Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dharma Doll

Wow, the past couple of months have really slipped away from me. It was just warm and beachy, then all of a sudden it was Halloween (he was Daruma), and now it's Thanksgiving. And he'll be two (TWO!) on Saturday. Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Zephyr is growing so fast, both cognitively and physically, and I can barely keep up. In the past two months he's gone from using maybe 20 or so words to 100 words, and is starting to form sentences. He's finally catching up. Our favorite latest development is his contraction of "yes, please" to just "yep." We still ask him to say please, but "yep" is pretty cute. I've listed the rest of his words at the bottom of this post for posterity and record-keeping.

He's finally entered the part of his speech development where he is copying and repeating words in addition to his normal attempts at talking. We try to model proper speech by repeating back to him what he's trying to say. For example, if he says "apeas! apeas!" while standing next to the horse, we say "I want up please!" Oh, by the way, any four-legged ungulate is 'moose.' Horse is moose. Elk is moose. Deer is moose. At home he has an Ikea rocking moose, so we blame the Swedes for this one.

Also, in a tragic case of "Who's on First," Zephyr is calling a lot of things "mine." He doesn't necessarily think they belong to him, it's just that when I hold my coffee and say "this coffee is mine. that water is yours," he thinks "oh, she said that cup of coffee is called 'mine'". He doesn't assign the ownership to the word 'mine', he just thinks it's a label. I guess all kids probably do this, but when this clicked for me it was kind of a revelation. It's always nice to know that our kids aren't totally narcissistic sociopaths.

Zephyr loves trying to jump. It's still really more of a stilted gallop, and his vert totally sucks, but it's adorable watching him try. He also loves doing barrel rolls on the carpet and walking up and down stairs and his little step-stool.

He's starting to mellow out a bit, but last month was challenging, with lots of mood swings. These photos were taken within 30 seconds, during which time he went from sheer ecstasy:


to rage:


I guess he didn't like the silly faces I was making at him after all.

Since the end of September, we've been members of Eastside Family Co-op; it's a part-time day care that is run entirely by parents. He goes three mornings a week, including one with me. It's been really nice for me to have two mornings a week to myself to get work done (or just catch my breath, increasingly), and he gets lots of solid playtime with other kids his age. It's just 1.5 months to 3.5 year olds, so he's right in the middle developmentally. He's really thriving there.

Zephyr's friendships at Co-op are starting to blossom. He loves to hug and kiss his little friends, which sends my cute overload meter soaring. He went through a bit of a hitting phase at around the time we started, but fortunately it was very short-lived.

He's starting to become aware of the potty, or at least the bathroom. He goes into the bathroom whenever the door is open, points at the toilet and says "pee. boop." I know it'll be coming soon, but I guess I just haven't felt like pushing it. I ask him if he wants to go potty and he's already out the door and onto something else.

All of these new tricks are amazing, but it's also becoming very apparent that Zephyr isn't a baby anymore. I actually have to learn how to parent him now, to help him become the best person he can be. It's really scary to know that I, alone, could fuck this kid up completely if I don't do this right. I'm reading every book out there, and have really found the Positive Discipline techniques valuable. I'll probably be taking at least one class to help retrain me. I get really worried about my ability to do this when my knee-jerk reaction is to yell, and I know he deserves better, so I'm just working as hard as I can. As one mom at Co-op likes to say, "it's a process."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Aybee Seedy

Long time, sorry. What's been going on: Zephyr has had a few visits with Holly, his speech therapist (though at this age, the "therapy" is really about repeatedly labeling objects and sounds in a way that's not too pushy or exhausting for him). I think it's going well, but I also am becoming more convicted in my thinking that he really is just a little late, and will actually be just fine.

His obsession with cars is, thankfully, starting to transfer to letters of the alphabet. He's fascinated with letters, and flashcards, and letter magnets. He can say a few of the letters: I (his favorite), O, E, A, Y, S, M and D; he holds up the B and says "zzzz." Because that's the sound a bee makes. The rest of the letters, he usually just says "E" because that's as close as he can get to making the sound.

I tend to forget that his receptive language skills are just fine because his expressive language is lagging, so just for fun I decided to test his knowledge. I hold up a book and starting with an easy one, ask him, "where's the I?" He points to it. "C?" I know he can't say that one, so I'm pleased when he points to it. And H, and J, and Q. He can read all of the letters. Little genius has been holding out on us.

He does have a few new words (mostly bullshit ones, but still):
  • bye (bus; or bye, if waving)
  • die (car)
  • die-die (truck or airplane)
  • dee (train)
  • nana (banana)
  • brr (anything that is marginally wet or cold)
  • no (no)
  • mo (more; also uses signs for more and please)
  • moon (for moon or sun, or any picture of a celestial body)
  • ow (owl)
  • nummynummy (yummy)
  • buhbuhbuhbuh (bubbles)
  • Dada (Daddy)
  • Mama (music to my ears)

He'll be starting co-op day care in a couple weeks, which will be great for us. It's family-run, for kids 18 months to three years old, and is really nice. I'll be there with him one morning a week, and he'll be there without me two mornings a week. I'll get a break to work, he'll get to be out of the house and around other kids his age (which will undoubtedly help his speech development), and everyone wins. We got our official welcome email today, and couldn't be happier.

Riding the train at Seaside was marginally less thrilling for him than the carousel ride.

And we had our first family trip to the beach last week! Grandma was in town and we rented a little house in Seaside called the Lobster House. It was wonderful to be in the salt air and sunshine, to revisit my favorite childhood haunts, and Zephyr had a blast on the coast (aka That Giant Sandbox). We even got our first family portrait since he was new.

I love how squirmy and funny he is in this photo. It perfectly sums up the little boy we have.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Manic Panic

Zephyr just wowed the both of us with the most amazing collection of mood swings. After his bath tonight, before bed, he was in top form. Here's how it went:

"Dat? Dat? Dat?" he asks about nothing in particular, jabbing his little index finger in random directions. He leans into my arms and hugs me into a stranglehold, then pulls back and bucks giddily, grinning with his eyes squeezed tight, shrieking peals of laughter as he squirms his naked tushie out of his towel.

"Et? Et!" (his word for blanket) He's pointing at his blanket, so I grab it and tuck it into his arms as I lay him onto the changing table to get him into his jammies.

Epic meltdown. Inconsolable crying.

"What's wrong, honey?" I ask. He looks at me, face in a cartoon frown, and sobs. Then he flips over (Scott has just gotten a diaper on him), crying, and points to the Totoro mural on his wall, says "dat" and starts laughing maniacally.

Scott and I look at each other, confused, eyebrows raised, trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness, lest we encourage him to act like this on purpose.

I pull his jammies over his head. Tears again. He's hugging me around the neck as he steps into his pajama bottoms. He starts slapping at me, and I gently scold him, "no hitting, Zephyr. That hurts." His face slowly crumples into another frown, and he wraps his arms around me and buries his head against my chest. More crying.

We get to the rocking chair, sing our songs and when he's finished nursing he flips his legs around to kick off my lap. He crawls off toward his crib, leaving me and Scott in our places at the rocker and starts to lay down on his rug. Scott picks him to sing the rest of the lullabies, and Zephyr shoos me off by making his kissy word, "mmmuh." Then he starts pointing at each of the stars lit up on his ceiling, "stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs. stahs." Points at the fan, "dat," then "stahs."

Sigh. "Goodnight, Zephyr. Sweet dreams. I love you."


Oh, toddlers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Strong, Silent Type

After reading every book and website on speech delays, and after having a brief visit with a speech-language pathologist (SLP), we had Zephyr evaluated for developmental delays last Wednesday, and it turns out he is completely, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-normal-curve normal. Except for speech. That part, he's only 79th centile.

Normally, they wouldn't consider this a far enough deviation from normal to qualify him for federally-funded therapy, but luckily the SLPs that evaluated him used their best professional judgment to determine that he'd be a good candidate for speech therapy. He might just be a late bloomer, or he might end up with literacy problems later if we don't do something now, early.

So now we wait for the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to arrive, and then we can start weekly, in-home speech training. I reckon most of the training will be for me and Scott, to help us help Zephyr. In the meantime, I just try to play with him more intently, annunciate more intentionally, use proper English instead of "toddlerese," though we still use the "toddlerese" to quell his thunderstorms, which come and go with frustrating frequency as he cuts four molars and four canines simultaneously, and is unable to communicate much further than pointing and nodding. And disdah. Disdah is, I think, "this is a car."

As in:


But dis is still used to tell me about other things he's observing. Like the white clovers in the garden and the busy little Hymenopteran sisters tending their nectar.

He tells me there are bees here, matter-of-factly. My budding naturalist loves squatting low to watch industrious honeybees and bumblebees, and buzzes alongside them. He loves blowing the fluffy achenes off of dandelions, and perfectly imitating the guttural melody of the American crow.

We spend lots of time at the park, providing happy respite from boredom (for both of us). We usually go in the early morning, so we have the whole place to ourselves. This doesn't really do his social development any favors, but it does help us avoid interactions like the one we had the other day. There's this one mom in the neighborhood, and her son, Liam, is about 6 months older than Zephyr. He's a really skinny little kid, almost always in her lap. He's verbally advanced for his age, but seems pretty shy and xenophobic and may have a social/emotional delay. Thing is, he always has really cool cars with him, which are irresistible to Zephyr. So like any other toddler, Zephyr grabbed one off the ground and started to try to take off with it to play. The other mom scoops up Liam, says something like "you don't want him to play with your car, do you?" and Liam buries his face in her neck and sort of says no, shaking his head.

This is the second time Zephyr has tried to play with this kid's toys at the park, so obviously he's established a pattern of behavior. This woman says to me, "he probably just senses that he can easily dominate Liam."

Yes, you stupid bitch, my 20 month-old son is a cold-blooded predator, can sense weakness in your son, and knew he'd easily overpower him to get what he wanted. He's cold-blooded, merciless and calculating. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he is a FUCKING TODDLER and the part of his brain that feels empathy or understands the concept of sharing has literally not grown yet. But go ahead and keep treating your son like a helpless victim. That should bode well for him socially, especially if he stays in the 10th centile for weight. You can protect him his whole life.

I muttered an apology, took the car away from Zephyr, handed it back and Zephyr started crying. I picked him up and we took off. If we see them again, I think I'll just tell Zephyr that Liam is too scared to play and we'll go to the other end of the park where he can't hurt anyone. The funny thing is, our friend's boy, Jude, is 14 months old, and takes cars from Zephyr all the time. Zephyr cries, then when it's time to part, we take the car from Jude and he cries. No one thinks Jude is a sociopath for not knowing how to share, and since Zephyr has almost ten pounds on Jude, it's clearly not that Jude thinks he can dominate Zephyr. I honestly don't know how anyone can go into parenthood without at least knowing that toddlers think everything is "mine."

But I can see how she'd think that Zephyr's a monster. I mean, look at this face.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Walky Talky, Redux

...or, Why I am So Damn Tired All the Time

It's been a long time, I know. Sorry about that. I've been too busy chasing my kid all over the damn place, and couldn't be bothered to blog about. And even now that he's taking a nice long nap (all tuckered out from his first swimming lesson), I barely have time to eat lunch and get the rest of my other writing done. So here's what I'll do instead: I'll just show you.

Dizzy? Me too. My favorite part at 0:24, when he's startled by my presence with the camera.

Here's Zephyr's version of a phone call (on a remote control), which is representative of pretty much all talking he does.

No, I can't understand a word he's saying either. I'm hoping that eventually he starts trying to talk correctly, but for now he just babbles incoherently at varying volumes. Sooner or later he'll realize that it's just faster to tell me what he wants instead of pointing and saying "dis, dis" all time.

The last video I want to post is of him splashing around and being silly in his kiddie pool, but he's nekkid as a jay bird in that video, and I don't want any trouble. So that one will just be for Grandma to watch on my phone when she comes to visit in a couple months.

Zephyr's been doing great, though, and aside from the not speaking clearly, I think he's humming right along on his little milestones. His pediatrician said to let her know if he doesn't say ten words in a month or two, so that's a nice thing to be paranoid about. As it stands, he can say "mama," "dada," "caw! caw!" (for crow), "ball," "all done," "hi," "hello," and "I love you." A few weeks ago we were at the book store (he was in the carrier on my back) and I guess he got bored standing there, because he patted me on the shoulder and said "yecko, Mama" ("let's go, Mama"). And he never said it again. Same with several other words, uttered perfectly clearly, plain as day: strawberry, medicine, kitty. I'm choosing not to worry about it yet, because I feel like I'm already doing what I'm supposed to. I talk and read to him plenty, play with him every day, and narrate everything for him, nearly to the point of lunacy. We always freak out and panic that he's behind on things, then just at the last minute he comes along like it ain't no thang.

And it ain't.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nappy-Headed Fool

This is a very sleepy boy.

After a month of waking up at 5:00 am to an alternately angry/chatty Zephyr, we have reluctantly decided to wean him down to one nap. We're hoping that if he sleeps less during the day that he'll go back to sleeping longer at night (or later into the morning). We started on Saturday, moving his 9:00 am nap to 10:00. Then yesterday, we bumped it another 30 minutes. Today, due to a spur-of-the-moment brunch date, he went down for his afternoon nap at 11:30. The books say to move the nap in 15 minute increments over the course of a week, but I trust Zephyr's ability to adapt quickly, and other than acting sleepy in the morning (yawns and eye rubs at his old nap time), he seems to be doing just fine.

My goal is to get him to a noon-3:00 pm nap so that we can schedule morning classes and activities to give our days some order, and I'll still have a little time for working and writing every day without having to cut into my evenings too much. Then in the afternoons we can run errands and fix dinner together. He's been very into playing in the kitchen lately, and I want to start letting him "help" soon. Also, with my afternoons shifting to being with Zephyr instead of working while he naps, I can get dinner ready earlier so we can all start eating together instead of just throwing something together for Zephyr, and Scott and I waiting to eat dinner until after Zephyr goes to bed.

The new nap schedule, while excruciating on the first two days (being up at 5:00 and out of ideas by 7:30), is already starting to show some results. Yesterday instead of wailing at 5:00 he just cried half-heartedly and then stayed quiet for a half hour. Today, he woke briefly at 3:30 am, but then went back to sleep until around 6:15 am. And that may have only been because he pooped. We'll see what tonight holds, but I'm already feeling better about things with the prospect of once again getting a full night's sleep on the horizon.

Other than sleep drama, everything is pretty much normal. Walking is going well, though he tends to prefer doing it from the comfort and security of home. When I take him to the park, he just crawls around, grinding sawdust and mud into his knees. Evidently he walks just fine when he's at the park with Scott, so I'm not sure what's going on.

He's really into coloring right now, which is great, because crayons are relatively light and small enough to fit into my purse. He doesn't even need to taste them anymore. He is always entertained now.

He's also started finally breaking his molars. His bottom left second incisor is still showing no signs of coming, or that it even exists. I guess there's a chance that he is missing one of his teeth? Wonderful. In addition to serious orthodontia, he'll need an implant. Hopefully this is just a baby tooth issue.

Talking, too, is coming along slowly. He verbalizes constantly, it's just usually not any words that I can understand. And it's not because I'm not paying attention, it's because he literally says "bzbzbzbzbz. dis. dis, bzbzbzbz." He also makes this cooing sing-song sound like an owl where he starts high and then drops and octave, going progressively lower and lower, "hoo-OOH, hoo-OOH." He can say "all done" when he's finished eating (which he does, while presenting either his empty plate or the plate full of food that he's not interested in eating). When I ask him if we wants to nurse, he nods and says "dub."

He calls Scott "Daddoo" which is adorable. He never calls me Mama, though, or requests me verbally at all, as far as I can tell. Maybe it's because I'm ubiquitous. I hope it's because he just knows that I'm always there.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Walky Talky

Oh, what a long time it's been since I last updated this blog. Such a bad mommy I am! I've had lots of other writing to do, and I guess I let things slide around here a bit.

Zephyr can walk now - measurable distances, even. He slowly, carefully makes his way across the living room. It's funny, when he's holding something such as a sippy cup, he covers much more ground and with less trepidation than when he is consciously walking.

Other than that, not a whole lot is different. He said the word 'medicine' last night, then repeated it twice to assure us it wasn't an accident. "Mmmm-dsin," he says sweetly, yearning for that candy-syrup Tylenol. We only give it to him at night, when his impending molars seem to genuinely fuck with his head.

Actually, the persistent waking has gotten so out of hand that we finally had to draw the line, and began the night weaning process last night. No, let me be more specific: we are sleep training him, for reals this time. We were having pretty good success with just letting Scott go in and give him a hug, but at 17 months, he really should not be waking up every couple hours hollering at the top of his lungs. Somewhere along the way, he forgot how to just suck his thumb or resettle, and learned to shout for us. So now, no more rocking him back to sleep in the middle of the night. We go in, pat him on the back, give him his blankie and wish him a good night. No more nursing in the night. He hates this. Last night, the first one, was very rough. From around 1:00am to 3:00am none of us slept. Scott didn't get back to sleep until about an hour before his alarm went off.

Today we're all pretty exhausted, but we'll survive. Hopefully it won't take long to get him squared away again.

I'll post again as there are updates, but for now, I'm just looking forward to Mother's Day with my guys.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Hurr

Don't ask why, but I decided to give Zephyr his first haircut. Myself. After a glass of wine (or two). Here he is before:

Laid back. A little too laid back. Things are getting scraggly. Clearly, something must be done.

Whoooops, totally fucked his head up.

Yes, Zephyr, "gag." Mommy fucked up your hair. It is a terrible look. It looks like a hipster chick with low self esteem cut her own bangs after that guy she went out with last week didn't call like he said he would.

Now what, though?

What else, a good old-fashioned, Ron Swanson-approved High and Tight. But a little less tight. And with an unintentional Vanilla Ice notch above the ear. Scott, surprisingly, wouldn't let me take it all the way by adding a couple more. He's no fun.

He looks like this little German boy from the 1920s. I wish I hadn't snipped across the front, but whaddayagonnado. At least it'll grow back.

Not much new to report, but he has a new trick: pretend talking on the phone. One day he snuck over to my phone and just held it to the side of his head saying, "Yah. Yah. Yah." And now any object that is roughly rectangular in shape is a phone. Or just an empty hand. That works, too.

And he's just been having a good old time with his little buddy Fred. They are the cutest little besties ever. This is the only kid that Zephyr hugs, and I finally caught it on film.

He loves him some Freddlez. They have so much fun playing and talking to each other. I know, totally gay.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Many Colored Days

Does anyone else think that the Dr. Seuss book My Many Colored Days is really about living with schizophrenia? I know it's supposed to help kids define their emotions so that they can express their feelings, but it always seems like the ramblings of a manic-depressive to me.

It also, to a certain extent, describes motherhood. Obviously, every day I'm absolutely over the moon for Zephyr, but the way I feel about motherhood (or myself as a mother) seems to change from day to day. Some days I cannot give myself enough high fives, but I rate my success based on things that are, in actuality, completely out of my control. A "good day" is when Zephyr and I go to lunch together and he doesn't fling his food all over the place. I read to him for the fully-prescribed 20 minutes, he takes his two long naps without a single fuss, then doesn't wake at all to nurse in the night. That means I'm doing it Right.

Most of the time, though, I am plagued by self-doubt. I am terrified of being a mean mom, yet I want to set boundaries so Zephyr doesn't end up being a total dick. I constantly compare him to other kids his age and blame myself if he isn't at the same level (or ahead) of other kids. That he only just took his first steps - at 15 months - is clearly because I don't spend enough time engaging him in physical play. That he only knows about 5 or 6 words (about half of which are actually animal sounds like "hoo-hoo" for an owl) is clearly because I don't read or speak to him enough.

He used to be such a great eater, and now I spend every mealtime girding myself for the moment when he wrings his hands to tell me he's finished (I haven't figured out if he has actually learned the sign for "all done," like I've been trying to teach him) . If I don't respond instantly, he throws all of his food on the floor: one piece, then the second piece, then the entire bowl. This, from the boy who creamed all of the other babies in the race to feed himself. I'm sure this is my fault, because I tend to spend mealtimes trying to get the kitchen cleaned up instead of eating with him, peppering the pauses between bites with pleasant conversation.

So then I break out the books again, all of the dozens of parenting books that tell me "everything is fine and just to fucking relax already," and the ones that tell me "Jesus Christ, talk to his pediatrician if he doesn't speak precisely 15 words by the time he's 18 months." I develop a game plan (because parenting requires a strategy, right?) to help me feel like I'm in charge (when in reality, I couldn't be further from it). I project-manage. I tell Scott what we're going to do from now on, get him on board, get him on the same page. I harp on him for not talking to Zephyr enough, and tell him he needs to read more, and to quit zoning out and staring at the floor. "Even if Zephyr isn't interested, just read at him so he hears words," I tell Scott.

I am also a terrible wife, and am sure Scott will leave me any minute for a woman who still weighs 128 pounds and is less of a fucking harpy, who doesn't complain about how sore and tired she is all the time, who is captivated to listen to him talk about his day when he gets home from work.

I divert my focus to things I can control: a clean house, a full cupboard, a checked-off list of arbitrary To-Dos. I feel competent and proud for while, maybe it even escalates to smug satisfaction. Then that needling sneaks up on me again: my priorities are completely out of whack and I should be focusing on my amazing little boy instead of all of the Other Shit.

I am starting to get it, though. I think. Being a good mom means learning how to laugh at shit that I find really irritating instead of getting pissed off. I think it also means letting the kid have wads of cat hair on him sometimes instead of freaking out and spending 15 minutes vacuuming every day. Maybe it can also mean letting him fuck shit up once in awhile and make some messes if it means he's happy and learning. It definitely means taking a step back and trying to get a little perspective: he's healthy, he's happy and people always remark at what a good boy he is. That is enough.


He took his first steps last week. Just two of them, but now he's motoring all over the house with his little push cart, and shopping trips mean if I don't let him down on the floor to "push" the shopping cart, he will holler and frown and be one of those kids that my pre-kid self wished would shut the hell up.

He's cutting about 30 teeth right now, all at once. I can feel and see his molars and all those incisors all bumping up against his gums and he always has a finger jammed in his mouth. He's been kind of a grumpus the past few weeks, and I am trying to stay patient and sympathetic and just give him lots of snuggles (and Tylenol).

He needs a haircut, but I keep forgetting to give him one. I actually really want to take him to a barber so I can photograph it, but I'm afraid this will end in tears, and I always forget to bring it up on the weekend (I feel like all of these Firsts should have Scott in attendance so he doesn't miss out).

His 15 month checkup was a couple weeks ago, and he's only gained a half pound in the last three months (and no height). His head circumference has increased a little. I have started giving him two or three snacks a day, trying to fatten him back up - 75th centile for weight means he's malnourished, as far as I'm concerned. His little pot belly is starting to slim down, and I guess I'm just not ready for him to be a kid instead of a baby.

(Hey, everyone, please believe me when I say: I'm not asking for everyone to be concerned about me, or to pat my hair and tell me I'm a great mother, or to worry that I am secretly depressed. Just because I write about these things doesn't mean it's a cry for help. I'm just writing about it because I feel it's honest, and I hope that other moms can relate. That's all. But thanks!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Travels and Travails

Wow, this month is really getting away from me.

Playing peek-a-boo with his Gramma at The Keg

We survived our first trip two weeks ago. Zephyr was smitten with his Grandma and great aunts and uncles, and likewise charmed them with his near-perfect behavior the entire trip. He was a mite fussy on the flight in, but that was because he'd only had a mini-nap and couldn't sleep on the plane. He caught another 20 minute catnap in the car on the way to the hotel, and was up two hours past his bedtime. This was pretty much the way things were the entire trip, yet he behaved admirably.

That is, until the last night in Gilbert (an ugly suburb of Phoenix, AZ), when dinner at Kona Grill caused a complete failure of composure. I have never experienced my son in this way - just completely miserable, crying and arching nonstop for about 45 minutes (while we waited for the hotel shuttle bus to return for us). The food was passable (but overpriced), the service was cloyingly chipper (and tragically misinformed), but the main problem was that it was a total meat market and not at all the friendly Hawaiian luau food that we expected. The dark, night-clubby lighting and loud DOUCHEDOUCHEDOUCHE music exacerbated the problem. I took Zephyr outside, bouncing, singing, desperate to calm him, but nothing worked. It was too warm, and the air in front of the mini-mall restaurant smelled of stale cigarettes. Phoenix is plastic like Los Angeles, but more rednecky.

We enjoyed the weather and scenery, though, and the zoo was fun.

The new stuff, I'm just gonna list because I think he's waking up from his nap and who has the time for paragraphs these days?
  • Has three different dance moves, employs them often. Beatboxes "puhpuhpuh." Awesome.
  • Points to everything and whispers "this." Dis. dis. dis. We try to figure out what he's talking about and name the object.
  • Teeth #5 and 6 are breaking through. Yes, he is 15 months old and has only 6 teeth.
  • Still no walking, even though we know he totally could if he weren't so damn lazy.
  • Every time he sees a picture of a cat, he hugs it to his face. This is the cutest thing ever. EVER.
  • Can use spoon and fork marginally well, but will usually just throw utensils to the floor and use fingers instead. We try not to react too much, but now I'm trying to actually use parenting techniques so I pick the utensil (or cup, or bowl of food) up, wipe it off and return it to his tray. Then I cheerfully say "the spoon goes on the tray!" instead of calling him an asshole.
  • Has mastered the F.A.C. (fake-ass cry). He tries this one out often, but this has always been one of my pet peeves in kids and it has absolutely no effect on me. "Sorry, Bubbie! Mommy has a heart of stone!" I say in a chipper voice. It's best that Zephyr learn this as early as possible. It's still funny to see him screw his little face up into a frown and try to work up some tears to get me to drop whatever I'm doing and pick him up. (Oh, don't look at me like that. It's good for him to learn patience.)
  • Can do that thing where he strums his finger on his lips to go "blblblblb" like in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons when something fell on Elmer's head and made him all concussed and brain damaged (wtf is that even called?).
  • Leans over in the bath and blows bubbles in the bath water. This always cracks him up and he gasps in a little water and chokes a bit. Repeat ad nauseum.
He's a funny kid.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Laugh it Up

Next week we're going on our first trip out of town with Zephyr. We'll only be gone for three days, but we haven't even taken him on a day trip yet, so of course I'm worried about messing up his entire schedule and making him miserable. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I think he'll probably be just fine, though I am bracing myself for the airport hell - all the crap we'll have to bring is going to weigh a ton. I hope they don't hassle us too much.

I hope that our tight routine will translate well to the hotel - we'll bring his blankie, night light, Totoro plushy and iPod full of lullabies, and the baby monitor so we can slip over to Grandma's room for TV and a glass of wine without disturbing Booshie. I'm psyching myself up now for it to be okay. It'll be okay.

His next set of incisors is just about out. I think I see them right there sometimes, white at the gumline, but then they seem to retreat back for a day or so. His finger is always jammed in his mouth, but he still manages to open up once in awhile to say a few words. His new one this week is "debdeb" (Yo Gabba Gabba - not a useful phrase at all, but the name of the TV show we watch before naptime).

Last week he hit his 14 month mark, and he's getting ever-so-close to taking his first steps. He loves walking around the house holding onto my or Scott's fingers, and is doing a bit more standing unassisted. Honestly, at this point, I think he could walk if he wanted to, but is just being lazy. Why would he risk landing on his ass when it's so much easier to just crawl or get carried everywhere?

And since he's been such a sweet, huggy little guy lately, I don't feel like putting him down much either. He wraps his arms around my neck so tight and pats my shoulder. It's so cute. Last week he cracked me and Scott up when, at bedtime, he was finishing up nursing after we sang our bedtime songs, and he just started blowing raspberries for no reason. Scott though he was motorboating me (which he has done before). I pulled my face down close to his to whisper to him, and he bit my nose! He thought that was pretty funny. I guess I did, too.

Anyway - just a quick post. I just wanted to share these awesome photos. It might be getting close to time for his first haircut. I was hoping his widow's peak would have grown in by now, but I guess it's on the same trajectory as those teeth of his...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Manic Digression

One of the joys of this age is that Zephyr is displaying a wider range of emotions. Instead of being joyful all the time (which I love, don't get me wrong), he's actually starting to reveal a moodier side typical of toddlers. So now, when we're playing and having a grand old time, he's prone to going from manic grins and peals of delight...

...to disgruntled sneers and indignant whining, in mere seconds. The unhappy times are usually directly related to the focus of my attention. Specifically, when my attention is on something other than Zephyr, he's mad. He wants to be held all the time, and is nursing a lot more than he did months ago. He has recently discovered that if he shoots me a soft look and delicately strums at the collar of whatever shirt I'm wearing (while uttering "neh, neh?"), that I will nurse him. Now that he knows how to ask for it, he does. Frequently.

Lately he's really into reading, which is an early relief from my fears that he will have inherited one of his uncles' demeanor instead of that of his bookish parents. It's still early, I suppose, but Scott and I have been nurturing this love of books at every turn. He loves books so much, in fact, that he will grab our fingers to point to each word and picture on a page, and now even grabs his own feet to use as pointers on the pages, which looks like he's trying to breakdance on his books. When he thinks no one is watching, he will use his own fingers and mumble to himself the words of the story.

He also really loves balls these day. "Buh! Buh!" he'll insist, and then we play a rousing game of Roll-and-Catch, or if I need a break, Fetch. He loves his big green ball so much that he will lay down with it and give it a little hug (Scott thinks he's just pressing his ear to the ball to enjoy the warped sound, but he does this to his soft toys too, and I can't imagine they distort sound much. I also choose to think Zephyr is engaging in this activity for the cuter of the two possible reasons.)

Lately I've been feeling really disconnected from my own family. Most of it is my own doing - I haven't talked to my father since last summer. I'm pissed that he forgot to call on Zephyr's birthday, and prior to that, he'd only called me to ask to borrow money (this was the same day as Zephyr's surgery last summer, and he never even called to follow up on Zephyr's progress). My brother and dad, as far as I can tell, think that my dysfunctional childhood is a figment of my own exaggeration, and that I should "get over it." For the better part of my adulthood, I thought I had buried most of it, and I have been pretty stalwart and callous about it all, but motherhood is dragging up a lot of heavy shit that I thought I dealt with a long time ago.

I'm furious that my father hurt me, my brother and my mother, and that he continues to gloss over all of it as excusable because he was drinking at the time. Yes, I'm still pissed about that. I'm furious that my brother idolizes a man that was so disrespectful and irresponsible to his children and partner, and I'm furious that my father allowed my only brother to walk down the same tragic, mistake-fraught path by preventing him from experiencing any of the consequences of his own fucked-up decisions. I have missed out on a brother that could have been a great man, and I am really pissed about that. I'm tired of being treated as a self-righteous martyr because I chose not to become a statistic and instead fight to be the opposite of these people.

I will do anything to make sure that Zephyr has everything I didn't have, not the least of which is stability, predictability, and freedom from violence. The other shit - opportunities to develop his talents, to have friends stay the night for pizza and too many video games, to be in sports or plays or band or whatever the hell tickles his fancy - I will make sure he has that, too, frivolous or not. If it means I need to check out of the family for awhile (or forever), so be it.

Choosing to have children is the greatest act of egomania in which person can indulge. Having a child says, "I am so important and special that more of my DNA should be in the world." To have children without at least the intention of doing a better job than our parents is smug and lazy. To be a survivor of horrible shit and to then say, "it was good enough for me, it's good enough for mine" is utter sociopathy.