Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dear Mack - Month Four

Dear Mack,

I'm happy to report that a large part of your fourth month of life was
spent very happily, since for nearly 2 weeks of it we were traveling
to see your cousins, on what I am starting to refer to as the beginning of the Baby Mack Summer World Tour. It has become apparent to me pretty early in the planning stages of this first trip as well and others we have upcoming that our family and friends would have totally been OK with it if I'd sent you to see them by yourself. But since the airlines won't let you fly unaccompanied yet, I came along for the trip as your chaperone.

For the first leg of this summer tour, you and I were on our own, flying from LA to San Antonio. I was a bit nervous about this, because I've flown a lot over the years, and have witnessed a few quite spectacular infant meltdowns on airplanes. Previously, I have been that childless traveler who knows better than to sit anywhere near the woman with the adorable drooling baby, because everyone knows that kid is going to start screaming the minute the fasten seatbelt sign is turned on. And I have always secretly dreaded the day when that woman would be me. 

But in the end, like most things I worry about, it really wasn't that bad. Maybe it was because you kind of liked the plane, and fell asleep almost as soon as the engines started droning. Maybe you really wanted the twenty bucks I promised to give you if you would be good, in which case, I had better pay up soon or face your wrath on our next flight. Either way, you were a model traveler and had a good long nap by the time we touched down in San Antonio.

In San Antonio, you met your Uncle Z for the first time, as well as Roxy the dog and you were held until you just couldnt take it anymore by your cousins as they fought over who got to hold you next or who was next to feed you. Your cousins loved to show you off to all their new friends. Your Aunt Jen was the ringleader and master of ceremonies when it came to the Baby Mack Holding/Feeding Battles


You served as the official mascot of your cousin Ashton's 10th Pink Monkey Party... and Ashton loved showing you off to all her friends.  Besides you were a wonderful sleeper at the hotel as well even with the screaming of a bunch of 10 year old girls.  

You continue to be a very happy baby though you still are very very unhappy when it comes to your car seat. You do not like it at all. I have tried everything from having company sit with you in the back seat, to toys, to videos, to music, to driving with the windows down..with the windows up. You name it, Ive tried it. I am not going to blog about the combination of steps I've taken recently to try to sort this out. But I'm writing about this struggle I've had because these letters will also serve as a record of what this first year of your life was like for me, and I want to remember how frustrating this part was.


I want to remember this for two reasons. One is so that I can be sympathetic to someone going through the same thing one day. I truly believe that there is some kind of fog that descends on the minds of parents that prevents us from recalling in detail just how hard some of the parts of having a baby really are. And sometimes, when you're in the middle of those hard things, people can't access the memory of what you're going through, even though they went through it themselves. So, with the best of intentions, they say things like "Oh, this is nothing. Wait until she's a teenager. Then you'll have problems." That may be true, but it is not helpful, and I don't ever want to say it to some poor mommy struggling with her own challenges..

The other reason I want to remember this is because trying to get you to be happy in the car seat has taught me what I am pretty sure is a major parenting/life lesson: No matter how much I want there to be a well-defined answer for how to fix any given problem I may face as your parent, the fact is that you are a unique little person, and even if Solution X worked for 6,235 babies before you, none of those babies are just like you. In some ways, it's tough for me to embrace that, because it means that there are probably never going to be any easy answers. But at the same time, that lesson also makes me feel really lucky, because it's another reminder that there really is only one of you. And there isn't any other baby I'd rather have, even if you scream at the top of your lungs every time we leave the house.

Now we're back home in LA for the time being, and you certainly are going through the people withdrawal I had anticipated. It's like I've come home from with a different child, because you did so much growing up in those few weeks. When we left, you were showing no interest in toys, and now you love toys. Specifically, you love to put toys in your mouth, which is also where you recently decided your hands should stay at all times. You have a cute double fisted thumb sucking maneuver that I find pretty darn precious. 

You now roll from back to front at will and are working hard at getting the front to back thing down.  You also have a very strong desire to sit up.  Almost any time you are put in a reclining position you struggle to get up doing amazing long baby crunches that last as long as you are left in that position.  That's the thing about you. You're always changing, and learning something new, and that's so much fun to watch.

Thanks for being such a good traveler. I definitely owe you twenty bucks.


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