April 13, 2006

JB and I trade off on whose turn it is to take care of Riley when he first wakes up in the morning. This has been an outstanding compromise and has prevented an untold amount of resentment from building up over who is the better actor when it comes to faking a deep and impenetrable slumber (“Hey. Hey. I think the baby’s crying.” “Shit. I mean, uh, SNZZZZZZZZ.”).

Yesterday was my turn, and Riley woke up at 3:30 AM, working rapidly from a blurred whine into a full-fledged angry howl while I staggered out of bed and groped my way to the kitchen, stubbing my toe on his exersaucer in the dark (“Cow! Vaca! MOO!”). I went to bed last night smugly secure in the knowledge that *I* wouldn’t be the one getting up just when REM mode kicked in, and the boy slept without a peep until 7:15, when he began happily babbling to himself and playing while JB took a shower, got dressed, and leisurely got a bottle ready.

Hello? Did I not carry that child for almost a full year inside my own body? A little favoritism in my direction, is that too much to ask?

Other than the occasional wee-hour wakening, which truthfully is never that bad because he pretty much hoovers a bottle and falls right back to sleep, Riley has been spectacular lately. I feel the need to give press time to this fact, because I’ve certainly griped enough about his less-than-desirable stages, such as the tooth that we worried might in fact grow to become a giant razor-edged tusk protruding from his left eye socket, given all the discomfort it seemed to cause him, and The Week O’ Aqueous Feces, which coincidentally was the same week we found out what a diaper “blowout” actually entails (a powerful washing machine, for one).

Riley is so curious about everything these days, and so pleased by so much. He trails his hands through my hair and marvels at the sensation, he ecstatically bashes a plastic measuring cup against his highchair tray and crows over the noise it makes, he squinches his face and laughs with delight when we gobble his belly. He makes a ridiculous old-man-sucking-a-lemon face as he runs his tongue over and over his new bottom teeth, he literally shakes from head to toe with excitement over the dog catching a Frisbee. He smiles so easily and so often, it makes my heart strain its confines, it makes me feel like a bright and shining beacon.

Whenever I’m out in public without Riley, I want to grab everyone who passes me by and tell them that they’re not seeing all of me, that the whole of my parts just isn’t visible at the moment. Hi, perfect stranger, I just wanted you to know that I have a little boy at home who is a sparkling Christmas snowfall, a firefly-studded August evening, and a million birthday candle wishes all bundled inside a rather spiffy pair of feety pajamas. Yes, pleased to meet you too.

We seem to be at a new level of understanding Riley’s needs because the drudgery is at an all-time low; there is very little crying on his part, or frustrated temple-rubbing on our parts. These are such good times, such a makes-everything-worthwhile streak, I can hardly believe it’s me living this charmed life.

Click! Flash. File: Save As. Stay, stay this moment. What a wistful joy it is to look forward to everything that’s next, while everything that happened today fades away.

I never imagined that parenthood could be as hard as it occasionally is, but I also didn’t anticipate how much humor one tiny person could bring into our lives. In the last few weeks he’s started expanding his belly to insane proportions while we’re diapering him, just like a horse inflating in order to shake the strapped-on saddle afterwards. It is the silliest thing to see, his brows flatted in concentration, his tiny stomach puffed into a taut round beachball. Oh, he banishes every imaginable bad mood, that kid.

Riley makes me laugh so much, and while it is often at his expense (“Haaaaaaa, you have a washcloth/diaper/perfectly balanced apple on your head!”) I like to think he enjoys our laughter as much as we enjoy his.


While I wish I could cheer you on your way with a festive display of My Son’s Gert Big Belleh, I do have a link that is definitely share-worthy: WHEE!

If that doesn’t about make you soak your gauchos, I don’t know what will.



Cheeky monkey.


28 Responses to “The sunny side of life”

  1. Pete on April 13th, 2006 4:22 pm

    This is usually the point where the parents start talking about having another baby. You have pretty much summed up the joy of children.

  2. Amy on April 13th, 2006 4:27 pm

    And to think you used to get so much enjoyment out of Dog and Cat. Thanks for sharing. That was beautiful!

  3. Shannon on April 13th, 2006 4:43 pm

    I do believe Pete has nailed it on the head and answered my question about why folks always seem to have another baby about 2 years after the first one! Well described, Sundry.

  4. Kirsten on April 13th, 2006 4:54 pm

    Yeah, so when are you going to write that book? Because seriously, you could just print out a bunch of journal entries…bind em together…and they’d sell like hotcakes. You are a fabulous writer – I don’t think anyone could better express your love of parenthood…or your frustration of parenthood. You come up with descriptions that make all us readers go “YES! That’s exactly IT!”.
    We all need a dose of Sundry to get through our week :)

  5. sundry on April 13th, 2006 4:54 pm

    Hold up now, no one’s talking a SECOND one just yet. I mean, I’m in the middle of a remodel, people. One of them would get trapped in the drywall or something.

  6. sundry on April 13th, 2006 4:55 pm

    (Also thanks so much for the nice words. Dammit, I should have said that first.)

  7. Meg on April 13th, 2006 5:32 pm

    Hee! Sundry, your comment just made me laugh (about “should have said that first.”)! That’s the kind of thing I do all the time.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think it’s awesome you took the time to write this. I’ve noticed for myself, too, that it’s so much easier to talk about hard times, and then enjoy good times without writing about them. But hell, those are so worth remembering, that it’s wonderful to take the time to write! And thanks for highlighting the good parts of babydom. I definitely want a family someday, and sometimes it is truly terrifying, but entries like these makes it make sense of how so many people go down the parenting path (and lets me feel like I can handle it, too, if those nice moments are mixed in there!). As someone who doesn’t have kids yet, it’s wonderful to think of how amazing the whole process must be and I’m glad to read about your experience. So, thanks for writing!

  8. Jem on April 13th, 2006 6:40 pm

    Awwwwwwww. This day has been glowing all morning and it just got even better with that entry…thankyou!

  9. Haley on April 13th, 2006 6:48 pm

    What a sweet boy. Hearing stories like that makes me wish for a truckload of Riley’s! You are a fantastic writer, can’t wait to hear more.

  10. Lesley on April 13th, 2006 7:24 pm

    Riley’s the bees knees!

  11. clearlydistracted on April 13th, 2006 7:50 pm

    A couple years ago, when my sons were about 2 and about 6 months, whenever I’d be out without them, I felt like running up to people and explaining that I’m not just some lonely soul, not just some regular childless person – that even though I might not look like it, I in fact had the world’s two most incredible little boys at home. I described that feeling to a couple of my friends and I got some kind of vacant smile in return. Your description of the exact same feeling resonates so much, makes me feel validated, and makes me so appreciative of your thoughtful and beautiful writing. I’ve been lurking a long blogroll for years, and yours has made its way to the very top of my list.

    I’ll slink back into lurkerville now.

  12. mandy on April 13th, 2006 8:58 pm

    I SO, TOtally know what you mean. I feel the same about all of mine. They are so, so worth all of the pain.

    I love my girls with all of my being. You have so beautifully described this love. Thank you.

  13. jac on April 13th, 2006 9:36 pm

    Such a gorgeous photo of Riley! Could he look any more like JB?
    (Note: rhetorical. No, no he could not.)

  14. Anna on April 13th, 2006 9:38 pm

    ok, so I read your entries all the time and I see the comments and I never leave one…but hey, this time I had to…..as a couple of days ago I found out I’m pregnant.
    I was scared and surprised and well, I don’t know, was just plain not used to the sight of 2 lines on my mcdonalds stirrer-esque tester. In short, the last 72 hours have involved a whole myriad of feelings and emotions (not to mention the added bonus of a nasty hormone related excema rash) with confusion being a major one of these but let me tell you, after reading something like this it puts everything in perspective and I have to say, you have truly been a great inspiration and fab information source for me. So hey, thanks, from a very newly excited New Zealand mum-to-be. x

  15. Donna on April 13th, 2006 11:41 pm

    Sundry, loved the post as usual. Miss those days with my kids alot.
    Anna, CONGRATS! Start your own blog so we can read yours too……..

  16. Michael on April 14th, 2006 5:23 am

    Just wait until you start feeling both sets of emotions AT THE SAME TIME. Sometimes when our two-year-old son is being mischievous and doing things we want to punish him for, we end up bursting at the seams instead from the precious look on his face or the hilarity of what he’s done. It’s extremely weird to be simultaneously mildly angry and grinning from ear-to-ear or laughing uncontrollably, like some kind of loony person.

    Increasingly I understand the odd looks my parents sometimes gave us later in our childhood (and the emotions they must have felt) as they reflected back on our toddler/infant years. This moment in time goes by too quickly!!

  17. Jessie on April 14th, 2006 5:43 am

    I’m so glad he hasn’t lost those so-totally-pinchable cheeks. What a doll. It’s nice to hear about all the joy he brings to your life, because it reaffirms that being a parent is totally worth it, and makes me a little less scared about possibly starting my own family soon. Thanks.

  18. Jeanette on April 14th, 2006 6:02 am

    You so eolquently put into words exactly how incredible the love for your child is. You make me miss my babies, who are 25 and 27 now. Thanks for sharing and I so look forward to your entries. Riley is a beautiful little boy who is blessed with wonderful parents.

  19. Niki P. on April 14th, 2006 6:25 am

    Again with the damned cuteness!!

  20. SalGal on April 14th, 2006 7:53 am

    Sundry, “File: Save As” is the the PERFECT metaphor for these days and Riley is a super-duper cutie as always. Simply lovely post.

    Anna, Congratulations! Get ready for the wildest ride of your life filled with thrills and chills – and spills! Get ready for overflowing, abundant, joyous love like you have never felt and terrible, terrible fear, anxiety and sleeplessness. Get ready to laugh a lot and cry a lot too. On second thought, nevermind. You can never be ready. It’s a little cheesy but oh so true – a baby changes EVERYTHING.

  21. TB on April 14th, 2006 7:53 am

    Thanks. You always remind me that all the waiting and stress of infertility is going to be so worth it in the end. You have no idea how much that means to me.

  22. ang on April 14th, 2006 8:05 am

    That wonderful feeling of being in a store/mall/Target and realizing the munchkin isn’t with you… yeah it never goes away. UNLESS you realize that the local Chili’s quit asking for your id to order a strawberry daquiri because the little girl sitting next to you is very tall for her age and look 13! So anyone old enough to have a little girl who looks like a 13 year old should be old enough to order a damned daquiri. Sheez! I just want to scream at those people that She’s ONLY 8 so you should ask to see my freaking drivers license already! Aaah, parental love.

  23. fellowmom on April 14th, 2006 8:44 am

    Last entry cracked me up. This one has me all misty eyed. You are not a one trick pony, that’s for sure.

  24. Caitlin on April 14th, 2006 8:49 am

    Lovely, lovely, lovely as always! Oh, and the caption on the Flickr photo of Riley and JB reading? Fucking priceless :)

    It will be so cool for Riley to read these entries when he’s all growed up (so you might as well publish a book in case of, err, a massive internet meltdown bomb thingy from the terrrrists…)

  25. Sonia(DDM) on April 14th, 2006 11:30 am

    Please, please write a book? Please?

  26. Sammy on April 14th, 2006 3:09 pm

    Nothing makes a gorgeous Spring day better then a) fresh dung scented air, b) university kids playing frisbee on the quad and c) a happy blog.
    Thanks! And so glad you’re having a good day/week!

  27. Rae on April 17th, 2006 4:28 pm

    Gauchos soaked. Check.

  28. Vicki on April 18th, 2006 11:55 am

    Yes, yes! Please write a book.

    I also have an 8 month old…and you are perfect at putting your life into words…..or is it my life??
    I totally relate to everything. Love it.