Joey has a tooth. I could feel it a few days before I could see it, which made me seem a bit mad when talking to other people (“It’s there, I know it!”). Now I can feel a second little ridge, which is faintly terrifying. Goodbye, gummy smiles. . . .
We’re in central Illinois at the moment; our frantic-feeling schedule of travel slows significantly after this week, but this week is a chance to see Joey’s godparents and a—I’m not sure what to call her—a courtesy aunt? Is that what they’re called? At any rate, a friend who is close enough that Joey will call her Tante Hazel. We cut his hair for the first time—it had started to look a bit like a comb-over up top. And overall we’re just enjoying the heat and the company. Stumptown has been remarkably wet and cool over the last few months, a result (your narrator assumes) of global weirding. Illinois is exactly as hot as late June ought to be.
His sleep has changed a lot—for the better. After the trip to Connecticut, which was several days of sleep catastrophe (oh, and there was a wedding in there somewhere), I decided to go with Mr. Book’s recommendation; put Joey down by himself to sleep. We now have a routine that involves nursing, a musical seahorse, and some cuddling, and he’s sleeping eighteen hours a day. He sleeps twelve hours at night and takes three naps during the day—after I leave the room, there is usually a couple of minutes of complaining—and then rock solid sleep. It is completely amazing. He still sleeps in our bed, and I just join him at night after he’s been alone there for several hours. Our bed is not on a frame, so it’s a short drop onto carpet if and when he decides to go seriously exploring, but so far he’s shown no inclination to leave the bed; this despite the fact that he rolls cheerfully across the room under other circumstances. I’m counting my blessings and keeping an eye out. I do feel guilty about putting him to bed by himself, but he seems to be thriving.
After writing that paragraph, I had the worst night yet of putting Joey to bed; I went back in once, patted his back and talked to him; I went in a second time, gave him some baby Tylenol, patted his back, talked to him; and then I went in a few minutes later, hearing that he was only growing more upset, and brought him out to join the grownups for dinner. And then, when I finally took him back to bed, he went peacefully—he cooed at me when I left. My mother would say that Joey successfully manipulated me into picking him up, but I just don’t buy it. Mr. Book says that he needs to learn to sleep on his own, but I want part of that to be learning that I will always be there if he needs me, and that what he feels is important. My mother keeps expressing the concern that I will be pushed around by my kids—I know that she sees parenting as a power struggle—and Lord knows that there will probably be some power struggles along the way. I know what toddlers are like. But I don’t want to think of our relationship as defined by that. Bed at 7 p.m. sharp is less important to me than the squishy stuff: you know, love.