I really shouldn’t be writing. I have guests coming over tomorrow for lunch. I have several hours of work to do in my kitchen with prep and cleaning and whatnot, but I just put my Chicken down for a nap and landed here.
On my couch. Next to Millie who won’t stop licking her feet.
She’s got dog OCD, I’m almost positive.
But that’s okay because I love her and the cleanliness of our couch is just a small, but gross, price to pay for keeping her old ass content.
She turned 11 last month, by the way. She’s gray faced, and gentle, and still has eyes that sparkle like they did when she was a puppy.
I think she will live to be 20. She knows how much our family needs her, and she’s not one to leave her loved ones hanging.
Our Chicken is six months old now. He’s nearly 16 pounds and just over two feet tall. He’s measuring on the full-term baby scale rather than the averages of his preemie-ness. He measures in the 30th percentile for his weight and 20th percentile for his height. There was once a time he didn’t measure on the scale of “normal” babies at all, so this feels Incredible Hulkish.
He started solid food this morning. That was fun. I mean, really fun. Around the four month mark, I started reading books and articles indicating how parents often get super excited about starting their babies on solid food, but recommending babies wait until around the six month mark before starting. I didn’t get it. I wasn’t excited about it. I was content nursing, and figured prolonging solids meant prolonging his babyhood for as long as possible. But about three weeks before he turned six months, I got the itch.
I guess it came from his newfound interest in the world around him, or something. I’d been able to watch him make choices. Blue rattle or crinkly butterfly? Belly sleep or back sleep? Pet Millie or squeal at her? He’d suddenly become incredibly distracted. He’d be nursing and hear a car horn outside of our apartment and nearly give me nipple-lash craning his head to figure out where the noise was coming from. He began to show a preference for playing on the carpet versus a blanket (better for gaining scooting traction, I guess), and can now also determine which lullabies are sung for bed and which ones are sung for fun.
So in watching him slowly turn into a person versus a helpless, clueless newborn, I decided there was nothing more in life I looked forward to than watching him taste his first bite of non-mom food.
It’s kind of silly, but mostly awesome. I combed over my baby food book (which I’ve really enjoyed, by the way) and debated the all-important first food. Avocados, or pears, or bananas, oh my?
In the end, we opted for avocados blended with a couple teaspoons of top shelf breastmilk.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning ready to get the day started. The sooner Henry woke, the sooner he’d nap, and the sooner I’d be feeding him brunch a la avocado.
Dude slept until nearly 8:00 today.
Usually I’d have woken him to keep him on his loose, but existent schedule, but he had shots yesterday and was battling a low grade fever, so I let Sleeping Beauty catch a few extra zzz’s.
I’m selfless, you see.
Once he was up and nursed, I plopped his shirtless body in his highchair ready for action. George manned the “good” camera and I directed the video. I mean, clearly this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should be documented as such?
I get your point.
Henry tasted the first bites of avocado with careful inspection, but after that, turned into a baby bird waiting with mouth agape.
Sad to say, but he comes by that naturally.
He downed his helping with barely a mess.
And, it lived up to the hype. All my careful consideration made me feel good about what I was putting into his body. I like to pretend this means he’s going to ask for avocado slices on his sandwiches when he passes through the kitchen with his friends on his way to practice of some sort. To which I’ll say, “Ummmm, Henry Bruno? Are your hands broken? Get it yourself. I’m blogging.”
I’ve been missing my dad more than usual. No, he’s not dead. He’s very alive and well, but lives a plane ride away. Now that I’m a parent, I’m able to see the actions of my own parents more clearly. I’m able to understand that while Henry is my favorite miniature human alive, I could be watching television. I could be browsing the internet or browsing the shops on Austin Street or talking on the phone to Casey all day. Those are all things I enjoy doing- just not as much as I used to. Rather, I get to help Henry live up to his potential. And let’s be honest, that’s a hair more exciting than watching Real Housewives.
And now that I realize the things that are slowly losing importance in my life, I’m able to remember how involved my father was in my childhood. I don’t recall him doing much that didn’t involve me. He hunted, so I hunted with him. He fished, so I learned to thread worms on his hooks. He (and my mother) spent nearly every night of my youth trapped like rats in a viewing room of my gymnastics academy watching me fight tooth and nail to learn a glide kip, and when five nights of gymnastics a week didn’t prove to help me reach my goal, my dad built a makeshift set of bars outside of our house so I could practice there. My dad spotted me for countless backhandsprings and ariel cartwheels, and more incredibly, managed not to give up on me when I couldn’t master the coordination to play basketball any better than an overexcited ostrich.
His summer days were spent playing catcher when I decided my goal was to be the pitcher on my softball team. It must have been 147 degrees outside, but still, I pitched (sort of), and he shagged balls. I would imagine he burned more calories in one summer chasing the balls I was pitching “to” him than I have in my entire thirties.
But I get it now. And I appreciate it more now. And having my own child has helped bring about memories I’ve not thought of in decades probably.
As I tapped my fingers on my kitchen table at 6:30 this morning, sipping flat Pepsi and praying it’s lack of carbonation wouldn’t suffocate it’s caffeine kick, I thought of my parents. I thought of the hours of sleep they went without and the times I used their bodies as jungle gyms or asked them to do things that made them tired/hot/sore/uncomfortable/bored. I had no idea the things I wanted to do weren’t precisely the things my parents were dyyyying to do too. And I hope Henry doesn’t know it either. At least not until the day he’s awake at 6:30 anxiously awaiting the “excitement” of watching his own child experience their first food.
I hope it’s avocados.
And I hope he calls to tell me about it afterwards.