Here it is, nearly Christmas. I didn’t mean to stop writing here for so long, but a week off became three months off before I knew what was happening, and then I became intimidated by catching up.
Not that I envision a rapt audience who is dying to know what Edith and I got up to this past fall, but more because I am in part writing this for my older self to keep a memory of these early years and I want to preserve what happened, every detail, and it is all too much.
Well, here’s a brief attempt:
When I think of the big trends in Edith’s behavior over this time period, two things really stand out: tantrums and dancing. She has made a steady practice of both; one is the worst thing about my life right now and the other is the best thing about it.
I won’t focus overmuch on the tantrums as everyone knows what those are (although knowing what they are and living through a small child having them are, I have come to discover, two very different things). Edith’s tantrums mostly come about because she wants something that she cannot have (or not immediately, or not in the precise way that she wants it). At which thwarting, her chin will lower and she will look out from under her eyebrows with a very familiar expression lifted right from my mother’s (formidable attorney and unapologetic Karen) face, and everyone in the vicinity runs for cover. When Edith’s will is opposed (which is often), she does not back down, she does not forget, she will not be persuaded or distracted or convinced or bribed. She will blow out the windows and pull the house down around our ears, but she will have her way. (Don’t worry, I do not give in and give her her way. Much.). I have found myself going through elaborate rituals to proactively ward off tantrums by moving triggers out of the way in advance of Edith’s daily orbit, and given that the triggers are things that I often use, and that Edith quickly figures out my attempts to obscure them requiring more subtle hiding places, this is quickly becoming an ongoing occupation, and makes me feel at times like I am adapting myself to an abusive relationship.
The dancing, on the other hand, is an unexpected delight. Edith loves to dance and will do so at any opportunity. She has a number of toys that play music and at home, she will play them over and over and cut a jig from one end of the house to the other. If we’re outside and some music wafts on the breeze from somewhere (a passing car, say), she will bust out her moves to the laughter of passerby. She dances in her high chair at restaurants and then (when I have to take her outside because of one of the tantrums) capers up and down the porch to the outside speakers. Recently Edith and I found ourselves at the birthday party for a Scottish family’s one-year-old which was a Christmas-themed luau where everyone was in Hawaiian shirts and leis and/or ceremonial kilts. Edith danced right in the door, danced all around introducing herself to strangers, and then danced up on to the stage in the front of the venue. Eventually my attempts to stop her repeatedly dancing onstage during the hired hulu entertainment resulted in a tantrum and our hasty departure from the party, but up until that point, it was the cutest thing anyone had ever seen.
Other events that have occurred:
Edith went as a bee for Halloween. She didn’t really understand the trick-or-treating and she insisted on dragging Jojo the monkey with her as usual, which was confusing to people (“Is the dog part of the costume?”) but Mom and I had a great time.
We sort of forgot about Thanksgiving this year and got caught with an empty fridge and everything closed, so we ended up having dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was predictably disgusting, but Edith loves rocking chairs and fiber-optic Jesuses so she was a fan.
I made the inconceivably stupid decision to get advanced surface ablasion eye surgery which resulted in over a month of severe discomfort and has finally settled down into my needing a less strong prescription than I did previously while still being unable to see without corrective lens-wear, but also not being able to contacts anymore, so I have in essence paid a small fortune and tortured myself for two months in order to have to wear glasses in boiling hot Texas instead of contact lenses.
Edith graduated to a level of swimming where I no longer have to get in the water with her. I was very happy for the simplified logistics but I had a minor crisis over my baby’s increasing independence. In the end, I needn’t have worried because I am still very much involved and am required to crouch near the edge of the pool so that Edith can run into my arms in between her turns and soak me from head-to-toe while cooing, “mama, mama, mama” in an outpouring of affection that she never seems to feel at all when she is dry.
In other growing up news, after a “good enough” sleep situation gradually declined into an untenable standoff of nightly torture, Edith moved into her own room. I shed tears over this (in the shower), but Edith was unfazed or if anything delighted and it immediately fixed all of our sleep problems, plus gave me back privacy that I didn’t even realize I had been desperately missing for nearly two years. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this change made my life as much better as the eye surgery made my life worse. I love having my own space again, and we are still basically roommates, because we have two small bedrooms that share a linked bathroom, and so share a sort of suite. It really is perfect.
And now here we are at Christmas.
Yesterday I was pining over your blog. Today, I find this in my inbox. Oh joy!
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