Time gets wonky when you're raising a manic pixie dream baby. The first day of parenthood flows like sotten molasses.
The first week feels like years. The first month is a minor hop-skip-and-jump over eternity.
But then, the engines start revving. You scale the parental Alps to peak at a few months.
Then you slam straight into six.
And then all the sudden you're mopping up mascara rivulets at little baby girl's PhD graduation. Holy whatsit, how old is my child? How old am I? What day is it? Where is my flying car and sassy robot housekeeper?
Ok, we're not there yet, but time flits and flutters about enough that you might need a little checklist to recall where you are.
A ten month old is an interesting creature. Not quite an infant; not yet a toddler. I guess they're like pre-toddlers? Twoddlers??
There are a few surefire symptoms, though, that might help give you a clue if you happen to have one of them.
A few quick ones include:
Body By Baby-Pacing:
They're vergingly mobile in ways that you don't even want to fathom (hazard seeking missiles that they already are)
Verging on the precipice, they long for nothing more than the absolute perfection of their mischief. And that means walking, climbing, and spelunking. And you are on the hook. Once upon a time, you had horrible back problems from the havoc wreaked on your pelvic floor during delivery (well hopefully only if you're the mom - I don't know what happens in the delivery room to wreak havoc on daddy's pelvic floor, but it's best not to imagine).
Now, that's all healed. And instead, your back is permanently twisted from (1) helping baby run-stagger marathons around the kitchen island all day, and (2) sitting a frustrated and probably injured baby on your dominant hip when she needs a reboot. My left arm is getting ripped and I'm starting to really get the teenage hip-jut out. Did I mention Chaya often wants to be held for hours on end, but strongly believes that using a baby carrier to "hold" her is cheating.
Yes, even my little munchkin has a little bit of separation anxiety now. It's really sweet when she protests as I leave the house or wants mommy and only mommy in the morning. But it's also kind of exhausting when that carries over to wanting to be held by mommy without being put down for a second during a bad teething/tummy/sleep day.
Oh yeah, so you know how in the television show House, M.D. it's never lupus... except that one episode where it actually was? With Chaya it's still never teething... except that one time where she went and popped out her first little fang. There's another one quite visible under the gum, but it's been threatening to pop for nearly a month now. This girl teethes at a glacial pace. I'll still arbitrarily blame teething for any manner of maladies, though. Regardless of what they are, they occasionally require a lot of kitchen laps with a thrashing baby clinging to my neck and sliding down my hip.
Having a purse (pocket/car/bag/chair/floor) full of "toys"
They are toys. Not trash. Not refuse. Toys. A chopstick. An empty gum wrapper, the nipple of a bottle, shreds of parchment paper. Empty tubes of lipgloss. A ziploc bag. A paper cup. A tragically masticated roll of toilet paper.
Amassed by a canny mommy and strewn about the curtilage like so many rose petals at a coronation.
This is my version of "nesting" - like a gull pecking at a dumpster, I immediately case a space for anything that might hold my little pumpkin's interest for a spare minute. Or, if I'm truly fortunate, maybe five minutes. If a candidate holds even the slightest glimmer of viability, it goes in the purse and gets a desperate audition with the big baby somewhere along the road.
I have actual toys in my purse as well. And my car. And the cupboards. And pretty much anywhere you could imagine. Actually, I really don't have much other than toys and a spare diaper in my purse. Most of the time I have a wallet in there too, but not always.
Diaper bags? For amateurs and maybe for travelling.
Curating your own museum of beverage containers
Chaya nurses less and less, and eats more and more. This is great since I want to wean off the domperidone pretty soon. But she's not always getting enough liquid when she nurses less. She's not dehydrated, but she does tend to get - er - stopped up. I am convinced that I will find the perfect cup to encourage her to drink. And that this drinking will help the flow go. And that I'll have more faith that once she weans, she'll ever have liquids again. Because that's kind of important to me.
By god, I will find the Holy Grail of sippie cups. Some day, Chaya will not just sip but slurp and guzzle from a damned cup. In the meantime, I'll spend a minor fortune attempting to nail it.
So far she's flirted with the following:
(1) A Nubie No-Spill Super Spout and Grip with handles and a soft plastic nozzle. She's had this one since five months old and occasionally drinks from it. Possibly by accident. She seems to mostly get liquid from it when she's in a reclined position. More often she favors the valve for intensive chewing.
(2) A Boeing themed sipper with a hard plastic nozzle that her daddy brought home from his super top secret mission to their El Segundo site (seriously, I have no idea, but perhaps they are engineering the perfect sippie cup?? If so, they have a ways to go). It pours water really quickly. Her favorite thing to do is upend it and bang it on the floor until there's a massive puddle. There's a theme here (prolepsis!)
(3) Another munchkin brand sippie cup with a similar chewie spout as the nubie but without handles. Ok, I found this on the trail by our house and thought she might like the variety. Her favorite thing? To drop this repeatedly, since it's kind of hard to hold. Then to fling herself about in a desperate attempt to escape the bonds of her seat.
(4) A Munchkin Click Lock with a weight at the end of the straw so it can be tilted. This thing is impossible to suck water out of. I've turned myself blue attempting to do so. She enjoyed chewing on the straw for a while and... then updended it and banged it on the floor. This continues whenever it comes back into rotation.
(5) One of Andrew's water bottles. Actually, this is one of the more successful drinking apparati so far. She goes through phases in which she allows somebody to help her by holding it to her mouth. And she enjoys pushing the stopper in and out.
(6) A regular house cup. She's fascinated by this and enjoys putting her hand inside to play with the water. Then she tries to lap up the water. Then she turns it upside down, chews on the bottom and starts banging it racuously until she drops it on the ground and falls into a rage.
(7) A "Doidy cup" - So apparently this is totally awesome. The cup is a regular open cup with little handles and a slant. It's cute. The idea is that the "unique slant lets children to drink easily as they can see the contents without thrusting their heads forward and downwards. They also learn to put the cups down properly." And it can be started as soon as three months. Chaya tries to lap water out of it. Then chews on the rim. Then turns it upside down. Then bangs it to a thorough cacophony before probably dropping it and falling into a rage. When empty, it makes a great floor-toy. I also bet that when she's college-aged and wanting to drink to excess, that will make a pretty awesome cup for such skewed debauchery.
(8) Dr. Brown's bottles. We only have a few of these left after buying a few dozen back in the early days. They still have the preemie nipples. I don't even know if she'll drink from them or not at this point. She did when I had mastitis, but that was a while ago. When she crawls across rooms to wrest Sebastian's bottle from him, she usually only chews on the nipple and expresses no interest in the formula inside. I suspect if we gave her a bottle, she'd upend it and bang it on the ground until she dropped it and became irate. Just a random guess.
(9) Some Take and Toss straw cups. She hasn't tried these because I can't get the plastic straws through the plastic lids.
(10) Some fancy bottle we got for our baby shower that has never been opened. It's still upstairs.
(11) Other babies' Nuk Learner Cups. Babies are sippie cup sluts. They swap their fluids like little libertines in one big orgy of nozzle-chewing and flailing infant arms. It's a good cup. Every one of Chaya's friends has one. She's tried several. I don't think she actually drinks from it either though.
(12) An Apple & Eve Fruitables Berry Berry Juice Box - Yeah, I went there. She's not super interested in the juice itself. Perhaps because it is only half liquid sugar and half some veggie stuff. That said, she has used that straw to taste it. Now, though, she wants to pull the straw out of the box an play with that, then grab the strawless box and squeeze juice all over the floor. I've been slowly making my way through the juice box that we opened together.
Oh well. One of these days...
Holding two conversations at the same time... all the time.
I'm desperate for adult conversation as often as not. I get my fix bloviating on the internets about politics/science/philosophy/religion/nutrition/gender-issues/whatever-else-often-belies-that-humans-have-tendencies-towards-evangelicistic-asshattery-but-also-deep-thoughtfulness. But I also just like having conversations with those who visit.
There are usually two ways these conversations go for the people around me:
1. They are immune to the presence of a little baby and just barrel through despite the increasing efforts of Miss Chaya to garner attention from "new" (and therefore more interesting) person.
2. They are stunned in a tractor beam of baby cuteness and fall into babbling parentese.
Either way usually involves a sort of stichomythic pitter patter of my two conversational selves. Most of which go something like this (imagine interlocutor either continuing on unphased or totally mute staring at cute baby):
- Uh huh (to the interlocutor). Yeah, that's interesting, tell me more about ____. What did you mean when you said ______
... BLLLLLLLAAAAAAARG (raspberry)
- right, of course.
- Do you have a LION!?! ROAAAAAAR momomomomomo.
- But I was wondering about what you said the other day when _____
- Do we want a sippie cup? No? C'mon. Just a li' ... ok, we can throw it on the floor...
- (in a sing-song voice that obfuscates which individual i'm speaking with) Uh-huh. Yeaaaaaah. I can seeeeeee that.
- HUHUHUHUHUH HUHUHU
- So a lot like that passage from Augustine's Confessions where...
- Oooooooh pooop baby, poooop, c'mon, you can do it! Oh sweetie poooooop.
And so on.
Never Using the Bathroom The Same Again:
Ok, the days in which I can sneak into the bathroom and leave a self-contained baby alone in the minefield of havoc are coming to a close. Between her absolute talent for finding peril, and her occasional separation anxiety, Chaya is not really somebody to be left alone.
I remember telling Andrew that I'd made it to the store only to realize that I'd forgotten my purse, so I just used the bathroom and left. Struggling through a mien of perplexity he finally asked "where was Chaya?" I was, of course, wearing her at the time. Sometimes she comes with me in a stroller. Most often, I just give her a toy and hold her on my hip. Occasionally I let her just crawl and wander around the bathroom, but then it gets into the awkward situation where I'm either struggling to distract her from various attractive nuisances (toilet paper, plunger, whatever else you never realized is not baby proofed).
Even when I do actually manage to solo it, I have fallen into the habit of leaving the door slightly ajar. Just in case there's a crash and a howl requiring rapid action-mommy action. Because the way I'd be leaping into said action, a closed door would likely leave me concussed. Sometimes I do use the bathroom, say, during a nap or when I'm out on a date with my husband. But I still never quite feel alone.
Food Ort is Your Most Prominent and Prolific Accessory:
I think my little baby has a budding eating disorder. A bunch of makes makes it in or near her mouth. A bunch more comes right back out. It's kind of like Christmas when we take her out of her seat - an untold trove of goodies
It sheds from her clothing, hands and hair like little baby fair dust all over anything she touches. And if I don't hug it right into myself directly, I'm likely to roll in it when I'm on floor duty (all the time - do people still sit in chairs these days?)
And, yes, I'm learning too much from my baby. First instinct when I happen upon a crumb in my hoodie or elbow crease? To eat it. Though, unlike her, I usually manage to keep it in my mouth.
These are only a few symptoms of course, but if several apply, I'd check your home for ten month olds.