At almost eighteen months
— what? seriously? that’s halfway to three years old! it feels like he’s been here a million years, but also like the blink of a sleepy eye. i have no hold on time any more. but seriously? halfway to three. what a marvel.) —
our sweet/earnest, earnest/sweet not.so.baby boy:
- Talks up a storm. But only if he’s super comfortable, which mostly means around us or close friends and family, and at home. He just talks and talks. He tells us about the cats. About the house. About his day. He’s so excited to share ideas with us and we are so excited to listen. There are plenty of recognizable words in there, but plenty that only Bram knows too. Last week, he called me “Bram mama.” That was achingly sweet. He calls Iris some version of “Eye-eeees.” He usually calls Nemesis “Nememem.” He says “no” with commitment when he doesn’t want something. When he does, he still says “no,” but he nods his whole body “yes.” The contradiction is missed on him, which is lovely. In the last few days, he’s starting making this noise. Sort of like he’s saying “ticka” over and over again. It reminds me of that creature Gizmo from Gremlins. Remember that guy? Anyway, Bram does it whenever he’s super happy. Which is often. It’s the new best thing.
- His favorite objects are his cart, his doll stroller, his guitar, his drum, his tricycle, his full-sized soccer ball, things that stack, Duplos (with which he builds high, square towers), crayons and his giant note pad, Rudy (his Waldorf doll), and books. Oh, and trains. We have been bitten by the train bug, and how.
- He’s recently become cautious about larger animals: horses, goats, giraffes, dogs. He wants to look at them, but he does not want us to take him too close. “No no no,” he’ll say if I take the step that is, for him, one step nearer than he’d like to be. He’ll push his body into mine. His hands. So we stop. We stand still. We are watchers together.
- He sings now. All the time. He sings the ABC song with us. I mean, not the letters or anything, but all the same. He sings along with any music that’s playing. J got him a book version of “I’ve been Working on the Railroad” from the library, and he demands both the book and the song all day long. We dance to it. We strum invisible banjos. We wiggle and bounce and sing sing sing that song. His first loves may be Dinah and her glorious horn. But whatever is playing, Bram just sings and dances, bending and unbending his knees, awkwardly shifting his tiny baby boy hips left and right. The child loves music.
- And his penguin walk! I’ve got to get that on film before he abandons it.
- He asks what everything is, even if he’s asked about a given object three dozen times. Especially then. He asks (by pointing and saying “that?,” and when you name whatever it is for him, he waves at it and tells it hello. “Hiiiiiii.” This is true whether the object is a cloud or a friend or his penis. It’s probably my imagination, but the other day, after a series of “that’s,” and my responses: “that’s a…,” I asked B “that?” about a cat, and I swear swear swear that he said, so slowly, “that. a. cat.” Which is a sentence. Which, come on. Wow.
- He is an absolute smooching fool. Our lips, our knee-caps, our thighs. The cats. Characters in his books. This boy can smooch with the best of them.
- He’s getting my OCD in a sweet way. Bram loves to clean up. When he wants to color, he brings me his coloring pad and leads me to the drawer where I keep the crayons. Last week, when (about fifteen minutes after doing this) he decided (of his own accord) that he was done coloring, he slowly carried each crayon back to the drawer where we keep the crayon box, opened it (though it’s over his head) and put the crayons in the drawer, one by one. The whole thing took about five minutes. They’re still in there all loose, not in the box, both because I’m so struck by his activity and because, despite my intense love of organization, I find myself smitten with the thought that I live in a house where a toddler fills a drawer with loose crayons.
- We had two of the families from our co-op group come over a few days ago, and once they were both here, I called across the room to ask Bram to shut the door. When he obliged (well, he couldn’t quite get the door to latch, but he did push it into the closed position), one of the mamas with older kids noted how advanced his ability to comprehend and follow instructions are. And she’s right. He can go get things and take them to specific places. He parks his bumble bee where it goes every time he’s done riding it, as if its spot between the bookshelf and the wall is a parking space. It’s just amazing. He’s just amazing.
At eighteen months, Bram’s mommies:
- Have officially put our cottage on the market. I’m so hopeful that I’ll find tenure track work this cycle, but even if I don’t, we’ll likely leave this town a year from now because this year I’m open to postdocs in other cities. So if the cottage sells, we’ll find an apartment. If it sells on the sooner side, we’ll even get a one-year lease. We’ll put most of our stuff in storage and live sort of minimally. Which, frankly, is the appealing part. A nice, simple, clean, sparsely furnished apartment with a washer and dryer right there. No basement. No yard work. No fuss. The not.at.all.appealing part, the part that makes me feel a little like throwing up, is leaving this house. More to say on that later; I sense a breakdown coming if I think on this too long.
- J is down to halftime plus doula clients for the rest of the summer, which is how I’m writing this now. She took our boy to his Friday morning storytime at the library. I wrote thank you cards. I took a bath. I’m writing a blog post. Gods bless July and August. There’s some fallout now that we have time to process things: we put a lot of grieving and dealing on the back burner, and now there’s time, which means there’s pain. But still: having our J/pomo here? Gold.
- We’re tentatively trying with J’s body for a few cycles. More on this soon too, but if you have an in with the Healthy Baby TTC Gods, would you mind putting in a good word?
- My official graduation ceremony was last Saturday, and J justbarely made it (she was at a birth both before and after). I was so heartbroken when I thought she wouldn’t be there. It felt insulting on top of my dad not being there. On top of not being pregnant. On top of on top of on top of. But finally holding my son while wearing that robe (which my father-in-law generously bought me) made me aware of how far we’ve come. We’ve had to fight for our family, for our successes, but the ones that have come are all the more sweet for that.
And finally, (almost) eighteen months in photos:
The necklace I made out of the stone B brought me from our garden that day. So, his first birthday present to me. So, the best object:
Bram and one of his great.girl.loves, Amie (wearing matching bibs made over a year ago by B’s Aunt Laura). We got to see this sweet girl + her mommy and daddy last week, and it was like coming home. They’re moving closer to us and we couldn’t be more excited.
Bram and his Thea, of course. Out celebrating on the day of the SCOTUS DOMA ruling. As one of her mamas said, they are “sweet little wrought iron rainbabies.” And we, that day, were four happy moms.
Our not.so.much.of.a.baby.baby at our back-up MD’s office preparing for our next insemination.
He stands on knowledge.
Sweet family. After commencement. I wish to hell my dad were in this photo. And that I had a big belly under that robe. But the family that is here? Well, there’s nothing in the world like it.
Mama + Bramble. The photo I waited so many years to see.
My love and me, together, outside of the building where we spent a lot of time. It’s a scary building. We’re happy it never blew over in the wind. At least not yet.
Happy July to all of you. May your days be full of love.