graham at eight months – demanding

8 months*

being a parent to our happy, smiley baby continues to be a ridiculously uplifting experience, but after eight months as someone’s mother, i’m beginning to understand the increasingly real truth that

motherhood is demanding.

my son’s expanding curiosity means that i have to be ready at all times to feed (and supervise) his insatiable inquisitive nature.

my baby’s increasing mobility means that i have to be more and more vigilant in removing the perils inside the widening “baby zone.”

my intensifying sense of  devotion means that i feel an ever-growing emotional demand to give more than everything to this unbearably precious little life.

this month i celebrated my very first mother’s day! graham (ahem, daddy) got me a truly wonderful gift that will be a sweet tradition for years to come.. we’ve played around a little more with first foods, but the exploration has not been frequent or consistent. i’m sure both mama and baby will be more motivated soon enough. we started early potty training, since i figured the sooner we begin, the sooner we’ll be done. right now we’re just getting used to the potty chair, and graham gets super excited when he sits there like a big boy. i think he is really proud that he finally has steady control over that long body. he’s gotten strong enough to bring himself upright after folding himself in half to reach a toy. and, of course, the daily photo-ops continue…

seriously, how can each month be more fun than the last?

graham at six months – conditioning

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our little enigma continues to perplex us in many ways, but we are becoming more connected all the time. in my sixth month as someone’s mother, i’ve also noticed that

motherhood is conditioning.

my intuition is being trained by my need to for sharp senses as i acclimate to being on the job round-the-clock. it’s cool to know that graham’s skills and reflexes are under intense training right now, too.

my entire body is being strengthened by the marathon of picking up and carrying and putting down and bending over and bathing and dressing 17.5 pounds of active human. it’s fun to see my baby’s body gain strength as well.

my character is being toned by the continual surrender to the adventure, the role, the responsibilities, and the story. it’s amazing to watch my son’s characteristics also develop with each learning-packed day.

graham’s growth has not slowed in the last month – he stretched more than an inch and gained another pound. we also (gratefully) had a night-time sleeping breakthrough this month. i think we (and he) finally figured out that particular puzzle.

while his reflexes and fine-motor skills are advanced for his age, he is still in no hurry to be mobile. the day after he turned five months he rolled over once. he performed the trick once more the next day…and then only a handful of times over the course of the month. the day before he turned six months, he finally decided it could take a permanent place in his physical repertoire, rolling back-to-front and front-to-back and pivoting all around. his doc said that he wouldn’t be surprised if it took him another month or more to sit up unassisted, because of the challenge of balancing his considerable length.

but one thing never changes: this kid is cute! i love how he smiles and laughs so easily:)

 

it’s absolutely cliché, but i can’t believe it’s been half a year. (!!!) how is that even possible? should i continue with the “how time flies” parental lament?

LOL – the grape lady

my sister frequently reminds me that i need to write another “Love Of Laughter” installment, and i agree. this particular story sent me into breathless, crying laughter after it happened, and then again every time i recounted it to someone. so here ya go.
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sometime in the early third trimester of my pregnancy with graham, we had almost completed the nursery and everything was looking good in there…but smelling a little too “new.”  (probably only to my sensitive nose. we chose non-toxic, zero-VOC everything.) i wanted to give the room plenty of opportunity to air out before bringing our little one into it, so we left the door open and the fan on 24/7.

the only problem with this arrangement was that our dogs had been the previous inhabitants of that room, and they were particularly curious about all the changes. while we have now successfully drawn an invisible barrier that they recognize, at the time they kept wandering in and rooting around in stuff. our temporary solution was to place graham’s inherited rocking horse in the doorway. it perfectly blocked the opening at doggie-height, while being low enough that the humans in the house could easily step over it to pass in and out of the room.

a pretty clever solution…that is, until you throw a clumsy forgetful pregnant lady into the mix.

one saturday i was headed into the nursery with an armful of books (what else?), and the pregnancy hormones must’ve fogged up my memory. (so nice to have that excuse, sometimes!) i obviously couldn’t see the obstacle between my burgeoning belly and the load i was carrying, and i didn’t remember it was there, so i hit the wooden horse with the full force of a pre-mommy in nesting mode.

my reflexes are usually pretty sharp, but those pesky hormones worked their special magic (again, a valid excuse, right?) and i went down in the most ungraceful slow-motion spill.

when i say slo-mo, i mean that it seemed to take forever before i was finally motionless on the ground. there were several moments of me alternately catching and losing my balance, and i could hear my grunts and gasps narrate the entire thing.

“oh! ugh! gah! oomph! engh! ouch!”

i went on like that for at least five seconds. the fall lasted long enough that i had time to hear my own gruff exclamations echo back and think to myself, you sound just like the grape lady.

seeing as you can’t hear my cacophony of guttural growling as i tell this story, and may not know of the grape lady, you may not be laughing just yet. but i am. sitting in front of my computer and laughing.

enter my loving husband. having heard the racket of bangs, bumps, and groans, he came to investigate. observing his pregnant wife lying in a tangled mess on the floor, the first words out of his mouth were, “did you fall, like, fourteen times in here? what an idiot. you sounded like the grape lady!” 

and even though i was bruised and sore, and a bit annoyed that he was not more concerned about me, i couldn’t stop laughing. the fact that he was thinking the exact thing i was, and that he said it so frankly, was so hysterical that soon my sides were sore, as well, from laughing.

long after he helped me up (finally!) and we went about our day, i found myself stifling giggles as i remembered how hilarious i sounded. it was just like this (about 15 seconds in):

graham at five months – perplexing

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graham is still engaging with the world around him more every day and drawing me in as well, but in my fifth month as someone’s mother, i am struck by the realization that

motherhood is perplexing.

continual unseen development inside his little body and mind means that baby behavior is both unpredictable and inexplicable at times. just when we think we have our baby all figured out, something new comes along to confound us.

never-ending decisions with countless options leave us more confused with each choice we have to make on products, practices, and plans. i have a feeling the bewildering and conflicted information overload never stops as a parent.

unrestrained sheer joy displayed by my son at just the sight or sound of his favorite people/toy/song is inspiring even as it is baffling. i can’t help but wonder how life was ever complete without him.

sometime during the fifth month our baby gained solid neck control, an adorable laugh, better hand coordination, a pound and a half, and another quarter inch in length. he is thisclose to rolling over on his own, but i’m not in any hurry for him to be more mobile. if he wants to just chill awhile longer, that’s fine with me.

i’m so grateful that i get to spend my days with him, and feel fairly fluent in his language of distinct cries, coos, grunts, and whimpers. at least in the daytime. our laid-back baby is an angel while the sun is shining, but has become mysteriously cranky after dark. when he suddenly wakes just an hour after bedtime for some obscure reason and is not easily soothed, lee and i are left scratching our heads. at this stage the fussiness could be any number of invisible issues. (teething? growth spurt?) here’s hoping this particular perplexing aspect of parenting passes quickly.

another puzzling question is how parents manage to keep enough hard drive space to accommodate all the pictures that demand to be taken. because he just never stops being so darn cute all the time!

graham also got to spend some good time with family this month. how lucky he is so to get lots of love and cuddles and play from his uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents (and a few friends).

i predict many milestones in feeding/mobility/sleeping in the next month! not that i’ll ever be able to solve the puzzle that is motherhood.

graham’s birth story part 5 – everything is beautiful…kinda

this is the final segment of our first child‘s birth story. get the all the crazy details here: preface, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

i could hardly believe he was actually here! we enjoyed our first moments as a family, and everything in the world was rainbows and unicorns…mostly. lee was trying to “un-see” the “volcano” of dark bloody fluid that came pouring out after the baby. (“it was like that scene from The Shining.”) and i was suffering the necessary forceful mashing on my belly to encourage the uterus to contract and shrink.

giving birth really is the most miraculous, amazing, thrilling…horror show. nothing can truly prepare you for the clash of carnal and divine. i pray get to do it again.

we spent some intimate time in relative quiet and rest and nursing and cuddling and photos and smiles that threatened to break our faces, then passed him to the nurses to weigh and measure and such.

our family had been waiting patiently for about an hour since they heard graham’s triumphant exit wail, so we invited everyone in to meet the newest member.

it was nearly midnight when we finally moved into our room for the night. i had been awake for 21 hours–the adrenaline was long gone and the sleepies were hitting me hard. but i was suddenly famished and found myself digging into the bag of snacks i had assumed i would want during labor. i ate and changed into clean pajamas and brushed my teeth, all while stealing long looks at our little miracle.

kel marveled at how quickly i crossed the room from my bag to the bathroom and back again, but as i bustled about i just assumed the tenderness hadn’t registered yet. i was a little stiff from a day’s worth of strenuous physical activity followed by a couple of hours of sitting still, so i decided to stretch my legs a bit before crashing. as i folded myself in half to touch my toes and leaned into a lunge on the bed, my sister gaped at me like i had no business doing that. she later told me, “it was like the stork delivered the baby!”

my recovery was honestly no big deal. i attribute this to the fact that i didn’t tear at all. which i attribute to my midwife’s skilled assistance and expert coaching on controlled pushing. plus graham taking his time, turtle-ing in and out forever. he gave me a slow stretch and himself a nice long conehead that i’m sure contributed to my fortune. with no injury to heal, it was just a matter of recuperating from the strain on my muscles and the “i’ve been riding a horse for days” soreness in my sitz bones. my neck and back were more achy than anything else, and i felt pretty normal after a few days, save for the sleep deprivation. 😉

after everyone left, i was overcome by exhaustion and fell into a coma that was instantaneous and deep. lee was essentially left alone with the baby, and barely slept all night knowing that i would most likely not wake for anything. thankfully, a nurse came back throughout the night to help us take care of graham’s needs, and the next morning i felt refreshed. (after a shower to rinse of the gallons of sweat i produced flushing out all the extra pregnancy fluid.)

the day was a nonstop parade of doctors and nurses and lactation consultants and hearing testers and administrative staff…until they finally let us go home.

home sweet home

home sweet home

we praise God for our adorable blessing and for his wonderful delivery experience. thank you for joining in my joy and excitement with this story. it’s fun to share life-changing memories. i hear it only gets better from here…