Sunday, April 22, 2007

where's my baby?

I uncovered this little essay....I wrote it 9 months ago when my baby wasn't even a toddler yet.
This was clearly a mother that had not yet discovered the joys of Zoloft

I walked by the computer today and a screen saver picture caught my eye. In the endless loop of snapshots that have been saved on the computer, I saw the face of a baby I didn't know anymore.
My baby is now nine months old. He is pulling up and rolling and inchworm crawling his way around the house despite my attempts to keep him corralled.
The baby in the picture was smiling and lounging in a bouncy chair. The baby couldn't sit up on his own. He needed me to move him every which way, to hold him upright so the burps could come straight up, to lay him on his back and keep the SIDS monsters away. Now he wriggles from room to room, scoops Cheerios with ease and crams them into his mouth.
I know it is too soon to start the lament of where has my baby gone? After all he still is very much a baby. Last night I rocked him slowly in my arms and wept. I felt so sorry for this sweet baby. He has me, the tired older mother of THREE boys. Nowadays I try to plan my summer days with enough activities to keep the two older boys from fighting. I feed them, wipe them, clean their messes; I survive.
The first boy got the young, newer fresher me. I read to him for hours, bathed him daily, changed his clothes at the first evidence of a drip, planned baby play dates, and enrolled him in Gymboree. What was I thinking?
I never left my first son K except for maybe when I had a doctor's appointment. My husband kept him in the car and waited for me until I could return. God forbid I would have to take him in there with me because of the dreadful viruses and diseases that doctor's offices breed. K didn't have a babysitter until he was nearly three. And that was only because I had to attend my mother's funeral.
Child number three knows all the fine ladies in the church's nursery very well. He smiles, cooes and holds his arms up to complete strangers. He's already stayed on his own with his godmother, a neighbor lady and a 15-year old babysitter with ease.
They say you are more relaxed the more children you have. Relaxed is a nice word for exhausted. Exhausted is what I really am.
I know you are not supposed to compare your children, so here goes.... My number two son Q started walking at the age KC is right now. I was shocked to watch our little Q race across the floor at nine-months, way before I was ready. I was thrilled and panicked at the sight. No, no, no....this is too soon. Please stop what you are doing I told him. He's been moving ever since.
My sweet baby hasn't appeared to be in any hurry to get anywhere until this week. He started doing this odd yoga-like plank position, where he would do a push up with a stick straight body on his tippy toes. For a while that was all he did, just a little mini-push up and then back to his belly to play or eat the carpet fibers.
Now he has expanded this push up to a push up /propel motion that flops him forward on his belly each time but somehow manages to get him around with some speed. He inchworms himself towards me with a big open gummy smile.
He has started eating quite a bit of table food lately. What a change this is from the first baby too. When I took my oldest for his nine-month check up, the doctor told me I could start giving him yogurt, cheese, Cheerios and other table food. I practically pinned the doctor against the wall until he swore to me that he had never heard of a baby choking on a Cheerio.
Flash forward six years, this child by sheer survival of the fittest eats fists full of food. I put him in his high chair throw some cheerios or those terrific new fangled food puffs they've invented since my last child in his tray and away he goes. I prepare food for the rest of the troops while KC studies and concentrates on the process at hand. I keep fixing things and putting them in front of him and he eagerly swoops in and devours things.
He is down to nursing just twice a day now, which is such a bittersweet milestone for me. He doesn't need me for everything in his life now. The breastfeeding is one more thing the baby is taking physically and emotionally on his own and pulling away from Mama. Somehow that thrills and saddens me.


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