Thursday, January 24, 2008

Top Five Noah Verbalizations to Celebrate Mid-January

5. The universal "ca" which as of this morning stands for "car", "clock", "cow", and sometimes "chicken." You have to keep your eyes open for what's going on or you'll miss the correct interpretration. When they say that communication is only partially about what is said outloud, they are so right!

4. Another great new word in the past two weeks - here's a clue: What rumbles down the street removing snow so we can safely drive on our road? It rhymes with "meow", yes, it's "pyeow!"

3. No more struggling to remember which name goes with which family member. It's all for one and one for all. He names all of us when he names one of us: "MumDadCoCoCaCa." If brother Colby hasn't been around for a while or if the cat is on the outs, he reverts to the abbreviated "DadMumDad."

2. When we are sitting at the dinner table, and I go around the table pointing to all of us, or if Noah and I are looking at a photograph album and I point to people in the pictures, saying, "Who's that?" "Who's that?" He answers loudly "Da-Da!" "Co-Co!" I point to myself, "Who's that" He says "Mum." I touch his shoulder, "Who's that?" In a much quieter voice, his small little Noah voice, he says "No-no." Beloved, No-No, our Noah.

And the Number One verbalization to celebrate in this cold month of January...

1. Noah loves his older step-brother Colby, and when Colby is here Noah can be heard saying (or more likely screaming) "Co-Co! Co-Co! Co-Co!" as a constant invitation to come play, look at this, and as a general "I love you more than toast with butter!" This weekend he started saying it just out of the corner of his mouth, but just as loud - "Co-Co-Co-Co!" Before our eyes he became Popeye the Sailor Man! "Ar-Ar-Ar-Ar!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

Some Days the Eagle, Some the Statue Below

Last week we entered a new transition with Noah. After some very difficult nights of me being awake with him, and trying to wean him at night but him crying for milk for a very long time, and my dear husband getting so sleep-deprived that he was becoming shall we say less than supportive in those wee hours, I'd had it. I moved Noah's bed into his Own Room. I took out much of the stuff we've been storing in his room all these many months that the room has gone unused by the baby. I took out the plants that we'd lined against the windows for the winter. I washed and hung new curtains. I brought toys into the room. I brought in all Noah's books that had been in our bedroom. I brought his diapers and wipes and bum cream into his room. This had never yet been Noah's place to be and spend time. Until this day.

Since then, my new ability to go in and close Noah's door and focus on Noah at night without also being preoccupied with Matthew's needs across the room has brought me huge relief. I feel that I've been able to so much better balance Noah's nights of great progress with the others that involve sheer exhaustion and me mining patience out of the ceiling and cracks in the floor when I've used all mine up.

Early this week Noah slept seven-and-a-half hours straight at night without waking and asking for me or asking for milk. I woke feeling incredibly optimistic about life. Noah then took a two-and-a-half hour nap in the morning, so I had a long shower, caught up on e-mail, did some consulting work, and actually did some pleasure reading. When he woke up we found three missing puzzle pieces that had been gone for weeks - they had drifted under the dryer in the upstairs washer/dryer closet. Moments later I located a matchbox car that had disappeared ages before the puzzle pieces - it was in the cat's carpeted climbing tower, in the back of the compartment at the bottom. It isn't often lately that I have a day of finding things, let me tell you. It was a great day. So kind of like at Christmas, I'm realizing that there are rarely perfect 24-hour periods of time, but there are lots of great moments almost every day. Almost.

Because there was of course yesterday. I woke up exhausted, as Noah had woken tearfully several times in the night and was forceful about wanting milk, even pulling my hair a few times in his frustration. I don't know where I found a gentle nighttime voice for those last hours between 3:00 and 5:00. Matthew got up with Noah at 5:30 and I went back to our bed for another hour but it was not restful sleep. Matthew left for work and I went to the refrigerator to start breakfast for Noah and me. The bulb in the refrigerator blew and I saw a small bolt of electricity shoot across the air in there. I took out the milk and bread and closed the door, trying to ignore the fact that the refrigerator was no longer humming. Then the toaster broke. Then when I was making scrambled eggs Noah played with the tea kettle and dropped it on the tile floor, breaking a big circular chunk of enamel off the side. And for the first time he wasn't really excited about eating scrambled eggs, so I ended up scraping them dry off the floor later.

A short time after breakfast Noah started falling down a lot so I knew it was naptime, even though the clock only said 9:30. I took him up to his bed, anxious for a chance to unwind in a long, hot shower. He went down quickly, and I got in the shower. I was in the shower just long enough to discover that the conditioner I'd bought myself was actually a second bottle of shampoo. My hair would be impossible to comb through. Then the doorbell rang. It couldn't be my 11:00 appointment already, could it? I got out and put on my robe and went downstairs, my hair dripping. I peeked out the study window to see who it was, not intending to answer the door as I was. It was my friend and neighbor, with whom I'd arranged to watch Noah next Thursday, not today. She was obviously having an off day too, so I invited her in and we ended up talking until my 11:00 appointment did show up. Since I was still in my robe I went upstairs to get dressed, thinking that I had to find some way to get into a groove with this day. I went on to break a bowl while setting the table for lunch with my guest, and burned my finger and thumb on the pizza stone when I lifted it from the oven. The total lack of perfection going on all around me was really wearing me down, but somehow didn't break me. I was actually in kind of a silly mood when my husband got called from work to see how Noah and I were doing. At some point it's a good thing I guess to just stop trying and see what happens next.

Two real days, and sometimes I don't understand how I could feel so completely off one day and how everything just seems to click and make me go all teary from the joy of it all on another. And I forget that Noah, and Matthew, and everyone are meanwhile having their eagle and statue days too, and of course, none of our days are necessarily the same ones. And it's never even a whole day that can't be rescued. Last night Noah had his best night yet - he woke a few times, but never cried, and never persisted asking for milk, just said into the dark a few times in his sweet tiny voice, "Mama? Mama?"