Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grocery Store Moment

This is a moment from the past that I really can't believe I haven't recorded until now. It is really not a big deal on the surface, but it was so profound to me.

Gavin was around 16 months (?), and we were at the grocery store (as you might have guessed from the title). He had already gotten bored with looking at the shelves and holding things for me and was starting to fuss. I pulled one of his favorite books from the diaper bag -- Mealtime -- yes, a book about food, his true love. I turned the book toward him and leaned on the cart with my elbows, so I could push the cart forward while keeping my hands free for turning pages. I continued to shop while I pushed and read, and I got several smiles or looks of amusement from other shoppers. Then we passed a gentleman well-past retirement age who gave us such a wistful look of joy and fondness, I could tell his heart was touched. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but I couldn't imagine that he was thinking anything other than about the time in his own life when his children were young. I don't know if, so many years ago, he treasured his time with his kids or wasted it, but it was obvious from the look on his face that he deeply felt the value of it now. And it hit me like a ton of bricks what a special time I am experiencing right now. It made me think that -- though I know the Lord will bring me purpose and joy in all seasons of my life -- there will be a part of me that always longs to come back to this time. And I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my the salsa aisle...and the freezer section...and near the olive bar... (so embarrassing).

(What I'm not saying) Maybe because I waited so long to have a child and found meaning in my Lord and the many things he put before me to be and do before I had Gavin, but I am not one of those people to tell you that your life cannot be complete without a child in it. Those insinuations were simultaneously heart-breaking and infuriating to me before I had a baby (okay, and after).

(What I am saying) That one look on a stranger's face brought an enhanced perspective to the mom-journey that I already loved. It is a beautiful picture that I will always treasure. Thank you, stranger. May you be blessed in rich and wonderful ways.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Random tips for baby

While tidying our home office, I found this list of random tips I jotted down for moms of infants. Gavin is past this stage, but I thought I would post them anyway. Short and sweet!
  • Cross-body bags are great purses because you can reach down to scoop up your little one without clonking them with your purse, and the bags stay put when toting your sweetie on your hip.
  • When trying shoes on your tot, have them stand up. The foot fits differently in the shoe when standing than when sitting.
  • When getting a slippery infant out of the tub, it might help to put a washcloth over each hand to add more traction to your grip. (Pulling Gavin out of the tub always freaked me out. My mom told me this one.) 
  • Speaking of bibs: After your little one grows out of their baby bibs, keep the terrycloth ones in the kitchen to use to wipe their little mouths after meals - better than wasting money/trees on paper towels. (I wish I'd thought of this before I got rid of a bunch of mine...)
  • Are we still talking about bibs? Before putting those Velcro bibs or sleep-sacks in the laundry, fasten all the Velcro to keep it from snagging those cute baby blankets.
  • Give that baby an extra kiss. It's true what they say: it goes by so fast.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Every Age is the Best Age (?)

I've probably mentioned it in an earlier post, how some people told me every age is the best age (and how some other people laughed at them). At this point (26 months into my first child), I'm not sure who's right, and the optimist in me wants to believe the former. That said, it's actually hard for me to imagine it getting better than this!  ... Oh -- did I forget to tell you to get our your air-sickness bags for this post? Okay, well get them out, but even if you're a cynic, don't stop reading yet. Later, it will be so much more satisfying to point and laugh when you're armed with this ammo.

Things are far from perfect, but I am loving this age. Two. Yes, I said it. I'm actually starting to feel a little sick to my stomach right now because I know that 27 months, 30 months and so on are going to look very different than 26 months. My mom tells me "terrible threes" were much more a part of my toddler existence than "terrible twos," so, if he's like me, I may have a long time to wait for the other shoe to drop. No matter what may be ahead, I am enjoying these moments so much. It's hard for me to imagine more back-to-back cuteness and hilarity than we are having right now.

It's been a while (too long) since I wrote a what's-happening-now post, so summarizing is out of the question (too much). Instead, here are snippets. I hope they bring you some joy.

I love his inflections! They are sounding more and more like (exactly) the way we say things (scary) and less like baby robot talk (monotone phrases). The inflections, oh the inflections! And he sometimes helps us with our "lines" if we're not playing our part correctly (for those of you just tuning in, he's the first-born of two first-borns...) For example, if we help him when he wants to do it himself, he'll say, "Oh! I sorry!" which means, "Mom, Dad, I'm sure you're so sorry you just pulled my jacket off when you should have known I wanted to do it myself. Put it back on, and I'll struggle with it and eventually ask you for help but feel like I did it myself, and then everything will be okay!"

He is starting to comment on what he's doing. He'll be walking around, "Doo be doo be doo," and then say, "Singing a song." The other day, he was playing close by while I was getting ready, and I heard him say under his breath to himself, "This'll be funny," as he set one car on top of another.

He is making huge strides with both gross motor skills and singing. Since it's my blog (not my husband's), I'll start by describing...the singing! This is where I wish I had been blogging more often. The progress in his singing over the last few months has been so fun to watch. It's amazing to me how he's gone from singing most of the words to "Twinkle Twinkle" on the same monotone pitch to now singing all the words to several songs and sometimes even matching the up and down of the pitch. A few days ago, I was singing, "She'll be comin' 'round the mountain," and he started doing the echo he's heard on some recordings, just out of the blue. Love it! A week or so ago, he made up his own song:

Old MacDonald had some food.
With a yummy, yummy here and a yummy, yummy there...

So, on to gross motor skills. He is "all boy" in this department, (and I am beginning to visualize/dread the day where he scales his crib through sheer will power). In fact, after climbing a challenging structure at our playground, he said, "Gavin is a big kid now." Here are his latest physical toddler feats:

  • He is consistently walking the wide beam at our toddler gym with no hands.
  • With his feet on the low bar of the uneven bars and his hands on the high bar, he can swing down and hang on the low bar without going kersplat.
  • He is starting to use his feet to do things: close the door, pick up a book, etc. He thinks he's pretty tough.
  • He is climbing up ladders and other bar-type structures, mostly without giving me heart-failure.
  • He just loves running, climbing, jumping, and he is always thinking of his next cool trick.
Gavin walking up the mat backwards
Recently during open gym at our little toddler gym, he got really into passing the ball back and forth with his friend's dad (with his dad standing right there...nope, the all-around athlete/soccer player didn't get his feelings hurt AT ALL). Even though, playing with his own daddy would have been ideal, we were both pretty excited that he was willing to go back and forth with anyone. Prior to that, most ball play was strictly solo despite our best efforts (as in, "Look, guys. I threw that ball, I watched where it landed, I analyzed its every move. Touch it and my day will pretty much be ruined...and so will yours"). Don't worry, Josh didn't stay emotionally injured too long. The next day they were playing ball together. All is right with the world.

Okay, so is anyone else's kid obsessed with fake crying? We just ended a pretty long phase where he did it a ton! And most of the time, he wasn't necessarily trying to manipulate us; it was like he role-playing or something. Sometimes he would just start fake crying for no apparent reason. Then he would look at me and say in a pathetic tone, "What's the matter?" meaning, "Ask me what's the matter." I would oblige and he'd say, "Gavin crying," in that same tone, complete with cracks in his voice and everything. Whether real or fake crying, he would love to watch himself do it in a mirror. Just our family? Anyone else? 

He is just starting to get into make-believe. A blessing because it is a milestone. A challenge because doing puzzles is so much easier than following a toddler storyline! With make-believe, and with everyday encounters, I hear him using our conversational styles and phrases. At dinner, he asks Josh, "So, how was your day?" or "Have a good work?" Sometimes, he'll ask Millie (our dog) if she had a good breakfast (whether she's moved from her bed yet or not). He tells one of his little bears, "C'mon, let's go over here." Absolutely needless to say, I'm loving it!

I leave you with this. He's discovered the magic of the phrases "Mommy lets me" and "Daddy lets me" if he's been told "no" by the other parent. (He doesn't have the pronoun thing down yet, so it's actually "Mommy lets you" and "Daddy lets you.") The funny things is, usually, he's telling the absolute truth. (Sometimes daddy is surprised by what daring tricks mommy lets him do. So then we pow-wow and decide on the best [united] course.)

The dead give-away that Gavin is probably NOT being truthful? He puts on his most earnest, desperate face and uses his favorite catch-all: "Grandpa lets you."

Of course he does(n't), Sweetie. Of course he does(n't).