Something strange happened to you this past month. YOU BROKE. That’s the only way I know how to explain it. And it happened overnight. You went to bed a good-natured, pleasant little darling and woke up a screaming, angry little tyrant that thinks the world will come to an abrupt end if I’m not holding you AT ALL TIMES. You’re going through a separation anxiety and “stranger danger” phase, which I’m told is completely normal at your age. Although I’d been warned about this phase, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the magnitude of it. When we’re home you definitely prefer that I carry you around on my hip, but often you’ll settle for me being near enough that you can at least see me. But if, for some reason, I have to step out of your sight for even a few seconds, you scream with the same intensity I imagine you’d scream with if your face were on fire.
Our morning routine used to go something like this: you would continue sleeping while I showered, then you’d wake up and babble until I came and got you out of bed. You would then happily play on the floor while I finished getting ready for the day. Then I’d play with you for a few minutes before I fed you and got you dressed. Relaxed, breezy and simple. Now our mornings go something like this: you wake up at 6:00 demanding to be fed and then simply held in my arms. I’m allowed to take you out of the bedroom, but I’m not allowed-under any circumstances-to put you down yet. Not until you’re good and ready. Eventually I’m allowed to shower, as long as I keep the curtain open far enough for you to keep an eye on me. I then spend the next twenty-five minutes trying to find something, ANYTHING, to keep you entertained long enough for me to pull my hair into a ponytail and swipe on some mascara.
A new object can entertain you for a good ten mintues, but if you’ve already played with something you cannot be bothered with it again! You’ve already seen that cup! You’ve already played with that rattle! And that book? You looked at it TWICE yesterday! If I can’t find something NEW for you to play with, you get bored and start whining. OH, THE WHINING! The sound of this whining makes my ears bleed. It sounds like a mixture between your normal cry and the moan of a gut-shot bear left in the woods to die slowly. There’s not much I won’t do to prevent you from making THAT SOUND. The other day you were sitting on the floor making THAT SOUND for absolutely no reason and after a minute I turned to your father and asked him “Do you hear that, honey? THAT SOUND? If at some point you find me hiding in the closet with the lights off, rocking back and forth and mumbling incoherently, just know that I’ve been driven to do so by THAT SOUND.”
You are trying, and LOVING, all sorts of new foods. You’re also learning to feed yourself and although it makes a terrible mess, (how do you turn a graham cracker into THAT???) it’s a blast to watch you. You’re such a good little eater, which I guess I should have expected since you’re the product of a man who loves food and a woman who is passionate about food. You especially like sweet potatoes, pears, peas, strawberry pop tarts and cheerios. But, trying all this new food must have confused your little tummy because one day it just quit working. And then you didn’t poop for six days. I won’t go into detail about what was necessary to remedy this situation, but I will say it involved an infant suppository and me learning that sometimes REAL LOVE means being willing to put something in someone else’s bum.
I can’t count the times in the past month that you’ve been called a boy. When you were a newborn, I often heard “He looks just like his father”. So, for the first couple months of your life I made sure I dressed you in pink and put a cute headband in your hair. Apparently it worked, because for a while nobody called you a boy. Not even once. But then you decided that you don’t like headbands or bows, in fact, you HATE them. Almost as much as you hate having socks on your feet. I’ll put something in your hair and within a matter of seconds it’s off your head and in your mouth. I’ve considered gluing something on your head, but I’m afraid you’d still tug at it and that you’d end up pulling your hair right out with it. And there are just so precious few hairs on that head of yours that I’m not willing to risk it. So the boy comments have returned, full force. I’ve reached the point where if one more person says what a “CUTE LITTLE FELLA” you are, I’ll have to physically stop myself from whipping them with a car antenna.
To my surprise, you’re not crawling yet. Although you possess all the skills required, you haven’t quite figured how to put it in gear and actually move forward. I blame your chubby legs. If they weren’t so darn pudgy, they might be easier to maneuver. But I adore those legs of yours and it’s because of them that you’ve lovingly been given nicknames like Ham-legs, Hammy and Hamster. I’m afraid that when you start crawling you’ll slim down and lose some of the leg fat that I SO enjoy nibbling on. (I wonder who you’ll be when you’re no longer our Squealbert Hammalot.) In an effort to help you learn to crawl, I’ll set something just out of your reach, then watch as you attempt to make your way to it. You begin by leaning forward and tucking your feet under you. Then, once you’re on your hands and knees, you’ll rock back and forth for a while as if you’re working up the momentum you’ll need to launch your body toward the desired item. After you realize you’re not actually going anywhere like that, you get on your tummy and make swimming motions which, I must say, are very cute but ineffective. All of this is very frustrating to you, which brings us right back to THAT SOUND we discussed earlier.
Morgan, this phase you’re going through has been challenging. But, I promise that it’s not all bad. In fact, for each frustrating thing there are at least a HUNDRED good things. Like the way you’ve learned to give real kisses. And the way I roll over in bed to find you wide awake, staring at me with a big toothy grin. Like the curve of your adorably round belly and the way it hangs over your diaper. Like the way I pick you up when you’re crying and you bury your face into my neck, trying to get closer. Or the way you giggle when you touch your nose to mine. And how you laugh until you get the hiccups when your dad holds you upside down and says GIMME YOUR MONEY, PUNK! Like the way you get excited and kick your frog legs when you see me filling up the bathtub. Or the way you screech with delight when you hear songs that you recognize. Like the way you use my hands to pull yourself into a standing position then excitedly say “OGLEE, OGLEE, OGLEE!” Like the way your laughter echos through our home and makes it a happier place. Like the way you’ve taught me how to live life more slowly and appreciate little, everyday things because now I’m seeing them through your innocent and wondering eyes.
Even though part of me grows tired of holding you twenty-four hours a day, another part of me NEVER wants to let you go. Each time you cry and reach your arms out to me, I secretly want to high-five you. Because I love that you love me. And do you know what? I love you too, little fella.