Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nail and Snails and Puppy-dog Tails

We have been spending our week in South Dakota celebrating Christmas with my family, and it has been an incredibly tumultuous trip. We flew out a few days before Christmas, and since it was Isaiah’s first flight, I packed one heck of a carry-on bag. It was filled with food and juice and books and toys and treats and diapers and every other type of baby paraphernalia I could fit in. He slept the entire flight. Whatever, though, I would much rather be over prepared than under prepared.

When we landed, my family got a chance to coo over Isaiah, which was much overdue since we hadn’t seen them in much too long. Then it was a simple drive home, which wasn’t of course simple at all because my college degree wasn’t good enough to figure out the car seat. Finally, though, we got to the house and Isaiah met Sparky the dog. It was love at first sight. Isaiah squealed in delight and stayed up way past his bedtime just playing with the puppy. Sparky was a little afraid of Isaiah at first, but it soon became mutual adoration. Later, I realized that Isaiah and Sparky were destined to become best friends because of all the things they have in common. They are both very cute and sweet, they both love Elmo (Sparky has his own Elmo puppet he sleeps with,) they both move around on four legs, they both love cheese, and they both give very slobbery kisses.

In fact, Sparky and Isaiah became so attached that Sparky designated himself as Isaiah’s bodyguard. Once when I was tickling Isaiah, Sparky became quite concerned that I was hurting him, so he came over and gave me the evil eye. Once I had stopped and Isaiah crawled away, Sparky brought over his own Elmo toy and dropped it at Isaiah’s feet. Now that’s love.

Isaiah had a wonderful Christmas day. He loved opening presents and playing with wrapping paper and being surrounded by fun new toys and people who love him. He got so good at opening gifts, he even tried to open Michael’s. His favorite present was a singing, dancing penguin named Gloria. Every time she sings in her cutesy high-pitched voice, Isaiah breaks out this goofy grin that makes him look like a teenager in love. I wouldn’t be surprised if Isaiah’s first word was “Gloria”

After a while in South Dakota, Isaiah’s sleeping schedule began to suffer, and that combined with a bad cold and the arrival of tooth number seven resulted in some crying boughts. One in particular really bothered me because there was nothing I could do to comfort him, and he cried for almost a half-hour. Finally, Michael got him to fall asleep by cradling him while he walked up and down the stairs. The bouncy movements combined with Michael’s deep, calming voice were exactly what Isaiah needed. It made me so grateful to have such a wonderful husband.

Before we left, Isaiah got his first bad bump on the head. He had a close encounter of the foos-ball-table kind, and he left a big bruise right on his eyebrow. I spent the night trying to put ice on it as I nursed him to sleep, and although the swelling went down quite a bit, it was still a noticeable reminder of what happened, as well as a foreshadowing, I think of all the bumps to come once he starts walking.

I was very sad to leave, since I miss my family so much, but I realized that by the end of the vacation, Isaiah needed his home and routine back. I packed another gigantic carry on bag with even more baby goodies than the one before, and Isaiah slept from take-off to landing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The first day of Christmas

Isaiah has now had his first taste of Christmas, and I think he likes it. We celebrated Christmas with Michael’s family early because we will be in South Dakota with my family over the 25th. Isaiah had a wonderful time trying out all of the furniture in Rod and Lesley’s house to see if it was good for standing on, and he even chose one large cardboard box full of ornaments as his favorite to pound on with his little hands. I think he’s going to be a drummer in a rock band when he grows up. He even stops drumming every once in a while to engage in some head bobbing, and screaming.

When it came time for presents, Isaiah seemed pretty happy that I was actually encouraging him to rip paper. I’m not sure if he will then assume that I want him to rip apart all of the paper that he finds, but I’m not too worried because he already does it anyway, so it’s not like we’re regressing. Then, when he realized that there was a toy inside the box he wasn’t even sure which one to choose. Paper or toy…it’s a pretty tough call. He did eventually choose the toy, though, which ended up being wise because I would have simply taken the paper away when he began to eat it. Isaiah loved everything he got, and has been playing with his toys and wearing his cute clothing ever since. I thought it was a perfect Christmas to start off with (we’ll be celebrating three times this year) because it was small and cozy and laid back so he wasn’t stressed out or over stimulated.

After the Christmas celebration, we went to our friends the Goldbergs to celebrate Charlie’s birthday. Isaiah had a wonderful time eating cake and pounding on the piano keys and squealing at the cats and the dog and just generally being the center of attention. He really does enjoy people, and I think it will be so odd to watch him go through stranger anxiety. Right now he will happily go to anyone who looks friendly, flirt with any girl in eyeshot, and entertain a crowd without a second thought. If his personality remains the same at all, he is going to be quite the party animal when he grows up.

Isaiah has also begun to creep along the couches, which he seems to enjoy doing. He doesn’t really seem to have a destination in mind. He just side-steps down the couch one way, and then back up the other way. Sometimes if there is something interesting on the floor, he will squat to touch it, but then it’s back to the main task of pacing.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Barriers are for wussies

Isaiah is becoming an expert stander. He can push himself up to a stand on almost any piece of furniture in the house, or even a toy or box that stands six inches off the ground. He plants his hands on the box, shoots his teeny butt up high in the air, and then slowly raises his torso to an upright position. He doesn't even need to hang on to things for balance much of the time. What a smarty. Now, though, Michael and I need to find yet another way to rearrange our furniture so Isaiah isn't in such danger all the time. The bookcase heavy laden with things ready to topple down, the bed that seems to be way too high off the ground, the last remaining outlets that I haven't covered yet, everything dangerous seems to be calling to Isaiah. One of the smartest things I did when we moved in, though, was to put only baby-friendly things into the cupboards that Isaiah could reach, such as tupperware or pots and pans. All of our cleaning supplies are in the pantry on a shelf I can barely reach. I figure that when Isaiah is taller than I am, he should be mature enough to handle toilet bowl cleaner. Then again, I'm very short, so that may be much sooner that I originally anticipated.

Michael and I have also constructed a crude barrier out of pillows and blankets between the living room and the dining room. Our reasoning is twofold; one, the carpeted living room is softer for falling down upon than the hardwood dining room, and two the Christmas tree is in the dining room. Soon, though, I will ship off many of the tempting packages that are sitting under the tree, and then hopefully it will be less of a draw. Actually, I'm glad he notices and likes the tree so much, because really that's the entire point of it.

I'm not sure how useful the barrier will be soon because Isaiah is beginning to climb right over it. It wouldn't be such a problem except for the fact that once he climbs on top of it, he descends face first into the floor. Poor little guy. Apparently, barriers are going to be more of a yellow light than a red light for Isaiah. I guess it's good that I'm learning this early on.

Oh, and for anyone who worried, Isaiah's swollen, purple gum around his tooth healed just fine. Michael and I were very careful not to let Isaiah bump his mouth on anything, since he probably didn't realize his gums would be extra tender, and then one morning, the painful looking lump was gone and we could see a sliver of tooth coming through.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Giving Thanks for my baby

Isaiah has finally become aware of the Christmas tree that has been up since before Thanksgiving. He didn't care much about it for the first week, but then I put lots of shiny, wrapped presents underneath and let him touch some of the delicate ornaments. Now, my entire day is wrapped up in keeping Isaiah from eating gifts or pulling the tree onto himself. I'm so glad he loves it. I am already getting excited for Christmas and all the traditions we will have as a family. I am singing Christmas songs to Isaiah every day and dressing him up as a Santa baby, and even donning the Santa hat myself so he can pull it off and put the puff-ball in his mouth. We have read the story of Jesus being born at bedtime every night, and I'm thinking about baking a birthday cake for Jesus later in the month. Part of me feels a little silly for doing so much this Christmas even though Isaiah won't have any memories of it when he's older. My hope though, as he looks at the bright sparkling Christmas tree, is that he will grow up with the feeling that this world is beautiful and magical, and that he is loved very much.

Thanksgiving went extremely well, which was a surprise since Isaiah woke up early that morning with a fever. We were very worried because he usually doesn't sleep well when he's around lots of people. He's too interested in being a part of the action. We celebrated with Michael's family and got to visit with so many people we haven't seen in quite a while. Isaiah was passed around and got plenty of 'oohs' and 'aahs' from everyone. He got to see a few cats up close and he read lots of books. As predicted, he didn't sleep, and we paid for it on the drive home. We had a two and a half hour drive, and Isaiah cried for much of it. He still had a fever, hadn't had his regular naps, was stressed out, and didn't nurse well all day, so we pretty much expected the crying. Still, it was a terrible experience to have him in the car seat crying inconsolably. I feel so bad for mothers why have to undergo that ordeal on a regular basis, because it makes you feel so helpless and horrible. I knew what he really wanted was to be held, but we had already stopped twice, and we had two extra passengers, so we felt like we just had to keep going. Finally, though, he cried himself to sleep in the car, and when we finally arrived at home, Michael and I snuggled with him all night long. By the next morning, he was as right as rain. The next day Laura and I went to to hit some sales, and I bought him an adorable little Christmas outfit. That night he modeled it for some girls I had over and they were all properly smitten.

Isaiah has worked up to the next step of cleaning my floors. Before, he just crawled around and tried to eat every little speck of food or dirt in the carpet (which he still does) but now he also like to use my Swiffer carpet sweeper. He's fascinated with pushing it around and watching me push it around. He chews on the handle and bounces it off the floor. It makes me wonder if I'm going to have one of those helpful little toddlers who wants to do chores with me to be sweet, but in reality it takes five times as long when he's helping, but I always say yes anyway because it's so beautiful to watch him.

Isaiah attended his first party today. Our little friend Collin had his first birthday party today, and it was a ton of fun. Michael and I were a little worried about Isaiah on the way there because he hadn't taken a morning nap and we didn't know how long he would last. In the car his eyes looked drowsy and he was a little crabby. Once we got there, though, his eyes popped open wide and he was just a little party animal. It figures. After all several of his favorite things were at this particular party: people, balloons, other babies, more people, and people. He even got to eat a little cake with frosting. I have a feeling his vegetable dinner tonight just isn't going to taste quite as good. At the party I realized that Isaiah's first birthday is only two months away. Everything has rushed by so quickly, and I feel that I am being left in the dust. Every milestone is something I am so excited for and yet still dread just a little because I feel I'm not ready. Isaiah, I'm so proud of you for growing up, but must you do it so quickly?

He is getting his sixth tooth in right now, and this morning Michael and I noticed that his gum is swollen and bruised looking right where the tooth is coming in. It looks so incredibly painful, and light it might just start bleeding at any moment, but Isaiah is as content as ever. Every time he smiles his sweet little smile, though, all is see is a big purple lump. Poor baby. Hopefully, though, his tooth will come through quickly and his gum will recover.