Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hadley Makes a New Friend

Maybe every mom feels this way, but I just can't get enough of Hadley's firsts. First peeled grape! First Winter Olympics! First day when the sun rises at 6:01! Really, I'm out of control.

But I was fully justified when I got excited to introduce Hadley to her first pint-sized visitor from Naples: Colton Thomas. Jason and I went to high school with Colton's dad, Landon, and we consider it a brilliant move that Landon married the lovely Jen Graham. And from that marriage, the world received one very adorable little guy. See?

The Thomases are here for a volleyball tournament--Landon owns and manages a competitive girls' volleyball club in Naples--but they carved out some extra time for us. The first day Hadley and Colton met, they spent a good bit of time touching each other's faces, poking one another's eyes and then ignoring each other. Colton tried to kiss Hadley a few times, and she fended him off, though eventually, she accepted a few smooches from her new friend. She even gave him a few, too.

On Saturday, we packed everyone up and drove to Red Rocks (Hadley's first trip there!), where the daddies donned the babies, and we hiked for a short while. The kids loved it--until Hadley had to go back into her car seat for the trip home, but that's another story.

After three days together, Hadley and Colton are true friends. Today, Colton came over to play, but he had to eat his lunch as soon as he arrived. Hadley, however, wanted her playmate, so when Jen scooped up Colton to strap him into the high chair, Hadley fussed, as if to say, "Miss Jen, give me back my friend!"

So this "first" really matters, and I'm hoping that Hadley and Colton will be friends for a very long time. (Long enough for us to embarrass them with these photos when they're 16, at the very least.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Things

I need to counteract that icky post from almost two weeks ago (and the horror I felt a few days later, when I realized, "Oh, man. I posted about puke. When I started that blog, I made a no-puke, no-poop promise, and here I am, nine months in, posting about puke.").

So now I am going to tell you about good things in our lives, in no apparent order (because to order things, you have to have all of your brain cells, and moms don't):

--Firsts: Hadley's FIRST friend had her FIRST birthday party. We loved being a part of it, and we're thankful for the blessing of budding friendships. Lauren (Annalea's mom) and I hope our girls are friends for a long time.

--Betsy: Our first baby-sitter is Betsy. We love Betsy, and Hadley loves Betsy, so much so that she leaned over and plunked a kiss on Betsy's cheek the last time she was here.

--Daddy came home. He had been gone from the wee hours of Wednesday morning until the wee hours of Sunday morning, and then he left again Monday morning and got home Wednesday night. We were both ready for him to come home. We missed him very much.

--Cheesy toast: Hadley has decided that she much prefers feeding herself. Pureed zucchini on a spoon is SO last month. Now she would rather pick up her food with her perfect, tiny fingers and shove it in her mouth. One of her favorite new finger foods is cheesy toast: mozzarella cheese melted on a piece of whole-wheat toast. She also eats steamed carrots, cut into small slices; pear; pasta; waffles; apples (sans skin); banana; and whatever I have on my plate. (We were out at lunch yesterday, and Hadley reached over and plucked a mushroom off my pizza. She ate it.)

This is her new "scrinchy" face. She does it when she doesn't like something...and when she just feels like making us laugh.

--Flowers: Hadley and I got beautiful pink flowers last week from a mystery man. Hadley looks at them and says, "ooh, ooh, ooh" like a little hoot owl.

It's hair bow time! I love hair bow time.

--Hot coffee and cashmere cardigans. I have a slew of freelance projects to finish this weekend, so I have equipped myself with the writer's requisite tools: hot coffee and my dad's old cashmere cardigan. I am going to give Hadley and Daddy some much-needed time together while I head downstairs to write my heart out.

But before I do, I have to say that when I stop to consider the good things in our lives, I am overwhelmed. I'm really worn out from Jason being gone, but we have lots of goodness going on: a Daddy who has a job he loves (that sometimes takes him away from us); the unwavering support from Mumsie and Granddaddy, who show up when Jason is gone and take good care of Hadley and me; friends who love on our baby (and let us love on theirs); and a healthy, happy baby girl who has decided she's done with spoons. (Just wait until she can have ice cream. That spoon is going to be her best friend.)

Good things. Good things, indeed.

For the record, it says "Naps are for wimps." That is, most definitely, Hadley's philosophy. Too bad her mama doesn't agree.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welcome to Parenthood

Ugh. It's that kind of weekend. Ugh.

Jason and I woke up early on Saturday morning to head up to the mountains for a day of pre-Valentines skiing. My dad woke up early to watch Hadley early so we could go. (My mom was not far behind.) More than an hour and a half into what should have been an hour-and-a-half-long drive, we were stopped. On the interstate. In snow. Seems we weren't the only geniuses who thought that it would be fun to go ski on a Saturday of a long weekend when the snow was falling.

We listened to the road report and realized that we weren't going to get to Copper for another hour. By the time we got to the bus, schlepped our skis and stuff to the resort and popped on our skis, it would be 11:00. We had to leave between 2:00 and 2:30--and I knew I'd be a nervous wreck all day, worrying that the snow would mean a longer drive home or worse, that we'd get stuck.

So, we turned around. We've never, ever turned around. But we did. And we consoled ourselves by saying that lots of parents have probably had the same experience, lots of parents have been anxious about getting stuck a few hours' drive from their babies, lots of parents have traded something they really wanted to do for their kids. Welcome to parenthood.

We got home, showered and went to a movie: "The Blind Side." Made me very happy. So even though we didn't get to ski, I felt like we had a little pre-V-Day date. We went out to lunch after the movie, and even stopped at one of our favorite dessert spots to get V-Day treats.

A few hours later, I was worshipping at the throne of the porcelain god. Oh, yes. Food poisoning. Bad. Violent. I couldn't nurse Hadley, couldn't even walk. Jason bathed her, put her to bed and tended to me. I was in the bathtub downstairs when he said, "I don't feel well." I admit it: I panicked a little bit. What if what I thought was food poisoning was really the flu? What if Hadley got it, and neither Jason nor I could walk, let alone care for a baby? I remember thinking, "Surely, this isn't going to happen. Surely, Jason and I are not going to be sick simultaneously while our nine-month-old needs us."

Sure enough, around 11:30 last night, while I lay in bed praying I would just fall asleep, I heard Jason (who was sleeping on the couch) run to the bathroom. Two sick parents. Please-oh-please-oh-please, God, don't let Hadley get sick.

Somehow, we made it through the night. Hadley slept, like she (almost) always does, from 7 at night until 5 this morning. She didn't get sick at all, and given how quickly and violently we got sick, I'm sure we had food poisoning. I felt well enough to nurse her at 5:00, but Jason couldn't even stand up. I rocked her for a few minutes and plopped her into her crib, praying that she would go back to sleep. She did, until 7:40. Whew.

It was a good thing that our sicknesses came on about five hours apart--Jason was fine when I first got sick, and I was on the upswing while Jason was still mired in the depths of feeling awful. That's what you call the hunt for the silver lining.

None of us got out of our pajamas today. I called my parents as soon as it wasn't too early, and my dad came over with Saltines, popsicles and Gatorade. He took care of Hadley while Jason and I slept. Then my mom came over tonight and made us chicken noodle soup.

Welcome to parenthood, I keep thinking. We've had tons of fabulous moments, moments when I feel peace and happiness and sheer amazement that I get to be Hadley's mom, that she is ours. But nothing is peachy all of the time, and this weekend, I feel like we earned a few parenting stripes. The day looked really long when I woke up this morning, and I wondered how we'd make it through on almost no sleep, weak bodies and tender stomachs. But we did (with a lot of help from my mom and dad).

So this weekend stunk, but if I were a philosopher with room to contemplate what it all meant (bear with me), I would say that it was a perfect example of what parenthood is: doing your best for a person you love desperately and deeply. And I'm not (really) talking about Jason and me, though we did do our best. I'm talking about my parents, too, who gave up pretty much their whole weekend for us. As my dad says, "Once you're a parent, you're always a parent." That's a good thing, even if it means your adult daughter calls you at 7:45 in the morning begging for help. And Gatorade.

I have no new pictures to post because, well, we didn't quite have the energy to get the camera out this weekend. But I promise more soon.

Finishing my soup and going to BED. G'night.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"It's Pretty Unusual..."

Hadley turned nine months old yesterday. I cannot believe it. Part of me feels like she's been here forever, like she's always been a part of our lives, and the other part of me wonders how nine months have passed since I nuzzled newborn Hadley with her spiky dark hair and red, heart-shaped lips. Even then, she seemed to have a twinkle in her eye, a pocketful of mischief and a flair for humor. (I often imagine Hadley in utero spiking up her hair for her arrival.)

Today, she went to the pediatrician for her nine-month check-up. The nurses always make a big fuss over her, mention how adorable she is, come over and talk to her. They probably do it for every kid, but Hadley eats it up. As we walk back to the examining room, a chorus of people wave at Hadley and call out her name. I swear, she thinks she's a movie star.

After her grand entrance today, we learned that Hadley weighs 20 lbs, 14 ounces, and is 29 3/4 inches tall. That means she's in the 80th percentile for weight and the 97th for height. The doc said that her growth patterns are good and healthy; as babies move more, they burn more calories and slim down just a bit. (Note to self: squeeze those baby thighs while she still has them.)

As our time together was coming to end, the doctor sort of interrupted his train of thought and said, "You probably don't know this because you probably aren't around as many nine-month-old babies as I am, but it's pretty unusual for a baby her age to be quite this social." Hadley flashed him a smile. "I don't remember the last time such a young child engaged me quite this much." Hadley cooed at him. "It's uncommon, definitely." Hadley reached out to pull his stethoscope and grinned.

"Is that a good thing?" I asked. He said that it's like many human traits: it has pros and cons. She's obviously very interested in her world, very warm and eager to get to know people. She's curious and expressive, he said. "On the downside, she's the kid who will wander off in the store." We'll have to be more stringent and diligent when it comes to teaching her--and reminding her--about stranger danger. That, or I'll strap her to me until she's, say, 17.

Even if it means we have to watch her like hawks, I'm glad Hadley is the way she is. I agree with her: people are fascinating. I think that's why I became a journalist--people have no shortage of interesting stories to tell if you take the time to ask them. Much of the joy in my life is tied directly to the people with whom I spend my time. Just last night, I had a fabulous time with a group of strangers at a press dinner. We talked and laughed and ate good food. I hope Hadley gets the same joy from other people.

Everyone says that Hadley looks much more like Jason than she looks like me--and honestly, sometimes it makes me feel a little sad. I don't know why; obviously, I think Jason is a good-lookin' guy, and as long as Hadley is healthy, I don't really care who she resembles. But I am enjoying the knowledge that she did inherit an important part of who I am. I talk to strangers on airplanes. I love visiting new places. I'd rather do something new than rely on the security of a routine. I am prone to wander off in the store, too.

So our Little Miss Social is growing up and making friends. And I am glad. The world needs as many smiles from the Hadster as it can here you are: