Friday, August 31, 2007

Honey Sweet

When I first found out that Child was going to be a boy, I was a bit concerned. What am I going to do with a boy? I had no idea how boys worked. I am a girl, after all, and an only child. My mom is a girl, also an only child. My side of the family did not have any exposure to little boys for many, many years. So I felt a bit unprepared for all the boy things. Will I be able to relate to a little boy? In retrospect, my thinking and my concerns were very stereotypical and somewhat sexist. I worried about how I would deal with his thrill-seeking nature, complete lack of fear or inability to stay put for a minute without running off to do something. All those are huge parts of his personality, and I have learned to accept and love them because they are what makes him who he is—a very typical boy. But what I was not prepared for was the amount of love, the compassion, the sweetness, the sensitivity and the caring that are housed in his little body. Nowhere did these attributes exhibit themselves more strongly than in relation to the coming baby.


Child: Mommy, where is the baby going to sleep?

Me: He will sleep in mommy and daddy’s room in a little crib.

Child: Can the baby please sleep with me in my room? My bed is big enough, and I can keep the baby nice and warm and rub his back if he cries.


When we first told him that a new baby was growing in mommy’s tummy, he asked two questions: How did the baby get there and how is it going to get out. Interestingly enough, although Husband and I discussed how to share this news with Child on several occasions, we were not prepared for those questions coming from a three-year-old. But we managed. Our very basic explanation seemed to satisfy him, and then he said, as if he has been thinking about this for years, “If the baby is a boy, we will name him Alex. If it is a girl, we will name her Sarah.” Mind you, he does not know anyone named Alex, and while we have a friend named Sarah, Child does not see her often enough to think of her name right away. After we found out that the baby was a boy, he renamed the baby Fireman Sam (after a PBS cartoon) and there is absolutely no arguing with him about it. “It is not Sam. It is Fireman Sam.” I think it is starting to grow on me.


Child: Mommy, is it dark in your belly?

Me: Yes, it is pretty dark.

Child: I don’t want the baby to be scared. Do you think we can get the flashlight to the baby through your belly button? I can share it with the baby, and he can give it back to me when he doesn’t need it anymore.


Every night, before he goes to sleep, he kisses my belly and says goodnight to the baby through my belly button. The routine is repeated in the morning when he wakes up, except at this time, instead of whispering, he treats the belly button as the loud speaker.


Child: Mommy, can the baby come out now? I really, really miss him.


During a recent severe thunderstorm, he hugs my belly and says: “Don’t worry, baby. I am here with mommy and I will keep you safe.”


Before heading to the hospital to check on the baby when I fell, Child rushed upstairs right as we were heading out the door. Lots of commotion ensued, and he finally emerged from his room dragging the baby car seat, the baby bouncer and a few baby toys that were stored in his closet. “We have to get these set up for the baby. When he comes home, I want him to know I have been waiting for him.”


Seriously, sometimes his sweetness makes me cry.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Never a dull moment

Just when I am ready to finally relax and stop worrying about one thing or another, something new pops up. I guess I am a worrier. I guess it could be a lot worse. And getting this out on virtual paper makes me realize that I am a very fortunate person in so many wonderful ways. So instead of complaining, allow me to simply list two of the adventures of the last few weeks in the most objective manner possible.

1. Child, my fantastic sleeper who slept through the night at a tender age of two months and never really had sleep issues, began having night terrors about three weeks ago. He wakes up roughly two hours after going to sleep, absolutely frantic. His eyes are wide open, he points to the door or the shelf or the wall and either speaks gibberish or says something that absolutely doesn’t make sense (I don’t want babies to blow bubbles, for example). His legs are hard as a rock. He is completely inconsolable. Five to 10 minutes later, he lays down and falls back to sleep. I can’t even begin to tell you how unsettling it is to see your child like this.

At first, we thought he had major leg cramps, and that’s what was waking him up screaming. We thought it was growing pains or potassium/calcium deficiency or just a result of being too active during the day. We pushed water and bananas before bedtime. We massaged his legs. About a week later, we realized that he didn’t acknowledge us when this happened. He was in his own world, completely overcome by fear and not able to snap out of it. And it was then that I finally remembered reading about night terrors a couple of years ago. We.bMD article described his behavior to a tee. Except that I have no idea why he started having those. His sleeping pattern has been the same for a long time, there has been nothing new in our lives (seems that the stay at grandparents was too long ago to be a suspect), he has not seen any scary movies. Not knowing the answer makes me uneasy.

2. Last Friday our nanny was on vacation, so I took the day off to hang out with Child. We had a fantastic day, and after his nap, we headed to a farmer’s market in our neighborhood to pick up some fresh produce. As I was crossing the parking lot, I tripped on the curb and took a dive right in front of a moving car. I was holding Child’s hand and let go before I fell, but he continued holding on, so he went down with me. Thankfully, the car stopped, although it would have been nice if the driver offered to help instead of yelling, “you OK?” through the window. I got up, picked up crying Child who scraped his hands, picked up my bag and moved to the sidewalk to assess the situation. Child calmed down quickly and began the never-ending string of questions (have I ever mentioned that he is incapable of not talking for even a minute) that began with “Why did you fall?” He seemed OK; the jar of jam that I just bought did not break; so it was time to assess me. And that was when Child and I both looked down at my legs, and he started wailing at the sight of blood flowing freely from my scraped knees. Damn, I forgot how much it hurts to scrape you knees! My sweet, compassionate child was in a complete state of panic because he was so worried that I was hurt, so I had to pick him up (the whole 44 pounds of him) and carry him across the parking lot to an ice cream parlor with a bathroom. Thankfully, there was a cake in the display window with a big excavator design, which made him forget his worries and stop crying (because construction vehicles have that impact on three-year-olds), so I could go use the bathroom to clean up the bloody mess.

About half an hour later, as we were driving to the metro to pick up Husband, I noticed a fair amount of discomfort in my belly, and for the first time, the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning: “What if I hurt the baby?” I can not tell you why this did not occur to me earlier. Obviously, taking care of the child who is outside the womb takes a much higher priority than the one inside the womb. I don’t know if this is instinct or what. But I felt like a horrible mother to the baby. I called the doctor, and of course, they told me to come in. So we, as a family, spent a lovely Friday evening at the hospital (I say it sarcastically, although Child actually seemed to have a great time because all of the nurses were doting on him with popsicles and cookies and letting him press all sorts of buttons on the bed).

Everything turned out fine, thankfully, and we were back at home before midnight. But it made me realize just how much I am afraid of preterm labor. As we were checking in, I overheard the nurse making NICU arrangements for a 29-week-old baby boy who was born just minutes ago. Two years ago, a close friend gave birth to a 32-weeker. I knew absolutely nothing about preemies then, so I did all of the reading I could get my hands on. I wanted to know how to support my friend and what was in store for her baby. She is now a tall, chunky, beautiful, brilliant two-year-old. But will that baby boy who was born on Friday night have the same fate? I sure hope so.

So let me make a full circle to the first paragraph. I am grateful for every day that this baby stays in my belly and continues to grow. I am grateful that Child’s nighttime troubles appear to be harmless and do not affect his activities or attitude during the day.

While I am far from grateful for the 110-degree heat index outside (I kid you not), I am grateful for my air conditioner and for the opportunity to spend a few days in Chicago next week to escape the heat.

I am grateful that my life is just the way it is—with some adventures and so many things to be grateful for.