Little Architect

This was supposed to be summer vacation. This was supposed to be the summer Sprout learned how to be bored on her own, and come up with marvelous things to do. I envisioned her building forts out of  blankets and sheets, filling up her drawing books with the best work since Picasso got into Cubism, creating sticker pictures, playing Doc McStuffins with her toy collection. And she did that. And then…

Two weeks into summer break, and she was coloring on the walls. I mean that in the literal sense of the word.

I realized I do not have a child who can just be on her own, who can figure out how to amuse herself. Let me rephrase that, who can figure out how to amuse herself in ways that do not involve destruction or the permanent markers she snatched from my desk.

So I started coming up with activities to do. Some of them were home school activities, simplified for easy play. We’ve done more arts and crafts, used more glue, paint and glitter than I care to reminder. Or can get out of my carpet.

But I had a box of packing peanuts, saved from a delivery, sitting on the top of my fridge. And I had toothpicks. Putting them together meant nearly an hour of building, taking things apart, and rebuilding. I should have done this on a sheet, to avoid the risk of stepping on lost toothpicks. Or even better, I will do this outside next time, and I will not have to worry about toothpicks getting jammed into small toes. Or my toes. I’ve had to go the ER once to get a piece of toothpick out of my foot, years ago, I don’t care to do it again.

But she was occupied. She wasn’t in trouble, wasn’t scheming to do something she shouldn’t or playing with something she shouldn’t, or pestering the cats, or any number of the Do Nots. I try to avoid the Do Nots as much as possible, but there are times when you have to have a Do Not. But on this afternoon, I forgot about the Do Nots, and let her build. And build. And build some more.

~Jennifer

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Off the back porch

Hanging off a branch directly over my back porch is a hummingbird feeder. Sprout has been fascinated by the hummingbirds since we got here, and as soon as it was warm enough, she had to have one up. I forget to fill the stupid thing all the time, and days go by before I realize we’re not seeing the tiny little birds because they have no food.

When I do keep it filled though, we get a couple regulars. Tiny little puffballs of aggression, fighting over spots at the feeder. I put a second one up, hoping it would keep them from fighting, but nope, they maneuver like Apache helicopters, rushing each other and chasing each other off. It’s warfare, on a little size, conducted by the smallest birds I’ve ever seen.

He hangs out with us the most. I had always thought this one was dark, and probably a female, but when the sun caught him just right, he sparkles and turns into a redhead. I need to keep the feeder refilled, and see if I can lure him back, and this time, get a couple truly good pictures of him.

~Jennifer

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At 6 months

This is what 6 months looks like. Rolls of fat, chubby thighs, sitting up, babbling, and putting everything, and I do mean everything, in her mouth. Sprout at this age had delicate features, a pointed chin, a button nose, and over-large ears that she still hasn’t grown into. If I played the word association game, the word elfin brought me right to Sprout. But say Pudge’s name, and I think of round. Round cheeks, a round belly that pokes out over her diaper.

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I have these small little laughing Buddha statues. And he is all round belly, and big smile in every statue. From the moment I opened the box, I thought of Pudge, with her big toothless grin, and that belly, pushing against her onesies, and hanging over diaper. She is unapologetically chubby, perfectly content her roundness, and happy with her life. (As long as she isn’t hungry.) I’ve learned more about body positivity in the past few months, as she started to go from tiny newborn to pudgy baby, than I have my entire life time.

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She’s not too good at sleeping yet, she wants to get up after bedtime and play for a few minutes, and then go back to bed. I try to be in the moment during those times, especially once Sprout has gone to bed. I try to imprint the weight of her head on my shoulder, the squeals of laughter, the baby talk, to memory. The dark circles under my eyes, testament to the amount of sleep I’m not getting, are slowly making their way down my face. By the time the girls are in college, I am convinced my face will be nothing but puffy, dark circles.

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But these moments will pass quickly. It feels like yesterday I was gingerly getting out of the car, and carefully unbuckling a tiny newborn from her seat. In reality, half a year has gone by.

~Jennifer