Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holidays and Incremental Leaps

I'm so unbelievably grateful for a healthy, inquisitive, charming boy.

Some of the most purely happy minutes of my life are sitting with him on the couch, speaking pure gibberish.  He has this perfect, precise way of moving his fingers through his lips as he buzzes them.  It's a sound made for the first time within the last month, and I still can't get enough of it.

Thanksgiving was wonderful, with visits from the east.

Pops Spiegel got to know him well.

Pops and Grandma Joan spent a great afternoon.  Here Joan laughs at Herb, who's desperately trying to entertain Rubin, who's giggling towards me at the absurdity of it all.

Hannukah night #8 brought a slew of Hebrew blocks.
Rubin went south for the pre-Christmas weekend, to the wilds of southern Illinois and his loving mom-side grandparents.  Grandma Ruthie got lots of smiles.   

Missing a child for 4 days was a different kind of longing than I’d ever dealt with.  I NEED to see that dude every day, to see what incremental changes are taking place, what completely unprecedented skill he has added to his arsenal.

And yup, when he came back, he seemed to have leveled up.  The 5 teeth in his tiny mouth all seemed far more pronounced.  His attentiveness and response to those speaking to him is elevated.  4 days of minute advancement all seemed to hit me in the face at once.  Or, maybe I just tuned in really hard after being lulled from the constancy in the previous weeks.

For the three days following, I was off of work, and mommy got a well-deserved break.  Me and shorty were inseparable.

He makes “conversation” so much now.  Those are words he thinks he’s speaking, even if at best we’re getting the correct consonant for Mama, Dada, and maybe a stuffed Bear Bear.  The point is, he’s filling the void with blather like the rest of us, as far as he’s concerned.

There’s a beautiful intuitive theory behind fostering a child’s imagination and growth.  Dr. Sears tells us we are to acknowledge his efforts and achievements, and praise his speech.  Go that extra step with him, and help him think he’s gotten his message across.  He should feel good about speaking, and feel the joy of communicating, even if his skillset isn’t up to task just yet.

I love this.  You know what it is?  It’s improvisational comedy theory.  “Yes, And.”  In an improv scene, if you pretend we’re at a doctor’s office, I don’t say we’re not.  I talk about how sickly the receptionist is, or wonder why they have Penthouse in the waiting room.  I acknowledge what you’ve set up, and further the narrative.  Same with Rubin.  Keep his adventure going.

During one of those three inseparable days, in which we had a deep rapport established, I pointed to something in front of him on the floor and asked for it.  He reached over, grabbed it, and handed it to me.  He gave someone what they’d asked for; naturally, simply, unencumbered.  BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN HIS LIFE.  

I can’t wait to see what he learns tomorrow.


We’d often talked in pre-child days about the cockiness of other parents, and the predictable, stereotypical arrogance some of them have about their kids.  The volume of unsolicited advice can be maddening.  “This is how you do it!”  We pledged to try not to be that kind of judgmental parent, the kind that thinks they know how to do everything the best possible way.  

But I’ve realized something.  The reason so many parents come off as if, and perhaps believe, they do it better than anyone else is that you kind of have to believe that.  You have to believe you’ve made the best of some harrowing, scary choices.  

Your sense of pride in the fact that you simply want to keep going, as you do something so difficult, is enormous.  You get an ego going…because you deserve to have one, and because you need it.  You need to find a way to feel proud and happy with what you’re doing.

So, judgmental parents I once judged, I get it now.  You’re probably not so bad.

Meanwhile, I can't stop grinning at the sight or thought of him.  I want to go wake him up.

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