the ten month mark

I don’t know if it’s a function of age (EVERYTHING seems to be flying by nowadays) or just a general time-flies-when-you’re-having-fun thing, but this first year of Rainbow’s life with us is zooming by. He turned 10 months on the 26th.

Which reminds me: I’ve been thinking a lot about having babies at this relatively older age. I’m now 37. I was 22 when the Commodore was born. Being young-ish had its good points, certainly: energy being the main one. And it seemed that there were a lot more mamas in my age group, which was nice. But there was also a lot of financial stress and uncertainty. I had a lot of angst about not being in graduate school or having a job, when it seemed like my friends from high school and college were all in grad school or had promising jobs or were travelling to exotic places. I felt like the train was leaving me behind.

But got over it, certainly, and love the way things are and wouldn’t change them. Daddy J has the bacon-bringing-home career, and I am the Keeper of the House and Children, and this division of labor works great for us. And it’s awfully nice being young-ish while my big boys are getting older. Daddy J and I are having a great time with these almost-men of ours.

Anyway, with Wardie and now with Rainbow, I’m so much mellower and less stressed about the whole thing. The angst about the future is gone (I don’t WANT a job-job, at least not at this point) and I think I’m a more appreciative and more playful baby-parent than I was at 22, which is a good thing for Rainbow. Even if I’ll be – what? – fifty-one when he is fourteen.

I digress.

I may drag out the now-dusty What to Expect the First Year just to see how Rainbow’s tricks match up with those authors’ ideas of 10 month old baby tricks, but. Eh. I don’t seem to care so much. He’s clearly bright and healthy and vigorous and doing his own thing in his own time.

After an explosion of words a few weeks back, he’s backed off of the talking a bit. He still chats by himself in his crib before he asks to be retrieved (I heard him say HELLO two days ago, although I may have been dreaming) and says words now and again, but I’m thinking his motor skills practice is taking up a lot of his concentration. He REALLY wants to walk.

He’s eating finger foods and is kind of tired of me feeding him mushy stuff. I have to squeeze in the yogurt and fruit purees and macaroni as he’s grabbing for a baby crunchy bite. And we’ve started to do a little bit of Rainbow self-feeding with a spoon practice, a messy undertaking best done before bathtime. He can manage picking up cereal bits quite well, but doesn’t do well with banana and carrot and avocado – maybe dislikes the texture? So I pop in bits for him and he munches away. He’s drinking more bottle now as a result; those cereal crunchies are a lot lower in calories than Gerber #2 mac and cheese. Regular noodles seem too firm and non-melty, but I guess that’s where we’re headed.

He’s quite the slapper and scratcher now, and has been for the last few weeks. I know he’s just experimenting – you can just see his little wheels turning – but it will be a relief when he outgrows this stage. He’ll softly trace a finger down your cheek, while gazing adoringly, and then pull his hand back and slap you in the face as hard as he can. Or else try to claw your eyes. I know: Bummer.

We take his hand and very sternly, with a big frown and furrowed eyebrows, say: NO. And he melts down in tears. And then we take his hand and show him Gentle, Gentle, Gentle Touch on Mama’s cheek, and smile really big at him. And he pulls his hand free to slap again. It’s worse when he’s tired and annoyed.

He dances now, which is super-cute. He sways from side to side with a huge smile. And he likes to be spun around in my arms until he gets dizzy. It makes him squeal with delight.

+++++

I just ran into a little girl and her Mama whom I knew from Ward’s preschool. The little girl, not surprisingly, didn’t seem to remember me, but I knew her well, not so long ago. When I would take Ward to school, I would read to him for ten or fifteen minutes in the reading corner, just to get him situated, and because I wasn’t ready to go. This little girl would crawl onto one side of my lap and Ward onto the other, and we’d read and read and read.

I wonder if she remembers him.

Ouch.

+++++

Sometimes it seems to strange to have all these connections, all this fullness, all this heart-throbbing wonder and pain, in our lives. But it’s the way things are, and it’s Good.

Really.

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