Thursday, June 23

On the Move

Liam immediately put his new crawling skills to
work at Gymboree.
And so it begins. This week Liam went mobile and started crawling. His technique at the moment is interesting--one might describe it as a "leap frog" or "limping pirate" crawl. I think it's a result of his repeated attempts to stand up. He frequently lifts his butt in the air and stands on his hands and feet, but he can't quite manage to pull upright yet. So, when he crawls, he gets up on one knee and takes off crawling that way. It is awesome, entertaining, and scary to watch. Now that Liam is starting to get around, he is learning about gravity very quickly (and has a couple of wee bruises to show for it). Actually, crawling is one of the safer ways he gets around. He also likes to pull himself up while hanging on to whatever is within reach and then let go, even though he has all of the balance of a drunken sailor attempting to perform a gymnastic beam routine. If he continues to attempt pulling up and standing with such determination, I think it's possible he could be cruising or even walking by the time he's ten months old. (He's nearly eight months old now.)

Liam offers one last smile for Mommy before taking off
across the room.

Sunday, June 12

On Motherhood

Since Liam's birth, the constant motion of life as a new parent hasn't given me much time for reflection. Although motherhood is (to put it mildly) a serious time-suck, writing helps me clarify my thoughts and calm the static of my buzzing brainwaves. So, today I want to take a little time to write down a few thoughts on being a new mom.

As with every new chapter in my life--high school, college, moving to California--it seems that once I make the decision to move ahead, I put my toe in the river and the current catches me, pulls me in, and sweeps me along into the roiling white water rapids. I made the choice to become a mom, but that choice feels like the last bit of control I exerted on the matter. One thing that's become clear:  once you take a seat on the roller coaster of parenthood, you're mostly just along for the ride. 

There's no doubt a lot of the common wisdom on parenthood is true. Being a parent is fun and amazing and life-altering, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. But, as they say, the devil is in the details, and--fun stuff aside--a mom is forged in the fires of the reality of the daily grind and the demanding pace of a 24/7 role that brings harrowing new meaning to the idea of "no rest for the weary." To avoid being swept away by the tide of exhaustion, self-doubt, and frustration that plagues me at times, I've done my best to hang on to one idea that is meant to remind me to be present and happy in the moment. The anchor thought I've gone back to over and over these past months when Liam is fussy, or pees on me, or won't sleep, or spits baby food back in my face: "You're gonna miss this one day." I am not an old woman, but I've lived long enough to have figured out that, looking back, you miss the way things were. I miss being a kid. I miss college. I miss being twenty-two and single. And so, the way I see it, it is a safe bet that one of these days I'm going to look back and miss Liam's babyhood exploits and these early days of motherhood. This state of mind seems quite reasonable and easy to maintain in the light of day, but--trust me on this--it takes commitment to hang on to this perspective at 3 a.m. on a work night! 

Now that I am a mom, another pervading thought is this:  I'm so glad I took an entire decade of my life to push boundaries, explore possibilities, and achieve some important goals and dreams like graduating college, doing a little archaeology, travelling to Egypt, taking a risk in gambling on a new start far from home, and earning a post-graduate degree in a subject that will always be my academic love. Taking the time to indulge in a "me" decade was a smart move, and I'm grateful I paid attention to those in my life who told me to seize on youth and opportunity while I had the chance. Aside from checking off some major items on my bucket list, I got to live a little and think about what I wanted out of life and why I wanted it.

So, with those halcyon, youthful days behind me (ha!), I've ended the "me" decade and entered the "we" decade(s). Thoughts so far? I suppose motherhood for me--so far--has been about taking a moment to look back with satisfaction and feel a greater appreciation of the road I left behind me and a sense of confidence that I'm ready for the next chapter and new adventures. I can look ahead and ask the question, "What's next?" without regret, and believe that whatever the answer is, the best is yet to come.

Friday, June 10

As Summer Was Just Beginning

June has been fun so far. Last Saturday Eric and I took Liam to his first Gymboree class. It looked like it was something fun and social to do with him, so we thought we would give it a try. Liam seemed to enjoy it, although the playtime will be more fun for him once he is mobile. At the moment his age group is working on "ramps and inclines," encouraging the babies to work those chubby limbs trying to crawl up them. My only complaint about Gymboree thus far is that their mascot is Gymbo the clown. Why does it have to be a clown? I hate clowns.

Over the past month Liam has perfected his ability to get up on his hands and knees. When he gets up on them now he rocks back and forth like he's spinning his wheels, ready to speed away, but he has yet to take off crawling. I keep asking Eric to help me plan how we're going to babyproof our apartment, but he's not all that motivated. It reminds me a lot of how hard it was to convince him that we needed to have the nursery ready before the baby was born. Why is it always so difficult to convince men to act ahead of time rather than wait until inevitable (and eminently foreseeable) events are upon you?

Liam and Mommy at his first Gymboree class.
Liam and Daddy at Gymboree.
Currently the class is working on inclines and ramps.
The view from the mat.
Another view from the mat.
In other news, on June 5th Liam turned seven months old. Time is moving so fast! In a matter of months he won't be a baby anymore, and we will plunge headlong into the toddler years. It's fun and amazing and sweet to watch him grow and change. Over the last few weeks his curiosity has caught fire, and he reaches and grabs for anything that comes within reach of his tiny little hands. The little bugger notices everything, too. There's no pulling a fast one on this baby anymore--once he caught on to the concept of object permanence, it was all over. He may not see Mommy's necklace or the remote control anymore, but he knows it's there somewhere and he's going to look and look until he finds it! Once this tireless curiosity is combined with mobility...well, Lord help us.

June 5th - Seven months old!
In the Outer Peristyle Garden at the Getty Villa.
Coming after the camera--more often than not this is what
I see now when I try to take a picture of Liam.