Thursday, January 22, 2009

Drudgery: Not So Much

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's all delight, but there's very little drudgery these days. So little that I regret my choice of title -- I feel basically happy as a parent, and it bothers me a bit that the name of my blog suggests otherwise.

What drudgery there is comes more from being the at-home adult than from being a parent. It's dishes and laundry and vacuuming. And, to be fair, Andy as the working adult does a great deal of household drudgery, too -- it's not like he comes home from work and puts his feet up and demands bourbon and steak.

The delights lately are mostly about watching Ben develop skills. He's such a little dynamo of development, I feel sometimes like I'm watching him in time-lapse photography. My job is to strike the right balance of helping: helping enough, but not helping so much that my help prevents his work. And so sometimes my job is just to sit on the sofa and knit or read while he does his baby work on the floor, picking up toys one by one and examining them, testing their limits, or practicing getting from his hands and knees to hands and feet. He looks up at me every once in a while and we trade big grins -- we're both very pleased at his progress. And I love that doing my parenting work now involves entertaining myself, too.

He's also just a lot of fun to be around. He's gone from being a very fussy little baby to being a generally happy big baby. He grins and giggles and babbles and flirts and is just generally a joyful little person. I have to be in a very foul mood indeed for his delight in life not to rub off on me.

Which is not to say that we don't have rough patches. He's teething, and that means sometimes the very foul mood is his, and he refuses to nap and gets colossally cranky or has no patience and cries every ten minutes no matter where I put him or what I do. And these bad patches are made worse by the rotten weather we've been having, because generally, no matter how crappy a mood we're in, getting out into the fresh air of the park or even into the car to run some invented errands restores both our attitudes. But that doesn't work when we're getting ten inches of snow.

And sleep remains a recurrent source of discomfort and worry. We did a bit of a sleep-training refresher course a couple weeks ago, and though it was tough for a couple of nights, I think it made a significant improvement. A small outcropping of the sleep issue is the sad briefness of his naps. It's not a problem in terms of his getting the right amount of rest -- it's just that I would really enjoy having more than thirty or forty minutes twice a day to myself, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

But really, big picture: this is fun. I enjoy parenting, and feel generally competent. The delight far, far, far outweighs the drudgery.

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