Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thinking outside the box

On this slow and lazy, rainy afternoon Joe and I are both trying to recuperate from the last two nights of Jonas being up all night. The little guy's been under the weather since Friday with goopy eye gook, congestion and a runny nose. Consequently, he hasn't slept well at all and neither have we. So, we're holed up in our bedroom, watching a documentary about George Hincapie, eating snacks and laying low. For Jonas, however, being congested is no reason to put playing on hold.

I brought Jonas' bath tub upstairs, because I was going to give him a bath and hopefully loosen up some of that congestion. But before I could get him to the bathroom, I got sucked into this show. I put the bath tub on the floor. Two seconds later Jonas crawled into it and has been playing with it for over an hour. Awesome! We've been laughing ourselves silly at him in his pj's in the bathtub with his toys, with no water, of course.

This is a great lesson on thinking out of the box, or the tub, as it were. I would have never thought that the bathtub could be fun without water. That just shows you how narrow minded *I* am. It's been a completely new experience for Jonas and he loves it. He's been putting all his non-water toys in the tub, trying to stand up, and even taken a few tumbles out of it.

Sometimes the most unsuspecting things provide the greatest pleasure. I just love it when that happens.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

First Christmas

In a way it's hard for me to believe that this is Jonas' first Christmas. It feels like he's been with us for so long, that he must have been here last December, right? Well, literally speaking, he was here, just not on "the outside". Nevertheless, it was an exciting Christmas. I knew it was going to be low-key, i.e. just the three of us, excuse me, four of us, (sorry Ginger) at home, but it certainly wasn't uneventful.

After a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Jonas settled in for a nice long sleep until 7:30 the next morning. Enjoy this, I told myself. In a few years you'll probably be finishing the opening of the presents by this time. We got up, had a leisurely breakfast, and--miracle of all miracle--went to church. The funniest part about church, besides the crowd of 12 people, including 2 other babies/toddlers, was the moment when Jonas seemed to wake up to what the minister was saying. All of a sudden in a resounding "outside voice" Jonas squawked, "blah, blah, blah, blah, blahhhhhhh." Maybe I'm the only one who sees the irony in this, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Present opening was next on the agenda. At ten months Jonas was often way more interested in the bow or the wrapping paper than the gift itself. I'd estimate that he opened about half of his gifts, himself. Then, he snuck off behind the sofa where I had hidden his new bike. Just as I noticed he had disappeared, he screamed with glee and I heard the sound of wheels beginning to roll across our hardwoods.

He wasn't squealing because he was thrilled to have found a bike, just that this thing had WHEELS and that it MOVED. I pushed Jonas on the bike closer to the tree, where we had been opening presents. He was so excited I thought he was going to explode. He yanked at the ribbons on the bike and pushed the bike over on its side, running his chubby digits over the wooden "downtube", which is a bit of a misnomer since the bike's so small, it's like it really only has a top tube. He spent the next ten minutes spinning the wheels and laughing as they turned. Jonas was hooked.

Maybe someday he'll appreciate that a bike offers greater function that a mere thing that has wheels you can spin, but for now he's content.

After that, he started to fade a little, so we opened his gifts and showed them all to him. Ginger got in on the action too. She brought her crunchy over to us and begged any of us to steal it away from her. Jonas obliged, as usual.

We took a family walk making use of Jonas' "new" Kelty kid carrier backpack. He loved it. I think he especially loved being up so high.

I don't think he was especially thrilled here, but this is before Joe actually put the pack on. This photo reminds me of little Randy from The Christmas Story.

Our day drew to a close with a scrumptious dinner of ravioli, homemade sauce, and a salad with pears, figs and goat cheese (yummmm). Jonas enjoyed something a little less exotic in flavor. Something like sweet potatoes and apples, but he was happy all the same. It was the perfect way to end a very special day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

There's something a little surreal about this Christmas. I suppose it's because it's so different from any other Christmas: we have a child now. And it really colors everything in a different light.

This year's preparation for the holidays has been a bit more stressful than previous years. There was one weekend less to prepare, since Thanksgiving was so late. We had a death in the family, Joe's grandmother, Jonas's great-grandmother. All of us have been sick this month. I've had a hard time exercising restraint on Christmas purchases this year, but did so, because it would have been imprudent to do otherwise. And, I learned that with a child I need to start thinking about Christmas earlier in the year, not the day after Thanksgiving.

That said, this year is also incredibly joyous. Last night we went to Jonas's daycare Christmas party. Jonas went between awestruck and ecstatic, shaking his bells, as the other children sang Christmas carols. The best moment was when we were presented with (absolutely delicious!) cookies that the woman who runs the daycare had made for each of the families. On the wrapping was a precious ornament with Jonas' photo. I don't know why, but when I saw it, my heart melted and I nearly wept. Wept, for what? I don't really know. Joy, I think. All the other children had their own ornaments, too. But they had taken the time to make one for us, since Jonas couldn't make his own. Such a simple thing, and yet it gave me such happiness. I had to bring it upstairs and put it on my nightstand last night. I looked over at it often. It made me smile and my heart flutter.

Christmas Eve was a really nice day. We had some last minute running around to do. For example, we had to go out and get the "kid backpack" (photo above) for our family trek tomorrow. We received some money as a gift for Christmas, so we went out and treated ourselves to a gift the whole family could enjoy. Joe put Jonas in the pack tonight and Jonas lit up like our Christmas tree. He kept smacking Joe on the head, letting him know that he should get a move on.

Joe and Jonas also got to spend some one-on-one time this morning while I got my hair done. One of the things that I love now about this stage of parenthood is the stories we exchange about what Jonas got into while the other was away from the house. When I returned, Joe told me that Jonas and Ginger played together much of the time I was away. Joe took several photos, but I can only post a few.

Recently, Jonas has begun to hug people, and Ginger. He also gives a lot of "pats" and an occasional kiss, although he often still goes in for the kiss with his mouth open. I think that he thinks a kiss is just when you put your face next to someone else's. This is definitely Ginger's comprehension of what a kiss is, although hers has a certain nudge quality to it. Maybe Ginger schooled Jonas on how to give kisses. Anyway, here are a few photos from this morning. I thought they were adorable, especially the last one.

Jonas giving Ginger a kiss on the head.

"Hey look, Dad, I've got her ear!"


Merry Christmas to all (or Happy Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever your celebration), and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

420 months

I used to always find the practice of identifying a young child's age mystifying, and, I confess, annoying. "How old is your daughter?", I'd ask a mother. "21 months" she says. Twenty-one months? What the hell does that mean?!

I since learned that everything in childhood prior to the age of two is described in terms of months. You can't escape it --clothing size, toys, jars of baby food, dosages of medicine, and on and on it goes. It's daunting, however, for those who aren't immersed in a child's world. What crazy person came up with this annoying counting method reserved for parents and people working in the kid world? So, let's see... that makes me 420 months old! In "the old days" I secretly resented having to do the math in my head, especially since math has never been one of my strong suits. Sure, I could figure it out... 12 months in a year, 24 months in two years. 24 - 21 = 3. So, the kid is 3 months away from turning two years old, and I'm one day closer to death by the time I arrive at his age calculation. Thanks for the arithmetic gymnastics, lady.

Now, I get it. These little guys grow so quickly and their learning curve is so steep in the first two years, that it makes more sense to those who are firmly in "kid world" to refer to age in smaller units of time than years. Now, when someone says that their child is 3 months old, I know that the child is probably not teething yet, or sitting up or working on his pincer grasp. I know this because now I know what to expect in terms of development of a child at that age.

Now that I get it, I might try to take it easy on non-parents. What's the harm in just rounding off to the nearest year, or half year? It's not like they know the difference. I'll consider it my good deed of the day, and maybe it'll save someone's brain power for another important task, like trying to figure out the phone bill.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jonas at 9 months

Here's Jonas at 9 months old.

We were playing around with the camera one snowy afternoon. You can see Jonas is quite adept at creeping these days. He does crawl a little, but after a few "steps" reverts to his stomach.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday therapy

This morning, since I'm spending the day at home with Jonas instead of working (I don't work on Mondays), Jonas and I decided to take some time, catch up, and have an important conversation on the occasion of my 35th birthday. You'll see he's even appropriately dressed in his personalized lab coat, a gift from his grandfather, who is a psychiatrist.

"Please, Mom. Come on in. Take a seat. Make yourself comfortable." I sit down.

"Nevermind me, if I play with this thing. It helps me think clearer. So tell me... how's it going? How are you feeling about 35?"

"Well, the truth is, Jonas, I really don't feel any different whatsoever."

"Hmmm. Really. Not at all? I find that hard to believe. Everyone has feelings about aging, Mom."

"Well, ok. Yes, I guess I have to concede that I don't really like the sound of the number 35. It's only 5 away from 40. And, well, not that 40 is old..."

"Uh huh... go on..."

"I mean, I don't think that 40 is "old" when other people reach that age, but I suppose that perhaps I'm a little less comfortable thinking of myself aging. I feel like I'm 25, physically speaking."

"Mmm, yes. Go on..."

"Now, I suppose in other dimensions, I would say I feel older--like say, emotionally, well, I've been around a few bends, so I feel more emotionally mature than 25..."


"I would say I feel my age when it comes to emotional development. Spiritually, speaking, well, I don't know, exactly. I think I've made progress on that front too. Who really knows about that, anyway?"

"I see. Well, how would you rate your satisfaction with your life?"

"I'd rate it very high. I have many, many blessings. A wonderful and fulfilling marriage. The opportunity to be a mother and enjoy all of it's many privileges and sacrifices. I have great friends, a caring family... I'm physically well. On occasion, I could use a little more sleep (hint, hint!)."

"Yes, I'm picking up on the passive-aggressive tone, there, Mom. I'm a baby, ok?? I've got major teeth issues."

"Right, sorry. I was just trying to be honest."

"Duly noted."

"Well, if you ask me, Mom, I think you've got it all figured it. Now, it took you while to get the feeding down, as well as the different crying sounds and their associated messages, but you're even demonstrating pretty good skills in that arena, currently. I think--and take this for what you will, after all, I am only 9 months old--that you shouldn't worry about any numbers. You're a good cook, you're fun, you're really good at walking without falling, you can make me stop crying better than anyone else, oh, and you have lots of blessings. Age is just a number. It's really about how you feel. You get me?"

"You are wise beyond your years, Jonas."

"So, there you have it. A little "arm chair psychology" from your favorite Dr. Vinciquerra."

"Indeed. Thank you, dear."

"Think nothing of it, Mother. And happy birthday."