Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breaking News: The Hadley Report

Well, well, well, we have much to report--so much has happened, in fact, that I've been a delinquent blogger. So without further ado, here's our news:

1. Hadley has started solids. "Solids" is a bit of a misnomer, since her meals are wonders of mushiness. We started with a batch of homemade brown rice cereal. Success. Then we gave her sweet potato puree. Fabulous. Then zucchini puree. Loved it. (And she smiles every time we say "zucchini." Come to think of it, it is a funny word.) Then sweet pea puree. Hated it. Gagged. Looked at us as if to say, "What are you DOING? This is GROSS." Oh, well. We'll try again in a week or so. My plan is to help her develop a taste for veggies before we give her fruit, but Jason is pushing to let her experience bananas, so she might get a treat tomorrow. (And might I add that I've made all of her food thus far, and those of you who know me well know that I'm not much of a chef. But I can steam and puree veggies with the best of 'em.)

2. Hadley has a tooth. Truthfully, it's more like a quarter of a tooth, but it's definitely above her gum line. She working on the other, so she'll have a matching pair right behind her bottom lip. She's been a pretty good sport about it all, perhaps because Jason has promised her a hamburger when she gets a few more in.

3. Hadley has discovered tags. Thanks to the attorneys of the world, every baby toy now comes with a tag telling parents, lest we're complete and total morons, that we shouldn't, say, leave our babies unattended on the playmat, or let them play with rattles if the parts come off. Hadley inevitably finds these tags and examines them closely, as if she's reading the warnings. She frowns slightly in concentration and uses her tiny fingers to flip them back and forth. I'm just hoping all of this tag-time won't inspire her to become a lawyer.

4. Hadley went to her first birthday parties--mine and Mumsie's. The candles on the birthday cake fascinated her. Otherwise, I'm not sure she noticed that we were having a party.

Happy birthday, Mumsie!

I love this one: my two birthday presents.

Snuggling Mumsie

Hadley makes every party more fun.

Daddy and Hadley at my birthday bash.

5. Hadley got an exersaucer. She digs it. See?

Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't take focus to play with the exersaucer.

"I love it."

"Look at all this stuff! It's wild."

6. And tonight, after her bath, on her changing table, Hadley figured out how to get her toes into her mouth. There she was, naked and happy, sucking on her toes and looking up at us with the most content look on her face, as if to say, "Finally! These are as good as I had imagined." Jason and I stood there and laughed, and she stopped her toe-sucking for a few seconds to smile back at us. Ah, bliss.

You know, when I was at Medill and covering federal court, I'd get a huge thrill out of tracking down crusty old Chicago defense attorneys who were representing whichever city official got caught breaking the law that particular week. I loved sitting in court and then racing back to the newsroom to file my story, in hopes that one of our client papers would pick it up and I could see my byline in print. And I still get a thrill when I see my byline in print. But none of those stories--not even the most dramatic wrongful conviction case I covered--was nearly as thrilling as writing about Hadley's little developments on this little blog. I hope that one day, I'll get to write again about misbehaving public officials, but I will never feel so excited to write about anyone or anything as I do writing about Hadley.

The other nice bit about this blog is that I don't have an editor to tell me to wrap it up, cut the mommy talk, quit being so darn lovey. So I take full advantage of my blank screen and the fact that this happy little blog gives me all the room I want to write about the little things that strike me as marvelous--and treat them like they're important breaking news because at our house, they are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scooty Scooterson

For someone who can't crawl or walk yet, Hadley gets around quite well. Alarmingly well. So well, in fact, that she often ends up four or five feet from where she started.

She has started scooting on her belly. Almost two weeks ago, I watched in amazement as she rolled onto her tummy, grabbed as far ahead of her on the playmat as her tiny arms would stretch, pulled her knees under her bum, and--heave-ho!--scooted about six inches. Then she acted all nonchalant, grabbed the toy that had motivated her to move in the first place, and shoved it in her mouth. She practically said, "Whatever, Mom. No big deal."

Since then, she's been twisting and rolling and inching her way around our house. Still, she gets frustrated when she can't go exactly where she wants to go when she wants to go there. I'm just waiting for the day when all of a sudden, Hadley picks her belly up off the floor and crawls. Then Jason and I will have to baby-proof the house. Quickly.

I've noticed that just when I start to think I know what to expect, Hadley does something new. Her head is on a swivel these days; when we carry her somewhere, she's busy turning her head back and forth to see what she's leaving and where she's headed. Back and forth, back and forth. And she is all about faces, has to touch every one of them, and--even better--put her hand in the face's mouth to check out those teeth. 

Oh, and the teeth. She's teething. Chewing desperately on whatever she can, drooling like a bulldog, and getting a wee bit fussy.

Then there's a whole slew of entertaining new activities: pulling off her socks and examining her toes; saying, "mum, mum, mum" incessantly; blowing raspberries (which is a lot like spitting, actually); shaking her rattles and then looking at the nearest parent as if to say, "Why are you making so much noise?"

Here is a video of her grinning, pulling at her socks and blowing raspberries. I especially like the end, where she tells us, in her own special way, that she's done:

I've heard plenty of moms talk about teething and scooting and such, and I realize it's not like Hadley has won the Nobel Peace Prize (though apparently, the standards are a bit lax these days, so perhaps she has a shot), but these little changes are amazing to me. We get to watch them up close, to know this little person who is revealing herself and changing and growing. Add to these changes the fact that we're crazy about her, and all of these little changes amount to one big, amazing experience.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flying Solo...Sort Of

I am a happy mama tonight because Jason is home after a four-day business trip to Chicago. I've always known we were a good team, but when he was gone, I realized just how good a team we are. I always miss Jason--so much--when he leaves, but this time, I didn't just miss my hubby. I missed Hadley's daddy. I missed seeing him with her. I missed our nightly chat about all of the adorable things she does. And I missed the tag-team parenting.

I kept thinking, "I don't know how single parents do this," but if I'm honest, I have to say that I wasn't exactly a single parent. I had a lot of help. Mumsie practically moved in, and Granddaddy spent his evenings here, too, playing with Hadley, talking walks, doing dishes. Mumsie made us dinner every night, did loads upon loads of laundry, cleaned out my messy pantry. It was full-service grandparenting, and still, I was exhausted by Thursday night at midnight, when Jason opened the door and quietly dropped his suitcase on the floor. 

I wasn't sure how Hadley would react to her daddy being gone. She seemed a little puzzled, especially when I did all of the things Daddy usually does (like put her down in her crib for the night), but she made it pretty easy on me. She is a gloriously happy baby. I'm amazed by how often she smiles, how content she is to play on her mat or roll around on her blanket, how willingly she cruises around the neighborhood park or the grocery store or any other place we need or want to go. People stop me all of the time to talk to us because Hadley flashes smiles to strangers; I think it's her way of getting their attention--and it works.

We're all together again tonight, and it feels so good. Tomorrow is Mumsie's birthday, so we'll have a little fete here in her honor. And tomorrow also marks the day, one year ago, when we saw Hadley on the ultrasound screen for the first time. I will always remember when the little embryo showed up on the screen and the doc said, almost immediately, "You're definitely pregnant." I said, "Um, I think I'm going to start crying"--which was silly because I was already crying. And she said--oh, how I love my doctor--"You should. It's a miracle. Every time, it's a miracle. Sometimes I even cry." And Jason, Dr. Dana and I stared lovingly at the little person who is now asleep in her room. I can't believe it's already been a year.

Tomorrow also marks the day when we wrapped up a Florida Gators onesie and a framed picture of the ultrasound photo, and gave them to my mom for her birthday. She held up the onesie for a long time--it felt like five minutes--and stared at it until I said, "You're going to be a grandma." And then she hugged me tight, and I'm pretty sure she and my dad have been grinning ever since.

Even in my exhaustion, this week felt good, special, humbling. Because the love I feel for Hadley was on display for me this week, as my parents, fueled by that indescribable love, took good care of me while I tried to take good care of Hadley. I think we all succeeded. And one day, if Hadley has children of her own, I will snuggle her babies, make the dinner, do the laundry and try to take good care of her still. Because, as my daddy always says, "Once you're a parent, you're always a parent." And that's a good thing, a very good thing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Raspberry Pickin'...

When Jason and I lived in Chicago, we had a fall tradition that I just loved: We trekked about an hour from our house to an apple orchard, where we'd pick apples, drink hot cider, indulge in fabulous apple cider donuts and spend a beautiful autumn day outside. It was one of my favorite days of the year.

Even though we no longer live close to apple orchards, I still get the urge to spend a bright fall day outside, picking some sort of produce, so I did a little research and found an organic farm about 25 miles northeast of us. And today, we went.

In anticipation of our venture, I bought Hadley a onesie from BabyGap that has a little pumpkin on the front and says, "Cutest in the Patch." This morning, I eagerly dressed her up in the onesie, a darling pair of orange pants and the Halloween socks Granny Myrt gave her. Jason teased me about buying Hadley an outfit for her trip to the farm--especially considering how many clothes she already has--but I figure that she'll wear the onesie all month and on Halloween, since she doesn't have a costume. Plus, I wanted a few pictures of Hadley among the pumpkins. (Get it? Cutest in the patch? We needed a patch!)

So we piled in the car, Hadley promptly fell asleep, and Jason and I watched happily as the signs of the city fell away, and we cruised by open fields, dotted with red barns and white houses. When we pulled up the farm, I was thrilled. A red barn! Wide open fields! The good smell of things growing!

And then I smelled something else, something not so good. Let's just say that the outfit didn't make it past the car ride, and Hadley wore another non-pumpkin-themed ensemble to the farm. (And she peed all over Daddy's new car as soon as I pulled off her diaper to change her.) Alas, the best-laid plans...

But the farm was a big hit. 

We got our empty basket for raspberries, and we walked out into a wide open field, under a beautiful Colorado-blue sky and with the mountains in the background. It was heaven. All around us, families with their kids wandered up and down rows of raspberries, strawberries, gourds, wild flowers, herbs, peppers and cucumbers. One little girl (maybe five years old) narrated her every move: "Daddy, I found a red one. It looks really good." Pause. "Daddy, I found another one. It's more like pink. But I think it's really good, too." Pause. You get the picture. It was adorable.

And speaking of adorable...

Hadley loved the farm. She watched intently as Jason and I picked raspberries, and she kicked her little legs in excitement. I think she would have stayed there all day, strapped to her daddy, taking in the sights and smells of this great new place. 

We left with more than a pound of delicious raspberries (we tasted a few as we picked), and I've already found a recipe for a raspberry almond coffee cake that I'm going to make tomorrow. I can't wait until Hadley is old enough to put on her little apron and bake with me.

I hope we'll make our trip to the farm a tradition. I imagine it won't be long before we're walking up and down the rows with Hadley beside us, saying, "Daddy, look! I found a red one. It looks really good." Pause. "Daddy, I found another..." But for now, we'll take our dirty pumpkin outfit and our sweet baby girl who kicks her legs to tell us how happy she is to spend a little time in a new place.