ROCKET MAN – I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A LONG, LONG TIME

When XBoy was a newborn, we couldn’t wait to see what every week would bring as far as his developmental milestones go. I kept the book given to us by our pediatrician about what to expect each month next to the crib and would read about the month he was in and what to watch for, and of course the following month in anticipation. I followed the book’s suggestion down to the T. I documented when he rolled over; when he sat upright; when he crawled; when he first walked; his first words; etc., etc.

As for ZGirl? I opened the book a couple of times to remind myself of when I could introduce solids and what kinds, but we didn’t push it. We jumped over the rice mess and went straight to my broccoli chicken tortellini from Pizza Hut, which she loved, at six months. I don’t really recall when she started crawling. A couple of months ago? Five months ago?

I can tell you she started walking, if you call 3 or 4 steps before she collapses into my outstretched arms, walking, a week or so ago. She doesn’t say mama or dada, but the other day while at daycare she pointed to the wall of paper stars and said, “tars”. I have on my phone a video from my husband of where she repeated “uh-oh” with perfect enunciation. That was a month ago and she no longer says it. She looks for XBoy when we say his name. She crawls at break-neck speed to the bathroom when we say it’s time for her bath. She points to interesting, and sometimes not so interesting, objects.

As far as I know, she’s an average baby with average milestones. I do wonder about the talking, but I think I worry since XBoy was an early talker. He was (and still is of course) a very clever toddler. I even have a video of him at about 18 months counting to 20.

I guess it comes down to that while I eagerly anticipated every new development in XBoy, including the thrill of packing away outgrown clothes, I struggle immensely with ZGirl’s changes. I have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that hasn’t been updated since January. All the pictures are of her during the first five months, and as I watch the images of a newborn I barely recognize slide and morph on the screen, I can feel myself sinking into such a funk that I blink back tears.

The first two months after she entered our world were hellish. It seemed as if we never slept, but obviously we did. I would crawl into bed in the middle of the night dreading the fact that in two more hours I would have to be up again to nurse her. On more than one occasion, I remember collapsing into my pillow in tears and saying to Mr. DD, “What have we done? What were we thinking??” and before he could even attempt to sooth me, I had passed out in exhaustion.

That memory is burned indelibly into my heart since of course, we had moved heaven and earth to have her here and at my darkest I had almost wished it not to be so.

It’s now that she sleeps easily from 9 – 7 that it makes that time feel like an eternity and a half ago. Was it really THAT bad? Looking back, no, and if I could – if WE could – I would do it again.

Each day little bits of babyish floats away into the ether. She is rounding the first turn into toddlerhood in her personality, which is both feisty and fearless. She is developing a crush on a couple of stuffed animals. She hides under the blanket awaiting a game of peek-a-boo. She screams in furious indignation when we try to pluck out whatever foreign object she has secreted away into her mouth, and when she’s tired, she seeks us out, lifts her impossibly small arms up to us in a silent plea to be picked up and held, and when we do, she curls up into our arms – only briefly – before pushing back away with those arms to look into our face and smile as if to say, “I soooo have you wrapped around my finger…SUCKAH!”

And she does. She has us ALL wrapped around her finger. It’s ridiculous to imagine the three of us are at her beck and call, but we are. XBoy will even stop playing a video game to attend to her blatant calls of attention.

The relationship those two have is…oh god…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s reciprocal admiration at its finest. He will read books to her even though he HATES to read. She screams in excitement when he enters the room. The other day, she nearly pushed herself out of my arms while in the pool, just to reach out to him. I originally had feared that their age difference would equate INdifference, but I couldn’t be more surprised or elated by how well they have bonded.

I wish you all could meet ZGirl. To meet XBoy. To see how years of bitter disappointments and failures have accumulated into such a sweet, sweet outcome. One that I’m proud of in that we persevered when it seemed we could never clear the hurdles of multiple miscarriages, male factor, poor ovaries, money, time, time, time…

Time. It’s hurtling us all too quickly into the future. It seems recently I’ve been sitting on that rocket of time and while my arms are wrapped firmly and lovingly around both my children, I sometimes stop sniffing the sunshine in their hair to turn and look with melancholy on what is behind me. When I turn to face what’s in front of me again, ZGirl and XBoy are just a little bit bigger and not holding on quite as tightly to my arms.