You know how old people tell you “they grow up so fast?” Yeah, that. This is Ali at four months.
What Makes Her Laugh
The giggles come easy and often these days. She thinks it’s pretty funny when we snort at her like a pig. Or when we bend and stretch her legs to make her do a little dance. Or when we bounce her while saying something inane like “boingy boingy.” Or when we lift her up into the air and exclaim “flying baby!” Or, especially, when we tickle her ribs. Double giggles and shrieks if we tickle her ribs while snorting at her like a pig.
Coolest Thing She Does
This is so basic, but I think it’s damn cool that this tiny human we created can now reach for and pick up objects that she wants. She used to grab things accidentally, usually after her flailing arms happened upon something she could close her little hands around. Now her eyes can focus on something she wants, she can reach for that thing, she can grab that thing, and, ultimately, she can put that thing in her mouth. (Let’s face it. If she’s holding it, it’s going in her mouth.)
“OMG Stop Being A Tiger Mom” Moment
A few weeks ago, I was starting to get a bit worried that Ali wouldn’t stand and bounce on her feet the way I saw other babies her age standing and bouncing on their feet. (I know. I know! I was being that mom.) Every time I’d prop her up to stand, she’d collapse at the knees like a melodramatic actress. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but we just sort of kept trying and she kept getting better at it. Now she has it mastered, and it’s one of her favorite ways to hang.
Now I’m trying harness my inner zen and not to be that mom about the fact that she’s not really rolling over yet and hasn’t mastered many vocalizations beyond the (incredibly adorable) grunt. All in good time, mama. All in good time.
The New Routine
Ali’s routine is not quite down to a science, but it’s definitely more consistent these days. She wakes up around six or seven, eats, plays a bit, goes down for a nap, wakes around nine, naps again around noon, and again around three or four. Bedtime is around eight. The time between naps is precious and playful. She naps in her crib now, which gives me much more freedom than I had in the early days when she would only nap in the Solly Wrap. I do sometimes miss those mandatory wrap nap snuggle sessions, but it’s even more fun to get in our cuddles while she’s awake and happy.
On Hiring Help
For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been working from home while also doing the mom thing. It was easy at first, back when Ali was perfectly fascinated looking at door handles and other completely random objects. But now when she’s awake, she wants to be entertained. As much as I wish I could, I realized I can’t get my job done and keep the household running during nap times alone. I was going to need some help.
I was reluctant to hire a nanny, primarily because Ali still naps so much. No matter how I sliced it, I was going to be paying someone to be around partly while Ali was asleep, which felt tremendously wasteful. I agonized over it, but feeling completely overwhelmed by all the work on my plate, I ultimately found this lovely young Stanford grad who comes to be with Ali while I work from home.
Yes, I occasionally pay her to hang out while Ali is napping. Sometimes she helps me with Ali-related household chores during nap time. Sometimes she works on her freelance projects. (She’s a photographer.) I’m happy as long as the house is in order. I’ve found that just by having her there to be responsible for Ali– hanging out with her, playing with her, putting her down for her nap, getting her up from her nap, feeding her (well, trying to feed her… we’re still working on the whole bottle thing), and playing with her some more–my brain is free to focus fully and completely on my work at hand. With the nanny’s help, I can get so much done in four hours it’s ridiculous.
The Most Precious Moment
Our little family of three recently visited my grandparents, my Boma and Bompa, at their home in Montreal. My Bompa has advanced Alzheimer’s and consequently can no longer recognize or speak with us. Thankfully, his disease didn’t stop him from meeting and loving his great granddaughter.
The night before we headed home to San Francisco, we came to say goodnight. My Bompa sat in his wheelchair and I held Ali in my arms, facing outward toward him. I told him we were leaving in the morning and kissed him goodnight. His caretaker, Tommy, then brought Bompa’s hand up to Ali’s soft little bare feet. While he held onto her, he looked into her eyes and she looked into his, and they both smiled. Her smile made him smile bigger and his big smile made her smile bigger until they were both gazing into each other’s eyes laughing sweet laughs. Watching them, it felt as though there was nothing and no one in the world but the two of them sharing that moment. I’ll never forget it.