So I haven’t written for a while because if I had, it would have probably sounded a little something like this:
Wah wah wah, my poor little baby is sick again, or still, or whatever… blah blah blah, I hate winter and don’t know if I can stand one more -15 degree day… whine whine whine, my life revolves around scrambling to figure out what to do with a sick toddler and still somehow make it into the office… woe is me, in the last month I have slept in the nursery’s rocking chair more than in my bed… my life is so terrible, I have been vomited on (we’re talking insane amounts of puke) more in the last two weeks than in all four years of college.
I have tried to write here on a number of occasions, but I have just been so invested in moping about how spectacularly crappy we have had it with The Sickness (yeah, it is so bad it requires capital letters) this winter, I never got around to it. I’m just a big ole Debbie Downer these days, and I don’t want to bum everyone out. Or at least, I’m trying not to dwell on this “rough patch” that we’ve been wading through.
Now that all of that is out there, hopefully we can just MOVE ON.
You hear that universe? We are MOVING ON from this past month of boogers and missed play dates, 103 degree fevers and projectile vomiting, child care scrambling and endless streams of apologies and excuses to my boss.
So my kid is 17 months old (CRAZY!) and despite being sick all the time (not his fault) he is pretty cool, and that is what I’m choosing to focus on these days.
Gus is still head over heels for books. He flips the pages, and ever so slowly and deliberately, he absorbs himself in everything going on in each page. His eyes go from the left, to the right, back left, up, down. He points at certain things, and babbles about what’s on the page. If we ask him where George is (Curious George is still just the best thing ever) he points to him and grins and giggles.
Of course he knows all the animal sounds, the typical Moo, Baa, Ooh-Ooh-Ahh-Ahh, Wow-Wow (that’s a dog), Rawrr (for a Lion, Tiger, Rhinoceros, and pretty much any animal that looks big and foreboding). When you ask him what a llama says, he does this little spitting/blowing raspberries thing. He just started saying “Me-Oww” when he sees a cat, and he does it in just the most adorable little person voice. It makes my heart flutter and soar and go ker-plunk all at the same time.
We have books stashed in every room of our house, there are piles of them in our car, in the diaper bag, he’s even got a bath-time book that he loves. He cleans the little animals with his washcloth, then washes his own body. The chicken on the last page of the book is deliberately upside down (“Silly Chicken!”), but Gus has to turn him right-side up before chicken gets the scrub down.
So yeah, he’s our little reader, and an endless supply of books keep him happy in the car, in the stroller at the mall, eating out at restaurants, everywhere.
He loves to play fetch with Bella, yells at her to “Rop” (drop) when she brings the ball back. If we ask him if he wants to play hockey, he runs over to the basket and pulls out his hockey stick and a ball. He brings Dan the little toy microphone he has, and in his own way, orders him to sing “Down by the Bay” (daddy rocks the old-school Raffi), and proceeds to dance and hop around the room, beaming from one ear to the other. The only way Dan is able to stop singing without eliciting a meltdown is if he switches to a “boring” song, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Without fail, Gus promptly loses interest and moves onto something else.
17 month old Gus is also very affectionate. He hugs and kisses his little stuffed animals, he loves his doggy and tries to give Bella snuggles. (She’s not too fond of the toddler hugs, but she tolerates them, probably because it usually means she will get some love and attention from Dan and me as well.) I come home from work and he just wants to hug and love on me forever. All of a sudden he is all about giving me big wet sloppy (snotty) open mouth kisses. He holds tight on to my hair, and rubs it between his thumb and pointer finger. I think he is definitely going through a bit of a mama’s boy stage, and while that can be difficult on me, it’s also very sweet.
My little Baybee can now reach doorknobs, and can successfully open doors when he chooses. So we may be entering into a whole new ballgame of baby-proofing. Things Future Alicia and Future Dan were going to deal with are all of a sudden on the forefront. Last Friday I was in the kitchen cleaning up after breakfast, and it was suspiciously quiet in the next room. No monotonous “Beep Beep!” coming from his toy train, no sound of Gus running around the room, terrorizing the dog with a plastic bat. So I peaked in to check on him and he wasn’t there. I look in the spare bedroom. Not there. The bathroom? Nope. OMG! Then I noticed the door to the staircase was open. And I definitely closed it when we came downstairs this morning. PANIC! I ran up the super steep, slippery, wooden staircase and heard his favorite little buddy singing one of his songs. Yeah. He’s just sitting there on the rug holding Scout, reading a book, and he gave me a real nonchalant look like, “Hey mom! What’s going on? Yeah, I’m just hanging out in my room, playing with my toys, it’s allllll good.”
So yeah, he can open doors. And he can climb really dangerous stairs. We definitely need to get that carpet guy out, like NOW, to install a runner on that staircase.
Food! Gus has become quite the little eater, we’re constantly trying to find new things for him to try, broaden his palate if you will. It is so easy to get in a rut with mealtimes, Dan and I do, so it’s no surprise that by extension that happens with Gus. We finally have just started to venture into the “raw” veggie territory, cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers. That probably could have happened quite a while ago, but now that he has 12 teeth, including 4 molars, this first time mama feels a lot more comfortable with his food being a little more “crunchy”. He’s also finally getting better at eating things like sandwiches, which is nice, makes for finding meals that we can all eat together much easier. The kid still pretty much shuns all meat, but what can you do? I keep offering, he keeps refusing, we sneak it in there every once in a while, but whatever.
We’re still nursing. It’s usually been just at nap time if I’m home with him during the day or after work on days when I am at the office, and of course bedtime. However, over the last month or so since he’s been really sick, he wants to nurse much more. Sometimes it feels like I have a 3 month-old again, because he’ll be having a spectacular meltdown, for no discernable reason, and the only thing that calms him down is nursing. Poor little guy, The Sickness has just really taken a toll on him physically and emotionally.
I actually have been feeling some regret lately about tapering off my supply too soon, because I wonder if getting more breast milk would have helped him have a more healthy winter. If only he was being pumped with more of those breast milk immunities! I don’t know, I’m sure that’s me just being a crazy psycho guilt-ridden control freak, thinking I have anything to do with whether or not my kid gets sick.
The transition to breastfeeding a toddler has been pretty seamless actually, so I don’t have a lot to complain about. It’s a little bittersweet though, because like I said, Gus is so much more interested in nursing now than he was six months ago, and the whole thing is relatively relaxed and lovely, but I just don’t make nearly as much milk anymore and I know he sometimes gets frustrated with that. I guess it just makes me wish I hadn’t let myself get so worried about every little breastfeeding-related setback in that first year. Hindsight is 20/20 though. It IS a lot of pressure to have an infant completely rely on the milk you produce for their growth and nutrition, to be unsure of what going just a few extra hours without pumping or nursing might do to your supply, to feel like you need to be constantly offering yourself to your super distractible 9 month-old because he can’t seem to stay focused enough to nurse for longer than 2 minutes at a time. All of that pressure is just not there anymore, and it’s really awesome.
I still pumped once a day at work up until about mid-January, and I dropped the session after we went to Colorado. I have to admit, THAT has been GLORIOUS. Love to have given up the pump, being able to walk into work with just my purse and my laptop… for some reason it is just liberating! It feels like I’ve gained an entire arm or something.
While nighttime still has its challenges, I love our bedtime routine. First it’s a bath, then we brush his teeth (if he allows it), and Mama rubs him down with lotion before getting him into his bedtime diaper and jammies (usually this is somewhat of a wrestling match). When all of that business is taken care of, Daddy and Gus do “One for the Money” and/or “Rocket Ship” to get into our bed for a few books. I keep telling myself I need to videotape their little ritual, because it’s one of those perfect things that I just want to fold up and keep in my pocket to remember forever. It basically involves getting Gus sort of hyped up, right before bedtime, so yeah, maybe some of those sleep “experts” would have a problem with it. But whatever, it just pure childish fun that ends with Bella barking like a maniac and Gus soaring through the air and landing on our bed giggling and rolling around amongst all the blankets.
I have no idea when or why that all started, but it’s a perfect example of how different Dan’s relationship with Gus is from mine. I swear, dads come at this parenting thing with a different viewer on that moms do, I definitely see that with Dan. Thank goodness for Dads.
Ok, see? Life is good, when I let it NOT be all about The Sickness. Gus is as wonderful as ever, watching him become the little boy he is has been amazing.
And we are more than halfway through winter. It’s 40 degrees out there today, and we got to spend some time outdoors this weekend! Things are good.