Now I understand the legitimacy of what used to sound like an excuse…you know, the line from friends that goes something like this: “I’m so sorry I haven’t been in touch.. I feel like I never have a free moment now that Junior is two.” Well, Pumpkin is two now, and we have officially joined that club. Let’s put it this way…. one evening a few weeks ago I was just sitting at the kitchen table, taking a break from it all for a minute. Pumpkin walked over and asked, “what are you doing, mommy?” I said, “I’m just relaxing,” to which she replied with a confused look on her face, “why are you relaxing, mommy?” Eeegads.
Painting and drawing were among my favorite hobbies, BP (before Pumpkin), and since I haven’t had time to do anything related in so long, I’ve been very excited about introducing Pumpkin to crayons. Truth be told, I’ve set her up with paper and crayons a few times in recent months but after a few marks on the paper, the crayons went right into her mouth. Okay, so it’s been a while and I had a great feeling that this weekend was going to be different. I knew she wasn’t going to sit down and start sketching landscapes, but I thought we might get past the crayons-taste-good stage and onto at least a few colors on a piece of paper. It started out well enough – she seemed excited about the large pad of paper… and then it went something like this: rip… oh how fun.. this paper makes a loud sound when I tear it, and it’s fun to look at mommy’s face while I’m tearing it into pieces.. haha! Rip, rip…I wonder if this paper tastes as good as the crayons.. yum.. even better..
So I figured maybe taking the crayons out would get things back on track. I’m pretty sure this is what went through Pumpkin’s head at that point: oooh, that crayon box looks like fun. I wonder if I can cram them in sideways and get them back out again. Smush, smush. Yup, they’re in. Now they seem stuck. I should probably rip the box to get them out. Rip, rip.. wow… this is fun like the paper! I don’t even care about getting the crayons out any more. I just want to rip up the box! Look at mommy’s face – this is awesome!
It’s okay. She’s exploring. She’s learning, even if it’s only that paper does make noise when it rips. We’ll try it again, and I’m sure I’ll keep an open mind. As long as we have a plastic bin for the crayons and laminated paper. 🙂
We did it again – we flew to the east coast with Pumpkin to visit our families. Just like last summer, the flight out was fine. Pumpkin relaxed in the carrier I got for the flight and played with the new toys and other random household objects that I brought along for her entertainment. I still marvel at how much mileage I a can get out of an empty plastic soap container. Pumpkin didn’t nap until the very end of the flight, but didn’t cry either so I’d call that a success.
And then… there was the flight back home. It seemed to me that the seats had shrunk to about half their original size, and the two guys seated in front of us were fully reclined for the entire flight so we had about six inches of space in which to keep our daughter entertained. We were so cramped that I couldn’t even reach the bags under the seats in front of us without both of us standing up. At the airport they said they were too understaffed that day for the usual “family lane” so we had to go through regular security and the guy we got seemed extremely suspicious of the container of cantaloupe that I brought for Pumpkin and wound up taking apart three of our carry-on bags and putting everything back in different locations… so I couldn’t even find Pumpkin’s pacifiers and spoons for lunch for the first half of the flight… not fun for anyone. Daddy bought a fish sandwich at the airport and I thought he finished it before we boarded the plane, but took a few bites and then put the majority of it in my carry-on “for later” without telling me. He admitted this a few hours into the flight when I commented that I couldn’t understand why I could still smell fish. And what was up with Pumpkin? Did grandma give her a cup of coffee before we left the house? I’ve never seen her so active. She was climbing on us, pulling on the seats, pulling the arm hair of the guy sitting next to us (who, bless his heart, was very tolerant) and in general making very clear to mommy and daddy and the rest of the plane that it was a really bad idea to try to keep her in a confined space for six hours.
The only time I think anybody smiled at Pumpkin was at the very end of the flight when the plane stopped taxiing and Pumpkin started clapping. I’m pretty sure the whole plane was clapping in their heads along with her.
Pumpkin is not even eleven months old yet and I can say with complete certainty that there is no way that she will change in any other year of her life as much as she has the first year. In just eleven months she has grown from a tiny little peanut who slept all day and couldn’t hold up her head into a strong-willed, babbling, walking, observant, funny, playful little person who knows what she wants, knows who her parents are, waves and claps for everybody, and moves furniture around. Yes, my daughter is fanatical about furniture placement. She apparently decided that she didn’t like the location of the (large, heavy, wooden) toy chest in her playroom, so she slid it across the room and turned it 180 degrees. I’ve seen her at daycare sliding chairs across the room. Just the other day when I dropped her off she started in with the chairs and one of the teachers said “there she goes, rearranging the furniture again.” Last week I noticed that her crib at daycare was in a different location, and none of the others had moved. I didn’t even bother to ask what had happened. Knowing Pumpkin, she probably felt there was a problem in one of the adjacent cribs (i.e. a snoring baby, somebody who tried to take her snack….that sort of thing) and at the first opportunity she dragged her crib a few feet away to prove a point. Who knew eleven months ago that she would be doing all these things?? And who knew I’d be walking around the house, pushing on all of our furniture to see how heavy it is to make sure we don’t have to worry about Pumpkin rearranging our living room?
Pumpkin goes to daycare two days a week and the other day when I picked her up one of the teacher’s aides was changing her diaper. I asked if she squirms around on the table when they change her. She said no, and I commented “that’s strange – I had to move her changing pad from the top of the dresser to the floor because she moves around so much when I change her.” The head teacher heard the conversation and said “well they all have home behavior and then there’s school behavior and often they’re different.” Hmm… so why exactly then is she more difficult to handle with me? Is it because she sees the daycare teachers more as authority figures because she doesn’t know them as well? Or because she knows I love her unconditionally so it’s her chance to express herself? Or is it because she knows we have fun together and she thinks that I’ll think it’s funny if she crawls off at lightening speed before I can put a diaper back on her? (grrrr… it was funny the first time but not so much now) I’ll bet she doesn’t bite them either. (They used to feel like sweet kisses to me but then she grew teeth :)). And she probably doesn’t try to pull their hair. Gosh, what am I doing wrong? Well at least I know that her most amazing, loving hugs are reserved for mommy and daddy, so I guess I can live with the rest.
It is so fun to watch Pumpkin’s fascination with the littlest things that we don’t even think about any more. Just today she put her hand into her bowl of cottage cheese and when she took it out, she kept looking at the little pieces that were stuck to her fingers. What was she thinking? Was she curious why they were stuck to her hand? Was she wondering why mommy was feeding her little white blobs? She likes to hold her bottle when there’s just a little left in it and swirl it around. Is she wondering why she can’t reach in and grab it? And why it only comes out of the squishy top? I think she’s even starting to understand when she sees her shadow that she’s the one making it move. I love watching her eyes move back and forth from her waving hand to the shadow of her waving hand, and realizing how her mind is putting the pieces together to try to make sense of it.
Now I really understand what people mean when they talk about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. It has made me realize somewhat sadly that this joy of discovery seems to happen less and less often as we get older, but on a happy note, that’s okay because I’m having a wonderful time doing it again through Pumpkin.
It gets better every day! Pumpkin is nine months now and she is changing so fast. Gone are the baby-in-a-bucket days when she stays put in mommy or daddy’s locale of choice. Now she can crawl across a room in no time at all. She pulls herself up to standing position at every opportunity. She can stand on her own for a few seconds, and we’re sure she’ll be taking her first steps very soon since she always seems to have places to go and people to meet.
This really magical time started when she was around eight months old. She became very interactive and so much fun. She started waving hello to people (and things!), and clapping when she was happy or proud. It used to be that I loved spending time with her simply because I loved her but now there is the awesome bonus that she is has a great sense of humor. She laughs when we play tug-of-war with her socks (which are never on her feet despite my best efforts), she thinks it’s so funny when we put different toys in the mailbox of her play house, and she crawls on me and plant big juicy kisses on my face while she laughs. She thinks sunglasses and hats are hilarious and she gives a big belly laugh when she sees us putting them on and taking them off again. I think it makes her whole day to pull a baseball hat off mommy or daddy’s head. She’s sneaky, too. She knows we don’t want her to touch the air vent on the floor in her playroom, so she’ll start crawling away from it to throw us off, and then when she thinks the coast is clear she’ll suddenly turn and race toward the vent. (Yeah, I know you’re thinking sure, it’s funny now, but not so funny when she’s a teenager sneaking off with the car!)
It’s hard to believe it can get much better than this, but every day it seems that she does something new and finds a way to amaze us even more. I always knew of course that I would love my child, but I didn’t realize how much fun I would have with her along the way.