Thursday, April 28, 2005

The one where time marches on...

The Bear is exactly nine months old today. She has four teeth, no hair, and refuses to crawl forward. Backward is the modus operandi of this child. A friend told me to put Cheerios on the floor in front of her to entice her forward, but all that taught her was the fingers-digging-into-the-carpet army crawl. All in due time, I suppose.

This particular un-birthday feels like a milestone to me... not sure why. Perhaps because the nine-month mark means she's officially been "out" longer than she was "in," although we hit that milestone almost a month ago. She's growing so fast, I feel like tomorrow I'll come home and she'll want to buy a prom dress or pierce her nose.

I should state for the record that general consensus regards me as the world's worst mother. I went back to work when the Bear was three weeks old (yes, that's weeks, not months. What is one to do when the school year starts, especially one's first year in a new district? They aren't going to move the first day of school back just for me, no matter how sweet my child) and haven't been home since. Fortunately, summer vacation is around the corner, and she and I have firm plans to get one of those little blue plastic pools and sit in the driveway all day, splashing and drinking lemonade. I refuse to teach summer school this year.

Back to my horrendous mothering record: the Bear started daycare at exactly six weeks (the legal minimum), and has spent 10-11 hours there per day ever since. She has also been (horrors!) formula-fed since that time. ::gasps in shock:: I have had so many people criticize my parenting in the last year (YEAR - it started before she was even born) that I've become almost entirely immune. 99% of it has no impact on me. I know what's best for my family - a) eating, and b) having a roof over our heads. Also, I would make a terrible SAHM - I get all frustrated and grouchy. I need to be out and about for my own mental health and well-being. At any rate, my working has had no negative impact on my daughter. This child is so damn happy it's surreal. She almost never cries, laughs constantly, and smiles in such a way to show off both her dimples and her chins. She has been sleeping through the night since three months, and is healthy as the proverbial horse. (Though what's so healthy about horses I have yet to figure out. I always thought they shot the horses when they got sick.)

The one critique on my parenting that I haven't yet been able to shake off came just this week, courtesy of my own mother. She said, in the most helpful and nonthreatening way possible, "It's okay if the Bear isn't as smart as you were. You can't expect her to be. After all, I stayed home with you for two years, and I could give you the attention you needed." As though my child will be some sort of stupefied imbecile because I don't spend every waking minute fawning over her. I could cheerfully shove the phone up my mother's nose when she makes comments like that. It's not as though every mother in the universe has the luxury / inclination to stay at home all day.

Before I become bitter here, I just wanted to commemorate nine months on the planet for my sweet Bear. She is truly the most fascinating child - she never ceases to amaze me. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

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