Remembering Hurricane Maria for the Best Possible Reason part 2: Happy Birthday, Peanut!

You may remember that yesterday I left you on a non-cliffhanger of Hurricane Maria’s peaceful passage over the BVI. I wanted to end it there because today is TWO-day! My Peanut, the Wee Baby Abel, has survived two whole years.

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Hello world

Sept 20, 2017 started early, with the medical team letting me know not to eat anything and dealing with all the indignities of surgery. I’ll spare you the details, except to say that everyone was nice and I tried my best to be a good sport. I think I did well considering my head space was still pretty much that I had no idea what was going on.

And later I got to meet my son! He had all the hair, as I had. He just wanted to be held and snuggled, and I happily complied. Aunties and uncles who had been forced from their homes thanks to Irma nonetheless scrubbed up and came by to meet him.

Having a newborn gave me something to focus on, a luxury in those first few weeks after the storm when we had no power and no running water. Post-partum hormones make some moms spiral into depression or psychosis, but I became lazer-focused on my kid, which brought some downsides but also let the stress and uncertainty of post-Irma life fall away. He was adorable, but mysteriously finicky in the first few months. Even then, he liked to be in the center of things. He loved to be cradled by his dad in the crook of one arm while the breakfast routine happened, or to be strapped on and walked around and around and around.

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The first of many buddy naps

He was strong, able to lift his little head early and roll what felt like right away. He thought bicycle legs and anything his cousins did was the best ever. I could get him to chill by having one of the cousins sing to him or read him a book.

He fell in love with the cat, so we taught him “gentle,” guiding his little hand over and over until he could do it on his own. Gentle became one of his first words, along with “meow.”

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Going to day care was a new world. Another baby became his little bestie. They were born just a few days apart. She taught him how to clap and blow kisses. He was the earlier walker and would bring toys to her while she sat in her bouncer. I loved to see how he made friends at such a young age.

Before long he was standing, and then, at just 10 months, walking. Heaven help me, I sometimes feel like he hasn’t slowed since.

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Peanut getting ready to walk

These days, Peanut still likes to be strapped on when I’m walking around, but in general he is not one to be passively carried around. Nope, this is a hands-on creature who wants to stay doing whatever he sees others (especially me) doing. I have two brooms and two dish brushes, and even two “potties” in the restroom. Sure, he still thinks that the main reason we go to the toilet is just to sit on it, but I have gotten used to having company in there. He may be small, but he is genuinely helpful with little things like closing doors, throwing things away in the garbage, or putting dirty clothes in the hamper. It’s cute to see how much he enjoys his little chores.

Actually, I feel like he enjoys most things. There is a lot of joy in this little person, and most days he spreads it to me like some kind of giggly contagion.

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Playing in the park on his first birthday

He loves bubbles and stickers. He loves animals in general but especially chickens and cats. Probably the thing he has the most of is books, but he is shaping up to be a builder of some kind with the way he loves blocks. He’s also still the most curious little dude you can imagine. He doesn’t have the words to express it, but you can just see it in his face and body language. It’s much more than a mere desire to know what’s going on: He absolutely MUST. KNOW.

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My boy thinks iced unsweetened lemongrass tea is juice and an amazing treat!

What else? He loves music and I’m much more more likely to hear him sing than talk… unless he’s showing off his mad counting and number identification skills. While I’m driving, he will often sit in carseat and just count. He can get to 20 if he’s in a good mood. He loves his family, especially the uncles that don’t mind throwing him around. He already corrects me when I do something silly like call my mother in law “Mommy.” …
“Granny,” he’ll tell me, pointing at her and giving me his best “duh,” look.

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Playing with his favorite new toy

I’ve loved watching him grow and develop so much personality so far. I know there will be lots more growth and change to come, and I’m looking forward to see it all. Happy happy birthday, big boy.

 

2 thoughts on “Remembering Hurricane Maria for the Best Possible Reason part 2: Happy Birthday, Peanut!

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