At 4 months old he's become more social, more "verbal" and more fun. Mainly he's learning more and more about the relationship between what he does and what happens. He knows that if he cries either his sister or me will at least come and talk to him and if I can I'll pick him up. He's discovered that if he smiles his sister will do whatever she has to and more to make him keep smiling. He's also discovered bouncing. If I hold him standing on my lap, he now knows he can bend his knees and straighten them, push up and he jumps. He loves it...my lap does not. I allow it of course because my son's smile is...well...my son's smile.
But I remembered how much his sister loved to bounce. It started around the same age. It was time to bring out her favorite toy. It goes by a couple of different names...either an exersaucer or a stationery entertainer. They are a safer version of a toy we used as babies-walkers. They were usually made of plastic, a tray surrounding the child with a seat attached. They had wheels. Walkers are still sold, but they are made different. By in large they are considered unsafe, especially in homes with a flight of stairs. Were they any less dangerous when we used them? A memory from the summer of my 8th year of a cousin doing a face plant into a pile of leaves while chasing us in the back yard of the family home tell me they probably were. Fewer homes had 2nd floors back then perhaps. Safety gates that are widely used now probably weren't as commonly used.
Ariana's exersaucer/stationery entertainer had 6 toys on it, several that make noise. What she really loved about it though was how it moved. It had springs in the vertical pieces so if she bounced, it bounced. The bottom is curved, so if she rocked (something she loved to do) it rocked. She still rocks. She will sit in one of the 3 recliners in the house and rock until she falls asleep. Interest fact: her father also did this as a child. It always tickled him to see her do it.
After a thorough cleaning, the moment of truth came. Would Elijah take to it or not? They come in a variety of colors and thankfully, my husband (who purchased the toy) brought home one with mainly primary colors. I think Elijah was a bit overwhelmed at first. He's only really just started to "grab" at anything and having 6 or 7 toys all within reach was a bit much for him. His eyes widened and his little hands trembled and his little head turned back and forth like a person watching a tennis match. Then he raised his feet off the floor of the toy and the bouncing mechanism kicked in. His ride was all of a second, maybe two but he noticed what happened. He looked at me, looked at his sister, gave a sly smile and raised his feet again. Another bounce. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
They stay little for such a short time. At 4 months old, he is approaching the weight and height limit on his Graco Snugride infant carseat. It's a common trend. Babies are rarely in this seat until the age of 1. If they are under the 20 to 22lb weight limit, the height limit forces the change. At her 12 month check-up, Ariana was 20lbs 1oz, but she'd been in her convertible car seat for 6 months because like most babies, she grew an inch a month and outgrew the seat at 6 months of age. Some people bypass the infant carrier all together, but I love the convenience of it so I went with the Graco Snugride again for it's high safety rating, but found one on sale.
I can still clearly remember the day Elijah was born and the first time I saw his little face. But I remember it all from when his sister was born as well. Sometimes I can't believe I was blessed with these two beautiful babies. Yet here we are. Ariana (as hard as it is to believe) is 7 years-old and about to finish the 1st grade. More changes. 7th birthday means a new class at Children's Church, but she seems to be okay with it. 7th birthday will require a new devotional book-haven't picked it up yet. More changes. She's about attend her 3rd summer camp. More changes. Her usual summer stomping ground won't be available this year. Three of her school's teachers (one of whom is Ariana's 1st grade teacher) however, managed to make a small camp available. Thank God for this innovative thinking. I told a friend that with a daycare and a private school available our pastors have seriously spoiled us. It has been priceless having my children in the care of people who know and love our family. The effort that has been put into her education and the patience and care they have given Ariana especially in the last two months can't be matched. The thought of having to do otherwise and send my newly fatherless child to a new (though very reputable) camp at such a difficult time was a bit unnerving. She's clinging to any consistency and I want it for her.
It would be a change for me too. This newly single parent was not looking forward to paying $250 more a month than I was used to paying for summer camp, but I would have done it, even though what I'd be paying extra for was the camp's reputation and proximity to my house. Now, though, I am at ease with at least that part of my daughter's life. Add to it, being teachers at her school, they'll be better equipped to help me prepare her for the 2nd grade. And perhaps they'll be room in the budget for that parent/child reading enrichment class I've wanted us to do the last couple of summers. It seems the only thing constant around here is change.
Next: project planning all around-making this house a home again.