In which Adelaide learns to reach and Dad comes home!
Our Mountain Man husband/Dad has been away this last week on a school canoeing trip. Life is not terribly harder without him but we do miss him. I, especially. I think it's mostly just because he's such fun company (when he's not hangry) and life is simply more enjoyable when he's around. Adelaide and I however, hold our own in his absence. Last week we led a life of almost frantic socialising; Thursday found us hosting our Breakfast Club, then dashing out to meet friend Bronwyn and her two wee ones Johannes and Eva for coffee, then speeding home to meet Helen and wee Bela for cranberry picking. We fell into bed for an hour nap at 6pm then awoke at the exact time we should have been at my first theatre rehearsal for the season. Adelaide was howling as I scrambled round the house, toast in one hand, her nappy in the other, frantically trying to get us ready to leave. As I shoved her flailing arms into a clean outfit I mused on the definition of a 'good mother.' Would 'Good Mother,' after a day of intense stimulation, awaken her soundly, sleeping baby to take it out to a late-evening theatre rehearsal whose only purpose was as a pleasure for Mum? I struggled a little with the dilemma but battled on. Grimly I told myself that if all went well, Little Laide would forget this current trauma due to all the loving I would bestow later. Turned out the rehearsal was great fun for both Mama and Little Laide, though the smiling, charming latter character served as a large distraction for the group. My director suggested trying to incorporate the babe into our Improv's in order to keep us focused on the task at hand.
After such a busy week, Saturday, the day our Mountain Man was due to return home, Little Laide and I decided to take it easy. A blissful sleep-in introduced a relaxed day where we only left the house to amble to the neighbourhood grocery store. As we enjoyed the afternoon sun on the deck, my Little Laide, my newborn babe, reached out with her chubby hands, dunked her sweet digits in my soup and heaved the bowl toward her to dump it, with pride, into our laps. It was truly uncanny. Only the evening before at her Cousin's house for dinner I'd laughed at the concerned face of Uncle D when he apologised for not having a high chair. "Adelaide sits in my lap while I eat, " I'd reassured him. Over dinner he and Auntie K held the Little Laide so I could eat undisturbed and with bemusement and an air of tolerance I acquiesced, inwardly smiling at their ignorance. My Little one in the way at dinner? Oh my no! She's too young to be at the reaching stage (and maybe, I privately wonder, too dim?)
And lo! The very next day I end up with my delicious dinner left overs in my lap. I can just tell that Laide was laughing at me over dinner, as I recollected for Uncle D and Auntie K how she'd been gazing at her little hands that morning, holding them up in front of her like she'd discovered treasure. If I'd had more Mum experience, maybe I would have known that that steady gaze from one hand to the other and back again was her "ah ha!" moment. She's just connected them with herself.
And now she's reaching like her life depended on it. For my coffee mug, the beer bottle, the dog, cloths, her bib, a toy, the book I try to read at night to kick-start her literacy skills. All things, once clasped in the chubby paws, get shakily maneuvered into mouth. Like my soup spoon which we'd been testing coordination with. She, I proudly witnessed, could reach out, grab the spoon and shove it in her eye and then oh! her mouth! Good Mother would of course disapprove of my next coordination test and I promise it's one I won't do again. How was I to know that on turning the spoon around and letting her grab just the handle, spoon part down, that the shoving of the long silver handle into her mouth would entail it going too far back and perhaps a bit down her throat so that she ended up gagging and coughing on it in a choking-type way? I'd thought the handle might be more fun to chew on as the spoon part was too big for her mouth. Now I know that we want implements that are too big for her mouth. In mouth = choking hazard. Check.
As the sun cooled on our coordination-testing and soup-damp laps, Mountain Man Dad arrived home. We proudly showed him the new-found reaching skills. With the tea-pot instead of a spoon. And no, it wasn't hot. Good Mothers know better than that.