Guess where I am right now, while I'm writing this blog post? In bed! Alone! I know, I am as surprised as you are. I can't remember the last time I sat in bed, covered in a warm blanket, in the middle of a blustery day, with my computer on my lap. Ramon took Rafael on a walk, so I have some 'me time.' It won't last long, but hopefully long enough for me to write this post.
Rafael right now.....wow. He has grown so much, and is evolving every day. Besides the joy of him learning words, or learning how to walk, the most significant thing for me is watching his personality unfold. I am getting to know him, and at the same time, I am also one of the people molding him into the person he will one day be.
As much fun as this time is, with him making me laugh throughout the day, it is also the most challenging age so far. He is mobile, quick, and curious. He understands so much, but chooses to ignore 'NO' most of the time. My approach to authority is to keep a loud and strict 'no' for the things that are dangerous. I don't want to over-use the word, and make it into something he hears all the time, therefore making him more likely to ignore it. But of course a 'no' also comes out when he is throwing rice in fistfuls from the highchair after I just vacuumed, or when he is poking the dogs while they are trying to eat. The hardest part for me is when my 'no' causes him to cry and throw a fit. This usually only happens nearing the end of the day, when he is tired. But I never really know what to do in this situation. He won't let me hug him, and usually points at my chest, demanding I comfort him by nursing. This leads me to say 'no' again, but it's a somewhat bewildered 'no,' because I am torn between going the easy way and giving him what he wants, or showing him that breastfeeding isn't something he demands from me when he is angry. In other words, I don't want to be bullied into breastfeeding him every time he doesn't get his way with something else. To me, this feels like our first bout of 'power struggle.' I try to avoid this situation at all costs, because it's very uncomfortable to me. It breaks my heart when he is crying his eyes out, pointing at my chest, wanting to be comforted, knowing I could give him that comfort very easily. But it just feels wrong.
Besides those tantrums, and my personal struggle with finding my voice and stance as a mother, I must say that Rafael is the most loving and hilarious little person I have ever encountered. This guy really has a sense of humor! We crack each other up so much, and there is nothing like hearing and seeing him laugh really hard.
Another thing that impresses me is his incredible eye for detail. He will make car noises, pointing at a soda bottle, and I'll think, 'What is he talking about?' Then I turn the bottle to see what he's looking at, and there's a small red sports car on the label.
Today he was looking at a book about winter, and there was an illustration of birds picking at the snowy ground. He pointed at them and then threw his arms wide and to the back, like wings. I have never shown him this move; in Baby Signing we learned to show a bird by using the thumb and index finger, up and down, like a beak opening and closing. He came up with this sign on his own, by observing the birds flying on our walks, and I thought, 'His sign makes so much more sense!'
His eyes are definitely brown now. He has eight lovely little teeth. His hair grows at an alarming rate, it's been cut three times already and he'll need to go to the hair salon again soon! Feeding him is a bit difficult at the moment, as he seems to be getting very picky, and I'm never quite sure what to cook for him. It's pretty frustrating to cook him a meal and have the majority of it land on the floor!
One of the funnest things we do lately is go to the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna. We bought year-cards, so we can go as often as we like. Rafael especially loves the fish in the indoor aquarium, the seals, the flamingos, and the red pandas.
My little boy....living with him is such an adventure. I love him so incredibly much. I thought about his birth the other day, while running errands and pushing him in the stroller, and was so overwhelmed by my love for him, by the bond we share. I had to stop the stroller and nuzzle his nose and shower his tiny smiling face with kisses.