She can say “Dada” and “Baba.” “Baba” is Farsi for “Dad.”
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I am not cut out to be a working mom during a global pandemic.
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In October last year, David invested in some high-end wands. They use material that is weighty enough to feel significant but also light enough where you can wield the wand easily if you have reasonable wrist dexterity. The designs etched into the wood are intricate. They were part of our Halloween costume.
We store these wands in some nice cardboard boxes. They are on the shelf next to our daughter’s high chair. Last month her hands were messy with yogurt, and she leaned over and grabbed one of the boxes. She turned the box in her hands, making sure to trace along the edges and leave a strong coat of yogurt on one side.
David was really upset when he saw what happened. I was defensive though, replying, “Why are you mad at me? She did this!” Our daughter watched us have a heated exchange.
“These aren’t toys!” David said finally, and walked away. We hid the boxes.
Anyway, a few years from now our daughter is going to find these boxes and open them. She will see the wands. And she’s going to remember her parents arguing over them, and her father declaring, “These aren’t toys.”
For a little while, she will not tell us that she has found the wands, because she will know she was not supposed to be snooping. She will keep the secret. A few days will pass, then weeks, then months. She’ll watch us closely this entire time. She’ll rationalize that we don’t use magic because our wands are stored in the boxes, so we can’t. She’ll ask about our histories, our parents, where we came from, where they came from. She’ll read books on magic. Picture books, maybe, depending on how old she is when she finds the wands.
Maybe she’ll ask us what we think of wizards. David will say, “Wizards are great!” But I’ll look off in the distance, wistfully.
When she’s a pre-teen, we will all have some sort of argument. She’ll yell, “YOU ALWAYS LIE TO ME!” and we’ll say, “What? How could you say that?”
She’ll continue, “I KNOW YOUR SECRET!”
And we’ll look at each other, because maybe by then we actually have a secret, like tax fraud or something.
And then we’ll wait to hear it, because we’re not dummies. We wouldn’t volunteer a secret to a pre-teen.
And then, she will look us in the eye, and she will say,
“I know you are wizards.”
And we’ll gasp, “Are we wizards?!” We’ll each point to each other and mouth a whisper, “Are you a wizard?”
Then I’ll tell her to sit down. It’s time for a family meeting.
We’ll tell her everything.
We will explain that 827 years ago, has it been 827 years already?!, there was a war between wizards and humans. We sided with the humans. Humans lost. Why would humans think they could win against wizards? Hubris. Anyway as punishment our powers were revoked and we have to live among humans. She’ll ask if we’re immortal. We’ll say yes. She’ll ask if she’s immortal. We’ll say no. She’ll ask about the wands. “Relics,” we’ll explain. “Couldn’t cast a spell even if we wanted to.”
Then we’ll lean back, and let her process everything she just heard. “No more secrets,” we’ll say to her, “now you know everything.”
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I have missed most of the milestones. They happen, I get so excited, I promise to make a formal note of them and write about them here. Then time passes, she grows older, new milestones pop up, and I forget what happened when. This is bad! I am a bad mom!
But today we have a milestone! And I’m here!
Here is the milestone:
I heard her say “ma ma.” For about a week she has been saying, “Da da da da da da da,” and I don’t think it’s in reference to David. And I call David “Baba” and myself “Mummy,” so she is not responding to any sort of training. These are noises she has decided to make on her own. When I asked her to repeat “Ma ma,” she smiled coyly and pursed her lips. She is not interested in impressing me, which I love.
Other milestones that have happened that I did not document:
Four to five months – Sitting
Six months – Crawling
Three weeks ago? – Teeth
Between six and eight months – Pulling self up
Nine months – Standing
The pediatrician at her nine month appointment asked us if she is waving good bye to people, and we were like “PEOPLE?! There are no people! No one leaves! Covid!” So I don’t think it’s fair she has not met this milestone. It is not her fault.
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It’s been one year since implantation day. I’m so glad it worked.
I realized recently that I don’t know how to say “I’m proud of you,” in my native tongue. This is because my dad doesn’t say it (not going to read too much into that), and my mom only says it in English. But my mom says it too much. I am not an accomplished person. I don’t even make great decisions. For example, only two minutes ago, I had to choose between getting on the Peloton and doing a 15 minute bicycle ride or eating some cake. And as I sit here in my moment of free time, eating this delicious marble cake my mom made, because I cannot bake, I don’t even regret the choice I made. Every bite I think, “Yes, yes, this was the right choice.” I’m literally sitting right next to Peloton, eating marble cake.
Anyway, my mom is always telling me she’s proud of me. The bar for being proud of me seems very low, I used to think.
But now that I have a daughter, I get it. I’m constantly beaming with pride: when she burps, when she pees BEFORE I finish closing up the diaper, when she projectile poops, when she laughs – oh my when she looks happy, when she gets upset and then is quickly less upset because the issue is resolved, when she’s interested in things, even more so when she’s interested in people. When she yells out, either because shes’s trying to communicate something or because she just realized she can yell. When she tries to sit up. When she’s irritated we have taken her to a store and are shopping, and she doesn’t say anything but glares angrily the entire time. I get it.
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We received a delightful Christmas card this year. It included the following sentence:
We have enjoyed reading some of your blog!
I perceived this sentence as I suspect they intended it: a compliment AND a challenge. Challenge accepted. Mark my words. This time next year the card will read, “We have enjoyed reading your blog!” Maybe. Or they might just omit mention of the blog entirely. I’ll get that message loud and clear too.
Anyway! Quite a bit happened after my last post. My mom went to the hospital, and so David was watching our perfect *knock on wood* baby for a week while I was in and out. I cried in the shower twice while this was going on. I did this because when the baby was four days old, I received unsolicited advice about not conveying weakness or insecurity to the baby. I wouldn’t have cried in front of her anyway. But tears or no tears, I think kids can tell when something is wrong. Down the road I think if something is wrong I might mention it and then explain we are working through it by researching/googling and then trying different things, no matter what it is. “Mom’s googling again,” they’ll say.
My mom’s better now *knock on wood* so we can look back on that time and be grateful for more time. When I’m done breastfeeding I plan to become a regular blood donor.
We also went to New York, twice. Once for a week in November, and then again for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t ready for travel, but David’s good at pushing us to resume normal activities as much as possible. People told us that the baby gets easier as time goes on, and I’m happy to report they’re right. She started sleeping through the night relatively early, like Week 7/8 I think, and the pattern seems to have stuck. *Knock on wood.”
Some milestones that have happened since my last post:
1) Improved tummy time.
2) Enjoys diaper changes.
3) LAUGHS OUT LOUD (but not at my jokes). She laughed on December 1, 2019. She was delighted by David’s step-father. I’ve gotten some amazing smiles, but no laughs, and I’m totally fine with that. I’ve gotten some amazing glares, and I love those too. Sometimes when I laugh during feeding, she will pull back and look up me with the most irritated face. “Compose yourself, that’s not lady-like,” her eyes and furrowed brow seem to say.
4) Likes music. On November 24 she heard some cover songs performed live and loved them or the musician. Probably both. Also we’re learning new songs! I was showing my dad the new songs we were learning, and he pointed out that it looked more like _I_ was learning new songs, and he said that was good for me.
5) Likes our dog, which happens to be a robot, but she’s into him. The first time they played she was so distracted she forgot to yell angrily that I had made her do tummy time for 20 minutes! This was a real misstep on her part though – now I know her grievance with tummy time is not physical *knock on wood*.
Also she has been exposed to more news and hearing coverage than she probably expected. Our current faves are Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Swalwell, and Jamie Raskin. I also read Catch and Kill, so I love Rachel Maddow even more and plan to continue our New Yorker subscription.
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Something that’s important to know* about David and me is that David sleeps on the left side of the bed and I sleep on the right side of the bed.
Here’s a diagram.
When David goes to sleep, he faces away from me, sleeping on his right side. Hurts my feelings every time. Anyway, that’s just how he sleeps, EXCEPT WHEN HE IS SICK. When David is sick, he sleeps on his left side, FACING ME, coughing into my face all night long.
It is infuriating. And our baby sleeps on my side of the bed. So now I have to kill David.
*Not important at all
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We started using the pacifier. I think we started using it Thursday of last week. David used it when he couldn’t calm her down one night. To my delight she spit it out, but then he put it back in, she accepted, and now we use it liberally.
She’s in a new stage where she is deeply unhappy if she is not being held. I can get behind this stage and love every minute of it, but it’s also quite limiting if you want to go to the bathroom, eat, or look at pictures of her on your phone. I was also worried (general state of affairs) because I read somewhere that babies sleep 16 hours a day, and that is NOT what she was doing. Also sleeping on people can’t be comfortable, can it? Anyway, I know why she prefers it. She hates sleeping (and farting and pooping) on her back, and they tell you to exclusively have kids sleep on their backs, and it has created general chaos and probably a whole generation of deeply traumatized kids. People cite vaccines for the rise in autism, but what if it’s actually this whole nightmare of putting kids on their backs and waking them up every few hours, which is behavior similar to how we torture terror suspects? Hmmm?
We also went to a farm on Saturday! It was such fun! She slept through the whole thing, but we felt pretty accomplished. Going to a farm entails:
1) Changing her diaper
2) Picking out an outfit appropriate for the weather
3) Feeding her at a time that would optimize the trip
4) Changing her diaper
5) Putting her in the car seat, putting on a hat* and grabbing a blanket
6) Getting the stroller and the baby carrier
7) Driving for 30 minutes
8) Deciding whether to use the stroller or carrier (we chose carrier)
9) Feeling deep shame that we did not have a hat to protect her face from the sun and because of this also noting we cannot send any farm photos to the grandparents
9) Walking around a farm and taking a hay ride (20 minutes total) while avoiding any toddlers, tall grass that could have ticks, or anyone who might have a cold
10) Taking lots of pictures
11) Eating and feeding her if she’s hungry
12) Driving home for 30 minutes
Our friends recommended a course called Taking Cara Babies which provides tips for helping babies sleep. This course so far has resulted in 2/3 nights of better sleep! I have watched 4 of the 7 videos. It’s hard to find 30 minute chunks to watch them. One thing she recommends is swaddling, which is essentially putting your kid in a straight jacket. Another thing she recommends is definitely waking up your baby during the day to feed. I need to do that soon. Ugh, I do not care to wake her. Also hate the jacket, but it appears to work.
Also David has a cold. This is inconvenient. I love him, and I am also mad at him for getting this cold. I hope she does not get this cold. I hope I do not get this cold. I think every week we have something new to figure out:
Week 1: Breastfeeding and clothing
Week 2: Breastfeeding still
Week 3: Burping
Week 4: Feeding myself
Week 5: Sleeping and career decisions such as how much of my sense of self-worth is tied up in my career income (all of it) and what can we do for affordable and good insurance. And now, possibly, a cold.
Oop she’s awake!