One year mark
Jasper is 51 weeks old. One week shy of being a one year old. I did it. And so did Jasper and so did Levi. Every time I was feeling conflicted about things I kept telling myself to give it the year and then see. And so now it’s almost time. But as I’ve mentioned before I’m ridiculously sentimental and hang on to things a bit too long. So I think I’ve been building this moment up probably too much. When I think about the year with him it feels like it has been the longest and shortest year of my life. When I think about discrete moments it is there but is also a bit foggy at the edges (probably from the lack of sleep or lost in my endless attempts to multitask). And when I think about Levi and I bringing Jasper home from the hospital it feels not that long ago. It makes me think of when other parents say that the days are long but the years are short. And then I begin to feel fear about the years passing by too quickly and then I’m back to feeling overwhelmed and emotional about how to hold on to the moment. And then I move on. It’s a cycle.
The last few months for Jasper and I have been pretty active. With traveling across the country and an artist residency that I just finished up it’s been hard to keep track of his big moments. In the beginning I wrote every little detail down. And then after he turned 6 months I let it go. If I felt like recording something I did, but if things got busy I tried not to get upset about it. Not once have I asked my mom what the first thing I ate was. Or the first babbling sound I made, or at how many days old did I first smile. I’ve seen my mom waffle on these kind of details like when exactly I first walked and I am certain I will do the same. The whole idea about recording is overwhelming to me. I’m a bit too thorough with those kind of things and once it becomes all consuming I begin to back away from it and then the job is left uncompleted. So I’ve decided to just take a photo or video if possible and just move on with my day. It’s been a lot easier for me since I decided to do that.
Jasper has two top teeth, two bottom teeth, and two more bottom ones on the way. He now says mamamammamama and sometimes mom as well as dadadadadad and dad. But wether he knows those names belong to Levi and I, I am not entirely certain but he at least says the words which feels pretty great. He signs some things like more and milk. And now he is walking. Just one week from his birthday. I was so worried that he would walk early because of how quickly he did everything else. He has been couch surfing for months and then finally near the end of November he began taking a step or two. On Christmas morning we let him try a walker that Levi’s cousin gave us and just like that he was able to easily cruise around with it. So I wasn’t sure if it really counted. But now finally he is walking unassisted. It’s pretty adorable and amazing to watch him take those steps.
There is one thing about having a child that I find strange. My relentless enthusiasm, curiosity and obsession with him. When he’s not around I look at pictures and videos of him. When talking with others I find it impossible not to bring him up. But I’m never made to feel weird about it. In fact it seems sometimes that this kind of behaviour is almost expected or encouraged. There are countless blogs, advice columns, articles and books geared towards children that it seems like an easy thing to put energy into. Of course I have found this year to be incredibly challenging and understand why there are so many resources but on the other hand I doubt that anyone would find my fanaticism with architecture or my artwork as charming. And so while I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the support with raising Jasper, it’s just something I think about sometimes.
The one thing I still haven’t been able to get on top of is my work in tandem with caring for Jasper. He goes to bed by 8 pm but I’m usually exhausted by then and have forgotten so many pressing things unless I write them down. That leaves the morning but I like to sleep as much as possible until he wakes up and then it’s cramming things in while he’s napping. Or sometimes I start work at 5 am before he gets up between 7 and 8 and then I’m out of sorts for most of the day. So I just haven’t figured it out yet. Also I’m still ridiculously late for everything. I was a late person before and now some days it’s just out of hand. I’m not trying to complain about everything but really, these are the things I am most worried about right now. I guess it’s because I am returning to work full time in February and I’m not sure how it’s all going to work. I have a bit of how this could work when I did an artist residency at the Banff Centre for five weeks in November. I had some great friends come and help take care of him during the day and a lot of evenings but I was not always the most organized with my time. My friends were amazing and I was thankful for them but I felt I just couldn’t get it together. Although perhaps I am too ambitious in what I want to get done and I’ve just got to make concessions. Maybe it’s not that my time management is bad, it’s just that I try to do too many things in that moment and that I’ve got to make some decisions on what’s really important to achieve. On top of that Jasper was always changing each day. I never know what he is going to be like that day. Honestly I feel like I’m searching for a crystal ball any time I have to anticipate what he will be like or what will happen that day. For example in Banff for two long weeks he reverted to sleeping like a newborn and screamed to be comforted and breastfed every 2 hours (and some times every hour) in the night time which was a whole kind of new hell. So sometimes it seems like I’ve really got this, but most days I feel like I’ve just started this journey and nothing is figured out. A teacher from grad school gave me advice when Jasper was first born. She said sometimes she’s a great mom, and other times she’s great at her career. But never has she been great at both at the same time and that’s just life. It sounds strange but it’s comforting to remember that every now and then.