Zooey update: eleven months

(See? I told you I’d be up in your face making you crazy-laugh again…)

The sun and warmth and faint smell of spring have started to creep up around us and so your winter sniffles and spotty sleep schedule have started to melt away. Literally, right now, we’re on the floor together, you’re up on your knees, grabbing me by the collar, getting in my face and smile-saying “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!” as if something hilarious is on my forehead.

This month you’ve really woken up from a wintry infant slumber. You’re finding things funny but also making things funny. You’re paying attention and grabbing attention. You’re speaking non-stop (did you actually tell me ‘toda’ yesterday after I gave you something?).

There’s a cautious curiosity about you, but you’re not stopped by fear. You also know what you want (and most of the time, it’s to get out of whoever the hell thinks they’re cuddling you and back into my arms). You’re clear, you’re focused, you’ll make yourself heard.

Meanwhile, the calaniyot are not safe around you (and neither are the crumbs on the floor from being consumed, my skin from being lovingly pinched, anything your siblings own from being destroyed).

As befitting a bilingual baby, you’re reaching a little higher than you need to. A little more to figure out in the world.

And of course, curiosity has fully set in; not like I’m at all surprised.

Zooey update: ten months

There are months when I take a million and a half pictures of you, where I’m up in your face covering you in kisses, where I tickle torture you until you snort. Zooey this was not one of those months because there’s so much going on. But I’ve missed you during late nights at work and the good thing is I’ve done this enough to know it’ll end and the month will go on and you’ll be snorting in laughter because of me soon again.

Zooey update: eight months

Durable. Is that a weird way to describe you? 

Persistent. Attentive. Problem-solving.

You’re proving more by the day that you can keep up, especially with Nettles. The thought of the pair of you… well… makes me realize I’m going to need to up my game.

In the meantime… stay innocently curious, deliciously cute, with that face that reads, yeah, I’m in the joke.

Zooey update: seven months

Zooey,

No joke – you’ve made it clear. You may be four, but you’ve given me a run for my money. This doesn’t get easier just because you’ve done something similar before.

Going back to work has been extremely difficult – that has always been the case – but your refusal to take a bottle was incredibly frustrating and a little scary. For a couple months, I had to contend with the fact that I’d have to go back to work and you would just not eat enough. You wouldn’t take a bottle and you wouldn’t let a spoon enter your lips.

We got through it – you’re eating beautifully, and you’re getting your nutrients your way. And you did me a favor. Us a favor. You’ve forced me to slow down. You’ve shown me I have to make time for you, make sure we spend time together. You won’t fall between the cracks. You won’t be neglected or forgotten.

You’ve made a point of not being just #4 or the baby or another kid to feed.

You are THE kid to feed. The kid I have to stop what I’m doing and sit with.

So thanks, Zooey. Thanks for creating the space for that. Thanks for making me slow down with you.

Also… I love when you high-five me as you start your meal.

Zooey update: six months

Even after three other kids…

Even after seven years of parenting…

Even after hundreds, if not thousands, of sleepless nights…

It just goes to show you can still be taught.

Zooey, every day that you move, grab, scoot, reach, crawl as quickly as you can,

clinging to the idea that you can keep up with everyone here,

grabbing the bra by the horns…

…is another day you’ve taught me something new.

Zooey update: five months

It doesn’t matter how many babies you’ve had before. Or that they all looked like they came from the same mold. You’ll find yourself to sound repetitive, but also very very sincere, every few childbearing years.

So… hi Zooey. You are the cutest, smooshiest chubba chub I’ve ever bitten into.

To be fair – you are the first true chubba baby we’ve had.

I attribute this to the fact that you have held out – longer than your quite headstrong sister – on not accepting a pacifier or bottle anywhere near your face. We tried all the types and nothing. I’m actually impressed with you. You’re not aggressive about it – you give it a shot, look us in the eyes, and reject. Every time. Quite patiently, actually.

That’s not to say you won’t put everything else in your mouth.

Plastic grapes, rubber strawberry, your fingers, my fingers, a blanket, anything we leave on the floor, oh and also real food – you’ll have it at all.

We finally sat down and had you try some solid food, which I have to admit you have been pretty clear with me about your willingness to try. We finally got the point when you every so assertively pushed your face in your father’s bowl of dinner last week.

Interesting that it took that, but we didn’t quite pin it down when you assertively stuck your face in the pint of Ben & Jerry’s for the last licks the day before…

(Congrats, you win the family’s award for baby to get the earliest taste of ice cream).

So you’re really digging ingestion, just not a bottle of actual nutritious mother’s milk. Which is starting to get in the way of life, don’t you think Zoobs?

I’m starting to bring back the working mom lifestyle next week – your first foray into not having me around ever single second – and whereas I know you’ll be fine because I’ve been around this block a few times – this is a really really sad one for me.

There’s something final about this one. This is the longest maternity leave I ever took. It’s also the most intense – a lot of very real stay at home mom childcare moments. I’ve enjoyed every single second – I mean that very truly. I have not regretted anything or felt a need to rush back to the rat race. I haven’t worried about missing out elsewhere. This has been a deep exercise in living in the moment – and aside from anxiety related to going back to the rat race, I think I was able to achieve living in the moment with you a lot more easily than I have in the past.

We ran around Israel together. We flew to the States alone together. You’ve watched me keep my cool and lose my shit.

I’m really going to miss this time with you, Zoobs.

Let’s take a moment to cry it out. I know we’re gonna get through it. But there’s no shame in a therapeutic cry, Zooey.

 

Zooey update: four months

We’re in the States on a family visit and Zooey turns four months.

The themes of the last month include:

  • Very social smiles turn into very surprised sadness quickly… a rainbow of emotions.
  • Sisters in your face… Cosby show style…

  • Coos and coos and coos – there’s a lot to say, apparently.
  • Also bubbles and drool. A lot of bubbles and drool.
  • Wearing baby scrubs and otherwise modelling outfits your siblings never got through

  • Chub thighs. So proud of those.
  • Your second trip abroad in your lifetime. Ten-hour flights? No problem.
  • Desperately trying to figure out what will make you ok with sitting in the car… new car seats… mirrors… siblings’ singing… a creepy doll staring at you? Nope nope nope.