Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Sam's birth suddenly transformed our lives. We were prepared for a baby, but not for a baby like Sam. But over time, we adjusted to a new "normal" and all is well. But from the get go, that little guy has been completely in charge of himself, and he proves that to us daily.
December was a month of many firsts, big firsts, for Sam.
On the 1st, Sam suddenly had a tooth. When I say suddenly, I mean SUDDENLY. On Friday, November 30th Sam did not have a tooth or even a sign of a tooth in his pink little mouth. But Saturday morning, on the 1st, his first tooth emerged in a sudden burst of raw-red-pain! At eight months old, and having sisters who started teething as early as 4 months, I was checking his mouth nearly daily for any sign of a tooth. At 8 months and 1 day old, he popped one out for us to see. Then on the 14th, he gained another tooth. This one came in a little less abruptly. He's quickly learning how to use his teeth too....watch out, he bites!
Sam, as I've mentioned before, is developing nicely and is considered "low normal." One minor concern that his teacher and I had discussed were the sounds that he was making. He was very vocal day in and day out, making moaning and groaning sounds with vocal fluctuations. However, we had yet to hear any vowel or consonant sounds. I asked his teacher about this sometime in November, and without seeming overly concerned, just said she's waiting to hear vowels and changing vowel sounds - like "aaah oooh". I started talking to him like an alien and really enunciated different vowel sounds to him, contorting my lips in extremely awkward ways so that he could see my mouth making the different sounds. Did it work? No, not really. He just looked at me like I was an alien. However, on the 5th of December, Sam suddenly decided he knew how to talk! In that one day, we heard all of these sounds: mama, dada, blah blah and lala. Now he sits around chattering like a little chipmunk, acting like it's no big deal to talk! I try to coax more "mama's" out of him as he mostly says "dada"....and whenever I do this, he chuckles at me, shakes his head and loudly says "dadadada".
My girls all sat up at about the 6 month mark. When 6 months, and then 7 months came and went, I tried so hard not to get discouraged and I had to remind myself that he WILL sit up when he's ready to do it. But that didn't stop me from spending a lot of time working with him. My goal was for him to be sitting up by Christmas, so that he could open his gifts. We worked, and we worked, and we worked....all with no success. I would set him on the floor between my outspread legs and he'd buck his little tush forward and fall back on me every time. I'd try other ways of getting him to sit, but he'd stiffen his body head to toe like a steel rod and stand instead. I tried plopping him on the floor with a boppy pillow behind him and walk away, and I'd find him ten seconds later face first on the floor or bent backwards over the pillow. I was getting extremely discouraged. With Christmas less than two weeks away, I had almost resolved to push my goal back a little. Then, on Wednesday the 12th of December, I plopped him in the middle of the living room floor with the boppy behind him, and I walked away. I waited for the telltale "whomp" as his face smacked the floor, but it never came. After a minute, I peeked into the living room to find him sitting there, playing with a toy. I stood watching for several minutes, as my little man suddenly knew how to sit, like it was the most natural thing in the world for him. It was like he suddenly decided that sitting was no big deal and was his new favorite thing to do.
Sam has the appetite of a horse. He has for several months now. I had to start cereal at 3 1/2 months, and fruit and veggies at four months to keep him satisfied. He liked everything except for peas, but can you really blame him? At about 7 months, I started trying some "real people food" with him. He tried spaghetti, tator tot hotdish, mashed potatoes, real banana, and stuff like that. He would take the first two bites enthusiastically and then he'd pucker his lips shut and stick the tip of his tongue out like a little pink stop sign indicating NO more. I'd keep trying and trying, but to no avail. OT suggested trying a bite of "people food" followed by a bite of baby food, perhaps he was overwhelmed with the flavorful foods we were eating and just needed a break, a bite of bland food, in between. That didn't work either. Until Christmas Eve morning....suddenly, Sam loved people food. In fact, he ate more of my biscuits and gravy than I did for breakfast, and at lunch he chomped down a half of a grilled cheese sandwich, and for dinner he tried and loved Aunt Vicki's meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy. He suddenly ate everything in sight and hasn't stopped yet! Lefse, chili, pizza, beef stew, hashbrowns, toast, broccoli and even licorice. Yes, I fed my baby licorice. And you know what? He LOVED it!!
It's New Years Day today, it's suddenly 2013. I remember New Year's Eve last year, with friends, smooching on Kevin at midnight and getting teary eyed (remember I was pregnant at this time) thinking how tough 2011 had been and hoping for a better 2012. Now, I can't remember what was so tough about 2011, but I found myself last night hoping for a better 2013 too. 2012 was an incredible year for me, for all of us. My heart grew in ways I didn't know possible and my life has been changed in so many ways because of Sam. Sam is nine months old, meaning I have only three months to plan his first birthday extravaganza, and three months to come to terms with all the emotions I felt in 2012. I'm not saying that I have to change what I felt, because I can't do that. But I need to forgive myself for beating myself up over what I felt when Sam was born. His birthdate was the most difficult day of my life, and I cry now as I type those words. Through everything I've learned and gained with his presence in my life, I still can't go back and change what I felt when I first looked in his eyes. I can, however, forgive myself for thinking poorly of myself for what I felt. It seems we all come up with different resolutions as we move into each new year, and I think my biggest goal this year is going to be forgiveness for myself. I know that time isn't slowing down any time soon, and before I know it, Sam will suddenly be a toddler and then a teenager, and my other children will be grown and gone, and I surely don't want to waste a single moment more feeling down about what our lives are like now. Every day is a gift, and can't be taken for granted,....because tomorrow, things might suddenly be different.