Saturday, December 29, 2012

At Long Last

This blog entry is tragically overdue, mostly because I often wait for the little blogger inspiration fairy to whisper in my ear, and lately, if she's been whispering, I can't hear her over Mallory's shrieks.

Might as well begin there. My sweet little darling angel has, in the past couple of weeks, turned clingy and impish, wanting to nurse or be held constantly. Mornings are an elaborate dance to see how quickly we can crack eggs and pour coffee before she has time to crawl over and pull herself up on our legs (another charming newish development, which is accompanied by whiny pleading and eyes wide with heartbreak). To boot, M started his full-time job this week (yay for benefits!) which means that I am now alone with our little darling. All. Day. Long.

Now, let me be clear: she's a whole lot of fun to hang out with. She's a great listener, happy to lend an ear to my anxious ramblings (is this too much butter for rice crispy treats?) and neurotic cataloging (when we get home from this walk, I'm going to change your diaper, make a quick snack, feed you, and then finish writing my article while you frolic about with your toys, okay?). And sometimes she actually does occupy herself for stretches of time, seemingly oblivious to me. I'll suddenly be struck by the silence, bolt up from my desk chair, and discover Mallory in the bedroom licking the mirror, or at the bookcase browsing the nonfiction shelf, or in the bathroom unraveling an entire roll of toilet paper (only if I've forgotten to close the door, an essential habit now that she also enjoys standing up at the toilet and drumming the porcelain).

The thing that's so difficult (and promising) about babies is that they are constantly changing. We thought we had a solid hour-long (or more) morning nap dialed in. But for the past week, she's waking up after just 20 minutes, maybe 45. We thought we'd finally rounded a corner on food, getting her to eat mashed sweet potatoes and carrots and bananas daily. Now as soon as she sees the spoon, she turns her head away with a look of disgust. Of course, she's constantly sneaking other things into her mouth: crushed leaves, lint, plastic twisty ties, a sticker that she peeled off of my computer while I was checking my email. Last night she did gum up part of a biscuit I made to accompany our potato leek soup (the first of many creations simmered in our new Christmas crock pot :), while sitting peacefully on my lap for a full half hour. I loved it.

Maybe it's the wintry weather, or all those episodes of Chopped, or the fact that I am the Bohemian's food writer and finally embracing the position, but M and I are in full culinary splendor, discovering the joys of baked eggs and pop-ups, chicken marsala, homemade caramels and candied lemon and orange peels. Yum! And thanks in equal parts to nursing and our jogging stroller, I get to indulge my many sweet teeth and still fit into clothes I haven't worn since before pregnancy. The only downside to all this cooking are the ants, who are invading our kitchen and mud room on a daily basis. We've tried orange peels and cayenne and vinegar, but are still losing a few battles. Fingers crossed that borax will put an end to this war.

So. The sun is just peeking out. Mallory is still asleep, going on 45 minutes now. I've been up since 5:45, which means I've already eaten breakfast twice. I've also read a chapter of my book, cleaned the kitchen with M, put piles of my summer clothing away on the closet shelf, and worked a bit on an essay that is almost ready to be submitted. There are other things I need to do, like wrap a few overdue Christmas packages and brush my teeth, but those things can be accomplished when Mallory is awake and watching me with those big curious alert eyes of hers. For now, I relish the chance to do whatever I want.