Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Swampy Serenade to a Spaghetti Supper

Last night, Beau and I sat down for our first dinner at the table since Cruz has been born.  It was memorable to say the least.  We made one of our favorite, go-to meals of spaghetti marinara, Caesar salad, and garlic bread.  Beau started cooking while I fed Cruz; this was all in attempts to get him nice and full so that we could get nice and full, together, instead of in the typical shifts we've mastered the last few weeks. 

It started splendidly.  We poured a couple of glasses of wine, breathed in the fumes of roasted garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes, and set the table.  Cruz hung out in his swing and we sat down, smiled at our achievement, and quickly began shoving in our extra large plates of spaghetti.  Did we drag out our dinner in attempts to stare romantically at one another and soak in each other's company?  Did we turn on our favorite Pandora station and let Frank Sinatra sing us into our food-induced comas?  Did we enjoy deep, intellectual conversation about life, dreams, and plans?  Not exactly.  Instead, we took turns repositioning the pacifier into our son's mouth, laughing at the look on his face as he longingly stared at us from the living room, and listened to the swampy, nature sounds that played from his motorized swing.  We felt like we were eating supper in the middle of the Everglades.  I kind of felt like Shrek.  And halfway through our meal, Beau decided he wasn't feeling well and on the way to the bathroom, threw the remains of his Caesar salad and spaghetti into the trash.  

Tonight, we'll try again.  A Pepsi roast is in the oven and a six-pack of Bud Light Lime awaits me in the fridge.  Will I eat my mashed potatoes with one hand while I nurse Cruz with the other?  Will we eat our dinner in the middle of the Everglades, or enjoy it on the beach, as the sounds of crashing waves and humpback whales sing to us in the background?  When it comes to a new baby in the house, the world really is our oyster.    

Perhaps our failed attempts to eat dinner at the table together is the reason Cruz has experienced dinner at about every restaurant in the Cedar Valley.  As Beau puts it, restaurants are Cruz's kryptonite.  When he was just five days old, he slept through pizza at the OP.  A week later, he slept through subs at the OP.  He's slept through Jordan's birthday dinner at Mulligans, a packed Texas Roadhouse, and a Saturday night at Amigo's.  Perhaps tonight's dinner should include a quick drive around town beforehand, a car seat, every light in the house turned on, and peanut shells on the kitchen floor.    

Yesterday, Beau and Cruz had some guy's time at Old Chicago.  Beau was bummed that the Bears weren't on TV, so the three of us headed to Old Chicago after church.  Cruz got a good, two-hour nap in, Beau watched the first half of the game, and I tried on some clothes at Express.  By the time we left, we were all three smiles.


We think we caught some of Cruz's first genuine smiles this weekend.  On Friday, he smiled twice at me as I was telling him stories of RC Cola making me burp when I was a little girl.  He focused on my face so intently, then smiled twice when I drug out the 'ohhhhh' sound in Cola.  And yesterday, Beau was talking to his son about the Bears' pregame and caught the same sweet smile a few more times.  I even managed to catch it on camera.  He just loves being talked to and definitely recognizes our voices.  If that doesn't make a parent feel pretty amazing, I don't know what would. 

Despite our somewhat screwy dinner last night, yesterday was such a great day.  It seems that every day that goes by, I think to myself, 'that was Cruz's best day yet.'  He's such a sweet baby and every day it seems we discover more and more about his little self.  Like the way he loves grabbing onto the collar of my shirt when I nurse him, or the way he loves grabbing onto our fingers as he drifts to sleep.  Or the way he seeks to impress his dad with his strong neck muscles as Beau attempts to hold him on his chest, or the way his little feet kick to an undefined rhythm as he chills on a blanket in the middle of the living room floor.  And as we discover more about him, we discover more about ourselves as parents along the way.  I'm figuring out his cries, when he's hungry, when he's tired, or when he just wants to lay on a blanket and stretch.  There is nothing more encouraging for a parent than figuring out what makes your baby happy.  And it seems like our puzzle is getting easier to piece together every day. 

Someday, I will be able to tell Cruz that he was born during one of the prettiest falls in recorded history.  A fall that allowed for stroller rides in the middle of November and bare feet on blankets in the backyard.  A fall that allowed two parents to trade in a romantic dinner for two for a satisfied soul and some catchy swamp music.

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