At 20 pounds, 2 ounces and 29 inches tall, Genevieve has hit the seventy-fifth percentile for weight and surpassed it for height. She is perpetually in motion; I gave her a hunk of bagel to gnaw, thinking it would convince her to sit still for her monthly portrait, and it worked for all of fifteen seconds. (Those are bits of bagel in her mouth, not molars, not yet.) I’ll still call her “squirrel” sometimes, but Eve has all but outgrown the nickname. Now, the nicknames that stick are more along the lines of “porkchop,” “chunkalunk,” “chubblewumpus” (her father’s favorite) and “truck” (my own). Genevieve is unstoppable, a tiny adorable monster-truck: she pulls up and cruises along furniture like it’s no big thing at ten months, and if you give her a pants leg, handful of skirt, or finger to grasp, she will walk almost unassisted. Like this:
In other developmental news, Evie spent much of this month working on extruding another pair of teeth through her top gums, which caused her no end of discomfort, snotty nose, cough, and a return to the days of sleep disruption. Sometimes she’d wake up howling and miserable. Other times she’d wake up smiling and wanting to play. But wake up she did, again and again, with grinding consistency. Fortunately, the government did us the favor of shutting down for much of the month, so at least we weren’t stuck commuting downtown and feigning higher intellectual function on a few shredded hours of sleep after Evie’s roughest nights. Upon examination, Dr. Warfield concluded that her eardrums and lymph nodes were swollen enough to indicate actual infection. This called for amoxicillin, the administration of which has apparently restored Eve’s ability to sleep through the night.
This is an enormous relief, especially considering the road we were on: Evie’s nighttime antics had gotten so old, especially once the government reopened, that I had actually begun Ferberizing the kid. NOT FUN. She’d eventually wear herself out but I’d still be lying awake, heart pounding, anxiety attack slowly wearing off. I do not lack for self-control, but I cannot figure out how to suppress the profound, hardwired, limbic-system reaction of a mother mammal to the distress cry of her young. Life is so much easier when your kid just goes to sleep and stays that way until morning. Please, I silently entreat her each night at bedtime, have a good night’s rest, sweetygirl, and we’ll all be happier in the morning. I do think she’s finally getting the message, but will speak no more of it, lest I jinx her progress.
I’m still waiting for her first word. Genevieve says “mama” quite a lot, often while looking me in the eye, and will repeat it when you suggest it to her, but I have yet to peg an utterance to any actual meaning. She’s also gotten smiley again, after several months of inexplicable gravitas and solemnity. There are few things more charming than a child who pulls up on your pants leg, gazes upon you with great affection and a chant of “mmmmma, mmmmma, mmmmma,” and then breaks into a huge gap-toothed giggly grin. (Except in the middle of the night, when there are many more charming things, chief among those being sleep.)
We have successfully pump-weaned, and now I suspect are beginning to approach (however obliquely) the prospect of total weaning. & took me to New York last weekend to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary with a fancy dinner, a Broadway show and a night at a B&B; our daughters stayed with their grandparents, and I set a new record, not one but two consecutive nights apart from my baby. I did pump a few times, and did manage to fill another freezer bag with breastmilk, but the serious pressure to keep the system moving is no longer there. A month ago, or two, I couldn’t have gone more than a few hours without my mammaries palpably squirming and aching and leaking onto my clothes. Now they don’t do that any more. Soon they may retire altogether. Evie doesn’t seem to mind; she nurses in short bursts, caring less for the milk than for what my mother-in-law calls “the meat pacifier.” She won’t take any other kind. For a long time I wished she would, and on certain nights I still do, but for the most part this isn’t something that bothers me. I am irrationally proud of us both: ten months on this earth and neither Genevieve nor I have abandoned breastfeeding. We’re still doing it, after our own fashion, to our own mutual satisfaction. Between that and Ferberizing, I am exactly no one’s ideal mother. Which sounds about right.
So long as my baby is happy — and those big toothy giggles indicate that she is — I’ll leave the judging to other people. I’m pretty sure we’re doing all right.