Saturday, April 07, 2007

Family Hug

We are coming into our own as a family, I think, although I may just be feeling cocky because Miss Baby slept all night (!), had a 1h40 nap this morning (!) and another 45 minute one this afternoon (!). Rest-induced giddiness aside, I really do think we're coming into our own as a family. It's all starting to work.

I have my reasons.

1. Sometimes Pynchon and I negotiate who gets to hold the baby. Gets. Until very very recently, it was who had to hold the baby. Now, she snuggles; she charms; she puts her little fingers in my nose, or uses her index finger to touch my little diamond stud earring, her little mouth open, breathing warm baby breath on my face. Or sometimes she just freaks out with happiness, all her little limbs just a-flailin', screeching with the fun of it.

2. Miss Baby often seems very content to be in the same room with either of us, or, preferably, both of us. She watched, rapt, as Pynchon put away groceries and I made falafel, or, earlier, as he read the paper and I hung a print on the wall. She smiles and flails as she catches our eyes: hi mom! hi dad! I'm eating grapes--what are you doing?

3. Our days are starting to follow a standard rhythm, and it's pretty comfortable for all of us, most of the time. Miss Baby has two naps, into which (however brief they might usually be) she settles peacefully, snuggling her doudou. On the room monitor, we can sometimes hear her sucking particularly vigorously on her soother. When she's awake, she's mostly happy. She likes to eat her finger foods. She likes to play with her toys. She likes to be carried to the window, where she can watch the traffic and lay her head on our shoulders, patting our arms. It's kind of pleasant.

4. Our evenings are becoming freer. Tonight, having spent the day together trying to get some work on the house done, we are each getting the time we need: Miss Baby happily talked herself to sleep around 7:20, Pynchon went out to a sports bar to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship on pay TV, and I'm blogging and lolling on the couch, reading decorating magazines.

5. And last but not least: We have inaugurated the 'family hug', the three of us in a clutch, singing a little song we made up, ending with kisses all 'round. We had been doing it for a while with the sense that Miss Baby was simply tolerating us, but the other day she giggled, and started to 'sing' after we left off, patting our backs in imitation. A family hug.

How mundane it all is! But what a relief after the months of what felt like crisis management, crying management, sleep management, the allotment of sanity-recovery time in one hour portions. We do more together now, and while we are getting more done--more housework, more cooking, more outings, more minor renovations--we are also happier to do less. Just hang out, all together.

Sure, there's lot of annoying stuff, hard stuff, frustrating stuff. But recently, that's not what's uppermost in my mind, it's not what's defining the experience of being three, one of us only 21 pounds. Now I'm tasting a little more of the joy.

15 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

Ooooo, we are big, big fans of the family hug. Miss M demands it regularly: FAN-A-ME HUGGGGG! FAN-A-ME HUGGGG!! A little slice of bliss, that is.

It's great to hear that the cards are starting to fall into place for you. It's amazing the extent to which good sleep habits play a role in it all.

Alpha DogMa said...

Yeah for the Mimi Family!
#1 was my fave of your reason list.
We don't do a family hug. I feel bad. Of course it is too late now: as most hugs between the boys degenerate into wrestling matches in less than 10 seconds.
One problem: Miss Baby is going to need another name now that she is becoming "a person."

Beck said...

Isn't that great, that day you realize that things have magically changed from you and your husband and that baby who is here all the time for some reason, to a FAMILY?
We do family hugs. They are ESPECIALLY funny now that the older kids are unwilling.

cinnamon gurl said...

Hanging a print on the wall? Doing minor renovations? Wow. I wonder if we'll ever do that again... of course we were never very good at it before the baby came.

I think I started to really feel like a family when we were travelling to SA... especially on the plane, I felt like we were a complete unit and it was right that we were all together facing possible death. Morbid I know, but that's a fear of flying for you.

Jenifer said...

Yes, yes. It all starts to gel eventually. I agree with Mad that good sleep patters put everyone in a better frame of mind.

It is so nice when they reach the stage where you can take a bit back. It makes you appreciate them more. It comes even faster with number two.

Mimi said...

Jenifer -- really? Because having Miss Baby not be such a pain in the arse makes having number 2 seem like a good idea (look how well they turn out!) and a bad idea (we're finally sleeping, who wants another 7 months of screechy hell?) Do tell ...

CG -- don't be too impressed. We have four or five live-ish electrical wires hanging out of the walls in the living room and dining room. For two years.

Beck -- that's so well said! Who **is** this baby, and why won't she leave so we can all go to bed?

AD -- I was thinking that too ... it's a tough one. Her other main nickname, Dinkish MacBaby, is also too juvinile, and none too flattering ...

Mad -- I can just picture it. Oh no, no I really can't. Is there singing? And dancing? And God yes, the sleep helps.

Omaha Mama said...

I haven't even read your post yet, but must say...

I've seen pics on your blog. I was not distracted by your chin, so you are not pointy to a fault. ;-)

Em said...

I remember this time so well with our first born... the first six months were chaos and the slowly we came out of the fog and settled into a routine and we had our evenings back and we were all well rested and happy (including baby)... it is a special time... and just wait... when you are down to one nap and your days open up even more (for outings and fun and games...) It just gets better and better!

Oh, The Joys said...

I don't think the trasition is mundane at all. It is extraordinary.

nomotherearth said...

That's funny, we do the Family Hug too. Only it's about squishing each other and screaming and laughing. It amuses all.

Free time in the evening makes a WORLD of differenc.

Omaha Mama said...

Love this list. Nothing makes me feel more like a grown-up than when I describe myself as part of a family and I'm not referring to my parents or siblings. The sleep thing is just returning to our house after one year (minus two days - the big b-day is Wednesday).

Jenifer said...

Mimi, I think what I was trying to say was when you have another one they are never under the microscope they same way number one is...they just fly under the neurotic radar somehow.

We were very fortunate in the sleep department so I have to real experience with that, but I can relate to the back to your life feeling.

Once Rosebud was born, yes the first 2 months or so are hard with a needy baby and toddler on hand. Somehow though, at least for us, we found our groove much faster. I don't know if you just cannot indulge in the complicated dance you can with number one or number two just senses that there is a routine to join into and slips in easily.

I know what you are saying, you are starting to forget how hard it was and think, "we can do this again" and at the same time you are wondering why on earth would we do this know that things are so great.

Once you make the leap it just seems to work itself out. I won't say it is all roses and simple, it is not. It is fun and complicated and sometimes messy, as real life should be. Miss Baby, you and Pynchon are finding your joy of being a family. Adding to it doubles the joy, I promise.

Bloor West Mama said...

They are just so amazing...just you wait, it only gets better.

You post brought back so many memories of when we too were able to have quiet time together in the evening, when she would happily play in her room with her toys and every once in a while come and look for us. How she has to hang out with me in the kitchen and play with her pots and pans.

One thing that we have really worked on is trying to have as many meals together as a family, this usually only happens on the weekends but it has become a priority.

Enjoy.

kittenpie said...

It's so great when they really start to interact, isn't it? Of course, I could do without the fingers up the nose part of that...

gingajoy said...

I smell second child..... (heh)