Dressing my Little Dude

So, I guess there must be people out there who can pay $155 for a pair of pants that their infant son will outgrow in a matter of months, but I kind of hope I don’t know them, because seriously. Heck; I’m not going to spend $20 — or $12, on sale — for a baby sweater, not unless it’s a special occasion.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people out there who can and do buy more expensive clothes for their kids, because thanks to the magic of our throwaway society, those clothes end up in like-new condition at thrift stores and consignment shops, just waiting for people like me to come along and give them a second round of play.

Here are the highlights from today’s treasure hunt:

fleece lined orange flannel

blue & green flannel

blue & green flannel

blue and green sweater

blue and green sweater

zip-up fall sweater

zip-up fall sweater

moosic maker shirt

moosic maker shirt

fleece sweatshirt -- new with tags

fleece sweatshirt — new with tags

a bevy of sweater vests

a bevy of sweater vests

dragon play suit

dragon play suit

 

All of these were $2-$5 each. Can’t wait for the weather to cool down so we can break out the cute warm clothes!

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Goldilocks

Look at those curls. Is that just ridiculous or what?

Goldilocks

I wondered what his hair was going to look like, even after he was born since we couldn’t really tell. Would it be red like mine? Near-black, like his daddy’s? Straight like Dad’s, or wavy-curly like mine?

Never really occurred to me that he might have hair the color of my dad’s hair, and that it would be pin straight in front and scrunch up into ringlets in the back. It’s like a textural mullet.

We’re going to have to trim it soon. Almost thirteen months old now, and hasn’t had a haircut. His bangs are getting in his eyes and if you stretch them out, his curls go below his earlobes. The curl, not the earlobe. I don’t think he’d like us to stretch those.

I wonder, if we had a couple helium balloons and some hairspray, if we could get his hair to do this?

not our baby

not our baby

Because awesome.

 

Stepping Up

Just when I was ready to decide that the most exciting thing I’d seen this week was a Jeopardy contestant wearing a mockingjay pin…

Dan Pawson

…our little boy decided that he was ready to let go of the furniture and take a few unsupported steps across the room. 🙂

He did it several times before deciding that really, this was a terribly inefficient way to go about things when crawling was so much faster and safer. Man, when he doesn’t want to stand up, he is really good at letting his legs go limp and arching his back backward!

So I guess we officially have a toddler now. Yikes! One year and four days old.

It’s all just sort of extraordinary, isn’t it — watching them learn and grow and put two and two together, watching those gears turn. Watching them change from a helpless little snuggle into a little human being. I’m reminded of something I saw on Pinterest the other day:

closest to magic

We watch a lot of Jeopardy in our house. I’m not entirely sure why we don’t do pub trivia or something; it’s designed for people like us. We listen to NPR quiz shows, and — okay, I have to admit something. We don’t just watch Jeopardy. We record it. Our DVR is overflowing with old episodes of Jeopardy. Because that’s the sort of nerds we are.

And nerds beget nerds, I think. I’d read that babies will respond more to music their mothers listened to while they were pregnant — that they somehow recognize it or find it familiar. I’m blaming that phenomenon, and my twice-daily 20-minute commutes listening to NPR while pregnant, for the fact that my little guy perks up when he hears the dulcet, educated tones of local weathermen — and bolts for the nearest television set when he hears Alex Trebek’s voice. Not even exaggerating: he was just hanging out one day, and the theme song started. He scooted at top speed in to the room with the TV set, pulled himself up at the television cabinet, and stood there watching Jeopardy from the opening theme song through the end credits.

It isn’t other shows. He doesn’t do that with the news (except the weather report) or Sesame Street or anything else, not with the consistency he has for loving on Jeopardy.

If he becomes the Ken Jennings of his generation, he’d better take his mama out to dinner. 🙂

Perfect Date

I’ve spent the past several days thinking that there was something going on today that I needed to remember — some reason that I should be keeping April 25 clear on my calendar. I’m kind of bad that way. Chronologically challenged. I can’t seem to keep a clear calendar in my head despite every best effort.

Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out what it was that was happening on April 25. Nothing for work. Not book club. Not performing in a concert. No one’s anniversary or birthday…

Oh.

Ha ha.

I guess I just got programmed, which is gonna happen, I reckon, after nine months of thinking about a date. I spent the entire 2012-13 school year with “April 25” blinking in big red letters in my head. Toward the very end, my doctor told me that April 24 was a more accurate date, but by then the damage had been done and April 25 was branded in my brain.

Not that I’m a big believer in due dates, especially now, but my little guy was allegedly due on April 25, 2013. Or maybe April 24. One way or the other, he blew past that date and percolated for over a week, finally making his appearance at the very tail end of May 4.

And you know, I have trouble remembering that date. When people ask me what his birthday is, like at a doctor’s office or whatever, my brain always stutters for a moment before I come up with the correct answer. I’m glad that he was born on a holiday, so to speak, because it helps anchor his birthdate in my mind. I guess I just spent so much time thinking his birthday would be April 25 that it’s hard to convince myself that he’s actually a May baby!

perfect date

Ninety Minutes of Parenthood: An Idyll

It is nine o’clock at night. I’d really love to be asleep or, lacking that, curling up with my book in a hot bubble bath for a few minutes. But my husband, who is blessed with the responsibility of teaching 160 twelve-year-olds about Ancient Rome in the morning, is busy preparing an activity, and my eleven-month-old son is unhappy. He’s been a little fussy all day, but now that it is time for bed he’s weepy and can’t be distracted. He is fed, dry, warm, pajamaed, but still miserable. I’ve walked him, bounced him, nursed him, read to him, but still he cries.

I’m lying with him on my bed. The door to the master bathroom is open, and the light is on. My baby keeps pulling away from me to stare at or reach toward that glowing block of light. Sometimes when he’s in a foul mood he can be mollified by presenting him to Mirror Baby, so I pick him up and step toward the bathroom.

As we cross the threshold the tears stop. I can see in the mirror that his eyes are red and swollen, but now he’s grinning. The only problem is, he’s not looking at Mirror Baby. Instead, he’s looking past the mirror to the far end of the bathroom — at what, I’m not sure.

I bounce and talk to him for a few minutes, and when it seems that the storm has passed, take a step out of the bathroom. Instantly he is sobbing again, tears flowing, writhing and reaching past me back into the bathroom. I’m mystified. I offer him music, milk — nothing. He is inconsolable.

So I step back into the bathroom. Peace descends. He smiles. And yet once again Mirror Baby is shunned in favor of… the bathtub?

I look at the tub, then at my blotchy-faced baby boy. He is smiling and babbling as he reaches with one arm toward the tub, his eyes darting between it and one of his bath toys that has fallen to the floor and been forgotten.

“It’s nine o’clock,” I tell him, in case he cares. “Do you really want a bath? This much?

And heaven forgive me, but I’m weighing my desire to make him happy with my lack of desire to set up a bath, get him ready, supervise and bathe him, and clean up afterward. Surely he doesn’t really mean it. Surely we could put this off until tomorrow after work, when I’m not so tired, when I still have my contacts in, when I’m not already dressed and ready for bed.

I try persuading him. “You’re in your pajamas. We just changed your diaper. We’d have to redo all of it. And you hate being dried off. It’s cold in here, do you really want to get all wet?”

“Dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit,” he replies, beaming and waving at the shower curtain.

So much for logic.

“Just so you know,” I tell him, “if you really want a bath, you’re going to have to wait in your bed until I get it ready. And you’re not going to like that.” To prove my point, I step out of the bathroom and toward his room. He immediately stretches himself out to his full length, locks every joint in his body, and wails until he can’t catch his breath. I steel myself and deposit my opinionated baby in his crib. He is red up to the edge of his mussed blond curls; even the wet whites of his eyes are bright pink. I can hear him bawling as I pull out the baby bath, set it up in the big tub, and begin running the water. I add some bubbles and his toys, get the temperature right, and set his despised towel on the toilet. Then I take the precaution of removing my pajama pants and placing my own towel close at hand.

When I return to his room, he looks up at me with the face of the hopeful betrayed.

I smile. “Okay then. You wanted a bath; a bath it is.”

He reaches up, and I lift him from his bed. His delight is radiating off him until I stop at the foot of the bed to remove his pajamas and diaper, at which point he realizes that he has reached a new low, that nothing else in his life has ever been so cruel as this moment, that he is this close to paradise and being denied once again, and it takes me three times as long as it ought to undress him because he won’t bend his knees or stop howling.

Finally he’s naked, and I scoop him up and carry him into the bathroom as quickly as I can. The second my bare feet hit the tile, the crying stops. His face is streaked with tears, but it is the face of perfect joy. I kneel down next to the bathtub and he pulls away from me, trying — for all that he can’t yet stand or walk unsupported — to climb over the side of the tub to get in. “Hold your horses,” I scold, get a better grip on him, and lift him into the water.

He smiles, sighs, reaches down under the water to assure himself that his new favorite toy (yes, that toy) is still where he left it, then digs through the bubbles until he finds his bath book. It’s about eight plastic pages long, each with a smiling cartoon dinosaur doing various dinosaurish things, and is one of my son’s most treasured possessions. He recognizes somehow that it is upside-down and rotates it, then opens to the page with the pink pterodactyl. He leans back in the bubbles, turns a page, and coos happily. Like mother, like son: looks like I wasn’t the only one who wanted a bath and a book tonight.

After he finishes reading and I’ve scrubbed everything from the neck down, he switches the book for a cube-shaped squirt toy. This is another favorite. He submerges it between his legs, squishing it with both hands, then raises it just above the water level so that he can see where the hole is. He’ll turn the toy around and around until the hole is aligned correctly, then squirts himself in the belly with it over and over, repeating the process several times. While he is looking down, I take the opportunity to wash his hair. As I’m rinsing his hair, he looks up at the wrong moment and gets a cupful of water to the face. For a moment it looks like his enchantment with the bath has come to a rapid end, but I pat his eyes dry and he returns to his toys.

He’s all clean now, but there is still water in the tub, which means that bathtime isn’t over. His facial expression changes from glee to grim determination, and I scoot back as far as I can from the side of the tub as the Great Kicking begins. He kicks and kicks with a singleness of purpose that seems a little bizarre on his sweet baby face. The sudsy water flies, first jumping just a few inches within the baby bath, and then leaping in great two-foot-tall tsunamis out of his bath, sloshing over the side of the big tub and onto the linoleum. I keep one hand on his back (he’s really rocking now and would kick himself right over if I didn’t) while mopping up water with the other. My glasses are spotted with water; my hair is wet. Only experience and finely honed powers of anticipation keep my shirt from getting drenched, but it soon begins to feel a little damp, too.

Splash! Splash! Splash! The only thing that makes him pause is when he manages to splash himself in the face; he doesn’t like that, but it isn’t enough to dissuade him. When the water hits him between the eyes, he stops and glowers a bit at his feet, as if to tell them not to do that again, and then returns to the task at hand. The water level in the baby bath drops rapidly. Almost no bubbles remain. One of his bath toys has been completely evicted, carried away in the wake of a particularly enthusiastic kick. “Yeeeeeeee!” he yells at one point, telling the faucet who’s boss, his excited voice echoing off the tile and no doubt waking the neighbors.

I’m trying to dry off my glasses enough to see as he splashes a big one right into my face. He laughs, amply avenged for the hair-rinsing incident.

Before long, he is victorious over the bath. The water is all but gone, kicked out of the baby bath and down the drain or into the bath mat. His skin is getting chilly and his hair is plastered down against his scalp, straight as a pin for the few minutes until it dries. I get his towel into position and apologize to him preemptively; he truly hates being toweled off. He is still smiling as I lift him out of the tub and into his towel, but I’ve no sooner wrapped it around him than he is looking me in the eyes, indignant, yelling.

“It’s hard to look suitably angry when you’re wrapped in a ducky towel,” I tell him, drying him off as quickly as possible. He complains at top volume as I re-diaper him, to the point that his daddy comes upstairs to see why I’m pulling off all the baby’s toenails. By some miracle of parental tag-teaming we get him back into his pajamas as he twists and turns. I forgo brushing his hair in favor of offering him some milk, figuring that crazy hair in the morning is a price we’re all happy to pay.

The milk does the trick. My exhausted boy snuggles into the crook of my arm and drinks his fill. I shift him out of my arms and onto the bed just long enough to set the bottle down, and he immediately rolls over onto his stomach and is fast asleep. When I carry him into his room at 10:30 and lay him down in his crib, he doesn’t stir and will sleep peacefully until morning.