I find it funny how different two consecutive nights can be.
Around 545 a friend called me. The call started normal with the usual pleasantries, then when I asked her how she was, she says she's freaking out because of tornado warnings in our area!
Well, at that particular moment, Natalie is trying to crawl over me to get my mashed potatoes as we sit on the living room floor watching Ni Hoa Kai-lan. Mike and I scramble to find the TV remote and put on a local channel and then turn off the air conditioner because we can barely hear over Natalie yelling. The next ten minutes or so were rather chaotic in my mind as I struggled to hear the TV and deal with Natalie while also trying to finish eating dinner. Tornadoes scare me, so I was a bit freaked out myself. Tornadoes are not common in ME. In the six years I've lived here, I believe we've had two warnings. I couldn't get Natalie to be quiet, so Mike took her to her room where she continued to cry.
Eventually, we decided to delay Natalie's bath and bed time and go downstairs continuing to watch the news until the tornado warning was over. Natalie cried almost the whole time. I held her in my lap and tried shushing in her ear. It worked some and she sucked her thumb and lay her head against me, but she was cranky and overtired. She'd been up for a lot longer than usual. We had been working to get to 6 to start bedtime and were even considering starting bath early, but the tornado warning made us have to keep her up even longer.
The storm got strong here for about ten minutes, but we didn't have hail like some places. Then it was over just as fast as it had started. We rushed Natalie into the bath, were she was pretty happy. Right when we were getting her out, thunder started up again. We got her off to sleep without incident.
Upon getting up from her nap at 4, Natalie was cranky. She didn't seem to be able to wake up all the way and kept rubbing her eyes. Around 445, I took her outside for about ten minutes. She couldn't walk around because it was all wet, but she was still happy. Then, I had her play in front of the book case where we have all her board books and a bin of toys she uses less often. She was happy there for quite a while, so much so that I delayed giving her her dinner because I didn't want to interrupt her good mood. I gave her some mixed veggie baby food for dinner and a whole bunch of her sweet potato puffs. She ate well and even when she was done eating sat without crabbing as we finished making dinner. I took her back into the living room, and she played happily the whole time we ate dinner. She didn't start to get cranky until about 645, and we started bed time in hopes of catching her before it got too bad. Again, we got her to bed with no problem.
A week ago was Natalie's 8 month birthday and I was a little bummed that she was still struggling on her tummy so much. A week later, she can maneuver on to her bum like a pro. But I think what really shows her growth the most is what she did right at bed time tonight. After getting her changed and putting on her lotion and pjs, Mike often has Natalie "walk" across the bed to me. Tonight, before he could do that, she flipped off her back onto her tummy. She then fussed a little bit, but got up on her knees and tried to crawl to me. She sat down, then tried again. She succeeded in going the few feet between us, and then reach out and put her hand up on the nursing pillow on my lap, and pulled herself up to standing. So, that would be moving to sitting position, pulling up, and crawling all in a week!
While on the subject of the passing of time, now that life with Natalie is pretty routine, I sometimes find myself marveling at the fact that nothing will ever be the same again with her in our lives. When we were so busy and consumed with Natalie when she was first born, I didn't think about this much. I knew it was true, but didn't really think about the magnitude of it. Now that that all consuming phase of her life is over, and I find myself branching out after sort of hibernating for the winter, this thought has occurred to me a few times. In some ways, its a little sad because it is the closing of one part of my life. But, it is a strange thought. I will never be the person I was before. Previously in my life, pretty much everything I experinced was only for a definite period of time. Well, except being married. But, Mike and I have always found it so easy to live together that marriage was not a big change. But everything else ended: Living at my parents, being in high school, being in college, grad school, each school year, being pregnant. However, I will be Natalie's mom forever. For the next four years or so, she will be with me all most all the time. After that, still almost every choice I make for the next 18 years will have her needs as a factor. I now find myself able to step back a little from our daily lives and think a little bit about it. I enjoy day dreaming about what life will be like when Natalie is older, especially when she is a teenager because I particularly enjoy teenagers (hence my choice to teach them). But most of what is to come is a huge mystery to me. Its hard to look into the future and know what it will be like. I know that there are lots of challenges to come (terrible twos, the first time she is really sick, etc), but there are many joys, too (holidays, milestones). When I think about our future, even as far ahead as this coming winter, I don't know what to expect as far as how living my life is going to feel. Part of this comes from striving to find time for myself and time to enjoy Natalie without all the pressure of sole responsibility. Part of it is wondering about balance. And part of it is also wondering when some things will end, if ever; for example, the horrible jolting feeling I get whenever Natalie cries out in her sleep for a second like she just did now.