Thursday, December 31, 2009


Sometimes I’m overwhelmed when I think about writing about the dink—of how to capture so many moments and feelings and experiences in enough words. It usually feels like such a tall task…which is why I avoid it as much as I run to it. But then sometimes, like yesterday, just one little moment in my life as the dink’s mommy can say it all.

Last week was Christmas, and even though I had planned to take vacation days Mon-Wed before the two-day work holiday so that I could finish shopping and work on one of my home improvement projects, I ended up staying home with a sick baby. The dink had his sixth or seventh ear infection—I lose count—raging in both ears. They developed less than a week after finishing ten days of antibiotics from the previous one. So he was in crisis mode, dealing with a wet cough, runny nose, and pressing his big hands against his painful ears. We watched Baby Einstein more times than I’m proud of, made furious, brief trips to choice stores for last-minute gifts, and spent a lot of time in each other’s arms.

The week got better as Christmas Eve arrived, and J was finally home to share the load and add his own excitement for the holidays to the mix. We went to my parents in the country, stayed the night and most of the day on Christmas there, and then to J’s parents in the country to finish off the weekend. The dink was feeling pretty lousy the whole time, but slept well and showed enough excitement for his duplicate gifts—three riding toys and three sets of Mega Bloks—to make everyone say what a sweet, joyful baby he is.

My favorite part of the holiday was our homecoming. Like the dink, I get homesick even when we’re visiting family, and arriving at the house at noon on Sunday just in time for the crappy Saints game was the highlight of our trip. Coming off of a two-hour car nap, the dink was wildly calling the cats as soon as we pulled up in the driveway. He exclaimed when he saw #2, bouncing up and down on his knees and waving his hands high above his head. He crawled madly through the kitchen, greeting his fridge toys, his musical train, and his beloved, beloved pots and pans. And he panted at J’s legs in the living for about half an hour, watching daddy operate the remote so skillfully, quickly changing channels and taking the batteries in and out for the dink’s enjoyment.

Then Monday came quickly, and J dropped off the dink at daycare for the first time in ten days. I wasn’t surprised when I picked him up to see him in his teacher’s arms. She said that he had been kind of sad that day, and she didn’t know. I said it was because he had just spent ten days with me, and she laughed. But then the dink proved my point better than I could have ever explained. He came into my arms, put his head on my shoulder a minute, then looked up at me, smiled, put each of his hands on my cheeks, leaned in for a kiss. I might feel better about leaving the dink every day if I had that kind of reunion to look forward to.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby steps

The dink took his first steps a few days ago. Three tiny, one-inch, consecutive forward movements toward something...not me, but something that gets him going in the kitchen like a beater from the electric mixer, or the open door of the dishwasher. He seemed proud, but not totally committed, like he did it without really trying too hard, propelled by the weight of green beans, pasta, rotisserie chicken, and half a can of pears in his near-bursting tummy. If only the dink attacked all of his physical milestones with the gusto that he eats his dinner!

I actually like the way he takes his time. Completely unconcerned with the other "walkers" in his daycare class, biding his time on his butt, perfecting the one-legged, one-handed scoot, which is used when he wants to get somewhere relatively fast but needs to protect a particular item held in one of his hands. He seems just concerned enough with people around him to try to mimic the fun things they do (pointing the remote at the tv, pressing the pin code pad at the grocery store), but then unconcerned enough to tell people no sometimes when they want him to perform on demand (high fives, bye-bye waves, blowing kisses). And certainly undisturbed by the fact that he's had the physical agility to walk for months...because he likes where he is, on the floor, tugging at my pant legs, sliding easily on the terrazzo in our kitchen. And I guess he's teaching me something about taking life slowly, waiting until you're ready, not putting undue pressure on yourself...I think I get it now, what they mean when they say "baby steps."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hello, Seahorse

The other night, I was playing with the dink in the bathub. Amidst a congregation of rubber duckies, winnie-the-pooh, empty travel size shampoo bottles (the dink's favorites), and God knows what else, I pulled the purple and green sea horse. Making him dive in the two-inch bath water and sail past the dink's avid eyes, I use my best sea horse voice to make him say, "hello, dink, I'm Mr. Seahorse." And then to the dink--say hi to mr. sea horse, dink, say hello...Hello! And I hand the soggy toy to the dink, who holds it up to his ear and does his best imitation..."heee---uuuoo". Should I be ashamed of this?