Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rolling along

Samuel is grunting happily on the living room floor. It's really HOT these days so he spends a lot of time nudy, which he loves. Unlike when he was a newborn, when he hated being without clothes. I’ve decided to forego purchasing a rug for him to lie on, partly to avoid the cost and partly to avoid the shopping – which in itself is astounding since usually I am a shopping hound. It's just too hard to flip the rugs and carry one to the till with a baby in tow.

T. also has hardwood floors and said she would throw an old blanket down, which I’ve adopted. It works fine and is cleaner I’m convinced since the cats don’t rush to roll on it as they would a carpet. Not that I’m particularly averse to dirt, I follow the five second rule or the "doesn’t have fur on it – must be fine” rule most of the time. I started out using an exercise mat for him, but he's too big for it now and an old quilt has been promoted to baby-duty.

We went outside to smell the rain today. At almost four months Sam is astronomically more responsive and interested in his environment. The cats are - and in fact any animal is - fascinating to him, specially my two brothers’ large dogs. He loves “chatting” with people, is practicing blowing bubbles, squealing and is starting to realize he can shout. In fact, considering he doesn’t use words, he does a pretty good job of communicating.

He can tell me he’s hungry, sleepy, tired of (fill in the blank), happy, excited, angry. The only one I haven’t figured out is the ‘I just pooed” one. And of course I don’t always clue in to which one is which until he injects some emotion into his words.

Z: Hi honey!
S: aaah.
Z. (at the stove) Do you think we should do groceries today?
Z: no shopping?
S: AAAAAH!(angry)
Z: (turning around) oh! I see your toy has run away

Sam has mastered the half-roll now, flipping with ease from his back to his front and scooching the lower arm out from under him. He always turns to one side however, and he hasn’t figured out the return trip.

My biggest rant right now is he’s decided he has to feed every two hours. I thought he had moved past that, but he must be on a growth spurt again. So I’m spending my days in a zombie-state, praying for the three-hour sleep to return so I can get a full sleep cycle in.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Social Overdose

Whew. I’m exhausted. I had a garden picnic party yesterday and with my usual gusto, invited a ton of people – about seventy, according to my last reckoning, and not counting those I forgot to invite (baby brain-spasms). Fifty people said they'd come - Thank God they didn't all show up (horrible to admit but I am relieved). I had around thirty people come through over the space of four hours, and although I was really happy to see everyone, it wasn’t a good opportunity for me to really visit with anyone properly. I realized (yet again) that I do better in smaller groups.

I got a bit worried the night before, I was feeling very hormonal and didn’t want to let Samuel out of my arms. I thought oh great, people will ask to hold him and I’ll shriek “Back away!! Back away from the baby and no one gets hurt!!” Luckily when I woke up Saturday morning I was feeling a bit better and more willing to share.

The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny. Andrea showed up with her fabulous outdoor room thingy which provided a good chunk of shade, and enough people brought lawn chairs that everyone had a place to plant their backsides. Which we did, quite cheerfully.

The original idea was to play games in the park behind my house but no one brought anything to play – and I’m sadly lacking in outdoor play equipment – must remedy that! People seemed quite happy to not exert themselves, given the heat of the afternoon. I had the kiddie pool set up, and a couple of the kids had a token splash in it.

Anyway, we all sat around and had punch and other more potent refreshing beverages, hotdogs and chips and bean salad. My brother fired up the bbq, and Samuel got passed around between bouts of crying – I suspect he doesn’t really like crowds. This is the second time he’s been quite cranky at larger gatherings. Luckily one or another of his aunties tossed him in his stroller and took him for walks – he always calms down or sleeps when he’s being walked. My clan is quite rambunctious, always fun to have around. And they’re mostly amazing too, helping with getting things set up, dished out and cleaned up. I’m truly blessed.

As usual I didn’t think of taking pictures. What’s that about? Sheesh. At one point I did take out the camera but I didn’t get any good shots of people. I think good pictures need to have a story behind them, other than “here’s everyone sitting around watching me take this shot” – I was at a wedding once where a woman walked around with a really good telephoto and got candid shots of people which were amazing. Capturing that natural moment that conveys the feeling of the afternoon is truly an art. Thinking back I’d have liked a picture of little Evan toddling around nude after his dip in the pool. The girls crammed on the couch watching a movie in the basement. Eric showing his slides on the laptop. Abhi playing frisbee with Ishan using a paper plate. Six of us huddled into the tiny patch of shade under the patio umbrella. Shaylen’s new hairdo. Callie putting up the outdoor room. Nitin being chief Chef. So many little moments that would have been good pictures. Sigh.

Why do I try to have large gatherings at all? I don’t really think they’re my style. I always end up exhausted and worried that people didn’t enjoy themselves. I think I have this misbegotten intention of wanting everyone in my world to be with me all at once and it backfires - I only get to see little snippets of people. Oh well, enough ranting already. I need a nap and a snuggle with my baby.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Rolling over

Samuel is struggling to turn over these days. He rolls onto his side from his back by heaving his hips over first, and then tries to roll his shoulders over to his front. He hasn’t figured out how to get the underside arm out from under him, it keeps getting stuck in front and he can’t complete the turn. And there he lies, face and hips mooshed into the blanket, shoulders stubbornly refusing to follow. I watch him try and try, panting and straining with effort, only to fail yet again. He has succeeded a couple of times, but most of the time he doesn’t make it. Yet.

What amazes me is his complete dedication to the job. He gets frustrated in the moment, only to rest for a little while and try again, over and over. I am so tempted to just give him the extra push, or pull his arm out from under him, but so far I resist until he is completely frustrated before I help him. I will always remember this dedication to learning whenever I try and fail. All too often I want to be good at something right away, particularly physical activity. When I learned to snow-board a few years ago, the worst part was falling, again, and again, for three days until I finally got the hang of it enough to do my first turn. After that, I still fell almost every turn (in the other direction) but the falling was bearable because I’d done it once and knew I could do it again. Until then, each fall was another testament to my lack of coordination – doubly painful since I’m usually quite quick in picking up physical skills. (Except when it comes to baby strollers, but that’s another rant).

Samuel doesn’t think any of these thoughts, of course. He has no concept of failure, only of frustration. He only knows he wants to turn over and is going to do it, by gosh or by golly (cute saying, eh? Heard an old gaffer say it once). Human babies are amazing. Until now I always thought the tone of admiration in mothers' voices at each little development to be arising from maternal infatuation, but now I think its true admiration and awe at how much their babies accomplish and the effort they put into getting there.

Makes me wonder about people who get injured or paralyzed and have to relearn skills – the older we get, the harder it is, partially I’m sure to all the judgments we make about our progress or lack of it.