Month 6: Giving Thanks

I’m a big fan of Thanksgiving. Surprising, perhaps, given that I’m a vegetarian and turkey is wasted on me. (People always ask me what I eat on Thanksgiving. I need a clever answer, like “Soy tacos. Duh!” Usually I just say, “Everything but the bird.”)

I like it because it’s a low-pressure holiday. There’s not all this build-up like there is to Christmas and New Year’s, which inevitably leave you feeling disappointed, stressed out, and/or hung-over. There’s no worrying about the perfect gift – Thanksgiving’s just all about food. And, you know, family and giving thanks and stuff.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Number-one, of course, is my gorgeous, healthy, adorable baby boy. Not a day has gone by since his birth that I haven’t given thanks for him. Even those days when he’s working his way through a jumbo pack of Pampers and fighting tooth and nail against taking any nap whatsoever.

Here are some other things I’m thankful for:
A husband who’s happy to change diapers, wrestle with tiny onesies, get up at 3, 4, and 5 a.m. to soothe the baby back to sleep, make dinner occasionally, mop up the basement when it floods (again!), and countless other tasks. And I’m thankful that he gave our baby his big dark eyes and sunny disposition.

A family that gets as much joy out of our son as we do.

Friends who are more than generous with their hand-me-downs, advice, and willingness to listen.

My health, and the health of my family. I know enough people who’ve faced unspeakable health crises to not take it for granted for a single second.

Kind strangers who hold doors open for us moms struggling with strollers and unwieldy diaper bags.

New friends who reach out to us less-outgoing types.

A roof over my head, a warm bed each night, and enough food to feed my family.

The safe births of all my friends who’ve had babies recently. Welcome, Baby Laura and Baby Jack!

This list could go on and on. But I fear it would get sappy, and where’s the fun in that? Just so you don’t think I’ve gone totally sentimental, I’m also thankful for Tivo, Entertainment Tonight, and Starbucks gingerbread lattes.


Month 6: I Am Baby, Hear Me Roar

Miles has a new noise: “Aaaaaagggghhhhh!” It sounds like a cross between a lion’s roar and a motorcycle missing a muffler. It’s very loud, and not the most pleasant sound in the world. (If only I knew how to post audio clips … ) And did I mention he makes this noise ALL DAY LONG? It’s bad enough at home, but he’s also done it in the library, a museum, a restaurant, and even at church. (Just once, thank God, but loud enough to draw giggles and stares from several members of the congregation.)

It’s got to be as hard on his throat as it is on my ears (and nerves). I have the only 5 1/2-month-old in the world with a smoker’s voice. The kid sounds like he has a pack-a-day habit. Aren’t babies supposed to coo?

Miles also has a new move. C. and I call it the Frogman. He rolls over onto his stomach and pumps his arms and legs like a surfer paddling out to a wave. He must be fixin’ to crawl, as our babysitter would say, but he hasn’t figured out that his hands and knees actually have to be in contact with the ground. That doesn’t slow him down, though. He’s happy to roll and kick and screech away all day long.

Miles is so happy and animated these days, it’s hard not to smile at him constantly, even when he’s embarrassing his parents in public. When C. goes in to get him in the mornings, Miles breaks into a huge grin. Sometimes he punctuates it with a happy screech. (Not to be confused with the more guttural motorcycle noise.)

Man, I love this baby. All that energy and personality rolled into a person who’s only been alive for approximately 150 days. (Which – coincidentally? – is the length of the warranty on our stroller, which broke down in the middle of downtown Washington, D.C. over the weekend. Guess Snap ‘n’ Go refers to the back wheel. Grrr …)

In other news, we bought a highchair since Miles is starting to eat solid food. It was like the crib-buying ordeal all over again – WAY too many brands, models, and features. And all of them rated “horrible” by at least one person on the Internet. We ended up going with Baby Bargains’ top pick, in some crazy rainforest wonderland design. Some choice: tasteful understated deathtrap or gaudy plastic workhorse.

Breaking baby news: last week my friend D. gave birth to a girl! D.’s mom is our sitter, and she called one morning to say she wasn’t coming because D.’s water broke. Is it bad that my second thought after, “Yay, the baby’s coming at last!” was “Crap, no sitter for awhile”? Anyway, good luck to the new parents. May it be several months before their little angel starts frightening people on the street with her shrieks.


Month 6: Till Baby Do Us Part?

I’ll be the first to tell you that having a baby is great. In his few months on Earth, Miles has brought such joy not only to me and C., but to our friends and families as well. It’s so much fun to have a new reason to send out pictures and exchange e-mails with far-flung relatives. (Shout out to my aunt and uncle in California who are big fans of this blog!)

But it’s not all tummy kisses and giggles, people. A new baby is hard work. And it can be tough on a marriage. Just ask Britney Spears. (Why it took her this long to kick K-Fed to the curb is beyond me.) Now, before anyone freaks out and starts imagining Reese and Ryan scenarios, relax. C. and I are fine. I’m just saying, a baby can put a strain on even the strongest relationship.

For one thing, a baby takes a huge amount of time and attention, which, in your pre-baby life, was probably largely devoted to your significant other. I feel bad for my husband sometimes, because at the end of the day, I’m so sick of being physically attached to another person that I can’t even bear for someone to breathe on me. (That goes for C. and the dog. Except Gracie is a little less understanding about it.)

I’m also finding that the baby requires huge reserves of patience I didn’t even know I had. So naturally, I have less patience for other stuff. Like, say, C. leaving the lid open on the box of wipes EVERY SINGLE TIME he changes the baby’s diaper. Or flinging an article of clothing on the floor EVERY SINGLE TIME he changes his clothes. Or forgetting to raise the crib rail EVERY SINGLE TIME he puts the baby to bed. And can someone please explain to me the thought process that compels C. to place the baby’s dirty clothes ON TOP OF the hamper, but not IN the hamper?

I don’t mean to be bitchy. But that just seems to be my go-to mood lately. Chalk it up to 5+ months of interrupted sleep, being responsible for another person 24/7, financial stress from living on one income, loss of my pre-parent identity, whatever. All I know is, I’m usually not Miss Mary Sunshine these days. And while he tries to be understanding, C. bears the brunt of it.

Talk shows and magazines are full of all sorts of advice: “Schedule a regular date night with your husband,” “Keep the lines of communication open,” “Make time for yourself.” All good ideas in theory, sure. Except time and money and real life tend to get in the way.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I sometimes think if celebrities – with their personal trainers and chefs and nannies and spa vacations – can’t make it work, what chance do us mere mortals have? I mean, I doubt Britney and Kevin were fighting about whose turn it was to do the laundry or the dinner dishes. And was Reese resentful because Ryan wanted to go to a football game with his friends on the one day he was supposed to watch the kids? I know, I’m being silly. It was probably his wardrobe of wife-beaters and do-rags that sealed K-Fed’s fate. Wonder if he put them in the hamper.

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