Friday, September 28, 2007

Toddler haiku: "An infant's hands"

The Legume has recently discovered her hands, and now spends much of her time sucking upon them for comfort. While watching Legume suck away, Bean-girl sagely observed:

A baby's hands are like a binky.
A baby's hands are like a booby.
But they are not a booby.
They are just hands.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Legume, at 3 1/2 months

She sleeps now, my little dumpling, my round and sweet-faced second bean.

She is like and unlike her elder sister. If we compare baby pictures they are hardly distinguishable. She has the same mane of crazy hair that sticks straight up in the air like the hair of those little troll-dolls. She draws an admiring crowd wherever she goes (and the hair always provokes the most admiring comments). It's hard to believe that our now-skinny first daughter once too had luscious fat folds like the Legume--but pictures don't lie, and Bean was once too a miniature sumo wrestler.

But the Legume keeps taking me by surprise. She is not the Bean, and I have to keep remembering this. After all, Bean-girl was my first experience with an infant, and I keep thinking that Bean-behaviors were simply characteristic of all infants.

The Legume doesn't need, or even sometimes like, to be held as much. When the Bean was young I could not put her down. She had to be held constantly. She couldn't nap on her own. I spent hours imprisoned on my living room couch, holding a sleeping Bean in my arms, unable to move. She was colicky as all heck. (Husband thinks Legume is colicky; she is, but he simply does not remember how bad the Bean-girl was). This Legume is often far more interested in face-to-face contact and play than physical touch. These days she is a smiley, cooing delight, eager to engage anyone in "conversation." She is exploring her world, learning to bat and grasp at objects with her hands. She is exploring sounds, too--this weekend she discovered the "B" consonant, and has been fixated on "bur bur bur" and "boo boo boo." And her legs are constantly in motion--kick kick kicking everything in sight. (this includes our cat, but the cat doesn't seem to care.)

She can sleep on her own, unlike the Bean. Sometimes she protests against the confinement of arms, and would prefer to kick and wriggle on her blanket on the floor. She has discovered the pleasure of sucking her hands, and finds them an appropriate substitute for mommy's boobs. She even finds a plastic nipple a tolerable substitute, and is able to drink from a bottle, unlike her elder sister.

In three and a half very short months, she has grown from wrinkled comatose newborn to an alert little person. Now a lively, bright personality peers out of those dark gray eyes. A person who gazes at her mother with the most winning adoration. A person who gazes out at the world, ready to love.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Exhausted toddlers are not fun

2 pm today, an hour past Bean-girl's naptime. Bean-girl is rubbing her eyes.

Me: I think you're tired.

Bean: I am not tired.

Me: Then why are you rubbing your eyes?

Bean: (momentarily at a loss). For... For fun!

A little bit later. All attempts to force a nap have been in vain. Bean is crying over some little thing, a sure sign of over-exhausted Bean.

Me: I really really think you're tired.

Bean: I am not tired!

Me: Then why are you crying?

Bean: For fun!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Anything for a lollipop

The night before Bean-girl's doctor appointment, I told her that I would be taking her out of preschool early the next day so we could go see the doctor.

I reminded her of it again the next morning.

Bean-girl was so psyched! I'm going to get a lollipop! she exclaimed.

And kept exclaiming. By the time we were at the doctor's office she was bouncing off the walls. My little one was stripped down to her diaper, jumping up and down and up and down. I'm going to get a lollipop! I'm going to get a lollipop! At one point she even crawled up on my lap and confided, eyes shining, "I'm excited!"

Oh, it was heartbreaking, her innocent excitement. She didn't know she'd be getting a shot this day. It was time for a hepatitis A booster.

The Bean-girl continued her joyful dance, and Baby Legume sat in her carrier and laughed each time her big sister jumped. (And who knew that my little infant could already laugh like that?)

Bean-girl could barely hold still for the nurse's, and then doctor's, physical exam--so excited was she.

Then it was time for her shot. I stood next to her and held her hand. The nurse drew up fluid in the syringe. I tried to distract the Bean, but she was watching the nurse closely.

Then the nurse slid the needle in, slid it out in one smooth motion, slapped a bandaid on and it was all over. The Bean did not even wince. She watched the whole thing with a detached air of academic interest--hmmm, that looks like a needle going into my leg. Nice bandaid, that.

Then she got to pick her lollipop, and was appropriately thrilled.

That evening she asked if she could go to the doctor's again.

My sweet, funny child. I worried about that shot, and it didn't faze you at all. You take so many things better than your mother does. Preschool, and now vaccines. You're growing up every day--"bigger and stronger" as you like to say. But I am still holding you while I can.