Monday, September 18, 2006

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Emma ADORES bathtime, and I adore sharing this time with her. As Brad lowers her into the water, her face relaxes and she squnches herself into a little ball so as to increase the amount of water that is covering her body (being a rule follower I make sure there is only three inches of water in the tub as the manufacturer recommends). She then looks at me with the sweetest expression. It is a look of utter contentment.

I thought I would share a few pictures of the experience with you. The first one is of Emma in all her almost 3 month old glory. She is really beginning to show a lot of personality. And the second is from her first bath after that dreadful umbilical cord dropped off. I have about three posts in the works, but my writing mojo is just not flowing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emma is Brilliant

Oprah (a stay-at-home mom's best friend) told me the other day that we shouldn't just offer compliments about looks to our daughters. So now I don't just tell Emma how beautiful she is (I can't help telling her she is beautiful--I hope that does not insure anorexia in her future); I also tell her how brilliant she is. And she is brilliant. Here's my proof--

1. She can say, "Hi." I know you don't believe me, but I heard it with my own ears. When I came to get her out of her crib the other day, she squealed and said, "Hi!" Brad says that she says "analogous" (he thinks she was looking at his SAT prep stuff for his ninth graders). I think he may be exaggerating a bit, though.

2. If she does not have a burp when she is in burping position, she will fling her self downward so that she is back in feeding position. She will then look up at you with a coy grin. The first time she did this it scared the bejeesus out of me. Now, however, I can recognize the brilliance of this move.

3. She can roll from front to back AND back to front. Last night, again, she scared the bejeesus out of me. While I was trying to go to sleep, I could hear her fussing a bit in her crib. Then, all of a sudden, it was silent, deathly silent. Confident that she had smothered herself in the bumper pads, I leapt from bed and ran to her room. What did I find? Little Miss Em contentedly sound asleep ON HER STOMACH!! Apparently, she had not heard of SIDS yet. I promptly told her about it and warned her not sleep on her stomach until after her first birthday. Since she is brilliant, I am sure she will take this as a lesson learned.

4. She can crawl. Of course, you have to place her face down, place your hands behind her feet, push a bit, and say, "Come on, Emma!" but it is a crawl. I promise.

5. She likes U2. Yesterday she was a bit fussy in the afternoon, so I was playing lullabies on Brad's stereo and swaying with her. I tired of the kiddy music, so I put on U2. She immediately quieted and listened intently. Between each song she would whimper, but when the music started again, she would be fine. The girl has good taste in music.

6. She leans in for kissing. If either Brad or I is being the "Kissy Monster," she will pull away after a few kisses and then coyly lean in for more. I keep using the word "coy," but it is really the only word that describes the look she has.

7. When she wants the mobile in her crib turned on, she will look at you with a smile and then look up at it expectantly. It is like she is saying (politely, of course), "Make it work, Mommy."

8. She has a toy bar on her bouncy seat that has two little handles that when you pull them down, they make a noise. She will grab hold of one, pull down, and look up at you for help in making the noise (she is not strong enough yet to do it herself).

9. When she notices that the bath water is getting to cold, she will promptly urinate in it so as to warm it up.

10. She intuitively knows when formula is too old or when it is cheap (or free). She knows the good stuff and has no time or patience for anything but the best.

And she has Brad's observant eyes ( and long and luscious eye lashes)-- Nuff' said. Isn't that a precious picture of my two loves sharing a book?

I think we have the next female president on our hands, people.

For Better or for Worse-- I'm Back!

I don't know if my writing mojo is gone now that I am on the mommy track. We will call this the "grand experiment." Am I still funny? Do I still have "important" things to say? Am I still opinionated? Can I spell any more (not that I was really all that great at it before)? Can I put words together that formulate a sentence that makes a lick of sense? To keep you coming back, I promise to pepper my faulty prose with cute pictures of Miss Emma. I have entitled the one to the left "Daddy's Girl." Look at that face!

I came a bit late to this motherhood business. Not super late. I'm not like that French woman who had that baby at 60-something (she was, however, my role model for a while). Just late enough that my mother said, "It's about time," when I told her Brad and I were expecting. To be truthful, I was scared of motherhood. I was scared that somehow as the baby was pushed out of my body, so would my identity, my soul--that all of the other aspects of me would disappear and I would become a MOTHER. Plus, it seems that I have heard a lot of bad pregnancy, bad birth, and bad early baby years' stories.

I approached motherhood like I approach most new aspects of my life--I feverishly, from the moment the dipstick sported a plus sign, began reading and studying about birth and motherhood. The last month of my pregnancy my "nesting instinct" did not encourage me to clean the house from top to bottom. It encouraged me to clandestinely watch every show about birth and child rearing on the Discovery Channel and TLC. ("Clandestinely" because Brad was horrified when he came in to the family room to catch me watching "The Baby Without a Face.") Because of my research, I was prepared for every grisly event that might happen. I was ready to have a baby with birth defects, to have my body ripped apart, to have a baby who never slept, to hate my husband, to hate my life, to be so tired my eyes bled, to be overwhelmed-- you get the picture.

What I was not prepared for, however, was the joy. I guess it makes sense that motherhood is joyful--I mean, why would people do it multiple times if it were not? But I wasn't prepared for how I felt when I held Emma for the first time, how I felt when I brought her into our house, how I felt the first time I sang to her as I rocked her, how I felt when she truly smiled at me for the first time. Sure, it's scary being a parent (each time she coughs, I am sure she has Tuberculosis), but the joy, the pure joy--Wow!!

I truly did not care that first month whether I would ever sleep again; as long as I had my baby in my arms, I felt strangely complete and at ease. I don't really remember feeling tired; I was exhilarated. She was just so beautiful (and she still is). I could stare contently at her for hours, and I did (and do). Of course, with the second month came the tiredness, but for me, that first month was blissful. I adored her, and she seemed to adore me. I jumped into this motherhood business, and instead of feeling constrained, I felt complete-- like a part of me that wasn't there before was now there.