Sunday, June 11, 2006

eight months already? um, no.

About a half hour ago, the baby turned nine months. So, belatedly and somewhat briefly, here’s the eight month scoop:

The Baby
Ah, the baby. Where to begin? Let’s start with food:

Feeding this child is one of the great pleasures of my day. He loves to eat! We’re moving very slowly with the introduction of new foods, so to date he has: apples, plums, pears, bananas and we’re in the midst of carrots. We had tried wheat and oats, via Cheerios, but the child appears to be anaphylactically allergic to wheat, so there went that. I have hopes for the oats, though, and the results of the tests for various grains are due back this coming week. Eeep.

Even so, I do love feeding him. His eyebrows knit over the first bite, then rise with pleased surprise. He pounds an imperious little hand on the tray when he wishes to be fed again, and occasionally insists on taking charge of the spoon himself. Eventually, the spoon will be held over the side of the tray, until the point in time when it is gently, thoughtfully dropped. He looks calmly over the edge of the tray, observing the spoon on the floor. Yes, gravity is still switched on.

This has been a good month for the gross motor skills: crawling has gained speed, and he’s settling on a commando-style crawl, with one knee bent and the other leg straight, for an extra oomph of power. He’s happy to crawl, but does spend a good chunk of time experimenting with the possibilities afforded him by standing. Cruising (walking holding on to things) is not confident, but he does move along nicely. Still, he’d much rather walk holding on to my hands, to the harmonious accompaniment of my screeching back. It is one of the minor tragedies of my eldest’s life that we will not let him help the baby walk – nor will we let him roughhouse with the babes, yank away toys….ahh, the cruelties of parents.

A couple more small things: the babes can turn a page handily, even enthusiastically and I often have slightly squashed fingers, when I don’t whisk them out of the way in time. He’s got a rainbow of babbled sounds, and is now responding to some hand signs, such as ‘come’ or ‘more.’ And he has a deep fascination with the washing machine. It’s a front loader, and he stands and holds on to the door while the wash swishes around. He pats it gently, and occasionally says something inquiring.

The Eldest
All is well in the child’s world, as the recent teacher evaluation from his preschool says. Apparently, according to his teachers (warning: parental bragging ahead!), this child not only lights up the classroom, he “brings a whole light show.” Happy warm fuzzies are mine, and I’ll do my best to hang onto that memory the next time he’s shrieking at his brother.

This has been a fairly good medical month for him, with a knee bleed and possible psoas-illiac bleed, but all handled smoothly and at home. We did have an impressive set of hives from a cross-contaminated rice cake (sesame!), and I was introduced to hives so large that a single one can cover the child’s shoulder. Yowza.

He’s still flirting with writing, which has more kinetic interest than reading. He wrote his first letter to his great grandmother (happy 89th, Bomski!), an epic of about four sentences. He adores spelling games, in which we sound out words and he writes the letters down, as he demonstrated on Friday, when he wrote out a list of things he’d need for Sunday’s lemonade stand. (He’s planning on selling lemonade to raise money for Children’s Hospital – more on that in a future post.)

He’s also having a rather practical introduction to philanthropy, as we write thank you letters to our marathon donors, and he learns about earning money to give to the hospital. Again, more on this in a future post. Suffice to say that I’m excited and very proud.

The Mama and the Papa
My partner’s blog has been moving along steadily, despite his recent shift from working one job to juggling two. For the same paycheck, mind you. It seems that some number cruncher over in California scarpered off, and the desperate execs at his company looked for a reasonably responsible person to take over. To no surprise of mine, they appointed my man, and invited him to do double the work for the same pay. Not lacking in a sense of his own worth, he nonetheless agreed. This has lead to some late days at the office, some working nights, but largely our family has been unaffected by this shift, although I do decline to check my partner’s blood pressure, lest my illusions be crushed.

On Friday, the eldest and I picked out a pedometer from the $1 bin at Target. The child ran happily around the house, occasionally lifting his shirt to nipple height and asking me to check his numbers for him. I have pleasant fantasies of father and son marching along together, talking numerical order and comparing the relative accuracy of their devices. (Like I said, it’s a fantasy.)

As for me, well, I read Elizabeth Moon’s The Speed of Dark, which was lovely. Beautiful writing, really strong plot. I highly recommend it. When not reading, I met with my dissertation committee and tentatively discussed starting work on the dissertation again next year. Oddly enough, the best way to do this seems to be to withdraw officially from the program... I gave a talk about, well, my family to over 90 people at the fundraising arm of our local hospital. Yikes. And I’ve gone from being scary mama to being reasonably functional mama. Or at least so I like to think.

This wheat business has really thrown me for a loop, though. I was looking around my house and thinking about wheat today: nevermind that the stuff is in everything, flour is a powder. Which means it could be freakin’ anywhere. Fighting an urge to do a passover cleaning on the apartment, I took the baby to Café Zing, my favorite hangout (it’s in a bookstore and they have an aztec hot cocoa made from a kosher mix, how can it be bad?) and then started getting twitchy about the crumbs on the floor. There is a way to balance the baby’s allergy with my own needs, I just know it – but right now I’m scrambling to figure it out. And as my partner said tonight, the walls are closing in a bit.

Maybe they’d close in a bit less if my wheat/spelt-free breads weren’t so lousy. Maybe not. Either way, tomorrow (today? oy) is our early Father’s Day, and my partner’s escaping our narrowing walls for a ten mile jaunt. And once he’s done, the kid and I are off to sell lemonade and iced tea to people along the Charles River (if we can find a spot!), as they watch the dragon boat festival. If you are out there tomorrow, call my cell and I’ll tell you where we are. The lemonade’s organic, the tea’s Earl Grey Lavender, the kid’s disarmingly cute and the proceeds will go to the local children’s hospital. Come on down!

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