Kicking

Although Edith has started to walk, she still prefers to be walked around by an adult if possible, and this is because she’s not yet steady enough on her feet to kick things, which is her new favorite thing to do. She loves to kick balls along the floor, or any little toy that’s around, and she will do this for as long as a patient adult is willing to accommodate it. Her nanny loops a scarf around her waist and holds the ends of it so that she doesn’t need to stoop over for this activity, and so they can do this basically all afternoon.

Like many mothers, I had entertained hopes that my child might perhaps not be interested in soccer at all when the time came. I have never played or watched a game of soccer in my entire life, and I do not feel I have missed out.

But given that Edith maneuvered a way she could kick balls along the floor before she even learned how to walk independently, I’m afraid that cleats and orange slices might be in my future.

DST

Fuck a time change. Fuck every man without a one-year-old who thought a time change would be a good idea.

Pee

Edith peed in my bed today. I don’t know exactly how she did it — she was wearing a diaper and I was holding her next to me, and we were co-napping. So, it seems impossible that she could have peed the bed.

But somehow, she managed it.

I didn’t notice that she did. She woke up, and we were rough-housing around and I noticed that her sleeve was soaking wet.

“That’s weird!” I said. “You must have really drooled on yourself!”

We went back to what we were doing, and then later, I realized that part of my sheet was wet, too. And then I saw that there was a whole big circle of wetness in the bed. And still I thought, “wow, that’s a lot of drool.”

Everything about this was weird — she somehow peed…up…her arm? Like, her diaper was dry, her legs were dry, but one sleeve and my bed were wet.

She’s a magical little child; she does something astonishing every day.

Walking

It’s very interesting to watch Edith figure out how to walk. It hasn’t happened all at once — she started taking a few steps in the park (all of which I missed, so I’m tempted to pretend they did not really happen) and then last night for the first time, she started walking around in the house a little bit. I nearly missed it at first — she stands and creeps all the time, so it took me a second to realize that she was toddling along, but once I did it was extremely exciting. And then later, I asked her to show her Grammy and she did, and we were over the moon!

But she’s mostly still just crawling. She’s not very steady on her feet and walking is a much less efficient way to get around.

As I’ve watched her try to make the shift, I’ve thought about how bizarre and unintuitive walking is to begin with. It’s precarious to stand up on end and teeter back and forth rather than scuttle along the ground on four points, with a much more stable base. It’s a wonder we ever started doing it. And with Edith, the issue mostly is that she can’t figure out how to balance herself. She wants to get to where she’s going by pointing her head and the bulk of her body there and driving forward. That’s what worked with crawling and it also just makes sense. But with walking, you actually have to tip your center of balance away from where you’re trying to go and kick your feet out from under you. That seems bonkers; it’s like making yourself tip over backwards.

Which is the fascinating thing about having small children, realizing how improbable and strange it is that human beings do anything at all. You look at this tiny helpless grubworm and you think, there’s no way this thing will ever figure out how to function on its own. And for every skill she starts working on, I think, she will never get there the way she’s going about it, this is impossible. And then she just figures it out somehow.

Right now, it seems impossible to me that Edith will ever speak. I do think she will probably speak late; kids in bilingual environments usually do. But she will speak eventually, she’ll just do it somehow. It seems completely unlikely at the moment. As her nanny and I struggle to speak to each other in our respective languages, it’s especially a marvel to me that the tiniest and stupidest among us manage to just…come out with a whole language (or two!) without doing any Duolingo or anything. How is it possible.

Turtles

A few weeks ago, Edith had a swimming test because her swim teacher felt she was ready to move up to the next level. Unfortunately she did not pass, because she continued to be hesitant to knock down the foam turtles on the edge of the pool.

“She’s doing really well,” her swimming teacher reassured us. “She just needs to work on those turtles.”

Well, I don’t know what brought it out in her, but today Edith arrived at the pool on a mission. As we waited for the previous class to wrap up, she squirmed in my lap and swam in the air, and once we hit the water, she had only one target, sighted between her squinted eyes: turtles. She swam to them like a woman possessed and punched every single one flat onto its back with a vengeance. The turtles didn’t see it coming. She then proceeded to do the same thing every time, as the rest of us watched in awe.

“I came to the pool today to do two things,” she hissed at the turtles. “Drink pool water and punch turtles. And I’m being thwarted with the pool water.”

I am assured that if she flattens the turtles with as much fury next Sunday, she will advance to Swimboree.

Baby Gym

Austin went all the way back down to Stage 2 very suddenly so Edith and I went back to Baby Gym today.

It felt insane.

We were indoors in a single room with like ten babies and their parents, and all of those kids go to daycare, so for their parents, it was not anything out of the ordinary, but I kept second-guessing myself.

Edith was unaware of this context. Baby Gym isn’t an especially well-timed outing for her because usually she takes like a 30 minute catchup nap at 9 and Baby Gym is at 9:15, so she was sleepy and then also overwhelmed with being amongst a ton of chaos and other people. She wanted to be held for the first half, but then she warmed up a little bit and started crawling around.

It’s tough to say if she enjoyed herself, but when we got home, she conked out for two hours, which is very unlike her. I expect we will both get sick with something or other and I’m not looking forward to it because with the sleep regression I already don’t have much energy. But as I have explained before, I have a deep fear of neglectfully enmeshing Edith in my weird depressive hermit lifestyle, so we are going to keep going to baby stuff on the weekends no matter how miserable it makes either of us.

Regression #48

We’re having yet another sleep regression around here, and this one is worse because now that Edith is old enough to do other things than just cry when she gets up at night, she can go for longer. Whereas her awakenings used to be one-pitch angry wailing until she fell to sleep exhausted, now she goes through the full range of negotiations and eventually gives up, only to fall asleep for ten minutes and then wake up, think it must surely be time to get up now, and start all over again.

Last night at 3:30, her process was something like this:

“I’m uuuuuuuuuuuuuup, it’s MORNING!!!!!! MORNING!!!! Morning?

Oh no, it’s noooooooooot (wailing).

But I’m so bored. I’m boooooored. Hey, you! HEY! Stupid! I’m bored and want to get up now!”

(more wailing, throwing self around bodily, long sighs, coughing, huffing, ten minutes of silence)

Reasonably: “How about we get up now? I waited ages. I’m in this thing, you gotta lift me out. HEY! HEY STUPID, I AM UUUUUPPPPPP!”

(wailing)

Muttering to self: “Just ignores me entirely. Have been in here hours, just ignores me. I’m supposed to just sit here, what, all night? Nothing in here, either. Just these stupid things.”

(sound of pacifiers hitting the wall)

“HEY STUPID I HAVE NO PACIFIERS IN HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And this just goes on and on. It’s been every night this week at this point. I am probably getting somewhere around six hours, so technically this is much better than the newborn months, but it feels worse, because I had those months in between when we both just slept all night. I didn’t fully appreciate them at the time!

Also, it seems like she has no incentive to stop this now — she’s older and she knows full well what’s going on, and she has a lot of willpower and energy, and can simply rage against the night as much as she wants without ever passing out.

Does this mean that it’s time for her to have her own room? Like, the one at the other end of the house next to Grammy?

Naps

After one week and a day of trying, Edith has successfully argued her case that she will not be napping in our bedroom. She has been both consistent and emphatic in her position on this issue, and her nanny and I both agree that it is time for us to accept her parameters as definitive.

So she will return to napping in the playroom when she feels so inclined, and if she does not, then she will quite simply not be napping. And we will have to respect that.

Yesterday when we were still attempting naps in the bedroom, Edith vocally declined to nap at all, and by the time her nanny left at 4, she was practically falling over from exhaustion. I don’t usually like to do naps that late in the day because I’m afraid she won’t be tired for her bedtime, but she wasn’t going to make it, so we went and took a 45-minute one and I had to wake her from deep sleep eventually.

She was not pleased with this at all, and was an absolute beast through dinner, and no matter how many times I explained that she did this to herself and it wasn’t my fault, she continued to yell at me about it and give me dagger eyes and just generally vent her displeasure in my direction.

Meanwhile, Mom helpfully explained that children blame their mothers for everything that goes wrong, and it will only get worse from here, and that she is happy I now have the opportunity to experience it.

Strange to think that a year ago, I was living alone in peaceful quiet with no one making demands or offering running commentary on the day’s events.

Stash

For a long time, I thought pacifiers were like socks and just vanished into the ether periodically. No matter how many pacifiers Edith had in her bed, they would somehow all disappear and I would be stuck hunting for them. We had tons, but there wouldn’t be any in the playroom or the dishwasher or the car or her stroller or the diaper bag.

So I bought more, and then those would vanish.

I did notice that many mornings when I picked Edith up out of her bed and brought her into mine, she scrambled to collect an extra pacifier or sometimes two. She often stuck one in my mouth, so I though this scrambling was on my behalf, that this was a companionable thing, like her showing up for the commute with two cups of coffee.

Then one day I idly looked under my bed, and this is what I saw:

Nine pacifiers (and one earplug).

So it turns out that every morning, Edith had been dropping her pacifier (or two or three if she could manage it) down behind the head board. She was scrambling to collect more so that she could have more to drop. And putting one in my mouth was just a practical measure, for conveyance.

So now every Sunday night, I get the broom out and spend some time collecting her week’s cache. As I sweep them out, Edith hovers nearby, grabbing handfuls and attempting to stick all of them into her mouth at once, then dropping those and snatching up the others like a chipmunk storing up nuts for winter.

Meanwhile I am reading a Montessori book that says that children oughtn’t to have pacifiers because it can interfere with speech development, but that it can be ok for them to sleep with one, if it’s kept in a special box next to their floor bed for nighttime only.

Cabela’s

Usually things run pretty smoothly around here considering, but sometimes I do have the kind of days that moms in paper towel commercials are always having and yesterday into today was definitely one.

For one thing, Friday nights are always tough because I’m exhausted from a long week at work, and the house looks like a tornado blew through it right after ravaging a fruit orchard. Edith’s toys are scattered across every surface, all the floors are sticky, there are discarded dirty tiny pairs of pants and assorted socks everywhere, and the shelves, toys, and books are all covered in mango pulp and mashed banana.

So after Edith goes to bed, I do a quick-and-dirty sweep and clean up the parts of the house I stare at the most, so my annoyance levels are as low as they can be on Saturdays.

I was dreading this labor while giving Edith her bath, and she pooped the tub. This almost never happens, but it’s never a good time for it. While I was hastily cleaning that up, I set her next to the tub on the bathroom floor and she figured as long as she was at it, she’d go ahead and pee everywhere. So, by the time she went to bed and I began my clean fest, I was pretty over it.

Then, this week, Edith’s nanny and I had been attempting to train Edith to take her naps in her bed by herself, whereas previously she took them in the playroom. She had begun to resist them and many days was napping as little as 30 minutes, which really worries me for a baby her age (Mom points out that I never napped), so I thought she needed to nap more intentionally and consistently, where she sleeps at night. But Edith disagreed, and I can’t really control what happens when I’m working, so I think what really happened this week was Edith learned that if she screams long enough, someone will relieve her from the tedium of forced slumber.

At any rate, at midnight, Edith woke up crying. This hasn’t happened in months. She then proceeded to be awake at varying levels of volume for three straight hours. We had multiple types of negotiations throughout this and periods of detente, but Edith wasn’t in the mood for capitulation, so basically, I had an all nighter last night.

Then, immediately upon waking for the day for real, I got my period.

It’s been freezing all week here and today it was especially cold and rainy, so we could not go to the park, but I wasn’t going to make it if we stayed in the house all day. I could not keep my eyes open.

I didn’t really know what to do, so we went to Cabela’s.

Now, obviously I am not a Cabela’s person, but desperate times call for compromises, and the one here has multiple massive dioramas of taxidermied animals that I thought Edith might like to look at. Plus it’s big with high ceilings and I thought it wouldn’t be too congested for me to feel comfortable there? I mean, in retrospect, taking Edith to the mecca of antivaxers and antimaskers probably wasn’t the most cautious move, but I was exhausted and we haven’t left the house in a year and it was an emergency.

It wasn’t too terribly crowded at least, and Edith enjoyed being carried all around and having lots of things to look at. She kept whipping her head around to look at me with a pleased little smile that made me forgive her everything. Lots of other parents had the same idea so we were surrounded by tiny children having meltdowns. I had been wondering where all the parents of under-fives are in these parts during the winter; turns out, they are all at Cabela’s trying to keep their screaming toddlers from launching themselves into the dioramas.

Edith especially liked the aquarium, which I knew she would because it’s a lot like my phone except I was allowing her to look at it as much as she wanted. She had some things to say to the fish, and I let her get down and toddle around a bit.

This was Edith’s first time seeing fish! It was also her first time seeing dead polar bears and elephants and throngs of men in full camo, and hearing Mumford and Sons, so a real day of firsts. And it was my first time going to Cabela’s without being dragged there by an extended relative, so we are both growing.