Happy Merry

Since we don’t know much about Cricket’s tastes, and since we’re also having to appeal to his mom, I’ve got a sort of checklist I use when picking out a gift for him.

1. Ruth’s Rules for Presents: Nothing with Christian elements, nothing concerned with Christmas, no toys of violence, no licensed characters
2. Does it make noise? Giving really noisy gifts seems like bad parenting karma. There’s a toy guitar that I badly want to give him (It’s shaped like a dog! I believe that he likes both dogs and guitars!), but it is an electronic, noise-making toy.
3. Does it require the involvement of another person? Last year we got Cricket an aquadoodle—a gift I was quite proud of, since all the toddlers I know are mad about them—and I am pretty sure that it was never taken out of the box (I asked a couple of times over the course of a few months, and as of this spring, it was still in its original packaging). Ruth would have to fill the stylus with water in order for Cricket to draw with it, and that is not a great thing to count on.
4. Is it aimed specifically at boys? Cricket loves cars and trucks, and has tons, but it’s clear that his mom prefers toys that aren’t Boy Toys.

So I come up with five or six possibilities, I run them by my husband, and we spend some time eliminating choices until we’re down to one. This year, we’ve gotten him a toy vet clinic that looks like a pretty good time. Certainly Joey covets one. Of course, I feel a little weird about getting them the same thing—if I pick something great, surely I should consider letting Joey (and eventually Kit) in on the greatness. But is that creepy? I hope not. But then again, so far I have resisted the urge to get copies of the things we send north for Joey.

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Fascinating Pregnancy Updates

I now can’t wash my hands with soap if I’m planning to eat in the next couple of hours because the smell of the soap is abruptly overpowering and makes me sure that everything tastes soapy.

I still get the sudden and very strong urge to barf at times, but can combat it by imagining a smooth, cool stone. Don’t know where that came from, but it’s working!

Cricket called me “Mama” a couple of times during the visit, and it made me deeply uncomfortable. Officially I am “Mama Susie,” and I know that’s a bit of a mouthful for a toddler (he calls “Papa Book” “Pot”), but it bothers me in a way that I failed to anticipate.

Ruth just sent me a very sweet email saying that they’d like to have another visit this summer because Cricket seemed really interested in us. I’d like to think that this is because we are a hoot, but realize that there could be other factors at play. She talked about how he doesn’t act this way with most people, and I tend to assume that he’s this affectionate with everyone, so hearing that makes me feel weird. Ah, what a useful word.

I read the Sears’ big purple baby book after reading online review of diaper creams—I thought you only used it if there was a rash, but some reviewers clearly use it every time they change a diaper, so I decided to acquire more information on best practices. (My conclusion: they are probably using cloth diapers, which we won’t.) Next up is a book on infant massage, which I’m very interested it; I massage the Mister, and my mom and sisters when they’re around, so why not the baby?

My mother told me quite some time ago that baby gowns are essential, and I was skeptical. But now that I’ve been thinking more about diapers, it has started to make sense to me, and I found some cute ones online. . . .

My sister Kate sent a toy lamb and a set of girly socks when we thought it was a girl—when we got photos of the little lad, she sent boy-type socks. At this point, they’re hoping to visit at Thanksgiving and see a new nephew. I hope that works out.

According to my pregnancy books, the little bird can hear us now. I guess that means that I should cut down on the swearing . . . soon, anyway. I’ve also ordered the Mister to make a mix cd for the stomach/headphones treatment, since he and I like very different music.

I really like the idea of baby powder, possibly because I’ve seen too many ‘50s screwball comedies. It seems not super common now, though—is there any harm in it, as long as you use talc-free stuff?

Many thanks to Sarah and her friend Lynne (who creates them) for sending me a lovely linen ring sling—I so want to try it out with the cat, but he’s been on a bit of a vomity streak lately, and I also don’t have the heart to get cat hair all over it!

I hope all of you have something fun planned this weekend. Happy Independence Day!

Thank You, redzils!

Thanks so much to blog reader redzils, who has knitted the futurekid (whom I’ve started calling the little bird) some socks–I’ll put some action shots up just as soon as there’s a baby Book in the house to appreciate them. Lovely work, and thanks also for the sweet card.

The First of Several

The visit went pretty well. Best news first, the car went over tremendously with the kid. I tore the wrapping paper for him, but he wasn’t really able to figure out what needed to happen next, so he looked up at me and signed <help> <please>. I was charmed. “Of course, Cricket, I’d love to help you get this open!” When I had the car clear of its packaging, I handed it to Cricket—he immediately zoomed it along the floor, and thereafter alternated carrying it around and pushing it across the rug. Ruth said that it was a timely pick, that he’s been trying to push all his toys around recently. So, for the record, his first boyish toy came from us. From me, really. Mr. Book hadn’t even seen it; I tried to talk to him about it ahead of time, but he seemed to find that painful and I desisted. In terms of languages of love, I am the only one of the four of us who has this need to express love with gifts.

I didn’t play with him much; I was more reserved than I had hoped to be. At one point, late in the visit, it was suggested that one of us might read to him. My husband said that I should do it, and I actually panicked. I was trying to hide it behind a jokey sort of façade, but failed pretty completely. Nora read to him. I had three pieces of direct contact with him: I pretended to eat a toy horse for his amusement in the car; he sat in my lap for a bit during dinner; and when he was in the bath, I horsed around with him a bit. I know it looks bad, and I know that Ruth and Nora noticed.

He’s walking now, that funny, shuffling toddler walk; he’s signing clearly, although his signs are somewhat self-created. We went to a park, and there were some college students tossing a football around—Cricket was fascinated, and wanted badly to play. Nora tells me that he’ll be starting soccer this summer. He’s feeding himself expertly, although solely with his hands; I don’t know why, but I had subconsciously expected him to be using a utensil sometimes. Ruth tells me that he’s had a couple of tantrums, so true toddlerhood can’t be far away. While we were still at their house, I (quietly) made my husband promise that we’d never have to come back.

We’ve got two more visits vaguely scheduled: they’ll come here in a month or two, then we’ll go there a month or two later. But right now I am pretending that we won’t have any more visits. In some ways, I hate them. I should be writing a post-visit email to Ruth, being chatting and asking her for a date in April or May, but I’m not. I haven’t been feeling fantastic—nothing interesting, just acid reflux and nausea on and on and on—and am using that as an excuse, but it ain’t a great one. Always before, I have emailed her within 24 hours after a visit.

I imagine I’ll be talking about the visit all week. It’s on my mind. I wish that we’d gotten some pictures, but Ruth and Nora have a camera; we don’t. They brought it with us when we went out, but I don’t think they actually took any pictures, and I didn’t feel comfortable saying “Hey, we haven’t seen him in months, he’s walking and different and I’d love to have pictures of this.” I hate having to ask for things.

Making a Switch

I changed Cricket’s present. This is mostly because the truck is listed as “3+,” and while most of the reviews I read talked about giving it to much younger kids (it has no sharp edges or small parts), I worry that Ruth would not be comfortable disregarding the guideline. I’m sure I’ll give it to him at some point—maybe next year—but not this week. I keep wanting to give books, but I think that books are probably not super exciting to a fifteen-month-old child; so I picked out this:

real rubber wheels, even

It is a little more than five inches long, and intended for “12m+,” so I think I’m in the clear. It’s a Vilac car—I have a few of these in the hope chest, and think they’re great—lovely and sturdy little cars made out of lacquered (child-safe!) wood. One advantage of this little car is that I can wrap it (the truck was too awkwardly shaped), and thus I can attach this:

to the outside. It is a toddler crayon I got on etsy. =) It’s sort of cheating—two gifts in the guise of one—but it seemed like the right thing to do. See, I often find baby/kid stuff that I like, and want for the hope chest; this crayon, though, I saw and wanted specifically for Cricket. This was after I had gotten the truck, however, and there’s just no graceful way to link the two, though believe me I tried. The crayon being a gender-neutral gift is an added bonus.

Hopefully he will like at least one of these things.

Hibernation

We have a visit tentatively scheduled for a week from Friday, although I’m not getting my hopes up yet. Now that we’ve had two cancelled visits in a row—both for super legitimate reasons—I just believe in the next one less.

When talking to the Mr. about the possible upcoming visit, I realized that I know much more about Cricket’s day-to-day life than he does, and maybe much more than the average birthmother. He was wondering whether we’d hear back from Ruth that day (Monday), and I said that it was unlikely: “Mondays are really busy for them, they have [X activity] and that makes naptime late and sometimes problematic. I don’t think we’ll hear back today.” And sure enough, we didn’t—she emailed me on Tuesday. Ruth does try to include me, talking about their life in her emails, and I obviously find it interesting enough to remember. I wish I could see it. If I could list my #1 Unreasonable Open Adoption Wish, it would be to go stay with them for a week (they have a spare room!) and just go along on errands and help with cooking and cleaning and play with Cricket. I would love that so much. I’d want to go alone, too—we’re both tense on visits, but Mr. Book has made it clear (to me) that he’s not interested in making friends with Ruth or Nora, and of course he couldn’t miss that much work even in my daydreams. It would also give me enough time to get over my awkwardness around the kid and be playful, which hasn’t really happened on any of our visits so far. =/

Other current UOAW: if I am pregnant right now (unlikely, theoretically possible [and I feel like I need to add this disclaimer a lot, because, you know, it’s something I think about regardless of its likeliness but don’t want you, dear reader, is something you should take seriously as a possibility]), the kids would probably have birthdays within a couple weeks of each other = co-birthday parties! Or at least one, maybe, one year. But probably not.

My bed plan is still in effect.