November 2000 page 1 of 2
Wednesday 1 November

This morning Damian came with me on an errand in Beverly Hills. We took a stroll down the street afterwards. He found a low wall, clambered up, and walked along it, balancing carefully and holding my hand for support. He said, "I can walk on the fence." I have no idea if that's a book quote or not.

He was eager to try painting today, kept pointing at the box of paints. So I took them down and set up a painting station for him. He didn't quite get the concept -- he wanted to put the brush with a green handle in the green paint and the brush with a red handle in the red paint... and then transfer immediately to the water cup. But when I got him to actually paint on the paper, he got into it. I put the result up on the fridge. I think it's actually quite beautiful. Some of the strokes look reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. I want to scan it in tomorrow and link to it.

I forgot a big one from yesterday: Damian woke up in the middle of the night. Dan rocked him. No go. Every time he put him down, Damian sat up. I rocked him. No dice. So I ended up bringing him back to bed and lying down with him. He wanted to nurse. I knew that wouldn't work, so I said no. I said nursing is asleep for the night and we have to go to sleep too, and that he could nurse in the morning. I expected a meltdown. He did get upset, but I held him and rocked him gently as I sat on the bed. He relaxed. I slid down to a lying position. He lay next to me. Peaceful. He kept popping up to a sitting position and flopping back down and boy did he talk a lot. Very restless for a long time. But he didn't cry, didn't try to nurse, and did end up falling asleep snuggled between us. When he awoke in the morning, he sat up with a shit-eating grin and pulled up my tee shirt, ready to nurse.

Thursday 2 November

I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to Damian tonight. It's a book with a seductive musical beat, as with most of Seuss. Damian picked up a toy and started tapping on the side table to the rhythm of the words.

Another 4 a.m. waking. Rocking didn't work. So Dan brought Damian into our room. I settled him on my shoulder for a moment, then said "Mommy and Daddy can't rock you anymore, and I know you're tired. Let's all lie down." I slid down to a lying position and rolled him gently off me onto the bed. He settled down and fell asleep soon after. He recognized the drill from two nights ago. More important, he's finally starting to learn how to fall asleep on his own with no nursing/rocking assist. We can expand on this in stages.

Friday 3 November

Damian saw his preschool-to-be this morning. We stopped by so I could put down a deposit for January. He seemed fascinated. Started exploring right away (kept trying to wander into classrooms while I was writing the check). The principal said hi to him and offered her hand to shake. He gave her a toy lion. Then he and I went outside and he played in the sandbox for a while. He found a toy concrete mixer and delighted in shoveling sand into it and dumping the sand back out. Then he spotted a yellow plastic construction worker helmet and put it on so he could work on the mixer outfitted in the proper attire.

Saturday 4 November

For a long time, Damian delighted in shaking his head "no" which didn't mean no, it just meant he was having fun shaking his head. I don't know exactly when, but very recently it's taken on its proper meaning. He shakes his head no in response to questions. What a relief, he actually consistently answers questions like "do you want more?" and "do you want yogurt?" Well, if the answer is no, anyway. And if he doesn't have to actually -- you know -- talk.

A new trick, as of the past week or so: he tries to match his step to mine when we're walking and says "big giant steps." (from Jonathan and his Mommy, a delightful book) And "running steps" sometimes too.

He sat on my lap at the table tonight and wanted the fruit from the bowl. So I gave him an apple, an orange, and an avocado. He tried biting the avocado, but gave up (skin's too thick -- the avocado now has bite holes), took a real bite out of the apple. Picked at the inside, eating the sweet fruit and avoiding the leathery skin. Then he put the apple down and picked up the orange. Took a big mock bite of the orange; his teeth snapped milimeters away from the skin. He knew it wouldn't taste good so he just pretended to bite it. Then he went back to the apple.

Then he put on his fireman helmet and fetched his rubber boots, wanted me to put them on him. My little fireman.

Sunday 5 November

Damian woke up in the middle of the night last night. Yes, a trend seems to be developing. He did it Friday night too. That was a disaster mostly because I reacted badly but that's another story. Last night Dan rocked Damian and brought him to bed, lying him down in between us. Damian had a definite opinion about this and climbed over me to lie on my outside instead. Then lay down and went right to sleep. He woke up this morning in a great mood: he snatched the cloth covering my eyes (to block out the light) and grinned as he pulled up my tee shirt. This is the only drawback to having him spend part of the night with us: he expects to nurse in the morning. Oh well. At least it's not in the middle of the night.

Damian saw Bugs Bunny for the first time today. His verdict: not as good as "Road Construction Ahead."

He has a whistle, part of a faux hiker's backpack set. He likes the whistle. Walks around the house blowing it.

Monday 6 November

When I say "Daddy's home!" Damian stops whatever he's doing (unless I'm reading to him, in which case he waits till the end of the book) and zooms over to the door, greeting Dan with excited joy. I almost wish I had a full time job so I could get some of that. Dan picks him up and raises him high in the air. It's a bonding ritual.

Tuesday 7 November

Our polling place is at the local park. Damian was dismayed that we were so close to the playground and instead chose to go into a building. He was very clingy for a long time. Dan and I traded off holding him whi we signed in. The women behind the table said we could vote but we'd have to leave Damian with them -- permanently! (They thought he was adorable.) Dan held him in the voting booth. When I was done, I walked by Dan's booth and fetched the kid out of his arms. The kid was finally ready to be put down. He found lines on the floor marked off with colored tape and paced the length of the lines -- to the door and back again to the table.

Tonight, for some reason, Damian decided his slippers weren't quite right, he wanted his sandals on.

He got impatient with me for being glued to the election results on TV, but by dinner time he was kinda hooked too. God only knows what he made of all those excited talking heads.

Wednesday 8 November

Damian went to bed at eleven, woke up at 5:30. Dan rocked him but Damian popped up as soon as Dan put him down in bed. So I got up with him for the morning. Basically, we sat on the couch for well over an hour cuddling. Nice but I'd way rather be asleep.

Thursday 9 November

This morning Damian had half a banana for breakfast. He then put it down and pointed to the two bananas still in the fruit bowl. When he got them, he said "two bananas" and split them apart (with assistance), then said "one banana." Learning division at two and a half.

Friday 10 November

I forgot to mention: yesterday I showed Damian a picture of Gore and Bush (with a big question mark in between, natch). I said "this is Gore and this is Bush. Which one is going to be president?" Damian pointed to Gore and even said "Go-rr." There ya go. No need for recounts, the conclusion is foregone.

Today I took Damian to Santa Monica. We walked to the beach (four blocks). First we stood in Palisades Park overlooking the highway and ocean. Damian was very interested in the view but even more interested in a seagull that flew just over our heads. I told him it was a seagull. "Sea-GULL," he said. Then over a bridge to the beach. He loved walking -- slow motion running -- in the sand. When we got to the water, he wanted to wade in it, wanted it bad. But it was chilly and I had no change of clothes for either of us, so I had to nix that thought. Still, we chased the edge of the surf for a little while. Silent expanse of sand, gorgeous glittering water, a sharp clear perfect day. Then we walked back to civilization. We sat leaning against a canon in the park as I fed Damian some snacks. Then off into town. Running down the sidewalk, into stores, having fun. A truly wonderful day.

Saturday 11 November

We had a poker party tonight. I forgot to explain to Damian what was going to happen -- people coming in, us all having dinner, etc. -- and when the first guest showed up, he freaked. I rocked and soothed him and then he was fine, but he was volatile for a while. Spooked, I think. He enjoyed the buzz of conversation and activity, though, as he sat in his high chair and downed large amounts of spaghetti with tomato sauce. He saw me shuffling the cards and wanted some, so I ended up giving him the spare deck. Which is of course now covered in tomato sauce. But it was funny seeing him with a tomato smeared face, holding a fistful of playing cards.

Sunday 12 November

Bad night last night. Down at 11 pm, up at 2:30 am, up at 6 am for the day -- or at least for the morning. A long nap around 11 am, thank god. I think it was a combination of excitement from the day's activities and a case of sniffles that made it hard to breathe.

Dan had trouble putting Damian down for a nap in his bed, so he brought him into our room where I was taking a nap. He reports that when Damian realized he was in bed with me, he got a big grin on his face and closed his eyes, ready to sleep. Opened them again a moment later, smiled again, and then went right to sleep. Sweet.

We went to a kiddie birthday party this afternoon at a house with a huge back yard dotted with big red balls and a concrete parking area with half a dozen kiddie cars, not to mention a solid wood jungle gym complete with swing set. Damian, needless to say, was in heaven. He had a bad reaction to a guy dressed as Elmo (I had to make the sign of the cross to get the guy to skedaddle) but otherwise had a grand old time swinging and wandering and scarfing cheese doodles. Not the most social kid in the world, perhaps, but he enjoyed the environment and that's enough for now.

Monday 13 November

Mr. Grump of the morning turned into Sunny Boy the moment we got out the door. I should have thought of that... As I was telling a parking valet that Damian was in a lousy mood, he grinned and started bouncing away in front of me. Heh.

Speaking of outings, I've noticed the past week or two that he now does what I want: if I say, let's go to the car he heads there and waits for me to open the door. When I set him down at our destination, he waits for me to be ready and either holds my hand (if we're in a garage or parking lot) or runs just a little ahead. Outings have become massively more manageable. I don't remember teaching him to be so cooperative, it just happened. Practically overnight.

Tuesday 14 November

Kid's got a cold. Sick kid's been a clingmeister most of the day. It was wearing but sort of nice too. I went back and forth between exasperation, frustration, tenderness, and contentment. He's definitely got the knack of blowing into tissues down, I can tell you that.

He rejected dinner, wanted ice cream instead. I know how I feel when I get sick. I gave him ice cream for dinner. Am I an irresponsible mom?

Wednesday 15 November

Now I've got Damian's cold. So does Dan. Jami has it too; I think she gave it to us all. This is the beginning, isn't it? The round of colds and flus that a child brings into the house. Problem is, when Damian's got a cold, his sleep goes to hell. When his sleep goes to hell, we all get sleep deprived. When we're sleep deprived, we're more suseptible to viruses. And on it goes.

I took Damian to the bank this morning. He's gotten over his insistence on going straight back to the car afterwards, thankfully. We wandered down a side street. Damian walked atop a wall. Earlier in the bank, he found the border from one kind of flooring to another and walked the length of that. He's into lines and paths and walls. Demarcated pathways. I remember being a child and being fascinated by that too. I wonder what it's about.

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