Thursday, January 8, 2009


The Chou has been working hard at a few things these past few weeks: standing and walking and cutting her very first tooth. Her mum has been working very hard too; at not going stir crazy and trying to find a place to get her pony fix. We've both had breakthroughs, both figurative and literal, this week.

First off, after three days of one cranky, crying, screaming, gnawing infant, we finally have a tiny speck of tooth poking through the gum. It's her front right for those of you following along at home, and her first ever at 9 months and a few weeks. Right on time for what I did, apparently. But seeing as she started teething at month 4/5, I feel like it's been a long road.

And then there's the standing and walking. It's been exactly two weeks since she first balanced on her own. Now? She can stand a solid 10 or more seconds on her own, holding and chewing a toy, she can turn, sit down, stand back up with only one hand and balance again. And then? Then she'll take one and sometimes two balanced steps before either grabbing something, sitting down or, unfortunately for me, starting a face plant. Needless to say, I've been on my toes these few weeks. No, she's not walking, but she's going to put it all together soon and be off like a rocket. Crap.

My breakthrough is a little less momentous in some ways, depending on if you've ever had kids or not. I packed up wee Chou in the car this Tuesday and headed off to a racehorse breeding and training facility on the other side of the city. I walked in, got the tour and told this woman I wanted to come work for her. Just weekends to start (I DO have a baby after all), but who knows where that might lead. She seemed keen and we'll talk today about whether or not she figures it'll work for her. I'm nervous - half because I miss ponies so much and just want to go and muck stalls, walk babies and throw hay, and half because it'll mean leaving Chou for 5 hours at a shot, something I've never done.

That's my biggest hang up, and one I know I have to work on. Chou is 9 months old. She's on to solids three times a day in real volume, she plays, she ignores me, she naps well. There's no reason why her daddy can't look after her for more than an hour. Except for my own ridiculousness. And that daddy told me point-blank on Tuesday that he's not only willing to take care of her Saturday mornings, he WANTS to if it means a happier Ms. Wumpus. I feel for him, I do.

Perhaps the one most surprised by my chickenshitedness about leaving her is me. Every day I'm floored by just how unwilling I am to let her out of my sight for even an hour while I go run (which I have now done with someone other than her dad, yay me!). And part of me is totally ok with this - she is my baby, I am her mother and I want to be her primary caregiver - but part of me can't believe just how anxious and stressed the very thought of leaving her makes me. I think about the mums who have to go back to work at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 months, and I think, "You're being a spoiled brat," but this is my reality and so leaving her at all at 9 months is hard for me. Full stop.

We'll see how this Saturday goes, if I go. Who knows, maybe the smell of alfalfa mix square bales, wood shavings and fluffy equines will over ride my extreme need to be next to my infant.

I can hope.

Chou would like to add: A very happy birthday to cousin Matthew who turns eight today. Eat cake for us, please!

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