Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Instead of working half a day today as usual, I'm home with a sore throat. Nutmeg must have a constitution of steel because she doesn't seem to have picked up even a sniffle from me. I'm mostly staying home because if I worked we would have to go to Kay's house and I don't want to expose little Elliot, who's only about 8 weeks, to the germs. Besides, last night after work Daddy and I went to the Society for Professional Journalists awards dinner and Nutmeg had Beegs over to babysit. My baby clung to me so tight when we got home that when I left her in bed with Daddy so I could go brush my teeth, she burst into howls. How could I leave her again today?
Anyway, Nutmeg has lots of progress to report. This weekend she began scooting forward on her tummy. It's still not easy for her, but she can get from here to there, especially if she's on the slippery tile.
Then yesterday, after she came back from her first music class with daddy, I noticed that she was saying, "lalala." Daddy said he had also heard her say "ba." Beegs came over after work and we headed out to the dinner, where I got an award with two coworkers and my editor Marcus, who's home on paternity leave right now, was named "Unsung Hero of the Year." When we got back at 9, Beegs reported that Nutmeg had been kind of sad, but that she had gotten her to say "blah, blah, blah." Beegs then demonstrated, and sure enough, when she said, "blah, blah, blah," Nutmeg repeated it back to her. The cutest part was, if Beegs whispered it, Nutmeg would whisper it back.
Daddy said, "Her first word is blah!"
As thrilled as I am with Nutmeg's accomplishments, I must ask: Why can't my baby be kept in suspended animation when I'm not present. I don't want to miss these things. It reminds me of the conundrum I ran into when Daddy and I went to Beijing and made all kinds of good friends there. When you go somewhere far away, your life is enriched, but it will never feel whole again. When we were in Beijing we missed home, friends and family. When we returned to America, we bitterly missed our dear friends there. And we realized that we would always feel cleaved in half from that point on.
Having a baby? That much more so. During the past six months, the most exciting story of my career in newspapers played out while I was at home caring for Nutmeg. I dreaded going back to the office, but to be honest it's a refreshing break to not have to worry about Nutmeg all day and to accomplish a little something professionally. Then she goes and does something new when I'm gone. And I wonder if I'll be missing both the best parts of motherhood and work.
But I'm being melodramatic. In reality, we are so, so lucky right now. Nutmeg's been able to continue nursing almost without a hitch, and she's with Daddy, in whom she -- and I -- have complete confidence. It's a dream set-up.
Nutmeg's personality is starting to blossom. She's super-enthusiasm girl. We went to Baby Brigade Monday night and she managed to rile up the two other 6-month-old girls sitting on the couches surrounding us. She stood on the couch, leaning on the back of it, and shouted, "haaaa! haa!" (hi) at the first baby until that baby was literally quivering with excitement and shouting back. Then a family sat right next to us with their baby, and we let the girls lean over the couch arms to touch and talk. The parents said that their baby rarely talked, but she was a regular chatterbox once Nutmeg got her going. She's going to be an instigator, I can tell.
And Daddy says she loved music class yesterday. I know, it sounds very grandiose, music class for babies, but all it is really is singing in a circle, clapping, jumping up and down, all with the help of Mommy, the nanny, or in Nutmeg's case, Daddy. He said she "laughed and laughed and laughed" when she saw all the babies being lifted up and down. And she got very vocal when they sang songs she already knew, like "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Yep, that's my girl :)

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