We went to Chiang Dao this weekend, grabbing a chance to get out of Dodge for a bit, so to speak. We stayed at a place called The Nest, a cozy little bungalow style retreat nestled up mountainside. Having stayed there once for Toby’s birthday last year when I was 7 months pregnant, we knew it would be a relaxed place to bring our (almost) 6 month old Cy. The ladies who run the place recognized us immediately (probably due to Toby’s beard). One matron asked me whether I delivered Cy naturally, and when I told her I had a c-section, she asked, “Didn’t you try?” “For 15 hours, I tried,” I said. “That big head just wouldn’t go down.” “15 hours!” she exclaimed, before proceeding to scold Cy for causing me so much grief. “Mommy jep, na!” she admonished him. “Mommy hurt, hey!” She gave him quite the lecture. He responded by banging on the wooden blocks they had laid out for kids to play with.
When we went to dinner that night, the head waitress was so excited to see us and Cy, she scooped him up and paraded him around the restaurant, introducing him to every one else there, telling them all, “Look at this boy! His mom came when she was pregnant and her stomach was SO BIG!!” It’s a mark of how long I’ve lived in Thailand that this remark didn’t faze me one bit.
Before we went I wondered how well Cy would travel. Granted, Chiang Dao is only an hour north of Chiang Mai and we only stayed one night, so it’s not like it was a really enormous trip, but he weathered it just fine. He took all the new sights and people in with nothing but curiosity, and even sleeping in a new place didn’t bother him. I wonder if this is a benefit to co-sleeping and attachment parenting: when we’re the center of his world, it may make it easier to adapt to new places, as long as we’re there with him. Maybe if he only ever sleeps in his crib, then it would be unsettling to sleep somewhere new. But if he sleeps with us, then as long as he has us, it matters less where he sleeps. Maybe? I don’t know. That’s just conjecture. Anyway, I hope it bodes well for when we go to the U.S. because there will be a ton of upheaval in his life then!
Meanwhile our little boy is all about trying to learn to walk. He knows to put one foot in front of the other and is quickly getting better about not stepping on his own self as he goes. He can stand (assisted) for a long period of time, so I think it’s mostly balance he needs to work on. It’s funny how badly he wants to do it though. He has abandoned most of his toys and even books can’t capture his attention so long anymore (except as objects to eat). All he wants to do is find ways to stand and walk, and he gets so frustrated that he can’t yet. Like sitting before he could really roll, I think he’ll be on two legs before he works out how to move on all fours. That’s our boy, putting the cart before the horse.
I wonder if he’s like his daddy: wanting independence and freedom.
I wonder if he’s like his mama: wanting to grow up before his age.
He’s also all about the grab right now. Grab, grab, grab. Stand and grab. Makes sitting quietly in a restaurant a trial, and mama needs a thick skin to weather all the scrapes from his little fingernails as he tries to climb his way up me to get to a higher vantage point. But it’s fun to see how voracious he is for life, how badly he wants to see and to do.
And suddenly, just this week, his vocalizations have gotten a lot more like language. It used to be he’d discover a new sound and repeat it like a mantra, a new call to arms. But now, he’s starting to string them together, modulating the tone up and down like real sentences. Every time he talks now, I watch the way his mouth moves, the way he sticks out his tongue and mashes it with his lips, and I just want to smother his words in kisses.
He’s capable of quite long monologues. Maybe he’ll be like his grandpas: university professors, the both of them. I can just see him at the lectern now…
With the new language skills developing, we’ve been keen to encourage him to call us mama and papa, and to see which one he comes out with first. I’ll sneak in little moments to point to him and say “Cy,” then point to myself and say, “Mama.” Toby, however, has been pointing to himself, lamps, trees, pillows, me, and calling them all “Papa.” See that rock? Papa. That lady? Papa. The dog? Papa. Cheater, is what I call him.
On Monday, it will be six months since I gave birth to this boy. Sometimes I feel like I must be the only one who finds being a parent hard. Magical, yes, but damnhard. Sometimes, when people ask us if we’ll have another and the mere thought of going through another large belly, c-section recovery, and raising a newborn again renders me exhausted, I feel inadequate. Like I’m not mother enough, just being mother of one. Like I don’t love kids, if I just have one. Like if it’s hard, I’m doing it wrong.
I don’t think such thoughts of others; why should they think it of me? It’s a weighty thing, bringing a new human being into the world. It’s easy to think of kids as commodities, playthings, nonentities even, when considered in the plural. Faced with a real one, however, you know just how big the ripple is in the universe. You want to do right by them. You want your child to do right by the world too. Being a conscientious mother requires every bit of me I’ve got to give. And I give it, the best shot I can.
Self-judgment lingers though. I don’t know why.
Thing I Love About Cy Today: We bought him a set of blocks to play with, and whenever he gets ready to knock over a tall tower of them, he squeezes his eyes shut real tight before the crash.