Repetitive Behaviour. (Did I already say that?)

My baby boy is starting to understand things.

He understands that if he brings me his snack pot, I will give him a snack. He knows that if he is thirsty, finding an empty cup on the shelf and pretending to drink will get me to fetch him some water. He knows that if he is tired and bored of playing, he can go stand by the bath to let us know he is ready for the bedtime routine to begin. He even knows how to choose a toy or a game for us to enjoy with him, dragging it across the room in a half crawl, and then throwing it at us from a unsafe distance.

But the main thing he understands, and the activity which has simply taken over my life, is Peekaboo.

How I miss picking up a book or a magazine without first having to hide behind it and poke my head out 7 or 8 times. I remember fondly the days where I could just leave a room, no jumping back round the corner or peeking round the door, or through the window. Imagine getting either him or myself dressed without making the well practiced exclamation of “Wherrrrre’s R? … THERE he is!”

I get it, it’s a bit fun. You cant see, and then you suddenly can. (Something he should be used to by now.) And truthfully, my heart skips a little every time he engages me in a game that inviolves vision. I could probably sit there playing Peekaboo with him from wake up to lights out without getting genuinely frustrated with the lack of variety. After all, it’s a much more preferable game to “Do you think he saw that?” which was mine and C’s favourite game of his first 6 months.

But it is weird how he never gets bored of the same activity over and over again. The same songs, the same snippets of baby einstein, the same games and puzzles. And actually, it’s quite charming. So once again, my son is teaching me something special. There are few things in life that adults really enjoy, no matter how much of it we get. Too many chinese take-outs, and however delicious the duck pancakes are, we need a few weeks of home cooked meals before reaching for the menu, where were often heard saying “Maybe I’ll try something new today.”. A favourite movie or book is usually best revisited after a break, and often without the same joy it’s first viewing gave us.

Even spending time with those we love. Our best friends can get on our nerves, we ask for some ‘me-time’ away from our spouses or family. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it’s so different from how we acted as a baby. I would venture a guarantee that my 1yo never thinks about having ‘me-time.’ I bet he doesnt even understand the concept. Why wouldnt I want to be around him and entertaining him all 12 hours of the day that he is awake? After all, he wants me there all the time, surely I must feel the same way?I must LOVE Peekaboo! In terms of trying new things, that’s up to me to introduce, and more a case of him incidentely learning that he enjoys something, rather than going out of his way to discover new activities.

It’s an interesting distinction between us as kids and adults. At some point between childhood and adulthood, we decide that things are most pleasurable if we indulge in them more rarely and on special occasions. We stop wanting constant gratification and enjoyment and the same things over and over again. This is clearly a normal part of growing up.

But sometimes, even as an adult, you cant help wanting your best friend round for a whole day to watch back to back Friends episodes and order that same old chinese food.

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I’m not a baby…Not yet a toddler..

-Sung to the tune of the Britney Spears classic, ‘I’m not a girl not yet a woman’-

While Britney was whining about her inner turmoil at being trapped between a million dollar recording contract and her desire to be with multiple movie and pop stars simultaneously, I feel my one year old has a far more serious axe to grind.

At each juncture in the day, you can see the scales shift between babydom and toddlerhood. This means that while I am certainly enjoying the pros of both, I am also saddled with the painful cons.

This appears to be true in every aspect of his life. Eg: Food. My toddler now eats anything and everything. I don’t have to avoid certain foods, I can relax on the salt and sugar content in what I feed him, (as much as we ever should) and he is striving for independence in eating and feeding himself.
However, my baby cannot tell me what meal he fancies that day, or why he is throwing pieces of lunch from his highchair with anger. He has no words to let me know when he wants a break, or a drink, or even that he’s had enough. While my toddler is desperate to hold and use the fork, my baby has very little clue how to get the food onto it in the first place, or keep it there once it’s loaded.

Sleep. My baby is no longer such a baby that he wakes in the night. But he is enough of a toddler that he has dropped to one (sometimes painfully short) sleep during the day. Enough of a baby that he wont go to sleep if he is 10 minutes too tired for his nap, and will fall asleep if I accidently push him too long in the buggy. Enough of a toddler that he wont automatically fall asleep in the buggy just because it’s the right time / I’m shaking it up and down.

Playing. My baby cant roll a ball towards me, he cant play kitchen with me, he cant build a tower which is more than 3 blocks tall (an impressive feat nonetheless). He wont sit still for a whole story, and he has no idea where the jigsaw pieces go, other than his mouth. However, my toddler is not interested in shiny lights and soft music, he wont sit happily in a bouncy chair or any kind of stationary toy, and he isnt entertained endlessly by silly faces or strange noises.

I could go on, but you get the point. I suppose this stage is different for every baby, and every mother probably deals with it differently. For me, I find it hard not to find the transition kind of sad. I’m not necessarily enjoying the new stages, because they come so slowly and are frustrating until they are complete, at which point they are no longer a novelty. And at the same time, it’s hard saying goodbye to each part of your child that made him a baby, and therefore that much more dependent on you. I am missing my baby, and yet at the same time hoping for a more competent and interactive toddler.

But as she so often does, Britney has the right answer. 😉 “All I need is time … while I’m in between.” It wont last forever.  I should enjoy all these stages, the frustrating in between ones just as much, because before I can blink, let alone a toddler, I’ll be wondering how my newborn baby became a teenager.


Hello, I miss you

Three words with so much meaning. I dont want to be melodramatic about it, and let me be clear, I dont think about you all the time, or even every day. But it’s there. It’s noticeable.

I almost wish there had been a huge incident. Shouting, anger, tears. Recriminations, grude-bearing, ignoring each other for days or weeks at a time. But those days are past. We dont have that teenage anger, that ability for what you’re going through to be the most painful feeling anyone has ever experienced outside of the two of you. That drama that you wouldnt bring up anymore for fear of ruining how special it secretly is to you, the tears and the cant breathe cant think pain. If we brought it up now we’d end up justifying it and making excuses for ourselves, and I’d hate that.

Instead it’s all a bit…wet. Losing a friendship. Oh, we dont talk as much anymore, life got in the way, everything sort of…fizzled.

So instead here I am, writing this down. I’m not angry, I’m not hurting, I dont even want anything to change, not really. I just thought I’d mention it, in a very grown up way-I do miss you. Sometimes I hear something I know only you’l appreciate, or have a rubbish day and want to vent before I go home, or tell a joke that gets recieved blankly and wish you were there to get it and laugh with me. And hey, I could tell you, no one is stopping me.. But it wouldnt be the same. I think you know that too.

None of this is life-changing, mind altering stuff. None of this is even that necessary, and we’re both doing really well without it to be honest. But I still like to think you feel that way too sometimes. That although our lives have moved so far apart that what was once a constant presence is now barely acknowledged, it would be nice if we’d managed to stay friends.

But life goes on.