Tuesday, August 14, 2007

danger, danger, everywhere

When I was pregnant, I wandered around with long lists of everything that needed to get done before the baby arrived. There were purchases to be made, and people to contact, and electrical outlets to baby proof, and rooms to paint. At the time, people kept insisting that I'd have LOADS of time to get everything done after the baby was born. I'd have so much free time that I wouldn't know what to do with, and in that free time, I'd totally want to traipse off to furniture shops and crawl around on my hands and knees and screw in new non-electrocuting outlets. Apparently, those people's experiences with a baby was really different from my experience with a baby, because I didn't have much in the way of free time. Still don't, actually. Fortunately, I didn't listen to them, for the most part, and I insisted on getting Gabe's bedroom ready and we bought the electrical outlets and Josh changed them, and I bought cushioned covers for the coffee tables and toys for when he got a bit older.

Unfortunately, I did listen to those people a little bit, so instead of following my gut and picking up what I thought I might need in one visit to super baby store, I figured that I'd have time later. But what no one tells you, is that one day you wake up and your completely non-mobile baby is chasing the dogs around the room. The next day, that same baby notices the DVD player and the VCR and shoves his fingers inside of them over and over and OVER. The day after that, in the time it takes you to pee, he is 3 rooms across the house and playing with the dogs' food and water. It's all shocking and fabulous, and on the one hand, you are terribly proud, and on the other, you think "holy shit! What happened to my baby?"

Now it has been a week, and I find myself wondering how you keep your babies safe. How do you keep them alive? How do you make sure they don't pitch face first into the edge of the steps, or down the basement stairs, or electrocuted because they are chewing on the cords of the breast pump?

I watch Gabe like a hawk all day long. I rarely leave him alone, except maybe to jet to the bathroom for 30 seconds or less, or pour myself a cup of coffee while sprinting through the kitchen, but I swear that he finds trouble somehow. The other day he smacked his eye against the edge of the wall while crawling around, then today he was crawling around the kitchen and pushed on the door to the basement that was closed but apparently not fully latched and in that instant I imagined him tumbling down the stairs to the basement (even though I grabbed him before he was able to get close to the edge), then today at the park he was trying to poke himself in the eye with a stick, and I can keep going, but I'm scaring myself.

So seriously, how do you keep them safe? How obsessive do you have to be? I'm off to super baby store tomorrow to pick up a gate for the stairs and some covers for the DVD player and VCR because I really can't stand to fight this battle 17 times an hour, but how much more should I do? Am I supposed to walk around the house every morning and do a safety check? Will that become second nature?

The thing is, I've never known love like this before, and I'll do whatever it takes to protect this little person. Anything.

If you have a minute, stop by and visit Chatty Cricket. She could use a hug today.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Saturday was the first time I've left Gabe for longer than 3 hours. Even more traumatic, this was the first time I've ever left him with someone other than Josh, because when I left for those 3 hours, Josh was with Gabe. Josh had a work-related outing to Six Flags New England, and my inlaws agreed to watch Gabe for the day. We drove out to the Berkshires on Friday, settled Gabe in with the inlaws, and Saturday morning went to Six Flags to meet Josh's co-workers.

My dreams on Friday night were peppered with these terrifying story lines where I'd be forced to abandon Gabe under these elaborately unrealistic scenarios, and I woke up repeatedly in a cold sweat. When the alarm finally went off I wondered briefly why my night had been filled with those nightmares, and then, DUH, it was rather clear.

Of course, in preparation for my first time away from Gabe, he proceeded to get his first fever ever, his first accompanying cough ever, he has been adamantly refusing bottles, and he has his first case of separation anxiety. In Spanish, we call it "mamitis", otherwise known as "utter refusal to be satisfied with anyone other than mama". It's been a big ol' party around here.

Gabe was fine, obviously. He woke up briefly at 8:45am, just in time for me to feed him before walking out the door. I put him back down to bed right after feeding him, thinking that perhaps he'd play quietly for a bit before getting up for the day, but my inlaws told me that he slept until 11:00am! He ate cereal for them, something he'd been turning down from me, and took most of a bottle. He showed off all his little tricks- crawling, babbling, laughing and dancing. He took his regular naps, ate again, played again, took another bottle from them. In short, he was a total angel.

Let's be honest, though, I was kind of a mess. Theoretically, I'd been somewhat looking forward to our first day away. I normally like roller coasters, and the thought of being responsible for nothing besides consuming loads of fried foods seemed like fun. Once the day approached, however, I became far less enthused. It seemed like an awfully long time to be away from Gabe, especially with people I wasn't even friends with, and I was nervous about Gabe being with anyone other than the two of us. My inlaws are fantastic, but still, they're not Josh or me.

Saturday was in the 90s and humid, and it turns out that I may be getting old for roller coasters. After 3 rides, I was too sick to go on anything else, so I spent the rest of the afternoon in a bit of a funk, missing my baby and counting down the hours until we could go home. I also brought my friend, the breast pump, along with us to the park, so I spent a chunk of the afternoon in a hot car pumping away.

I did enjoy the pizza and fries and chicken fingers and soda, and I enjoyed spending time alone with Josh. It's been a while since we were unaccompanied by our favorite side kick. We talked about him most of the time, but we also talked about trying to get away for dinner or a movie together one of these times when we can take advantage of the grandparents as babysitters. I think it'll be a while before we do this again, though. I missed Gabe too much to be away from him again any time soon.