Thursday, April 17, 2008

Little Fingers Painting?

What a triumph! Who would have thought that painting a tiny upstairs living room would be my Everest?

Well, it’s not that important, but it does mark another milestone for us. We’re going through the same series of transitions with Elliot that we did with Maya. The first phase, alternately titled “Just Look at Her” and “Holy Crap,” encompassed most of the first three months. That phase is dominated by overwhelming awe and love for the new little one, baffling tears (mom’s, baby’s, even big sister’s and dad’s), and constantly feeling like it’s the first day of school in junior high (in other words nervous, full of self doubt, and yet really excited).

The second phase, known as “Hey, We Can Do This," coincides with most babies' ability to sleep longer and cry less. For our family, the fourth and fifth month are all phase 2. We oscillate between "Holy Crap," euphoria over successful trips out in the real world, and contentment in the knowledge that we can accurately diagnose and respond to most of baby’s cries.

Now, with this painting project, we have entered phase three. With Maya, I referred to it as the “Wow, I Just Read the Paper” phase, but with Elliot I’m a little more advanced. The “I Just Painted A Room” phase is characterized by a lingering sense of normalcy.

I realize I’m rambling, but this is a major transition. The overwhelming “Holy Crap” feeling only resurfaces when Elliot cries in the car (my babies both HATE driving). The rest of the time, we feel like a chaotic but manageable family

So this week, we painted. I used Dutch Boy Kids Room paint (it can actually be mixed in any color, even though some stores say that it is only for pastels). This paint is low in the smelly toxic chemicals that pregnant women, babies, and young children are supposed to avoid. With the window open in that room, it was hard to detect a paint smell the evening I painted! Of course, the day after I bought my paint, I learned that Home Depot now carries an affordable brand of paint that is healthier and more earth friendly. Next time I’ll try that out.

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