They Grow Up So Fast

She walks. She’s found her voice and she babbles. She giggles. She smiles with her whole face. She frowns with her whole face. She brushes her hair. She hands you things. She points. She knows where her nose is. She eats plums whole. She is 11 months old.

We are coming up on her first birthday, followed basically immediately by our 5th wedding anniversary. And much like most other nights of our lives, the theatre is getting in the way of our celebration. Shelby is directing a show that just happens to open that same weekend so we can’t go away. We thought about getting a hotel room in town and letting someone else clean up after us, going out for dinner, enjoying a pool or hot tub and definitely the whirlpool tub, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

This is part of our love/hate relationship with theatre. The reward you get for being a part of a performance, the audience, the 6 week intense friendships, the sense of accomplishment, belonging, and being a part of something great rolled up with the complete destruction of personal time. There are no plans we can make without consulting the theatre calendar. And with the wee one, there are sometimes easy, sometimes intense negotiations on how free time is spent.

Hannah is adorable and exhausting. Her current favorite games include: take everything off the shelf; take everything out of the closet; drop spoons and see how many times mommy or daddy will pick them up; spin the swivel chairs in circles; pull hair; shove fingers into any face hole (I’m not kidding, she totally sticks her fingers in our noses, eyes, ears, mouths, and digs as hard as she can before we can get her tiny little death nails out); stand on the rocking chair and shake it; climb on the couch and try to jump off; and our personal favorite – chase the cat and cry when he runs away from the crazy tiny flappy human.

And that’s all i can muster today. This pathetically disjointed rambling. Enjoy!

Babysitter

Shelby has one more evening performance of Maccountant, an original reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The run was selling out (they added a performance and still sold out every show) and he came home every night pretty happy and excited about the comradery he’d built with the cast and general awesome responses from the audiences. I wanted to see it. But that meant I had to make arrangements for Hannah. The first time ever someone other than a grandparent would be watching her.

Even when our parents have come to town to help us out, it was mostly because of “work”. We had double booked ourselves, our rehearsal or performance schedules overlapped for a week here or there and Meme and Nana came to the rescue. I can only think of one occasion when we actually made a date and went out for some time together, and that was March 17. Ages ago.

So this felt different. This was “abandoning” my child for “selfish” reasons and what if she was sick, or her eye started bothering her (cuz cat fight – cat won) or she was fussy the whole time or she wouldn’t go to sleep? What if something terrible happened and I wasn’t nearby enough or accessible enough to rush to the rescue?

But everything was fine. I went to the show last night and watched a very funny, gruesome, and well put together performance of Maccountant. I drank wine and listened to music. I did sorta rush home after the play was over, waiting only long enough to hug and kiss my husband before I bolted out the door, but everything was fine.

She was cute and playful most of the evening. She fussed a little bit but quickly got over it with a little food and a little music. She was bathed, read to, played with, and loved and went to sleep without so much as a squeak. She barely ate the bottle that was made for her. And yet (here is the kicker folks) SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT! That’s right folks, according to the sitter, she went down super fast and easily at roughly 9pm, her usual bedtime. She has been waking up once or twice a night and depending on the circumstances, will soothe herself back to sleep in ten minutes. But last night I never heard a peep. I woke with a start at 6:30 this morning, but it turns out I had only heard the cat meowing under the bed. She usually gets up at 7:30, so I finally went in close to 8 to make sure she was still breathing. She was snoozing so soundly that I snuck back into my own room to take advantage of a little more relaxation. At 8:30, I couldn’t take it anymore and got up to brush my teeth and putz around. It was probably my noise in the bathroom that woke her, but up she was and happy and giggling like the adorable baby I had two weeks ago.

And the best part? The sitter is working for trade, so I didn’t even have to pay her! Just have to let her borrow Shelby for a day to host an event for her library. Whew, now that that hurdle has been dealt with, Hey Beth, what’re you doing every weekend from now on?

Regression

OMG you guys this is killing me.

She sleeps really really well generally. Like, 10 – 12 hours a night. Straight through! She goes down without a hitch and wakes up all giggly and cuddly and is just the super sweetest. Shelby on the other hand…

And then something happened. I don’t know, teeth? Tummy trouble? Growth spurt? No idea. But she had a terrible night. She woke up at 2:15 and could not go back to sleep. She would shriek the second she realized she was in the crib and would not stop. No amount of singing and soothing would work. I brought her into the bed with me at about 3:30. She was so restless and crawling to the edges ready to plummet off the sides and I just couldn’t handle it so I took her downstairs to see if her daddy could help.

They played for a bit, but I found it even harder to sleep. I came back down, collected her, brought her back into bed with me and tried nursing. She fell asleep. But in her little baby way, started rolling over to get to her tummy and in the meantime, smashed her face all up in the pillows. I tried laying her on her back again and she squirmed and woke and shrieked and was not having it. So I took her into her room and rocked her for a bit and finally got her to settle again. I was able to sneak her into the crib for about 10 minutes before she realized she was there. this was about 4:45. AM. As in, in the morning. It has been so long since I had to recognize that as a time.

Shelby started stirring as if he was going to check on her. But he had only come to bed about 30 minutes before, and I had so many calls I had to take starting at 8 in the morning and I needed him to be able to care for her. So I went in and collected her again. She was standing in the corner of the crib, tears streaking her face. Gasps of air rattling her whole body. But almost as soon as she was in my arms, she fell asleep again. I was afraid to bring her into our bed again, what with the perilous pillows and the fall from the edges…Instead, I grabbed a pillow and blanket and took it back into her room. We slept together on the floor. My knees are still mad at me.

I didn’t get to sleep long before I had to get showered. I took her into the bedroom, nursed her a bit, and somehow transferred her to Shelby’s grip instead of mine and she remained asleep. I am told she didn’t nap very well, and she was pretty fussy most of the day. So when we put her to bed last night I was hopeful that it was just something she ate and maybe she would be ok.

I’m too old for this. The bags under my eyes are frightening. The gray hairs are plentiful. I just wish she could talk, that we could communicate in even the most rudimentary way. That I could ask what’s wrong and she could say “Scared” and I could snuggle her. Or she could say “hurts” and I could kiss it or give her some tylenol. Or she could say “hungry” and I could give her a snack “just this once”. Knowing the problem and not being able to fix it is so much different than not being able to figure out the problem. “How can I make it better?” VS “I can’t make this better, but I can hold you so tight until you feel safe.”

She went down without a hitch tonight. She’s been silently slumbering for almost 2 hours. Which gives me an hour or two before her next big sadness explosion. Unless we’ve convinced her we love her and do not plan to leave her and there are no monsters and she can survive without food til the morning and we fed her the right things so her tummy doesn’t hurt and her diaper doesn’t bother her and the temperature in her room is just right and and and …

I’m going to bed. I’m tired. I have many more long days ahead. I wish I had won the lottery years ago.

Success!!

Hannah was brilliant. The best I could have hoped for. As soon as she learns how cute she is, and how much she can actually get away with with that adorable smile and (as a shopkeeper in New Orleans commented) those exotic eyes, I am in big trouble.

She was antsy at first. She wanted to crawl into everyone else’s luggage at the terminal but I kept redirecting her and she would fuss for a second and then see some other bag that looked interesting and take off towards it. And then it was time to start loading the plane, my dread. I loaded her into the front body carrier and hoisted my carry-on and her diaper bag and got ready to board the plane.

Our seat was in dang near the last row which suited me fine. I was in no hurry, and the less people around the better if she decided to shriek the entire flight. She didn’t. She played with the many cards in the seat pocket, was super intrigued by the lock for the tray table, and could easily be distracted by puffs or nursing if necessary. We luckily had a window seat, so any of her kicking was directed at the wall of the plane and not the unfortunate lad sitting beside us. She loved looking out the window. She watched the entire time we landed on that first flight. Practically glued to the glass (or plexi-glass or whatever plane windows are made out of).

Our connection was pretty close on the trip to NOLA. We basically walked off the first plane, found our gate, and got in line for the next flight. This flight was a bit longer. We had been assigned a center seat, but thankfully no one showed up to take the window seat so we slid over and once again sat by the window. The poor Asian man on the aisle spent most of the flight picking up the various items Hannah would pull out of the seat pocket and throw on the floor because, favorite game. I thanked him everytime, but really wanted to tell him not to bother. He was just adding fuel to the fire. He didn’t seem to mind, Hannah loved it, and she stayed happy and quiet so…

The flights back were just as good, though I would have preferred a shorter layover. Chasing a crawling baby through a busy airport is pretty unfortunate. I can only imagine what it would have been like if she could run. She likes to explore. And carry-on baggage gets heavy to tote around for several hours. But everyone thought she was just adorable and gave her a wide berth. She was smiley and giggly, so everyone smiled and giggled back and were very sweet about the prospect of being stuck sitting beside her. The first flight she had a minor conniption about halfway through which was quickly diverted by letting her nurse. We were stuck in a middle seat, but the one guy slept against the wall the whole time and the other had just spent the summer visiting his brand new baby niece, so he was pretty darn forgiving. The second flight, she slept the whole way.

I’ll write about my actual trip soon. I think. Don’t hold me to that. It was delightful to say the least, even if Hannah was a needy cling-on most of the time. I was just so relieved to be the “what a good baby” story rather than the “OMG my flight was horrible” baby story.

Insanity? or Adventurous?

I’m taking Hannah on a plane today. She’s practically 10 months old. Which means she falls somewhere in the middle of easy to keep track of and highly opinionated on where she spends her time. So this is gonna be great right?

Anxiety is a big issue for me still. I no longer fear that some immediate danger is going to befall Hannah and I need to protect all the light bulbs in the house from exploding simultaneously and shredding her perfect little eyeballs and smooth flesh. That is mostly under control. What remains a problem for me is the what if I run late and can’t get the car seat checked and can’t carry the baby and the diaper bag at the same time? What if she screams on the plane and I can’t get her to be quiet and everyone LOOKS AT ME? What if her tiny ears don’t pop right away and she’s in pain and then the plane shakes and scares her and I’ve all kinds of traumatized my baby? What if I have to ask for help, or heaven forbid, pay extra money for something?

I’m sure it will be fine. It will of course end up being some manner of exhausting because Hannah is exhausting. But she’s also pretty chill. And generally pretty quiet in crowds. I expect at some point she’ll get bored and fussy, but that’s why I’ve packed the puffs in her diaper bag. I’m sure there will be an unfortunately timed diaper explosion but that comes with the territory these days. I’ve got diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and am not afraid to throw anything away.

That goes for me too. You may remember the lesson I learned so long ago. You never know when or how luggage that is not in your possession will get to your destination. Be prepared to make that work. I always carry a change of underwear and a change of clothes in my carry-on. I usually have my toothpaste and toothbrush, basically an overnight bag in case I have to sleep at the airport or go a few days waiting for lost bags to arrive. This came in extremely handy on our honeymoon.

So I’m anxious. But I’m ready for a little vacation. I’m ready for a slightly older and gutsier baby to hang out with her cousins. I’m ready for her Aunt Caki to spend some good quality time with her since the last time they were together, Caki was slightly occupied with the whole getting married thing. I’m ready for a little getaway from the laundry and dishes and cracker crumbs every dang where.