Natalie making friends: On Friday, we missed story time, but our neighbors were still there when we got to the library. I sat Natalie down and our neighbor baby was on her tummy on the floor. While, NB (neighbor baby) was all smiles for both me and Natalie, but Natalie was grunting. I figured out that she wanted to be walked over to NB. But, she wanted to touch her. I think she was a little confused by her. She's seen dolls and I'm not sure if she totally understood that NB was different from a doll. I was worried about her touching NB because when Natalie touches me, she scratches and rakes her fingers and pulls at my lips. She also has little regard for the sensitivity of eyes. So, I was afraid she'd hurt NB. I felt kind of bad that NB was so friendly, but Natalie was not so much. No smiles for the neighbors at all. I think this is because NB has at least two older cousins and sees many other children when she is being baby sat. Meanwhile, NB and the other kids at story time are the only children Natalie has seen up close. This whole thing made me realize that I have to teach Natalie how to behave around other children. It never really occurred to me that I would have to do it so soon because I didn't think we would be around many other children until she was old enough to understand more of what I say.
Mommy's physical space: Sometimes my body just wants to be left alone, to just have no one want anything from it, or even better yet, have someone give something back to it spontaneously. I think this is part of being a mom of children less than 10. Natalie isn't too clingy, but we spend a lot of time in contact. I carry her places, including the walking distance of short errands. I cradle her when she is sleepy or when she cries after overbalancing and hitting her head. I hold her when she pushes away from Mike and puts her arms out for me. I walk her around the house with my back bent over at a horrible angle. I tickle her, which includes getting kicked in the throat and my hair pulled as she tries to ward of my attack. And of course, there is feeding her, when she is not only connected to my body in an intimate way, but she also slaps my chest and face (lightly, like clapping), pinches me exploring her new pincher grasp, rakes her fingers on my underarms, and investigates my teeth and lips. And then there is the hugs and army of kisses throughout the day. Of course, some of these jobs are more pleasurable than others, and others more so at some times than others. Mothering is obviously a very physical job, even before we added a child who is able to run away. So, we have all that, then add three cats. Hazel is always meowing to be pet by the food or chasing me into the bathroom to be pet while I pee. Snickies pesters me some mornings wanting to lick my face and the only escape to it practically suffocate under the blankets, or she wants me to gather up toy mice and throw them down the stairs for her to chase. Then Ellie, who loves human attention, tries to sit on my lap while I'm on the floor or on my book when I'm reading or next to Natalie on the nursing pillow. Its usually Ellie who gets snapped at because I need my space, which I hate because she loves being pet so much. (It doesn't help that it always seems like her claws are razor sharp). And then, of course, there is Mike, who like any husband, also has his physical needs (which are totally not matched by mine in that way since having the baby, see more below). It just sometimes leaves me feeling like I'm always giving physically without getting back much in return. Even after Natalie goes to bed, I often just want some time to myself, rather than asking something of Mike. But to get something spontaneous from him (no strings attached) would be welcome, too. The way our lives are now with Natalie, we often don't even hug or kiss (aside from his quick goodbye kiss in the morning), until after we finish putting Natalie to bed.
Baby kisses: This just got me thinking about something I read in Parenting magazine. It said that mom's kissing their babies helps them to bond and affects the bonding hormones in their bodies. I kiss Natalie about a million times a day (double that if the kisses on her tummy to tickle her count!). Maybe its those chubby cheeks, but I think its more than that. I can't wait for her to kiss me back. Every few days, I say, "Mommy kiss Natalie" and give her a kiss. Then I saw, "Natalie kiss Mommy," to see if she does anything, but she hasn't yet. I do think she is tapping me with the top of her head sometimes though. Other than her perfectly irresistible cheeks, I love kissing Natalie on her palms, soles of her feet, and the top of her head. What I love about kissing her head / hair, is that when she is tired or upset, she snuggles into me when I hold her, and I can rest my lips and nose on her head. I love smelling her hair. She doesn't have a distinct smell that I could describe. She just smells like Natalie. Sometimes, holding Natalie against me feels so good and right and can be the best part of the day. (What sucks is that these moments are often about 30 seconds before I lay her in the crib to take a nap, and when I put her down she starts crying. She likes me holding her too, but we can't start a bad habit of me holding her while she's sleeping at this age). Anyway, the article I read said that these bonding hormones get in the way of our sexual hormones. Since we're bonding with baby, or bodies say that we aren't ready for another one yet, thus lack of libido.
Quiet morning: I've been working on writing this entry over a couple days now. But I've just managed to get almost an hour of time to myself in the house this morning. Mike's still asleep, which isn't shocking since he loves sleeping in whenever possible. What is surprising is that Natalie is still sleep at 735. I've checked on her, but I still worry a bit when she sleeps longer than I anticipate. Mike's mom is here, too. She stayed the night to baby sit so we could go out to a movie! (more on that later). Having this time to myself on a nice sunny morning was kind of like old times, when my time, body, and desires were mostly my own. It feels like I could grab a book and curl up on the couch next to Ellie and take a nap. That sounds amazing right now. But, I think I've heard Natalie starting to stir. I've enjoyed my breakfast and writing, but feel tired, and part of me wishes I'd just stayed in bed. But, would I have really slept? Sigh.
That baby decoding machine from the Simpsons: Natalie had a rough day today and it was one of those times when I wished we had one of the machines from that episode of the Simpsons when they understand what Maggie is thinking. She slept in this morning, then we wound up missing cereal and delaying nursing because of the late sleep and shopping. She had some crankiness in the morning because she wasn't getting her way, and then she was tired. She fell asleep on the way to shopping, but when she woke up, she was okay. I hung out with her for the early afternoon and things went pretty well. She ate lunch and we called my parents on Skye and talk for a while. She took a really long nap without any fussing. When she got up from the nap though, Mike was going to watch her downstairs and watch the Celtics. It went really well for about twenty minutes, then she just lost it. Almost the whole rest of the day was bad for her. We found out at bed time that she had a huge poop, but we don't think it was that because we both did a sniff check and we should have noticed it. We wish she could tell us what was wrong. We think it might have been any one of the following or a combination there of: She wanted me, not Mike; her stomach was upset from her feeding schedule being off all day; she dislikes the downstairs room; she's getting new teeth; she hates Sundays.
Highchair war: Natalie continues to drive me insaine about slouching in her high chair. Yesterday, I actually made her cry because I looked her sternly in the face and said No! I don't think she understands what she is doing wrong. I just wish I knew why she does it. She doesn't look happy or comfortable doing it. And, its not like she's always done it. She is capable of sitting up. Its not bad posture that bothers me, but rather how her neck gets all squashed, with her chin pressed against her chest. I know that isn't a healthy way to sit for eating. She arches her back, which in small babies I know is a sign of pain, but she doesn't cry or refuse the spoon. In fact, she always opens her mouth when the spoon is coming. Other than when she is fussy when I've given her everything she could possibly want, this is the one thing that she does that drives me bonkers, that actually makes me angry. I mean, she makes this horrible choking coughing noise that I hate, but that's because I'm worried she's like actually choking. So, I continue to lose the battles of the high chair. I try to hold her up. I even tried telling her I wouldn't feed her if she slouched and cut the session early, but it doesn't mean anything to her.
"You can keep your fucking nuts": So, even though Mike isn't really a Mr. Do It Yourself, he got help from his brother changing his brake pads. Yes, his brother is still in Texas. This required several phone calls and a Skype call. But, it wasn't the brake pads that gave him trouble. It was the lug nuts. Way back when Mike was on vacation he meant to do this job, but he ran out of time. Then he planned to do it one weekend day, but he found out that he didn't have the key for his locking lug nuts. So, he had to delay everything and go down to his dealership to have them put on new locking lug nuts so he could have a key for them. Well, yesterday after vacuuming and mowing the lawn, Mike starts out to do the breaks. The first wheel went a little slow, but he whipped right through the second one. Then, when he switches sides of the car, the key took breaks. Because he has to push on it so hard to get the nuts off, he striped the took. He was so pissed. He stayed out there anyway throwing his whole body into trying to get these stupid things off. Today, he is wrecked. All his muscels are sore and he's got scrapes and a huge blood blister on one pointer finger. Despite all this effort, he couldn't get the nuts off. So, he made an appointment for VIP to take them off today. That all went smoothly, though he was worried it wouldn't since they aren't a dealership, and when we got home from shopping, he got through with the job rather quickly. But as we were coming home from shopping, on the way to pick up his car, Mike said to me that when he gets a new car, if they try to offer him locking lug nuts he's going to say, "You can keep your fucking nuts."
Going to the movies! : Mike and I used to go to the movies almost every week. Now with a baby, especially one who doesn't have a baby sitter and who needs Mommy to nurse her as part of bed time, we've been to the movies about five times in 7 1/2 months! I guess the good thing is that it saves us a fair amount of money. But the bad thing is that we have to make choices like do we see Iron Man 2 or the Nightmare on Elm St. remake? We know that we will only get to see one of them in the theater. Mike let me choose because I get to get out of the house more often. I wanted to see Nightmare on Elm St. even though I had a feeling it wouldn't live up to its predecessor, but at least we knew what to expect. I thought I'd be less let down with this moving being not so great than Iron Man 2. But, I'd decided to see Iron Man 2 because I was pretty sure that was what Mike wanted and the times worked better. But, then Natalie refused to take a nap, so we got her down early, and due to the lug nuts, he was exhausted, so we went to the earlier movie. I was a little let down by Nightmare on Elm St. I felt that the movie was always on the edge of being scary, but then didn't take it there. I also felt like the beginning was rushed, especially that we saw Freddy's face way too soon. I also felt like even though it still had the mystery of who Freddy was and what he had done, the beginning felt like it was comprehensible because I knew the story. I felt like first time viewers would have been confused and felt things disjointed.