A little attempt to catch up… [part one]

I’m going to focus this post on Impending Baby and then do a second post on H, which will be password protected because lots of pictures and stuff. If you don’t remember my password for H posts, shoot me a text message or leave a comment, and I’ll hook you up.

This has not been a good year for me in terms of blogging. I used to have some creative energy and time to think about my own writing and record-keeping, but for some reason this year at work has never slowed down, not for one minute, and that on top of the whole pregnancy thing has really shoved DYHJ to the extreeeeeeeme back burner. But now it is almost 2016, and I am almost a mother of two, and I’m the only human awake in the house right now, and it is really just inexcusable of me not to at least make some effort to catch up.

SO first and foremost… last time I posted was early SEPTEMBER, and in that post you learned that H is going to have a little brother! As of this past Friday I am 37 weeks along, so we are well within that “any time now” window (although my midwife strongly believes that we’ll go all the way to 40+, same as with H). There are a lot of differences between a first and second pregnancy, it turns out, and most of them make me feel guilty — I haven’t had the luxury to really “commune” with this kiddo in the same way that I did with H, or to really think about him with my full mind and attention. That’s a lot due to having a 2-year-old in the house, and a lot due to being unusually hectic and harried at work, and somewhat to do with not having a long solitary commute this time around.

Anyway, it all really makes me hope that there’s not really anything to theories about psychic mother-fetus connections, and that Baby doesn’t realize he’s being shortchanged in the whole “mama’s attention” thing! Ten years from now when he stumbles on this blog and reads this, I hope he knows how ENORMOUSLY I love him and how excited and anxious I am to see him and hold him, preferably somewhere where he can’t squish my bladder.

Baby is strong and active. He squirms and gets hiccups, although mercifully less often than H, who drove me insane with his near-constant bouts. While H spent a fair amount of time trying to see if he could kick his way out of me via my sides/ribs, Baby assumed the head-down position fairly early on and has been less of a terror on my ribcage. The flip side to that is that he’s taken up more than his fair share of real estate that by rights belongs to my lungs and bladder, so I’ve been like the extremely asthmatic incontinent person for some time.

All in all this pregnancy has been a lot more difficult than H’s, although that said, I know I’m still WAAAAAY down there on the “easy pregnancy” end of the spectrum. My problems with nausea (which were always more of a “hair trigger barf reflex” issue than an actual nausea) persisted well into my third trimester, and the heartburn/indigestion train is on track for a 40-week run. I’ve been a lot more uncomfortable, experienced elevated food/skin sensitivities, and had more trouble with walking and getting up/down than the first time around. ¬†And all through my second trimester I was so tired and weak and sick and just not myself… no appetite… well, it turns out I was pretty badly anemic. So I’ve been on OTC liquid iron supplements and a more iron-rich diet ever since it was diagnosed, and it has helped tremendously. I didn’t fully realize how bad off I was until I addressed it! My appetite returned, as did my personality and my general ability to deal with life… Just in time, of course, to have missed that golden “second trimester window” and to slide straight into “can’t move and have to pee all the time” era, but oh well. ūüôā

People have been asking and asking and asking about Baby’s actual name. Somehow they don’t believe us when we tell them that H’s little brother will be named Gotham, Xerxes, Ozymandias, or any of the other great options we propose. (What do y’all think of Archimedes?) It’s funny but R and I haven’t really talked a whole ton about the name. Early on there was a name that I mentioned as being one that I really loved and somewhat regretted not using the first time around, and it has sort of stuck there in our minds and blocked other names from entering the conversation. I’m not ready to say¬†yes, this is the name, definitely for sure, but we have been playing with middle names that go with it, and haven’t come up with anything we like better. My only real hangup about said name at this point is that it is not at all an uncommon name (I greatly prefer traditional names for boys, it turns out) and combined with our common last name, I’m terrified to Google it and see how many other people (and what kinds of people) would share it with our little Batbaby.

This last month of pregnancy has — well, it hasn’t crept up on me, but I am not ready for it. I feel ready for the delivery and for having my Baby, but I don’t feel ready to have a fourth person living in the house yet. I have one week left of Christmas vacation and am going to spend a considerable portion of it trying to rectify this situation…

Can’t wait to find out what Baby looks like! For a long time there I had this tendency to imagine H Part Two, but then I looked at baby pictures of myself and my little sister, and R and his little sister, and reminded myself that siblings don’t necessarily look very much alike at all. I know that genetic probability doesn’t exactly favor my chances of getting a little redhead, but it is still marginally possible. We can bank on blue eyes (there’s a small statistical possibility of green, but not a good bet) but will he be a dimple-templed little Brokawling like his big brother? Will he have the longer, more angular facial structure his Aunt B was born with? Will he be basically bald like H, or will he have a full head of hair? Will that hair be dark like his daddy’s, blonde like¬†my dad’s (and H’s), or… could it be red like mine, and his Aunt M, and my mom and grammy? Will he be a snuggler? Another independent little cuss? Will he love music and trains and letters and numbers and Muppets like his big brother? Will he be a good eater? A good sleeper? Will he take his sweet time talking, or will he go full speed ahead to try to catch up? What will he weigh? Will he get the Baker eyebrows? The Hoffman eyes? And what will H think of all this anyway?

With any luck, I’ve got 3-4 weeks to wait before I find out. ūüôā I’ll try to do better about posting here in the meantime, or at least, I’ll come back to introduce him. ūüôā

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Pink or Blue, Part Two

gender-revealAlmost three years ago, I wrote a blog post about the silly futility of trying to predict the gender of a not-yet-born baby without the benefits of modern technology. We were getting close to time to find out whether¬†we were having a blue or a pink, and I made a vague sort of guess that he (because it was a he, we’d find out later) was a boy because I couldn’t come up with any boy names that I loved. By that logic, we’re definitely cooking up a girl this time — I’m ready to name a boy but can’t settle on any girl names! Still, that’s hardly any way to figure it out, so tomorrow — hopefully — we’ll find out the new-fangled way.

In the meantime, though, I thought I’d go back to that 2012 blog post and try out some of the same gender predictors to see what they had to say this time around. Last time, I took 8 online gender prediction quizzes. Four said I was going to have a boy, and four said I was going to have a girl. How do we do this time around?

So as you can see… totally conclusive! Fifty/fifty, just like last time!

Obviously, I need a tiebreaker. Fortunately, the Me of three years ago planned for this occasion and wrote her very own gender prediction quiz based on highly unscientific nonsense (sample question: How many freckles are on your right hand?). I just took it and got the following result:

Your result: Girl!

You are going to have a child of the anatomically feminine persuasion.
Start stocking up on baseball bats, shotguns, and other devices to repel unwanted suitors.

There you have it, friends. Gotham is scientifically proven to be a girl. Or something.

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I guess we’ll see what the fancy schmancy machine has to say about that in the near future.

Baker Addition FAQ

Wait… you’re pregnant?

So they tell me. I hope they’re right; I’d hate to think my current physique is entirely the result of ill-advised quantities of pizza. It’s possible, though.

When are you due?

According to Arbitrary Birth Calendar, we’re looking at January 15. Did you know that 40 weeks is merely the¬†average length of gestation, not the “correct” length? Apparently a lot of OBs don’t know that, hence a ton of unnecessary inductions. Big Brother was a good eleven days past his ETA so I’m figuring “mid to late January” is a pretty good answer. [Read a bit about the 40-week myth here or many other places.]

How have you been feeling?

The first trimester was a little rough (in comparison to not-pregnant me, not in comparison to people who get well and truly miserably ill during pregnancy). I was exhausted and nauseated pretty much all day, although I could manage it fairly well with snacking. I actually had worse¬†evening sickness than morning sickness. As with Henry, I didn’t actually vomit until the start of my second trimester. At almost exactly the second trimester mark, the nausea shut most of the way off and was replaced with my old maternity friend, Crushing Heartburn and Indigestion. My midwife suggested chewable papaya tablets and I was shocked to find that they actually work better than Tums. I feel stronger and healthier now, although when the exhaustion hits it¬†really hits, and the stomach upset is often worse, although for shorter periods of time. And since I started the “waking up all night to use the bathroom” routine waaaay earlier this time around, there’s a little bit of sleep loss in there too — although after having a newborn, I’ll never complain about four hours of sleep at a stretch again!

Wait… in that answer, did you say “midwife”?

I did! The OB who I saw with Henry left the practice, and his erstwhile partner replaced him with an awesome Certified Nurse Midwife. So not only do I have the benefit of a care provider who better fits what I want in my pregnancy and delivery, but she’s got an in-house OB right there in case of complications. Best of both worlds! [If you watch this video, you can “meet” my midwife at about the 2 minute mark.]

So other than papaya tablets, any other weird cravings or aversions?

Let’s be clear: I don’t exactly like the papaya tablets. But they taste better than Tums.

The main thing I’ve been experiencing, food-wise, is trouble finding anything that tastes very good. As with Henry, I’m gravitating toward really flavorful (read “spicy”) food. Most recently, Sonic’s Cheddar Peppers have been a pretty reliable¬†source of calories. (So good for my heartburn, too. Haha.)

I completely lost my taste for coffee, which is a tragedy, and I can’t stomach soda unless it’s a fountain drink on ice. Seltzer/soda water with lime (or other) juice has been an absolute lifesaver. I’ve enjoyed Dasani Sparkling, Schweppe’s flavored seltzers, and¬†Canada Dry flavored seltzer, but the very best is plain soda water from a fountain drink dispenser with the juice of about five lime slices squeezed in.

What I¬†really¬†want to eat is Jimmy John’s. Boooo, listeria. That, and a really good margarita. Oh well. Worth it.

You called Henry “Kermie” until his name was official; what’s this one’s nickname?

Gotham.

gotham

So do you know it’s a boy?

As of right now, all we really know is that he or she might be an alien.

Yes, that's actually him/her. Bad enough before I rotated it and made it green, huh, Ryan? :)

Yes, that’s actually him/her. Bad enough before I rotated it and made it green, huh, Ryan? ūüôā

How far apart will Henry and Gotham be?

Rarely more than fifty feet, I’d guess… oh, you mean age-wise? My bad. Henry will be a little more than three months shy of being 3 years old when Gotham makes his/her grand entrance.

Are you hoping for a girl this time?

Gotham¬†would make an excellent name for a little girl, don’t you think?

Do you have any real names picked out yet?

I’m still pulling for a Xerxes or a Hurricane.

What’s the best thing about being pregnant?

Getting to wear stretchy pants and snugger shirts that show off my belly without feeling like I seriously need to go on a diet or something. I love the way I look when I am pregnant!

What’s the worst thing about being pregnant?

Unexpected sneezes. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky.

How is the second pregnancy different than the first?

Lord have mercy on all pregnant women who have toddlers. I’ve been at home with Henry this summer while Ryan teaches summer school, and Henry is a very willful and high-energy kid, and that can be tough to wrangle when you’re exhausted, overheated, and nauseated. Some days I count it as a triumph if I actually put in my contacts, much less getting dressed!

The flip side of that is, I don’t have as much time, etc., to dwell on this pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Henry, there wasn’t a single second of the day that I wasn’t on some level thinking about the baby-to-be. I would talk to him¬†(usually in my head, because gestating babies are telepathic, doncha know) all day. This time,¬†every so often I remember that there’s a baby in there! Which means I had to have forgotten! I’m unendingly conscious of my own bodily changes and discomforts, but their root cause gets pushed to the background by all the Henryness. (Should that be Henriness? Possibly…)

Are you excited?

Sooooo excited.

Is Henry excited?

Henry is excited by Sesame Street characters, Thomas the Tank Engine, unsupervised cell phones, and peanut butter treats. He is, as far as I can grok, utterly oblivious to future threats arrivals.

What questions — serious or silly — didn’t get addressed? Ask them and I’ll add them!

 

 

Hair Raising

Tonight, my baby boy is getting sleepy and fighting a runny nose, and as a result running at about half speed — maybe slower. He’s just bleary, you know? I was¬†sitting in a chair and he was at my knee, so I picked him up for a snuggle. I expected him to grab my necklace — he’s a big fun of chain necklaces right now — but instead he kind of cocked his head, blinked at something just past my ear, and then reached up and touched my hair.

He ran his fingers through it, pulling them away from my head so that my hair strung out like coppery spiderwebs at Pippi Longstocking angles. As he moved the hair slipped from his fingers and he watched, enchanted, as it fall into new patterns. Then he reached for more, gently — oh so gently — tugging it different directions, feeling it run between his fingers, watching some strands fall quickly and others, charged with static, defy gravity.

Again, and again. Not hurting me, not even looking at¬†me, just mesmerized by the sensation of running his fingers through his mama’s hair.

It’s not an easy time with him right now. He is twenty months old and if, I’m being completely honest with myself, really doesn’t have any words at all. Sometimes he’ll say “num” for food, and he says “no” a lot — to the point where it has become meaningless, just another of his many unintelligible sound effects. He doesn’t follow directions. He doesn’t point or give kisses. He used to wave but that’s dropped off badly in the past couple of weeks. He doesn’t hug; he does a “grab you around the knees” if he wants to be picked up, and when you’ve just walked in to the house that can feel like a hug, but it isn’t. Unless we’re playing a chasey game, he doesn’t really play with us or interact with us, and gets frustrated with us if we try to make him.

He¬†can talk; the list of letter sounds and syllables that he regularly makes far exceeds those on the speech table for those commonly made by 2-year-olds. He¬†can point and wave and hug. He just…¬†doesn’t.

He climbs like a kid twice his age, plays with fairly complicated toys, dances to music, and has just triumphantly learned how to use a straw. He laughs and smiles and makes eye contact and is appropriately shy-and-then-flirty with strangers. He is the most beautiful little boy I’ve ever seen. When he plays piano — either reaching up to the real thing, or sitting down Schroeder-like at his Melissa & Doug upright — his noodling sounds increasingly deliberate and melodic.

I wouldn’t trade a thing. But what I wouldn’t give to sit down next to him and have him smile and say, “Hi mama.” What I wouldn’t give to have him point for something he wants instead of just angrily groping for it. What I wouldn’t give for him to want to communicate with me. My emotional strength is strained badly, between different facets of my life, and most days I’m not strong enough not to feel like I am failing at everything. I get a gold medal in loving my boy, but raising him? Teaching him? Failure.

We’ve had two evaluations with the Infant & Toddler program now. He’s qualified for speech therapy; he’s behind in three different types of speech, although the only one whose name I remember right now is reactive. Maybe adaptive? And… whatever they call it when you’re talking without prompting/reacting. We were supposed to have appointments every two weeks starting in the new year but we haven’t been contacted by our provider yet, and work has been so hard this month that we haven’t remembered to call until after their offices have closed for the day. And so it’s a cycle: Tell him good-bye, go to work and get caught up in the whirling maelstrom that is life in a middle school, get home, remember that something isn’t right, reach for the phone only to see the time, and then spend all evening irritated that I forgot to call (and that they fell down on their commitment to call themselves).

Except this¬†evening, I’m not¬†irritated. My baby is sitting in my lap, adjusting his seat for a better angle, facing me with a rapt look on his face. He’s got a fistful of hair in each hand and is gently, so gently, pulling them until I’ve got enormous wispy wings unfurled on each side of my face. He pulls the hair forward, curtaining my eyes. He grabs more hair before the first handful slips away and shakes his hand free of the resulting loose snarls.

From this angle, his face looks thinner, older. Every few minutes I catch a breathtaking glimpse of what he’ll look like when he’s old enough to be one of my students. He is breathing through his mouth because of the stuffy nose, and making soft little puffing sounds with his rosebud lips. His eyes are pink-rimmed but so bright. His nose, his chin — God, how I love that chin. I steal kisses from his cheeks when he turns his head to consider which lock of hair to seize next. He is mesmerized. I am bewitched. We could both sit here for hours.

I duck my head a little so that I’m in his line of sight, say his name, and am rewarded with a moment of distracted eye contact. He’s in the middle of playing with his new favorite toy, but he pauses to look at me with a look on his face that I crave like the cliched drowning man craves oxygen. It looks like love. It looks like he loves me.

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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.