Our favorite time of year has arrived! We love the spooky in our house … horror films, Halloween, the Zombie Apocalypse … we’re all over it. And our daughter, it seems, has either inherited, or, more likely, been trained into an appreciation of scary things as well. (Though, to be clear, we are good parents and don’t let her watch horror movies. Strictly age appropriate “scary” at this point.) Last year, she told us she wanted to be Ana from Frozen for Halloween, a
Okay, okay…the title might be a little misleading. Let me start from the beginning. One lovely summer day, my sister and her 20-month-old joined my daughter and I for a swim in the pool in our condo complex, when a man of about 45, shirtless and holding a cat (I repeat: holding a cat), walked into the pool area having quite a lively conversation with…. no one. Well, maybe
Baby books are a fantastic resource for new parents–without them I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have known how often to feed my newborn or what her poops were supposed to look like.* But there comes a time when you have to eschew the good intentions and collective wisdom of baby book writers and just do what your instincts tell you, or more often, what your baby’s instincts are telling you (with ear-piercing screams). The problem is, often, when I listen to my instincts, a comedy of errors soon follows.
Let’s take, for example, the utter ridiculousness that is Hailey’s feedings. Hailey is a cuddly baby and her bottle feedings have always been a time for closeness for us, so I rarely feed her while she’s in her high chair or otherwise contained. And while she used to snuggle down in my arms or lap while enjoying her bottle, she now has a whole new set of skills she likes to practice while feeding. The other night, she moved from my lap mid feeding and, with bottle still in mouth, started doing squats. Up, down, up, down, drink, drink. Sometimes she crawls in a semi-circle around me while drinking. And the other night daddy snuggled her close in a pre-bedtime feeding on our bed and she shimmied and squirmed until she got comfortable–and it turns out, her comfy spot was sitting right on his head. I’m concerned that this behavior could lead to severe indigestion.
Diapering our baby has also taken a turn for the comical. It is now a two-person job, one of us holding her still while the other one diapers, and both of us singing to her in Spanish because that seems to be the only thing that prevents her from crawling around the house with a poopy bottom. Sometimes she tries to get away, but we hold tight, and this results in us changing her while she hovers mid-air in a wheelbarrow position as we quickly wrap a diaper around her. She doesn’t seem bothered by this, but again, I worry that all the time she spends upside down will lead to indigestion.
And then there are the things I do with my child just for laughs. I put pants on her head to see what she’ll look like with hair (hers is taking its time coming in), I pretend she’s a pillow and put her in a pillow case (only up to her armpits, of course), and I let her give my nose a big, gummy bite because I think it’s adorable. These things have nothing to do with instinct, but I’m pretty sure they’re not recommended by any parenting experts. But sometimes, you know, you just need a little levity.
*The answers to those questions are every three hours and super gross, respectively.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent–OK, so I’ve probably only learned one thing as a parent–it’s that each stage of a baby’s “baby-ness” is fleeting. Often, a new skill or quirk that makes you say, “I have the cutest, smartest, and/or craziest baby ever!” is gone before you can tell anyone how ridiculously adorable or gifted your child is. This was the case when Hailey went through her recent “talk to the hand” phase. Josh and I cracked up every time she looked at her hand and held a seemingly meaningful conversation with it. We looked forward to many more moments of this hilarious ventriloquist act. But that phase was over in three days. She also had a stage in which she would say “mama” every time she needed something. This made me feel like the Batman of moms who was called to duty with this precious baby bat signal. Sadly, that moment too seems to have passed. Then there are those stages that you wished would be over soon. And those stages seem to linger long past any amount of comedic value that can be derived from them. Hailey’s refusal to sleep in her own bed, for instance. I wouldn’t cry if that phase went away. And then there’s the recent humping thing. That’s right. I said “humping.” My female, non-dog child likes to hump things. She humps daddy. She humps mommy. She humps pillows. And perhaps her favorite thing to hump is her stuffed Yoda doll. That girl can spend a good 20 minutes showing Yoda who’s boss. Poor Yoda. To be so old and so wise and yet so degraded. The “force” won’t get you out of this one, Yoda. Let’s hope this phase too shall pass.