Today your father said to me, “I never thought I’d be so invested in another person’s poop.”
You see, young Miles, you have never in your entire life gone more than a day without having a bowel movement. On those occasions where you skip a day, the following day invariably involves a huge, disgusting blowout, your outfit soaking in a bucket, you soaking in the tub, and me sanitizing the changing table.
As of today, you were creeping up on 72 hours. Your dad and I were worried.
“It’s impossible for a breastfed baby to be constipated,” the books and websites say. Perhaps, but they couldn’t see you crying and straining, your tears soaking your hair and making it curl against your scalp. They couldn’t see your dad and me massaging your belly, bending and unbending your legs, and administering water from a medicine dropper. You didn’t sleep well last night (despite your recent accomplishments in that field; I am now proud to say that you have slept through the night no fewer than five times), which meant nobody slept well. We had plans today, but they were looking less and less fun the more you screamed.
On the advice of relatives and the ever-reliable Internet, we gave you some diluted apple juice, which is the first non-milk and non-water substance that has crossed your lips (unless you count the time you stuck your hand in my spaghetti sauce and licked your fingers). You were a bit confused by it at first, and you never really did get the hang of the sippy cup, so I just held the open cup to your mouth and let you have a taste. It was as if diluted apple juice was a nectar of the gods. True, about as much of it dribbled down your neck and back as went into your mouth, but you really enjoyed what I managed to get into you.
And, lo and behold, it worked. The laundry is currently soaking, you’re sleeping on my lap, and everyone is feeling much better. I even got to send a text message to your dad (who unfortunately had to miss this auspicious event) with the word “Poop!”, and he knew it was good news.
But enough about poop. (I say that all the time, and it always comes back to poop. Enough about poop for now, anyway.)
I barely remember my life before you, though I’m pretty sure there were hobbies and book-writing and trips to the movies in it. One thing I’m certain of is that I didn’t used to have to have my hair in a ponytail every day. You have developed the highly endearing habit of reaching up and touching my face, often responding to my question, “Can you get Mommy?” That’s all a delight, until you realize that my face happens to be very near my hair, and wouldn’t it be fun to grab some in your puke-sticky little fists?
(Aside: I now know what milk and apple juice smell like after being mixed together and exposed to stomach acid. Good times.)
Some other things you enjoy these days:
- shoving your fist in your mouth
- standing up like a big boy (with support)
- playing with your plush friends Bob, Fran, and Phil
- grabbing your feet.
You also began what I hope is a lifelong series of travel adventures. You had your first out-of-state trip, which was to St. Louis to cousin Laura and Joe’s wedding. For about 3.2 hours of the 4-hour drive, you were quiet and sweet. However, that remaining .8 hour was pretty darn hellish, my dear. I had always sworn I would be a front-seat mom; I know some moms who ride in the back seat with their babies, and I always felt like doing that would represent a kind of loss of dignity. But when your dad and I realized that my presence in the back seat could mean the difference between listening to screams and listening to giggles, I amended my stance.
It was lots of fun to spend time with your cousins, especially baby Anna. You weren’t too crazy about the wedding reception, which was too bad, because your dad and I were having lots of fun dancing with Laura, Joe, Adam, Erin, Brad, and the rest of the gang. We ended up leaving early, because there was just no way to calm you down with all the loud noises. I’m with you there, Miles—I prefer quiet places too, but sometimes you just have to partay a little bit. One of these years you’ll figure it out.
Another fun thing you got to do was take your first swim in a pool. You were pretty mellow about the whole thing; I thought you might flail around more, since you’ve been doing that a lot lately; in fact, one of my new nicknames for you is Flaily Ukuele. You mostly just chilled out in my arms while Anna chilled out in her mommy’s arms and you sailed languidly by one another.
You also recently had your second out-of-state trip, and your first airplane ride: we went to Portland and Cannon Beach, Oregon. You are better at plane travel than car travel. We did a lot of neat stuff, and you got to see the ocean for the first time. Cannon Beach was a cool setting: a creek runs right through the beach, parallel to the edge of the ocean, until they finally meet. I had hoped to put your toe in the water, but it was too cold. Still, your dad made up a song to celebrate the circumstances, and it’s one you like for me to sing to you while I’m there in the back seat. Dignity be damned.
To the tune of “Islands in the Stream”:
Miles in the stream,
Splashing with his arms,
Having so much fun,
Like a wiggle-worm.
Come away with me
to Cannon Beach.
We will splash on each other, oh,
Having fun with one another, oh.
Your sense of humor has really taken off this month. We have several videos of you cracking up, and just about every day has your laughter in it now. You had a lot of fun when your uncle Tyler got your ears. Inexplicably, you also found it hilarious when your dad whispered to you. All he did was lower his voice and say, “I am talking very quietly,” and you thought it was the funniest thing in the whole world.Maybe nobody watches the videos I post of you; maybe it’s just delusional mommy syndrome that makes me think a minute of your belly laugh is the most outrageously heart-warming thing ever invented. I don’t care. Much like your dad never thought he would become so invested in another person’s poop, I never realized I would so treasure a smelly little palm on my cheek, a floor covered in hairs that have been yanked out of my head, and the laughter of a little boy who thinks his mommy and daddy are silly.