Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are you sick of posts about the baby yet?

I've noticed a slight change in the types of anecdotes that "old-pro" type mama's tell me now that we've made it past the one year mark. For some reason when you are the mother (or father perhaps? one of you fathers will have to tell me) of a newborn, people tell you stories of the sleepless nights, the endless colic, the spitting up, the getting peed you need to hear that. I think it's the same instinct that causes us to tell birth horror stories to pregnant women, an ingrained type of cultural hazing perhaps.

Now that I am the proud Mama of a rockin' walkin' one year old people look at my superactive, always busy, dirty, flirty little one and tell me some version of this story. (I've heard it three or four times now)

"Some of my favorite times with my baby were after they had been running around all day, and had their bath. They would be all warm and snuggly and I they would smell so good. Then when they went to sleep they would seem so peaceful, like a little angel."

The most important parts of this story are that 1). babies smell good after their bath, and 2). babies look like angels when they are sleeping.

Now I don't know if this story is some construction of memory, but if I was going to tell my version it would go something like this.

"I remember when my baby started walking, he would run around the house like a maniac all day long, spreading all his toys out around the living room, stashing them under the furniture where I would have to get down on my hands and knees to retrieve them, or dropping them over the babygates and then screaming because he couldn't get them. After all the toys had been taken out of the toy box, then he would start to hide our shoes and pull things off of the tables, where I put them so that he wouldn't be able to get at them. In the evening he would get this sort of manic intensity, alternating between hyperactive wriggling and fussy crying, and then I would know that it was time for bed.

I wouldn't want to give him a bath, because I knew that would just get him more cranked up, plus his favorite bathtime game was "swing the washcloth," so both me and the bathroom would be entirely soaked by the time we were done. I didn't really have a choice though, if it was just the fact that he was all dirty I probably could have let it slide, but bathtime was the time that I would check him for new bruises and scrapes and make sure that all of the new injuries were minor enough that we wouldn't have to run to the emergency room.

After the bath he would smell like a wet dog, and I would towel him off and wrestle him into his pajamas. Then I would lay down with him and try to calm him down by reading him a couple of books, although I would have to give him and extra book to chew on, and usually he would get bored with the story and start whacking me with the extra book. Then when we finally laid down he would try to nurse while standing up and getting out of bed at the same time, which was pretty irritating. Eventually he would just pass out, although he would still be twitching in his sleep, rolling around and tangling up his blankets. Sometimes he would even sleep for half an hour before he'd wake up enough that I'd have to come back in and nurse him back to sleep."

Ragnar...of course the son of the Manimal would smell like a wet dog after his bath.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stealing a riff...Questions I knew the answer to, but asked anyway because I'm just masochistic like that. Part 1 of 22

Blatantly stealing someone else's funny idea is almost as good as coming up with your own right?

In an "imatation is the sincerest form of flattery" type vein, I give you:

Questions I knew the answer to, but asked anyway because I'm just masochistic like that. Part 1 of 22

Asked of Manimal, after returning from having rinsed the baby in the shower in an effort to remove the shit that he had managed to smear all over himself, including up his nose and in his eye:

"Do you want to hold the baby, or scrub shit out of the carpet?"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More fun with bowls....

The "turtle" bowl sculpture...
The "Alien Space Pod", bowl sculpture...
The "Happy Apple Up on Top" bowl sculpture...note Ragnarson's less than thrilled expression? Rat Girl isn't around to interpret for me, but I think we can safely say that he could he talk he would be saying: "Uh...Mom? Are you okay? Because I think you're sort of overdoing it with the bowls, and in case to forgot, those are MY bowls, so, can I like, play with them please?"

Ragnar...stainless steel is my new medium, baaaaybee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baby toys?

For those of you who don't have children yet, I'll let you in on a big parenting secret that will save you a lot of money when you take the plunge.

There is no such thing as baby toys.

There are lots of cute hunks of wood, plastic and plush marketed as baby toys of course, but these are really "parent" toys. Things for you to play with while the baby entertains him/herself by eating paint chips, and stale crackers out of the corners where the vacuum won't reach.

There's pretty much only one game at our house these days, and it's called "stack 'em up, knock 'em down." Guess which part of that is my job? Ragnarson is getting pretty quick at the knock 'em down part, so I rarely get more than three things stacked, and he's got quite an arm, so things fly pretty far. Really we should rename it "stack 'em up, knock 'em down, watch Mama crawl under the chair to get the blocks" because I think that's the part he really likes.

We have a set of stacking blocks, sturdy wooden nesting blocks that have been passed down to us through two previous children. Ragnarson is systematically destroying them. I have a "things that need to be glued" pile on the livingroom table, and there is usually at least one of these blocks awaiting repair.

The absolute best stacking "toy" of the moment is a bunch of stainless steel bowls, some that I bought at a garage sale specifically for Ragnarson, and some that used to be our salad bowls, but which are now part of the clangy, bangy pile in the playbox.

Being the frustrated artist that I am, I immediately saw the possiblity for sculpture a'la Brancusi's "Endless Column" and have been sort of obsessed about getting ALL bowls stacked up the point where I caught myself holding Ragnarson at bay with one hand and trying to finish my tower with the other...see what I mean about "parent toys?" I finally managed it by making a secondary pile of things to distract Destructo Boy while I quickly stacked and photographed.Yeah, I am well aware of how pathetic this is.

And Ragnarson: such a critic.
Ragnar...yeah, I need to get out more.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A milestone to be remarked upon.

Hey look, a one year old!

This post is a little late, because, well, because it is. But if it was a week ago, and I was thinking back about what was happening at this time last year (you know, a week ago), I would have been thinking about a crazy 69 hours of my life starting around 11:00 pm on August 13th. 69 hours that included some of the most frightening , painful, exciting, exhilarating things that have ever happened to me. I still haven't written out the "birth story" because at first it was too frustrating and sad (being transferred to the hospital after having hoped for an intervention free "natural" birth), and then when the bad parts started to fade and I was ready to come to terms with it all, well, I had a very energetic, amazing, demanding baby to take care of, and no time to sit down and sort through all my memories and feelings. So...someday I will type it all down, but for now it's enough that I'm starting to remember and treasure the good bits, and let the stressful, irritating bits slide off into the fuzzy part of memory. (Ragnarson, age 2 weeks, with his grandma, what a peanut! I honestly have no memory of what it was like to hold my newborn baby...weird)

It was amazing to feel my body getting ready to push out a little human.

It was good to have a partner there to lean on, in a labor that seemed without end, he was there with me for almost every contraction (except when I sent him out to fetch the then new Harry Potter book on tape...)

It is funny to remember my midwife telling me to have a beer and try to get a little sleep.

(Ragnarson, age two months, gaining wisdom on his Papa's knee)

It is beautiful that after every stressful minute of the hospital experience, that my sister-in-love miraculously appeared at my bedside minutes before her nephew made his world debut (she lives in Seattle, and needless to say isn't normally to hand).
(Age 3 months, meeting his "aunt" Nora (the dog...yes my parents needed a grandchild and not a moment too soon) and his Uncle)
(Age 4 months, the saucer days...that lasted for, oh, five minutes or so)

I was just reading somewhere about how we have a 70% start rate for breastfeeding babies, but that number drops off dramatically around 2 weeks and continues to plumet until by 6 months only 35% of American babies are breastfed. That would certainly have been us if it hadn't been for the postpartum support I got from "the midwives" and the whole community at the birthcenter.
(This is maybe 6 months? My photo organization and labeling gets pretty fuzzy after month 5, which is when the mobility started)

Every baby should come with a 10 year old sister, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

(Month 13)

And it doesn't look like he's going to start wearing clothing anytime soon....

Ragnar...frankly flabbergasted by this walkin' one year old crazy man.