Right Now

For just a few moments tonight I’m not thinking about work, or doing the dishes, about putting out the garbage or if the dog’s been walked. I’m just focused on the way his face fits perfectly into my neck, his weight settled gently on my chest, his small arm locked around my neck. There’s probably snot and drool dripping down on me, but I just close my eyes, humming idly still as the rocking chair sways, both of us breathing in and out in the dark, both tired, but we need each other – he needs my comfort and I need his trusting, soft body snuggled onto mine to make him feel better.

If I could I would keep him attached to me always, but I understand that the older he gets, the more he can run, climb, and play, and a happy running into your arms hug is a precious thing. So too, are these moments, few and far between, when he’s not feeling well and just wants to be soothed and rocked and lulled towards sleep and it’s something I can do better than anyone else in the world.

Afterwards, I did some laundry. Changed a lightbulb, and put some soup on the stove to calm my gnawing stomach. Checked email. Then as I brought a basketful of clothes up to pour all over the bed, I decided to check in on him, too. He hadn’t moved, was still snoring, but was slick with sweat. So I decided to take off his fleece pajama pants and accidentally woke him up.

Back to the rocking chair. Rookie mistake.

We’ve been lucky that Baby J hasn’t been sick too often. A handful of colds and tummy bugs, foot and mouth disease a few months ago. It seems to be cold season though and we’re joining the rest with our sore throats and runny noses. I wish I could take away his discomfort and make him understand that the dryness in his mouth is temporary, that he’ll breathe freely again soon, but in the meantime all I can do is rock and hug, and enjoy being needed just a little bit.

First Time at the Fair

Nothing signals the start of fall like the blue skies, crisp air, and the the sights and sounds of a fair. One of my earliest memories is running askew in a three legged race with a cousin at a local fair, getting a silver dollar as a prize from my Opa. I went back to the fair a few times in high school but since then not really.

It’s another part of having a kid that I forgot about: being able to see these things I did and felt as a child through his eyes. So when my friend Dawn suggested we pop over and walk from her house to the Richmond fair, I thought it sounded great. It was the chilliest day we’d had yet, and luckily I found a great jacket hiding in the closet, handed down to me from a friend, that seemed made just for him.

We met up with some of her family as well, and Baby J had a great time. He’s a bit small to do everything, but he enjoyed looking at the animals, imitating the loud moooooos of the gleaming cows, watching the ducks, rabbits, and even a donkey mingle in the petting area. He interestedly watched as a class of shrieking youngsters ran around, one girl stooping nearby to snatch up a handful of grass and shove it quickly towards a goat’s open mouth. He scooped some up himself, learning quickly that the goats would come over and nibble.

We drifted over to a guy showing science-y stuff to an enthralled crowd, then back to the animals. Baby J was happy to run around and watch every little thing, craning his neck to spot the airplane way above, grinning, feeling the sun on his face, before spotting a giant tractor and dashing over to run his hands over the glossy yellow wheel.

tractor

For lunch we tried out a food truck serving tacos and it was fantastic. We had the chicken tacos and shared the tangy meat, crisp tomatoes and the corn tortilla that was just soft enough.

tacos

I picked up some local maple syrup and we watched one of the older girls we were with go on the little dragon roller coaster, again and again. I threw a dart and won a little stuffed whale and then we ventured to the merry go round. He liked it well enough the first time, clinging tight to the horse after it had stopped rising and falling, but the second time we had to wait quite awhile as kids loaded up, so he was kind of over it before the ride started.

ferris

The biggest hit of the day was on the way out: the hay bales, just leaking enough straw strands to be picked up and strewn about, sturdy enough to climb on, and the assortment of fall gourds, just right to be placed here and re-arranged there.

A few hours was plenty for him in the morning, and he fell asleep about a minute after I pulled onto the street. Our first time at the fair was a success and I’m looking forward to doing some more outdoor fall activities with him this year!

gourds

Another day

After work today I took Baby J out for a stroll with the dog. Just to get out and clear my head. Within minutes I was freezing, having underestimating the sunshine’s effect at 5pm, untangling the leash from the stroller every few steps, listening to J’s squawks of protest. Once I hit the sidewalk and started off in the familiar circle, we all settled down and started walking, and thinking. I gripped the handle tightly and went over the day in my head.

I was up at 5:40am with an upset, teething baby. We managed to clean out the fridge, have coffee and breakfast and both get dressed by 8:45 when Daddy takes over for the day, stumbling up after his late work night. They watch a little old school Sesame Street and I start working. The day is busy, Baby J naps early, Tyler gets a couple hours in practicing songs for a wedding he is playing tomorrow, and I run out to get groceries at lunch, just unpacking them before it’s time to work again. I have to head upstairs, a sobbing kid (his toenails are both coming off, he’s tired, and when oh when will his eye teeth pop through) in my wake.

It’s go-go-go all afternoon for all of us, and I finally break away to eat something a bit after 3pm. I can hear sounds of fun in Julian’s room so I peek in and see them playing happily in his crib. He catches my eye and gets so excited that he bonks his chin on his railing. At least I can to hug and comfort, and I don’t notice the blood on my shirt sleeve until almost 5pm, when I’m done for the day and trade off baby duty so Tyler can record his daily song before he has to go to his gig at 6:15pm. I cut up a bunch of broccoli to toss in the steamer, J helping me fill it up with water, and head out the door for some air.

After our walk, we bring the dog and stroller home, and explore a bit. I’m tired and my unwashed hair is coming out in wisps, I’m still chilled but I’m feeling so happy and thankful too. Grateful that there was a hat for Baby J tucked into the stroller. Loving his rosy nose and cheeks and delighted grin as he spots a branchful of leaves quivering in the wind.

Some days are just so up and down, but they go by in such a quick blur that I can’t worry about every bump and scratch. I have to chose what to focus on and that’s being happy in the moment. Feeling tired and down and stretched too thin, watching my neighbour with her yoga mat a bit wistfully, worrying about the pile of dishes and dog food all over the floor is easy to give into. I never really realized before just how frazzled you can get once you have another little person depending fully on you.

Luckily, pushing it aside for the stories on the couch before bed, snuggled together under a fuzzy blanket is easy to do. There’s a small head, velvety soft, leaning on my shoulder as I croon a couple of lullabies, arms wound around my neck and then just one more, one more kiss before he dozes off. There’s a batch of clean, fresh smelling laundry to fold, inside my nice warm house, there’s tea with honey, and a new Masterchef to watch.

Tomorrow’s another day. And today wasn’t really so bad.