Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nine Months, Ten Thoughts
E-baby is nine months old today. It's kind of a milestone for me that today, while perhaps more symbolic than exact, marks the day that I will have been a mother for longer than I had been pregnant. Which might not seem long to y'all, but it's like a lifetime from my end. Or rather, it literally is a lifetime.

In the interest of being too lazy (busy?) to keep up with things in a baby book, here are ten thoughts running around my brain this month.

1. Nine months on, nine months off... that must be an average. Stuff just doesn't end up where it used to be, and for me, there's still plenty of stuff hanging around in spite of my best efforts. My friends who also have babies? I'm sure they all lost all the baby weight before being discharged from the hospital. Me? I've still got these 5 pounds that don't want to go away.

2. Babies eventually learn to communicate (I know, I can hardly believe it myself). E-baby is beginning to sign to us! She started using the "milk" sign about a month ago, but just to herself while nursing. A week ago, she made the "milk" sign at her water glass when she wanted a drink, but it wasn't so much directed at me or SNG as at her glass. Yesterday, she unmistakeably made the "milk" sign to me when she wanted a drink from her water glass. OK, so it's the wrong word, and while she isn't exactly overflowing with sign language, I can feel that soon the dam will burst and kiddo will be absorbing new signs very quickly. Honestly, I'm more impressed that she made the connection between "milk" and "water glass" since nursing and drinking from a glass are presented in completely different contexts. She wasn't saying "milk" or "water," she was saying "I'm thirsty."

3. Before babies communicate, they learn to understand what you say. E-baby recognizes and understands quite a few words, whether signed or spoken, such as more, eat, banana, melon, hungry, and Cheerios. Well, that last one might just be that she recognizes the big yellow box and gets very excited.

4. Babies can babyproof for you! Everyone says so, but it's true: as soon as they crawl, babies are drawn to the most dangerous thing in a room. Mine likes to hunt dirty shoes and electrical cords. She can move a sofa to get to an electrical cord. She can climb a bookcase to reach a bottle of something poisonous. Babyproofing is less like dog-proofing and more like cat-proofing than I ever knew.

5. There is nothing in the world cuter than a naked baby crawling zipper-zapper after a bath with the hoodie towel trailing behind like a superhero cape. Even when she pees on the floor (see #6).

6. A sense of humor is vital. In graduate school, one of the profs in our dept studied phobias and anxiety disorders. In the "fear lab," subjects would be hooked up to a mask of CO2 gas, which causes hypoxia and simulates, physiologically, the beginning of a panic attack. What they learned pretty quickly was that some people, in hypoxic conditions, went into full-blown anxiety attack. No surprise there. But, interestingly, other people responded to the exact same stimulus with fits of giggles and silliness. In other words, they interpreted the physiological cues of shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and altered perception as being stoned, not as rising panic. A nice trait to have, I think.
With a baby, you get peed on, pooped on, puked on and drooled on, bitten, screamed at, and kept awake late at night. These things can be perceived as horrible, scary, frustrating, overwhelming. But if you can see it all as one big, fat, practical joke, it will be a lot easier to enjoy the high. It is pretty darn hilarious, too. But sometimes it would be funnier without the poop.

7. Nine-month-olds do not take naps unless they are in 1) a stroller/jogger, 2) a bike trailer, or 3) a moving car. This phenomenon dates back to the advent of crawling. Read between the lines to learn why I Love Daycare.

8. Pampers have an expiration date. Why? Do they go bad? How do you know when a diaper has gone bad? Does it begin to smell funny? I'm not even going to dignify that joke with a punchline. Too easy.

9. People say you will never understand a parent's love until you are a parent. Isn't that a bit overly dramatic? After all, I really, really love my parents, my brother, my niece, my husband. I figured a child would be like that, only moreso. Well, you people with children were right and I had no idea. It's not just like regular love amplified. It's a different animal altogether. Amplified. And sadly, I can't explain it any better than they did, so I'll just leave it at that. Sorry if that sounds overly dramatic. It's just true.

10. Post-Baby time is on a log scale: First week took a year, second week took six months, fourth month took a month, fifth month took two weeks, etc. From eight months to now took about a day and a half. At first I was afraid to miss anything so I took a million pictures. Now I can't keep up.

I enjoy being a mom far more than I expected to, but I also miss SNG. We spend most of our time together taking turns watching e-baby while the other gets something done. I miss those late night walks in the park after closing time to see the glowing spiders and listen to frogs and owls. I miss sitting around watching a movie and cooking extravagant meals together. I miss eating at a table with a normal-sized chair. Still, the padded floor is clean enough to eat off of so it could be worse.

Has it been worth it so far? No question: Yes. The future feels brighter knowing that e-baby is in it. And if I've learned anything so far, it's that whatever is happening now won't last very long and soon we'll be on to the next thing. Eventually (what, 17 years or so?) that next thing will be just SNG and me in the house again, walking in the park after dark and looking at glowing spiders.

Which, the way time is moving, should be in about six hours or so.


Dad said...

You should have been a writer!
Well okay, so you are writing, but I wish blogs weren't so ephemeral. Some of your stuff really deserves to be more permanent.

PartnerInCrime said...

A few thoughts...
1. Agreed about the mama/baby love. It's more visceral than anything I've ever experienced before. Getting a smile from c-baby is the closest thing to pure, absolute bliss that I know.
2. Good to know about the babyproofing, since we haven't even started on that yet.
3. Weird that the pee & poop don't bother me at all, but being puked on still really unnerves me. No idea why that is. It doesn't apply to drool, or even minor spit-ups, but the big heaving barfs just freak me right out.
4. I am SOOO looking forward to the communication part! And if she can already understand words at 9 months, I'm going to have to clean up my mouth a lot sooner than I thought.
5. My guess is that the last five pounds will drop whenever you stop nursing - or at least, that's what all the books say. Fingers crossed that they're right.

cat said...

Thanks, dad! If nothing else, printing the blog will be a baby book of sorts for e-baby.
PIC- I have read that about the nursing and the last few pounds too, and I hope it's true. Of course, once I lose those 5 pregnancy pounds, there are those 6 or 7 pre-pregnancy pounds to contend with... :-P But many of my friends who nurse lost all the weight before 6 months. Yes, I smacked them, if only in my mind.

LizardBreath said...

What is weight but a number? I am afraid to go near a scale (its only been 16 days, afterall) in any condition. Besides, 5 pounds is water weight, right? You look terrific. Consider the weight muscle added on.

Cat said...

Thanks, Liz. I know some of it is water, and I hope that eventually it'll stop bugging me so much. :-)

LizardBreath said...

Speaking as someone who gave birth less than 3 weeks ago and is afraid of a scale, I understand and sympathize!