she seemed mostly shaken and largely unharmed, but as i sat on the floor rocking her back and forth in my lap, i think i honestly was crying more for my guilt than for her pain. i felt like the worst mom ever, because the only reason she fell was that i left her because i was not handling it and needed to walk away. i stood at the end of the hallway thinking (for the first time ever, or at least in a mighty long time), "okay, i can't let her cry it out, but i can't do *this* every night either so what are my other options?" and this is what gives me that aching mama guilt: at the very moment i was thinking about how to get away from her, she was crawling trying to get to me, and fell. i'm still not entirely sure what the message is in all this (other than to move the mattress off the boxspring). be better about asking for help? that what she needs most is a mom who takes care of herself and isn't crazy? i don't know, but i'm really hoping it's not "see what happens when you have a fleeting negative thought about your child? she nearly dies. so there, serves you right, you bad mama."
i've been having a challenging couple of weeks, but maybe that was the worst of it, because today things were looking up. i saw people, ran some errands, spent an entire hour all by myself, and now eva is actually sleeping. you may be wondering what an uber-hipster cool mom-about-town like myself does with her free hour. well, i can't spill all the exclusive details (hint: it involves washing the car because eva cries when i attempt that with her in it), but i can tell you that i listened to the first two tracks on my new CD with the volume on 14 rather than in the baby-approved volume range of between 6 and 10. that's right, 14, people! i know, it's too crazy. try to contain yourselves.
not much blogging lately (or much of anything else that i can't do with eva) because she's come up with this new plan of "napping" at bedtime, then waking up an hour later and staying up until 10, or 11. it's 10:50 right now and she's up, larry's singing to her. she's alternating between drooping her eyes, crying for 2 seconds, and signing for "dog". i feel like i've tried the obvious tricks, adjusted numbers and timing of naps, moved bedtime earlier, moved it later, held her for the first few hours after she falls asleep, putting her to sleep in bed, etc. i think the solution might be that there isn't necessarily a solution, and i just need to let her go through this phase (oh please let it be a phase!). i'm trying to go with the flow but if it goes on much longer, i may very well lose my mind, because between this and larry's needing to work more for a big deadline, i have nearly zero time for myself. well, larry's calling me, eva's crying. off i go... she's so tired, why won't she just give in and sleep? poor baby.
yesterday eva had a small bonk while walking around the coffee table. when i picked her up to comfort her, she signed for milk. this is a first, since she had so far only used signs for labeling (dog, fish, fan, etc) and not for requests. she nursed for a bit and when she was done, she looked at me, grinned, and clapped. as in, "yea, milk!" well, i'm glad she approves. (we didn't previously do a lot of clapping, so either she picked it up from what little we did or from watching the other kids? in any case, it is cute, and now i can't help but clap when she does) as is the case with many of these little new skill developments, she does something once and then seemingly constantly. the rest of the day, she was signing for milk and clapping when she was done. even at 1 a.m. she nursed back to sleep, rolled over, and clapped three times. yea, indeed.
eva's really taken to swimming, and this weekend larry helped get some underwater shots while were in college station for mother's day. she loves to splash and "swim" around with my hand under her chest. she seems to have lost the kick relfex, but she'll kick when i say "kick kick kick, eva!" (which i choose to attribute to the fact that i conditioned her by saying that all the time when she was still kicking by relfex, but who knows if that's why or not.) you can see her new trick -- she'll hold on to my swim suit while i swim around on my back. she gets water in her mouth and eyes this way, but doesn't seem to mind enough to stop doing it! also, she's doing well going under water for longer (as in a few seconds longer), and if i let go of her she will surface on her own without getting upset. i know at some age she'll develop a fear of the water and this trend will reverse (at least for a while), but we're having so much fun now it hardly matters.
this mama is on day 3 of a nauseating migraine (i know, i need to break down and take drugs on of these days but i keep thinking it will just go away) and so the rest of this will be short and perhaps expanded upon another day:
my first mother's day was lovely, my dear husband was very sweet to me all day and made me feel acknowledged and appreciated, which i think is the general goal of the day, right? eva's two top teeth, which have been bothering her for weeks, finally popped through on sunday and monday. she's signing for "dog" (tongue out, panting sound) like crazy (like every 10 minutes it seems, thanks to lemma's antics), in addition to fan, light, milk, and some early attempts at fish, flower, and tree. after some major breakthroughs on thursday, she started crawling for real on monday and seems quite pleased with herself. and a first -- three times so far while i've been writing this, eva has woken up and when i head down the hall, she's sitting up in bed! she just learned in the last few days how to sit up from lying down, and i guess she's processing that information in her sleep. she looks so disoriented, mostly asleep and sitting up... anyway, this has been a bit week for this little one.
the part i find most amusing, though, is that she has become a laughter detective. you know how when kids learn a new concept, they spot it everywhere? like when eva learned to sign for "light", suddenly the world was full of lights and she would point them out all the time. well, now her world is apparently full of laughter. she'll hear someone laughing, and laugh in response. sometimes i'm not even aware at first that someone laughed, often it's a little "haha" in passing tossed in at the end of a sentence, but eva hears it. "heh heh heh", she says back. i had to turn the tv off when it was on the other day, because i was disturbed to find she was laughing every ten seconds or so in response to the laugh track. i know babies absorb everything, but sometimes i forget the extent of it. in any case, this laughing is just too much fun. can she stay this age for a while, please?
because of mother's day (in a roundabout way), i've been looking at old photos this week, and have found it's making me really emotional. the photos from eva's first days, in particular -- looking back, she looks so tiny and fragile, and i just get overwhelmed. i'm not sure if it's because i'm reliving the flood of emotions from that time, or if it's because i can't believe we managed not to break her, or what it is. maybe i'm just facing the fact that time is passing, that she's growing up fast and isn't my little baby anymore (as we approach her first birthday soon enough). it's a strange feeling, not melancholy exactly, just an intensity that feels out of context in my current days.
this photo is from playing with sarah's new water table in college station a few weeks ago. i like the composition larry achieved, with the water droplets in focus and both of our faces visible but partly obscured. it tells a story.
i guess i'm just struggling with the lack of autonomy motherhood affords. sometimes i feel like i have to ask permission to do even the most humble of tasks. larry, can you get her if she wakes up while i take a shower? eva, can you sit her contentedly while mama gets a drink of water? can someone keep an eye on her while i run over to the port-a-potty? most days it doesn't bug me, but once in a while it just feels like a crushing weight -- before disappearing into the backdrop once again. i'll be fine in the morning.
eva's starting to stir, so i must go, but to counter my semi-cranky mood, i'm including a fun, happy photo of eva and her grandma from last month. how sweet!