Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jackson!

Today my baby is one year old. One year ago today I was in the hospital being induced and about one hour (and three hundred and sixty-five days) ago, Jackson made his appearance on planet Earth.

In some ways it seems like this year has flown by and in other ways it amazes me how much has happened in the year: we moved, sold and bought a house in a six-month long drawn-out process (and one of the worst selling markets in the past who-knows-how-long... What can I say? We have impeccable timing....). Jared started second grade, Camryn started kindergarten, Dave started a new position at work (again...).

I started teaching piano again (fine, it's only two students, but that's a lot for me right now), started a choir with a friend from school, started blogging =], thoroughly cleaned and organized my pit-of-an-upstairs-office several times (only to have it solidly trashed again within minutes by my crafts-loving five-year-old), systematically killed my formerly thriving patio container herb garden... twice, and finally come to peace with my current lack of organization.

Jackson has learned to roll over, sit up, cackle and giggle, play with toys, crawl, eat solid food, twist his parents around his finger, take a few steps, turn on the Roomba (vacuum cleaner), dump the cupboards and play with his older siblings. (Now if only he would master regular napping and sleeping through the night...).

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not one to get outwardly overly sentimental. I try to keep my emotions in check and stay pretty matter-of-fact. But I want to take a moment to say how much I love baby Jackson. From his huge blue eyes to his funny little pointed chin, his chubby little legs and his fat little feet, his infectious giggle and his funny da-da-da babblings, he is just the perfect little baby. (Jared and Camryn were also perfect babies, at least to this unbiased observer, in case any of you were wondering.)

My two older kids, Jared and Camryn, were only 21 months apart. After Camryn was born I went through a rough period in my life and it took me a while to feel ready to have another baby. Even after a break of 4 1/2 years (the gap between Camryn and Jackson), I really didn't know if I was ready for another pregnancy, more than a year of continually interrupted sleep, and the whole emotional gamut- let alone the physical exhaustion- that you experience when you go through the whole childbirth/child-raising process.

And then came Jackson. I'm not saying that Jackson was an easy baby... on the contrary. While he is very easy-going now, he was a little bit high-maintenance as an infant. He hated his car seat and screamed whenever he had to ride in it. He struggled to gain weight at first and needed to be fed all the time. He has never been a really fabulous sleeper. But he has been a perfect baby. Perfectly huggable, perfectly cute, perfectly loving and perfectly wonderful. (Yes, how I can say that, when he is personally responsible for thousands of hours of lost sleep is beyond reason.)

One thing I feel that I did better with Jackson is I finally got over my pretensions of trying to be a super mom and immediately jump back into life. I accepted having an infant for what it it really is: a total and complete life overhaul. But I also enjoyed it for what it is: a chance to step out of the typical rush and bustle of life and just enjoy snuggling, feeding and spending time with an amazing little person who is just beginning to discover the world for himself-- the chance to bask in the perfect, adoring love of someone who is completely dependent on you for every need and looks to you with complete confidence that you will always take care of him. I know it is a short-lived time. Soon come the terrible twos, the temper tantrums, the discovery of self and a whole host of other challenges and fun. But I am glad that this time around, during this brief window that he was tiny I didn't stress (at least not too much...) about my house being messy (believe me, it was). I don't regret cutting back the other kids' extra-curricular activities to almost zero and my own aspirations and expectations to a life-subsistence level. The time for an immaculate home and a full schedule will come again, soon enough (well, at least the full schedule part). =] To quote the poem "Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton:

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Today I am thankful for a wonderful year of snuggles, rocking and smiles.


Ranell said...

I cannot believe he is one! What a year it has been. This is a great post and I'm sure I'll come back to read it time and again as I go through some very similar things in the coming year! Jackson is a perfect baby ... I love his smile and his laugh!

Suzie Petunia said...

Happy Birthday, big boy! He IS a charmer. He is cuddly and adorable - I can see why you like him so much. :) Everyone always says it goes by so fast, and I am actually starting to believe them!

JoodyC said...

How can you possibly stand such cuteness and NOT show emotion? He's adorable.

As a threepeat parent, you've probably experienced your share of tantrums -- they're inevitable.

As you know, children usually start having tantrums when they have about a 100-200 word vocabulary. The big problem for your child is having some words, but not enough words yet. The result can be a tantrum.

With three children around, however, you might want to start a trigger list for times when it isn't just frustration. What was he doing? What time of day? What day of the week? What had he just eaten? Who was he with? Where was he? It may be that the carpet in Aunt Grace and Uncle George's home upsets his system (I'm sure it's not Aunt Grace and Uncle George), or if he's late getting to nap time.

Once you have a list of tantrum triggers you can help prevent them and life is a lot easier.

Judy Colbert

Tenise said...

Aww. Happy Birthday Jackson! Your post made me all weepy for my new little boy, and you posted one of my favorite poems, and the one I keep reciting to myself as I walk into our kitchen, or the kids bedroom, or the bathroom(s), my bedroom, the closets, the garage...

He's a doll.

Jen said...

Karen! Thanks for the fabulous post about Jackson. He is indeed a fabulous baby, and you a fabulous mother. Can't wait to see you!!