Last month she was flirting with milestones; this month she’s reached out and seized them. Her first tooth, the front lower left one, emerged on July 14. It blew its cover when Eve fastened onto a spoonful of sweet potato puree with a force not usually possible with naked gums. Sure enough, a quick test with a metal spoon yielded the tink-tink-tink we’d been waiting for. Since then the tooth has become clearly visible, and Evie has not been afraid to sink it into my long-suffering teats when she gets distracted from the task at hand. The little razor-tooth is fortunately undetectable when she’s latched-on and nursing, but if she relaxes the latch…
“Owwww! No biting!”
“That’s a weanable moment,” observed her daddy sagely.
He’s right. We’ve reached not one but two of the potential sunset conditions I’ve set for nursing: not only does Eve have a tooth, but she has also, finally, FINALLY figured out how to sleep through the night. She doesn’t always do it, mind you, but she knows how. All this, plus a bit of a deceleration in my observed rate of weight loss, means that it’s probably time for me to start scaling back on the pumping. And I may well do that. (Or just keep saying so.)
But I brought the pump along with me on my first post-maternity-leave business trip. (I suspect that part of the reason why I keep pumping is because it’s perversely fun to collect war stories: I’ve now pumped at Nationals Ballpark, in the ladies’ room of the fancy Café Fleuri in Boston, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office library in Flint, Michigan, and even in actual federal court — although, to be fair, that was a telephone hearing, I was sitting at my desk, and I did shut off the pump action so that the thrumming wouldn’t appear on the record. But I digress.)
Eve did great without me on our first night apart, slept through the night for her father, and gave him no guff in the morning. I didn’t sleep nearly as well in my Boston hotel room, pining for my baby and stressing about another first, professional this time: my first-ever oral argument before a three-judge panel. Fortunately, the argument went just as well as Genevieve’s first mommyless night. We are, as it turns out, both grown-up enough for this.
Genevieve spent that night in the crib, having moved in to the nursery several days beforehand. This was a milestone for her, yes, but also required a real team effort. Of course I had to let go of the comfort and convenience of my baby within arm’s reach. But Eve could not have graduated from the bassinet in our bedroom to her very own Personal Space without the cooperation of her sister. Nobody was going anywhere until we convinced Natalie to vacate the nursery and migrate to the Big Girl Bed in her enormous, freshly-painted, solar-system-themed Big Girl Room.
We’d been lobbying for this upgrade for months, with limited success. Natalie loved the room, and would request it if put down in her crib, but then would change her mind ten or fifteen minutes later, after successfully prolonging bedtime to her heart’s content. This went on (we were partially complicit, partially just gullible) until one day & decided to do bedtime in the big room and treat any last-minute requests for the crib as the stalling tactics they clearly were. And it worked. Noodles slept fine in the big bed (without a railing!), napped there with equal proficiency the next afternoon, and had stopped asking for her crib altogether within three days. (Secreting away her stash of binkies one by one took a little longer, but I think we can finally declare victory on that front as well.)
And then Eve slept for ten straight hours, uninterrupted, free of the slightest eep. Meanwhile, she’d gotten so big that she threatened to overtop the bassinet when she pulled herself up to a kneeling position in it. I saw this and had a somewhat wistful freakout: ~gasp~, she’s practically pulling up, she needs to move to the crib NOW. ~gasp~, she’s leaving my side!? My little wee baby? But she is wee no longer. Genevieve is mighty. Her legs are so strong that she actually kicks herself up into downward dog pose, and then does an odd leapfrog jump, whenever she tries to crawl (the one tantalizing milestone that she still has not reached). She can contort herself from supine to all fours to sitting upright, to kneeling in the crib, to standing if you hold out a pair of thumbs for her to grab. We suspect, not unreasonably, that she may be one of those babies who walks before she crawls.
She’s had her first dip in a swimming pool this month, too. We roadtripped to Grandma Barbara’s for the second time in as many months, but unlike our June visit, this time the weather was so hot and the water so pleasant that the pool was conclusively baby-ready. The baby was certainly pool-ready, at least by my reckon; as I dipped her into the water, she gave me the same perplexed, thoughtful gaze that is becoming her trademark. (Genevieve is a contented and fairly easygoing baby, but hasn’t grown into a particularly smiley one. Her smiles are the more valuable for their rarity.) She bobbed around in her pool float, chewed on a floating foam ball, giggled when her father and sister had a splash fight, and generally seemed pleased to be there, so I count that a success.
And we introduced her to her grandfather. Days before what would have been his sixty-eighth birthday, we stopped at the cemetery on the way home from Barb’s and let the girls lay pebbles on my father’s tombstone. Evie looks so much like him, as I did; her thickening tuft of hair may be a lighter brown than mine or Dad’s, but the provenance of her eyelashes, her nose, her lips is beyond dispute. She’s as much his granddaughter as she is my daughter. And it is magical to imagine the two of them together, gazing into each other’s matching eyes.
Everything Genevieve does these days is magical.
Well, except for when she decides to wake up at 3 am and wants to nurse and play with her mommy.
Actually, even that.