a year

Bumby is almost a year. It is only nine days away. I can’t believe it. My timehop app keeps showing me pictures of me in all my enormous glory a year ago. Instead of seeming fluid, the last year seems to have passed in fits and starts, snapshots of moments that I spent with my little boy.

  • We are leaving the hospital. Although my wife has had three children before, we are both equally terrified. We have put Bumby into a three-month size set of pajamas, because we are afraid of breaking his arms by trying to fit them in the newborn size pajamas.  We have to roll up the sleeves in order for his tiny fingers to show.  He is jaundiced, and has red, raw cheeks that are shedding the top layer of skin.  He is nine pounds, and 20 inches. He is the most beautiful and frightening thing I have ever seen. I stare at him the whole way home, and make my wife drive 10 miles an hour under the speed limit.  I want to cry all of the time because my heart is breaking with love.
  • It is late, and I am exhausted. I am nursing my two week old baby for the hundredth time that day, and it hurts so bad it brings tears to my eyes. We will never get this, I am sure. I wake up my wife, because WHAT IS SHE DOING SLEEPING WHEN SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO BREASTFEED OVER HERE?
  • He is four months old, and we went for a walk in the woods with the dog.  We came home and I ate a bowl of strawberries while I nursed him (painlessly, effortlessly). We both fall asleep and take a long afternoon nap together with the sun streaming in through the windows.
  • He wakes, again, covered in vomit and screaming. I hold him and rock him and nurse him. An hour later it happens again. I look down at my poor little baby, and think that I would gladly take this reflux from him so he could sleep without pain.  Instead I call a doctor, and then another one, and then another one.
  • I pull him onto my lap, with his blanket and his pacifier. Here are Paul and Judy. They can do lots of things. You can do lots of things, too. Judy can pat the bunny. Can you pat the bunny?  It turns out he can! He dutifully pats the bunny, and looks in the mirror, and smells the flowers, and sticks his finger through mama’s ring. We skip the page with daddy’s scratchy face. That page is weird anyway.
  • I have washed the sheets on the big bed in his room. I am trying to make it, and he keeps crawling all over the sheet.  I sit on the floor with him, and we hide under the sheet. He laughs and laughs, Mama and Bumby in a tent.
  • I wake up in the night, engorged. It has been eight hours, and my baby is still sleeping. I tiptoe into the kitchen and pump, just enough to take the edge off, while peering at him on the video monitor. He snuffles, then moves, then snuffles again, and sighs himself back to sleep.
  • He flies down the stairs, on his back, headfirst, tucked into a ball so his head doesn’t bang. I scoop him up when he gets to the bottom, terrified of what has happened. He does not cry. I do, enough for both of us.  He sticks his finger up my nose and laughs.  He is fine. One day later I pay obscene amounts of money to have sturdy gates professionally installed all over our house. I hate that it is impossible to protect him.
  • I throw him on the bed on his back, and his mouth opens wide in a laugh. I call my wife in.  I give him a good tickle, and he opens his mouth wide again, laughing. She and I stare in shock at the fifth and sixth tooth in his mouth, which he cut without a single complaint. We didn’t even know he was teething this time.
  • I pull him onto my lap, with his blanket and his pacifier. Here are Paul and Judy. He looks up at me, closes the book, lays his head near my breast, and takes out his pacifier. Too tired for a book tonight, Mama. Let’s just get to the good part.
  • I am unloading the dishwasher, and realize the house is quiet. Too quiet. I look around, and find Bumby under the dining room table, feeding the dog triscuits out of a box he has snagged from the snack cupboard.
  • I come home from work, and he looks up from playing when he hears my voice. He pulls up on the coffee table, and walks over to me as fast as he can, falling all over the place, saying “mama mama mama mama.” He flings himself at my legs, “Up up up.”  I pick him up.

My little baby. My only baby.  I can’t believe how fast the year has gone, and I can’t believe that Bumby has not always been a part of our lives.

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bye-bye

Bumby has learned to wave hi and bye. It’s always adorable, every time. He usually waves both hands, and typically he waves them at himself instead of at the person he is greeting or saying goodbye to.

Yesterday, at his gym class, he showed signs of a little separation anxiety. He sat on my lap when the other babies came too close, and he hid behind me when one of the teachers tried to show him a toy. This is okay, I think, and we will keep going and exposing him to new people and other babies until he is comfortable. Nothing wrong with being a bit shy, as I am a bit shy myself. It’s manifesting at night as well, in the form of some tears when he wakes up to find himself alone.

And so later that afternoon, I went into the kitchen while I was supposed to be working to see if the dog needed to go out. Bumby hears my voice and run-crawls across the room to get to me. I give him a big hug. After determining that the dog is just barking for no reason, I say, “Okay, I’m going to go work again. Bye-bye, Bumby!” Without breaking his hug, he turns around, and waves bye-bye at our babysitter.

At least he understands the concept.

baby steps

Happy New Year! Hard to believe the holidays are over. I feel like I barely survived this year. I missed one flight, had one that was delayed by 5 hours, my parents came to New York to visit, and I had three year-end deals at work. Plus have I mentioned that I have 900 kids? Or maybe it just seems like that. 

Some highlights for you:

1. Bumby is walking! You may have guessed this from the title of the post. On New Years Day he took a trek across the room to try to grab a fistful of my wife’s uncle’s dog. He missed the dog, but instead got much applause from his fan club (aka my wife and me). I don’t know why people talk about baby steps like they are small, because to me, he is growing in leaps and bounds. 

2. My parents and my wife’s mother blatantly ignored our requests that they limit themselves to one present per kid, so all four of our rugrats were spoiled rotten yet again this Christmas. As usual, though, the best parts of the holiday for all were fondue eating on Christmas Eve and an entire day in pajamas. And also the humongous dice we bought them at the dollar store. 

3. We experienced some real-life homophobia on Christmas Eve at church. We only go this one time per year, but we chose a church with stuff on their website about inclusion and loving the gays. I was raised Lutheran, and I feel like it’s a good cultural reference point to understand the biblical version of the Christmas story. Also, when the Big One was 4, she walked into a church for a wedding, saw Jesus on the cross, and loudly asked “who’s that?!” So, you know. We’d like to avoid future embarrassment, either theirs or ours. Anyway. We go Christmas Eve, for the bells and the silent night and the no room at the inn, for lo, unto us is born this day in the city of David, etc. Except that was NOT what the sermon was about! It was instead about how Joseph was such an upstanding guy for not having Mary stoned to death after she got knocked up while he was engaged to her, and about how babies are supposed to have a father, by the rules of nature and God. I walked out, with Bumby and my own blessed father. My wife stayed until the end to see if the pastor salvaged himself (he didn’t) and she and the kids informed the him on their way out that we would not be back, because he’s a misogynist, homophobic dickhead. Except, you know. Without actually saying dickhead to a member of the clergy (even though he is one). Then we went home and drank a bunch of wine and French 75s and had a grand old time. Plus I got some nice one-on-one time with my dad while we talked about hating church. 

4. Our dog ate an entire dead mouse in one bite and it clogged up her intestines. She had to have surgery to remove the dead mouse and also a section of her bowel which had died from getting scraped by half-digested mouse bones. It is completely repulsive and was every bit as expensive as it sounds. 

And with that, we close the book on 2015 and look forward to the giant leaps forward that 2016 promises. Bumby will turn one, the Big Brother will start middle school, Boo will get her ears pierced and get an iPhone, and the Big One will learn to drive.  Baby steps, indeed.