Monday, January 19, 2009

Nine Months

Wow. Kailey is nine months as of a few days ago. Nine months old and today we got a new President who will hopefully be her president for her first eight years of life. Until the third grade (how crazy!) At least, I hope he is her President until the third grade!

I was just watching CNN today and all the excitement and celebrating in DC and feeling like I've missed out on the political news of this year (and probably one of the biggest political moments of my lifetime). Of course, I've paid attention to the events of the last year, watching the news obsessively and reading the papers. But, I don't feel like I participated much. Or, any, really. Which is not like me or us. Eric and I met on a political campaign and have been involved in some campaign, to varying degrees, every two years ever since. And in the off years, we've worked to change public policy. We've continued the policy work, but it has been much more localized and we didn't do any campaigning this time around. I know that in the past (except the 2004 election), we've mostly been observers. But, engaged observers. We've knocked on doors, made phone calls, gotten involved. We have never been at the center of the action (or anywhere close to the center of the action), but this time around, I feel like we've just watched from far away. Our attention shifted this last year, expanding beyond our jobs. I say expanded -- but, really, we've focused internally. On our home. On our new baby.

I've enjoyed this time immensely (except at first -- that was stressful). But, it's just funny how my focus has changed so profoundly this last year, and watching the inauguration today made me really feel that. I'm so glad I had so many years to "think big" - even if I wasn't always doing things that were "big". And, I know I'll return to that place. In fact, I had this glimpse of that future yesterday while I was watching Kailey playing. We were at a cafe that has a big children's area. Well, two areas, actually. One for the infants (or crawlers), which is separated by a little passageway (made of furniture) into the big kid's room where there is a kitchen area, a castle, train sets, and other "big kid" toys. Kai was fascinated by the whole place, but was quite content to play in the infant area for quite a long time. But then, after about 45 minutes, she crawled over to the passageway and peered into the big kid area and, after a few minutes, decided to venture on in... almost getting trampled by a 4 year old! She looked so tiny crawling into that huge expanse of room with these huge children galloping about. But, she also looked determined and was very no-nonsense about it. She just took off and went for the first toy within grasp, glancing at the bigger kids as they whizzed by. And in that moment, I glimpsed her going off to elementary school, middle school and then high school, and then college... venturing out, into bigger waters, onto those "big ideas". And, I also saw myself returning my focus to more worldly pursuits. There was just something in that moment that gave me great peace, in a weird way. I realized (again, because I've realized it before) how fleeting all of our moments are and gave myself permission (again) to just enjoy these little moments and my small(er) world. And I realized that even though I sat this election out (the BIGGEST election of my life!! Oh well), that I would be back (if I wanted to return). Indeed, even in the last few months, as Kailey has started daycare and has gained more independence, I have begun to shift my focus once again. These days my focus is on the juggle and the balance of home and work life. Trying to be focused and engaged during my more limited time in the office. And, trying not to let the office interfere with home during those more limited hours that I get to spend with Kailey. Balancing is taking all my attention at the moment, but I know that this is also fleeting and shifting.

Beyond reflecting on how much my life has changed this year -- the inauguration also has me thinking about how much the world is about to change. I have never felt so much hope, so patriotic, so invigorated by a new President. I love how he calls upon all of us to dig in, do the hard work, and make the necessary sacrifices. Even in these dark economic times, it feels like an exciting time to be growing up in this country. And, an exciting time to be a progressive dedicated to social justice. I'm excited about the next few years -- and excited to share those years with Kailey.

So - that's what I'm thinking about as Kai turns nine months old and begins to seriously explore her world. She is now pulling herself up onto her knees and, sometimes, her feet. She tends to get into a sort of v-shape with her hands on the floor, but standing on her tippy toes. It always looks like she is about to do a head dive -- but, somehow, she manages to lower herself safely to the ground.

She loves to move and to talk, and has introduced "ga ga" "go go" and "da da" into her repertoire of sounds. I spent some time online today researching places that are good for crawlers and toddlers because we've realized that Kai is in need of more things to explore!! She no longer holds back -- she wants to try new things! Her knees are always red now from all the crawling that she does. And, she continues to be an adventurous eater. She LOVES puffed cereal. What do they put in that stuff?! And, we tried corn tamales this week, which she also rather enjoyed. Avocado, pears and bananas continue to be among her favorites.

I weighed Kailey for the first time in a looonnnggg time the other day (and relished the fact that I no longer feel the need to know her weight - at least not in that obsessive way that I did for months!) She is now 18 pounds. SIX TIMES her birth weight. Crazy.

Here are a few pictures:

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