Monday, January 17, 2011

In Inches, In Miles, In Laughter and Strife

One year ago at this very minute, Robert was giving me a big bellyache. That's what my maternal grandma always told her kids on their birthdays, with the years appropriately altered, and my mom told it to me and my sisters. It's a little different for me tonight, I think, since it's still rather vivid in my mind. One year ago tonight, right at this time, I was in this very room, getting up every five minutes to go lean against the dining room table and swivel my hips until the contraction passed, because it was the only thing that helped. In a few more hours, I would be going to the hospital and finally meeting this new tiny person for the first time.

My life was so different then, it's hard to believe. This past year has gone by with such a fractured sense of time. Some of the days were so very long. I remember last winter when Robert was just a teeny, and he was fussy and didn't want to nap, and he was too little to do anything else except cry. It was cold and snowy out, and M was gone all day at school. Every day seemed like an eternity. That's when I started this blog again, actually, to give myself a voice in the long, quiet days. There are other moments that pass very slowly. The predawn hours when Robert wakes hours early and wants to play, or the car trips when he is too uncomfortable and cranky to be soothed by anything. Minutes pass like hours, days pass like years. And yet when I look back, the year has gone past in the space between two heartbeats, and I don't know how it got away from me so fast. The tiny bundle I tucked between my breasts and zipped into my bathrobe to keep warm is now a toddler, 30 inches tall, 21 pounds, and too big for the rear-facing carseat that was laughably large when we brought him home from the hospital in it. How did that happen?

I don't keep close track of Robert's development, though I keep one eye on the "every child should do this by this age" part of the charts. What does it matter if he crawls a month early or babbles a month late, or hits everything exactly on time? I mean, I can already tell he's a genius, no matter what the charts say. =) I am trying hard not to be a pushy, paranoid mommy who worries if her child isn't ahead of the curve. He walks, he babbles and repeats sounds, he flirts like a madman, and he can pick up blocks and cereal with equal facility. What more does a kid his age need to be able to do? He has a great time tormenting the cat already (he doesn't see it that way, but she does), and his increasing skill with walking has Victoria very nervous. Today he ate an entire banana, just scarfed it right down with his supper. He has six teeth! I don't think we have a lot to worry about, though we do have that big 1-year checkup on Tuesday.

Today we celebrated Robert's birthday with our friends at church. I got him a Backyardigans cake from the Meijer bakery, and a little smash cake to go with it. Those and all the drinks and utensils and stuff, and was a little over 40 dollars, and this time I paid with the debit card. It wasn't a monthly grocery expense, after all, and if I'd paid cash, I wouldn't have a cent left for the rest of the month. Otherwise, the cash budget's been working well, and that's great, because M's a week late getting paid for some reason, which is really starting to stress me out. But that's another topic! Anyway, we took the cake and stuff to church and had cake with everybody, and they sang Happy Birthday. The choir director started us off so we sang on key. ;-) I'm not sure Robert knew quite what to make of the singing, but he ate all the attention right up.

Once all the adults had cake in the sanctuary, we went to the fellowship hall (where the tile floors are!) so Robert could have his cake. He had so much fun! It was hilarious to watch him. I have video footage that needs editing before I can upload it, but you can look at the pictures here! In retrospect, I might have been better off asking for white frosting instead of having them tint it green to match the big cake, but it was so cute, and he looked so funny! A day or two of green fingers won't hurt him. We let him play with it till he got bored, then cleaned him up (mostly), cleaned up the fellowship hall, and went home. It was a good first birthday party.

And hey, it's 12:40 now. This is about the time I was calling the midwife and waking her up, and she was telling me to wait till three minutes apart, because the roads were clear and the hospital was close. A good call on her part! Man, it's so funny to think back. My mom was here then, visiting. My house was so much cleaner, with so many fewer toys! What's next year going to bring? If nothing else, it'll be an exciting trip!

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