Stretched out along the hardwood floor, belly down, with unbelievable yearning he somehow makes his way to the cats’ water bowl. He’s slashing around like a victor and I’m utterly perplexed, because I’ve been watching him the entire time and still don’t understand how he made it from point A to point B.
Sometimes I think of myself more of a scientist than a mama. My technique in raising a child is observation. I never aspired to be a scientist, it just sort of happened. One day I noticed that the same way he focuses on the specks of grape skins in his fruit puree, I study his physic, expression and mood. We both look so closely and attentively.
One mighty blow and popsicle debris litters the hallway. His expression seems to say, “I wonder why it did that,” while I am left wondering, why did he do that?
Watching his chubby little fingers grasp at a wad of cat fur in a forgotten corner. Thank goodness, it has yet to enter his mouth. But his face is lit up as if he’s found the greatest treasure on Earth.
I placed a plastic bowl of veggie puree in front of him and moved away to wash dishes. He looked up at me with a sweet mix of desperation and earnest. Of course! He’s never witnessed us eating finger food. To feed him yes, but not ourselves. He had no idea what to do and was not the least bit curious about making a mess. It’s better not to eat alone anyway, and so I sat with him and encouraged him to help me with the spoon.
I have a routine; one large towel down, one bucket filled with warm water and bubbles, one small towel to the side and one wash cloth ready. This is how bath time turns into an hour-long pool session. He loves them and so do I. The mess is not sticky and smells…clean.
Peach season is the best! Above all the benefits, my baby smells so good.
He’s less enthused about holding his popsicle in his chair, so I leave him on the floor only to discover that he’s painting the walls with frozen fruit. And his pants. And if I am too close, he paints my pants. He doesn’t seem devious or even overjoyed, simply concentrated. It’s as if he thinks this is just another method of using a popsicle. If mama gets to close, you must paint her. That’s just what you do.
He’s yet to crawl in any recognizable form, but he pulls himself up onto everything now. I fear for us all.
Standing for too long (and by too long I’m referring to just under five minutes) and he’s screaming in pain. His muscles are working so hard, there must be a burn somewhere. He refuses to give in. He’d rather scream and stand than sit back in the hand that mama offers to his toosh.
Jonathan tells me I should let the boy self sooth more often for my own sanity. Today I left him to his mat and toys as I prepared the beginnings for bread making. He never screamed, but the usual fussiness that attracts my observational eye was ignored in place of this new technique. After a little time, he was too quiet. I looked in the room only to have my heart drop. He was completely gone! Or so I though. He was behind the door, straddling the cats’ scratching post. The one unraveling rogue strip of twine was in his mouth like a straw from a cup, and his little hands were full of twine tufts. Needless-to-say I’m dumping Jonathan’s technique right after I repair the scratching post.
Grass beware. My son wants a piece of you. A really, really big piece.
He’s eaten dirt, sand, grass, ocean water, flowers, leaves and bits of gravel. A little discovery is good. Today he attempted to lick a pole on the subway. Over my dead body!
His outburst are within reason, I’m sure. But they are beyond my feeble mind. It cannot be a wet toosh, because he has no diaper or hunger because he’s refused the breast. Could it really be as simple as being angry at the wooden spoon for unexpectedly flying from his hand and onto the other side of the room? How dare it.
He’s trained me well. Whenever I hiss to initiate urination for him, instinctively I have to go. It’s always the moment I give in and go that, upon my return, I find a fresh puddle on the floor.
Life is not about getting things done, but about knowing when to give in. To let go of the mess, the projects, personal outlets and succumb to the present moment.
You are the sunshine of my life.