Friday, December 01, 2006

Three Bits of Bloggerel

Jarrah knows her name. It seems astounding to me, for some reason. But one day when I wasn't at home, David somehow got her to answer the question "What's your name?" with a triumphant "Jar-RUH!" She expects (and receives) applause for this response. But she won't give it often. In fact, at least 50 percent of the time she gives a vaguely annoyed, sideways glance before continuing about her business. It's as if to say, "I've already told you my name. Why can't you remember it?"

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David and I have a saying about the way Jarrah eats: "Once it goes in, it's not coming out." Yes, yes, of course she has a digestive system, and it works fine. But we'd heard so much about babies and their streams of spit-up, and about how they can't wait to barf all over your house. Jarrah likes to be held upside-down, and swung to and fro, and sometimes people make a pained face and shout, "Be careful! She's going to barf!" But David and I just laugh complacently because we know better. She's not going to barf. She just doesn't barf.

Until she did, that is. A few nights ago. She had bumped her head that morning, hard, and had a goose-egg that receded gradually as the day went on. But her behavior was otherwise normal, and this was nighttime and she'd already been asleep over two hours. We heard her cry on the monitor, and it sounded a little more urgent than usual. So much so, that when David went in to comfort her, he broke with policy and picked her up. She coughed a few times and then spewed chunks all over his pajamas. It happened so fast that I was still in the kitchen, and heard his gentle "Oh dear." over the monitor. I came running. "Is she poopy?" I asked, and as he turned towards me I could see the barf on his shoulder. "Oh nooooo!" The long run had ended. Amazingly, I felt completely calm. I murmured sweet nothings, mopped some vomit off of David as he held her, and wiped Jarrah's face and hair. Her pajamas seemed clean, but just in case, I stripped them off. Now she was trembling, which made me very sad since I'd never seen her do that before. I tried to speak in soothing tones as I quickly dressed her in something warm and gently washed her face. I instructed David to get us a bottle of Liquilytes. Weirdly, I wasn't thinking of rehydration, just of what I would have wanted: to get the gross taste out of my mouth. By now, Jarrah clung to me like a starfish, her head burrowed under my chin. She accepted the bottle, and I held her in the big chair and rocked her slowly, thinking to myself that I couldn't remember the last time we'd rocked in this chair that took us months to pick out: had we EVER done it? David smiled at us from the doorway: "I'll leave you two alone." When Jarrah had finished and seemed a bit more relaxed, I laid her gently in the crib and covered her with way too many blankets; something about covering her made me feel more proactive. She was already drifting back to sleep.

Normally, I hate to get up during the night when she cries, but that night she cried two or three times, and I was through the door within 10 seconds. She didn't want much, just--as Piglet would say--to be sure of us. To be reminded we were still there, and that it was okay to sleep, and that if she barfed again, we'd handle it, as many times as necessary. By the morning, she was fine, and ate a huge breakfast.

Something about this night made me feel like a mom. You might be thinking, are you daft? You felt like a mom because you have a BABY, and one that was barfing and crying to boot. But I don't think that's why. I think it's because I knew she needed me, and unlike other times when that's been apparent, I knew I could actually help. If I couldn't totally fix the problem, I could come close. And not only did that feel like a big responsibility, it felt, for once, like one I was ready for.

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I have moments when I think Jarrah might be a genius. Yes, Readers, I know that all parents have these moments. But not everybody gets to brag about it in their blog. ;) A few days ago, our friend Lisa gave us a Teletubbies costume (Tinky Winky, to be precise) she'd inherited from another mom. Jarrah is partial to the 'Tubbies, though they couldn't take the Wiggles in a fight. She spotted the costume, lying with all the other junk in our house, in the front hall. "Would you like to try it on?" I asked. "Yeh." Since Halloween, she is no longer afraid of costumes, as she got such a positive response from being Tigger. I Velcro'd the ear headpiece under her chin, and slipped the purple mittens over her hands. "Go look at yourself in the mirror." She did, and was enchanted. She stood there whispering incoherently to herself (probably, "You like divine, simply divine") and patting the mirror with her furry purple hands. Then I said a single sentence. I did not say it slowly, or extra loudly. I just said it like I'd say it to you:

"Maybe next Halloween you can be a Teletubbie."

She looked at me, then turned and walked away. I didn't think much of that, since she is prone to whims, but she went around the corner and I heard her rummaging in her "toy area." (Depending on the day, the "toy area" can take up most of the living room.) I didn't think much of this, either, assuming we'd moved on to another activity. But then she emerged, and I couldn't believe what she was holding. Triumphantly, like the Statue of Liberty with her torch, she raised it towards me: her plastic pumpkin candy holder.

"YES!" I screamed. "THAT'S WHAT YOU USE FOR HALLOWEEN! VERY GOOD!" I was a kvelling maniac. She smiled at me, with patient indulgence: "I know that, Mommy. You can be very slow."

8 comments:

Cheri said...

Re: Genius. I'm just gonna come right out and say it, I TOLD YOU SO.

Alleen said...

It must be magical to watch them grow and learn like this.

And bravo for handling your first barf incident calmly. We've only had one and that was while still in Guatemala. A bit too much coughing shortly after taking a bottle. I am dreading the first all out puke fest. That and the inevitable liquid diaper.

Martha said...

Welcome to the barf sorority, my friend. Props for handling it so well. As I knew you would.

Anonymous said...

She is a genius! But it's no surprise she's so smart with you and David as her parents. xxx lix

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the most amazing feeling when you can handle something like that with such calm? It feels like superpowers. :)

~Caroline

Jess & Olivia said...

Congrats! Sounds like you sailed through your first projectile vomit with flying colors! And of course she's a genius, look at her mum, you have to expect that to rub off :)!

Anonymous said...

Kids understand a lot more than they talk about.

Your confidence level as a mom is growing strong!

Best, Gail

Marlene said...

It's that secret communcation between parent and kid. She was talking to you in a million ways, and you were talking to her. That's because you love each other.
XO