Today Benji has been with us for two weeks, although I would swear it’s been two months, or even two years. My time sense is all off from getting up at crazy hours day and night. I have no conception of what day of the week it is or what the date is; Benji doesn’t know or care, and I’m on Benji time.
He has started opening his eyes more after feeding, entering a quiet alert phase that is fun for us. Open eyes make him seem much more human, somehow, like you can see the little person who’s in there peeking out now and again. I look forward to getting to know that little person as he develops.
By the way, I continue to enjoy non-pregnancy SO MUCH, it almost makes up for some of the screamy bits. Clearly I’m not one of those people who miss being pregnant, or enjoy it and treasure every moment. Pregnancy was a means to an end, and now we have achieved that, I’m not nostalgically looking back on those months – I’m enjoying the moments we have with Benji as he is now, and looking forward to finding out who he will grow into in the future.
The first 10 days Benji was with us, we set up camp in the library during the day and our bedroom at night. Now, however, we are finally starting to use his room a bit. At night he sleeps on the floor in our room (or downstairs with Daddy if he’s fussy, which he is with increasing frequency as he gets older), but during the day I bring him up to sleep in his crib while I pump.
The more time I spend in his room, the more I like it. It’s cheerful but calm, and gets pleasant afternoon light. Benji likes looking at all the edges.
Here’s my home base in Benji’s room.
Yesterday we got that cheap lamp from Target. I hate Target and would prefer to have gotten it used, but Target was expedient. The rocking chair, however, is an heirloom piece from a neighbor of my parents’. She is preparing to move and when she heard we needed a rocking chair, bestowed this upon us. It’s wonderful, and perfectly sized for me. Ian fits, but not comfortably, and prefers sitting downstairs.
This is Benji’s crib, a Ferguson family crib that Ian slept in as a baby. It’s sturdy in a way that most furniture is not these days. The quilt was made by a friend of Mom’s who I have known practically forever.
No need to go into what this is for. Benji would say it’s a torture device, for sure.
Here’s what I see from my chair when I keep an eye on Benji. He mostly is content to snooze in the crib, making the occasional heart-melting newborn noises. I have a hard time not picking him up and cuddling him when he does that, but he’s happy sleeping, so I restrain myself.
Sometimes Benji doesn’t seem all too certain about us. Then again, I might feel the same way in his situation:
He has started turning towards my voice when someone else holds him, though. Awwww.
This morning as I was changing the amazing human fountain, I discovered the following tucked under his changing pad.
Day 10: I remain in the clutches of my evil jailers, who – in a sinister touch worthy of a James Bondian villain – insist on calling themselves Mommy and Daddy. Since last week’s forcible abduction, they have had custody of me, apparently in an attempt to break me. I have resisted so well, though, that they called in a torture specialist named Nana overnight, and she and “Mommy” forced me to consume many ounces of the sweet, fatty substance they call (again in a nightmarish parody) “milk” that I’m coming to suspect is addictive.
I believe they plan to turn me into a milk addict, and then use that hold over me; but I have resolved to remain firm in my rejection of this substance and thus thwart their nefarious plan. In my old home I never needed milk, and although it makes me feel good (lethargic or alert by turns), I continue to successfully rejected “Mommy’s” repeated, insistent offers of her breast (the source of the liquid). “Daddy’s” finger-feeding has proven impossible to resist thus far, but each session I resist anew, even as I find myself craving more of this “milk.”
After a session of torture, they wrap me tightly in blankets that remind me strongly of the home I was so forcibly abducted from on August 15… And I actually feel content. It seems a betrayal, weakness, as my captors slowly wear me down. I persevere in my resistance, but day by day I feel my resolve weakening.
Here comes “Mommy.” I hide this in the hope that even should I succumb, a record of my (if I may make so bold a claim) valiant struggle will remain a tribute to my effort, and a warning to others.
These moments make up for a lot of hours of missed sleep.
Benji loves his hands. I knew that even before he was born, given the amount of time I felt his hand punching while he was in utero. Now his hands are his best friends; particularly when he’s upset, he tries to get his hands as close to his mouth as possible. Lesser swaddling cannot long withstand his Houdini hands.
At this age he also grabs kind of randomly whatever is within reach. Needless to say, this proclivity makes feeding a challenge at times. Sometimes I need a whole nother person to just wrangle his hands while I try to feed him. I sometimes have a hard time believing he only has two hands, given how he gets them everywhere (prioritizing the most inconvenient places first, of course).
He often gets his left hand out first, so we’re wondering if he may be left-handed. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, we continue to plumb the depths of exhaustion and how functional a person can be on how little sleep.
“No, mommy, I DON’T want to eat more.” I swear he can shut his mouth so tight it’s safer than a safe deposit box.
I have been meaning to mention the absolutely fabulous quilt Grandma Deborah made for Benji. Originally she asked about colors, and I remembered a blanket I had when I was a kid. It had blue and white stripes of varying thickness that I drove my Hotwheels and Micro Machines on, and when bunched up made hills and valleys and intersections. I told Deborah about that and suggested some kind of road for Benji to drive toys on. This is what Deborah created.
Really none of these pictures do justice to this amazing work of art. She designed the entire thing herself, and only a few of the elements had patterns. The rest she created from scratch, too.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but she used the quilting to add detail to each element. Clouds, grass, road lines, building details, driveways, the airport runway… It is wonderful. I could not be more delighted, and I know Benji will spend many happy hours playing on it. For now, until he’s older, we’re going to hang it in his bedroom as the art it is.
So: Although it sounds, and is, inadequate, THANK YOU, Deborah, for the quilt.