This whole maternal journey took off without a running start, flying through the motions and realizing just how hard every second is. You just jump right into it and never know what's going to happen in the next millisecond, and it's not that exhilarating sense of mysterious adventure kind of feeling. I am bound to this little body that is so full of life and 100% responsible for figuring everything out, and fast! It sends you right into overdrive. Sometimes, the epidemic moment passes without ever knowing the cause, but somehow, you make it out alive. The battles in the beginning were such a debacle that I wondered how I'd ever raise him to be a somewhat "normal" human being. My sister assured me every inch of the way that it keeps getting better and easier! All I could think was -- LIAR! The rest of the world keeps engraving into my brain, with the involuntary comments, how it never ever gets easier and just gets harder. In some sense, both are true. But right now, only thinking about the right now, I feel it getting easier!
Graham fooled us into thinking he was about to crawl right at 6 months with his heavy rocking and ambitious bellyflop leaps forward. Time disappeared as if weeks were seconds, thinking "tomorrow is going to be the day, he is going to crawl! I know it!!" It took over a month for him to actually move his knees and he instantly seemed like a different baby. It was his (infant) life goal and he finally achieved it. Sitting in his exersaucer and jumper for extended periods of time were never his thing and me getting anything done was a battle. Hearing how much every other baby loved these toys left me questioning what I was doing so wrong. Was I coddling him? I was sure I wasn't! Before he hit this major milestone, even when he could first sit up on his own, I felt like he always wanted to be held. Some days, it was a pure gift of joy being able to fill his simple need to be held close in my arms. Somedays I did it while kicking back and just soaking up every second of the simplicity of what it took to make him happy while other days I struggled, stubbornly determined to clean the entire house with one hand. Now, those days are more like minutes here and there. Each day lately feels easier and easier, on my back, mentally and emotionally.
Watching Graham venture off into other areas of the house is a pleasure that I craved and he is giving back to me now. He started off going barely two feet away from me before coming back to home base. Now I find myself in shock watching as he leaves me behind. Still, I am always rewarded with a reassuring head turn back to acknowledge he hasn't forgotten me, followed with his huge, infectious, two-toothed smile. He is exploring and figuring out so much on his own and I "sit" back and watch.
Today alone, I found myself saying aloud, "wow, he is soooooo happy today." For the past few weeks, I've been feeling that way more and more every day. Graham showed his true colors from dawn til dusk -- goofing around, snorting and squealing while laughing and clapping (he just started clapping yesterday!!), jumping up and down, "singing," and playing. I watched in awe. Was it the lasagna I fed him? Or is it just the long sought after sense of accomplishment he needed for himself? In hindsight, I think he was frustrated, wanting to do so much, but getting no where (literally). Overambitious just like his mama! His smiles keep getting bigger and bigger. I don't know how it's possible, but it seems so accurate every time I start to write the words. He started out with the corners of his mouth turned upwards, then his whole face smiled, and now it seems as if his whole body goes into his smiling. My baby boy is becoming who he is and it's exciting for me to see unfold faster than I ever imagined.
DM's mom came for weekend this afternoon, and now is when I feel like this is really all so easy! That extra set of hands makes everything feel like a breeze! Graham and I are both getting spoiled this weekend!! And don't get me wrong, there are still challenges every single day, like how much I hate getting him dressed and finishing his bath lately. The last moments of his bath to the time the bottle gets into his mouth is pure torture for him. For the past few nights, when I'm nearing the finish line in the bathtub, he goes from completely relaxed to completely losing it. Putting his head through his shirt and arms through the sleeves -- forget it. But those little insignificant things are just this new phase. But with all the good still at the front of my mind, being the realist I am wondering -- how long until the next phase?? I love this one so much. So exciting and so simple.