Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What a difference a year makes...

Today is Isaiah's birthday, and it has been an amazing day. I have been able to watch Isaiah bless people all day long with his beauty, happiness, and innocence. I feel like God has given me a glimpse of the amazing things he will do through Isaiah's life.

We began our day by going to the Mall of America because I wanted to buy Isaiah's some books for his birthday. We got there before the stores opened so I could walk a few laps around and window shop while Isaiah rode in his stroller. After we had walked for a while and the stores began to open, I stopped to sit on a bench and play with Isaiah for a few moments. Soon a young girl came up to me and began to smile at Isaiah. She was shy for only a little while before she began to talk to me and told me she was pregnant herself. She said she was scared because she didn't have a job and she wasn't sure what she was going to do. She said that she didn't have anyone to talk to about how scared she was or about all of the changes going on in her life. Isaiah flirted with her and giggled while she played peek-a-boo with him, and I could see her apprehension changing into excitement. She told me she was also having a boy and that she had always loved children, and I told her I was sure she would be a great mom. I don't think she needed me to tell her that, though, because of the instant bond she had with Isaiah.

Later that day, Isaiah and I were in a waiting room reading some of the new books he had gotten for his birthday. A Somali woman came up to us and began to play with Isaiah. After a while she asked me how old he was and his name. Then she told me she had a daughter who passed away when she was Isaiah's age. I had absolutely no idea what to say, but the woman seemed content to just play with Isaiah, who showed off some of his wobbly walking skills and flashed her quite a few dazzling smiles. She laughed at the thin, sparse hair that stuck up on his head and touched his soft cheeks, and before we left she gave him a quick hug.

I was so touched that my baby could bring so much joy to people who need it in ways that an adult could never do. I feel my own anger, fear, stress, sadness and pettiness melt away when I look at Isaiah on a daily basis, and now I'm lucky enough to know that I can share my most amazing gift with other people in need. There is some kind of ethereal beauty found only in the face of a baby.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Toddling along

Isaiah took his first steps all by himself this week. He had taken single, unaided steps before now, but after he took one, he would slowly sink his butt down until it was safely resting on the floor and then crawl the rest of the way. He had also spent many previous hours walking behind his push-a-truck-thing that my parents got him for Christmas. In fact, we spent one entire afternoon walking up and down the hallway and around in circles in the living room while I pretended to chase him even though I was just holding him p by the back of the overalls. He loves being chased.

But now (as of January 25th) Isaiah walks by himself. He will walk anywhere from three to ten steps at a time, depending on how fun the toy looks that you are tempting him with. Michael and I spent one evening running the poor little guy ragged by standing him up and then holding my cell phone up in the air so he would walk to it. Back and forth and back and forth. Isaiah didn't seem to mind at all because he will do just about anything for my cell phone, plus we cheered and clapped our hands for him every time he walked. The funny thing was, he didn't seem to realize he was walking at all until we were a good ten minutes into the game.

So now that Isaiah toddles, I am wondering if I am supposed to call him a toddler. When is the cut off for being a baby? When he turns one year old? When his car seat can face forward? When he grows some hair? When his mother is ready? I'm pretty sure it's not the last one, because then he probably wouldn't graduate into toddler-hood until his mid-twenties.

We visited the Conservatory yesterday to look at the orchid show they had. For a short while (about three minutes) Isaiah sat in his stroller, but he really wanted to get down and move around. So we let him out and held his hands as he walked up and down the rows of people. He didn't want to stay still for a single minute, so we kind of ended up cutting in line quite a few times, but no one seemed to mind. They were all very polite and commented on what a cute little guy Isaiah was. Isaiah was pretty proud of his walking skills and showed his repletion by shrieking happily at the top of his lungs to everyone who looked at him.

He also made a very cute friend named Robin. She was about three or four, and she came right up and started talking to Isaiah. He was absolutely smitten. He flirted and smiled and giggled at her, and I got a bit of a preview of what my coy little buy will do around girls when he's older. I just have to say - watch out, ladies, because he's good. Robin was absolutely adorable too, and at one point when I said to Isaiah, "Say 'Hi Robin!'" Robin obediently said, "Hi Robin!" Then she looked at me and said, "Hey, his name's not Robin." I tried to explain that I was telling Isaiah to say hi to her, but I completely understand why she got confused. After all, there was no way he was going to actually say hello to her, so I was being the silly one, not her. Thanks Robin!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


This weekend, Michael and I bought party supplies for Isaiah's first birthday. We decided to go with a penguin theme from the movie Happy Feet since Isaiah loves his singing penguin so much. I now have a dilemma, though, because I had already chosen an adorable choo-choo train cake to make, but it really doesn't fit the theme anymore. Anyway, as I faced the reality of Isaiah being nearly one year old, I began to reflect on how much I had changed in the past year. So often, I only look at all of the changes Isaiah has gone, through (and there are a multitude of them) so it was rather shocking to realize how different I am now.

I am much less selfish than I was before Isaiah was born. I am less protective of my time and more willing to give up "me" time for time with Isaiah. Although, this isn't as altruistic as it may seem; there aren't many things I can do with my time more fulfilling or enjoyable than being with my baby. I am still just as protective of my time with my family, and I need some time with just Michael and Isaiah and no one else every day. I am also less concerned about what other people think of me. Honestly, it doesn't really matter if I go out looking like the Wicked Witch of the West because I know Isaiah (and Michael, for that matter) think I am incredibly beautiful, and no bad hair day can change that.

I am, in fact, more confident in quite a few ways. Despite several mistakes and mishaps this past year, I would consider myself a good mother, and if I can accomplish that I can take on quite a lot of what this world has to throw at me. Some days I feel very grown up for having gotten so far, but there are other days when I feel like I'm just a little girl playing house. I'm not sure I can handle all the responsibility of raising a person in this world, and part of me just wants my own mom to come in and take care of it all. But that's a gift Isaiah has given me, too. Because of him, I have come to understand more fully how dependent I am on God. I know there is no way I can do my job without him holding me in his arms. I also have come closer to understanding how much God loves me. Michael and I were talking to one another and agreed that although we love one another deeply, the love we have for our child is different - less selfish perhaps, or more protective. We know that we both love Isaiah in a way he will never be able to return, and we wouldn't expect it of him. Having Isaiah has given me so much. He has allowed me to mature into an adult, and I still get to be a child with him every day.

As long as I can remember, I have assumed I would be a mother and have always wanted to be a mother. Actually being a mother, though, is more wonderful and heartbreaking than I ever would have imagined. I love Isaiah so much it hurts, and this past year with my treasured baby and my beloved husband has been the best year of my life. Thank you, Isaiah, for giving me so much.

Oh, and I solved the problem of the birthday cake - I'll just pretend it's the Polar Express and that I'm a birthday-theme genius for thinking of it. (Hey, if I can't really be a genius, I should at least be able to pretend once in a while.)

I won't go without leaving some updates about Isaiah has been changing. He now goes to sleep at night without nursing. More accurately, I nurse him and then hand him to Michael before he falls asleep. Then Michael rocks Isaiah to sleep and tucks him in. Michael is quite the pro at this, and Isaiah has picked up on it more easily and quickly than either of us thought. Even though it sometimes cuts into Michael's free time at night, I think he likes the trade. He gets to spend more cuddle time with Isaiah, and he enjoys being able to get him to sleep more quickly than I can.

Isaiah has also taken the next step towards walking. My parents gave him a large toy truck he can push and walk behind, and he loves to play with it. One afternoon he walked around in circles in our living room until he literally dropped to his knees in exhaustion. Every time he walks past someone, he flashes a proud little grin that just makes my heart melt.

Finally, Isaiah has really learned the concept of playing games. One game he loves is to be chased down the hallway. He'll start crawling towards the door, and then either Michael with call out "Isaaaaaiahhh!" That's when he knows it's on. He wiggles and crawls and shrieks and laughs as we pound our feet on the ground and catch up to him. If we take too long getting to him and tickling his feet, he will turn around and look at us as if to say, "Hurry up, slowpokes, I'm getting away." Another game he loves to play takes place at the dinner table. He has veggie puffs (sort of like Cheerios) that he enjoys eating, and sometimes he likes to feed one or two to me as well. It's pretty cute because he sticks his entire hand in my mouth to put in the veggie puff, and sometimes gets distracted by my tongue, which he then tries to pull out. The game I'm referring to, though, is when he offers me a veggie puff with a sly look on his face. Then he puts his entire hand inside my mouth but doesn't drop the puff. Then when I'm about to close my mouth, he whips out his hand and eats the veggie puff himself. Then he laughs at me and does it again. As long as we do this game with veggie puffs I'll be fine, but if we start doing it with M&M's, I might get a little cranky. Nevertheless, I love seeing his little mind work as he thinks of his schemes, and I love having a preview of the little rascal I am going to have on my hands.