I’m not a messy person – I’m a clean person who doesn’t know how to stop making messes.  A lot of this has to do with time and burnout too – there’s not a ton of incentive to power through cleaning late at night after I’ve spent the whole day doing it somewhere else.  There isn't much time either.  And I have a toddler.  Clearly, I need some concrete strategies here.

-- find more patience.  Do you have some I could borrow while Hunter is in the throes of toddlerhood??  When H was born I swore I would never yell at him or discipline him when I was angry.  This year I failed on both counts.  Somehow I need to learn to be as patient at home as I am at work – even when we’re late or he won’t sleep or he pours his food over his head right as we’re about to leave for work or he’s screaming on the floor and I don’t know whether he’s in pain or throwing a tantrum.  I am meeting with two family counselors to try and strategize ways to maintain parenting calm even under extreme stress.  This is my second-most important resolution for 2013.

-- figure out what I am doing for work/school, and decide whether or not I want to graduate 6 months early or go a bit slower and start working part-time as a CNA.

-- learn to like myself.  Okay, that one probably belongs more in the Impossible Dreams category.  Or perhaps When Pigs Can Fly.  Seriously, though, while I suspect liking myself is a looooonnnngggg way off, I would at least like to negotiate a truce with myself.  A bit of acceptance would be a place to start.  And no more of the I’m-so-stupid-I-hate-myself-I-hate-myself mantras.

-- make God the solid base of my life again.  I hate being a stormy-weather Christian.  I want to teach Hunter about being a child of God, and to do that, I need to be one first.  (This is the most important resolution!)

And then I have the I Would Love To category…

-- run five miles without walk breaks.  Survive.  Do it again.

-- write again.  Fiction.  I want my head filled with characters again.  I feel them at the edges of my mind, pale-ghost faces and WHAT”S THAT WORD fingers tap-tapping at the windows of my imagination.  Even if it’s only one short story, I want to hear that gorgegous cacophony of story-on-the-brew in my brain.

-- make a new friend.  An honest-to-goodness live-in-my-town, go for coffee, workout-partner friend.  Randomly: why on earth don’t they make “friend-ing” websites?  Forget about a date - all I want is a friend!

--  have one day, even just a few hours, where I am just me.  Not mom or student or employee or daughter or any other label.  Just me.  I’m envisioning either a gallop across a summer-thick meadow with the strong-tea smell of horse sweat in my nose, or perched at the top of a "peak" of the Porcupine Mountains, just me on a rock under a clear blue sky.

That's where I'd like to take my year...what about you?  If you made resolutions, share in the comments, please?  If you blogged about them, even better - share the link!