You know the saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" Bad grammar aside, I can definitely see how that can be the case. Though I tend to wonder when exactly that happens, because right now we're still at the point of, "If Jacob ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I suppose that's because he's not quite tuned into my moods yet, so if I'm in a bad mood, he doesn't really notice. Craig, on the other hand....well, my apologies to him for when that happens. Anyway, it's really amazing how Jacob's moods can impact everything. And lately I've been noticing the good stuff a lot....thank goodness. Dinner is the one negative usually, and I guess I'm used to that by now. There are certain times of my day that Jacob makes so much better now that he's getting to be more of a little boy. Here's a quick rundown...
1) Getting him up - Usually Jacob wakes up on his own, generally happy and at a decent time. Usually he's up by about 7:45 or 8am on weekdays, and sometimes even lets us sleep as late as 8:30 on weekends. Any of that beats my 6am alarm clock, so that's cool to begin with. But once I get in there, usually Jacob is in such a good mood that any resentment I had from getting out of bed disappears instantly. He will stand up at the crib rail and give me a hug (did I mention that we finally lowered his crib to the lowest mattress setting? He wasn't jumping or anything, but I figured all it would take was one cranky night or a little ingenuity for him to figure it out), or play peek-a-boo through the bars as I open his curtains. He'll hand me his teddy bear or little stuffed Snoopy (thanks cousin Lynn!) for me to hug, and then take them back and dive back on his mattress face first into the animals, or throw them out for me to retrieve. He's usually so smiley and playful...right until I have to take him out and start the less fun portion of our morning, which includes medicines, vitamins, and toothbrushing.
2) Leaving in the morning - While most of this task is a bit on the stressful side--making sure we have everything, getting it all in the car, rushing to daycare so I can get to work on time--Jacob has begun to make it so much fun. His new ability to pucker up for kisses is still so darn cute, and it definitely gets a workout on our way out of the house. This morning I kissed Craig goodbye and Jacob got in on the action with a kiss on my cheek at the same time. That is the best kind of love triangle ;-) And then for the last week or so, every time I put him in his car seat, he'll give me a kiss on the cheek, I give him one back, and then I make faces at him through the window once I close the door. It's so funny and it gets him smiling and laughing, which I love! We have a similar amount of fun when I go to get him out of the seat once we get to day care. I just can't get enough of that smile! Just this morning we had a funny little moment. As I went to unstrap him, he put his hands on his head and said, "Ball!" Yes, Jacob, your head is round like a ball. I don't know if that thought just occurred to him or what, but it was so stinkin' cute.
3) Day care pickup - I generally despise the half hour that preceeds the pickup, because I'm trying to get out of work, battle the traffic, and get to Jacob before 6pm. And even worse, the battleground that is dinnertime follows it. But the little window of time when I walk into the room and see Jacob's face light up is so great. He'll usually crawl right over to me, and in his excitement give me one of his old-fashioned sloppy kisses. Sometimes the fun will carry over to the ride home, and he'll giggle and do other funny things in the backseat. Thank goodness for those mirrors that let you watch your child in your rear view mirror!
4) After dinner - It's always a relief the moment I put Jacob down on the floor after dinner. Many times it's tinged with a feeling of defeat rather than joy, but it's relief nonetheless.
5) When the monitor goes quiet - After a long day with a full evening to do list running through my head, it's always a nice feeling when Jacob finally falls asleep. We thoroughly enjoy listening to some of the funny babbling he does when he's alone in his crib, but knowing he's peacefully asleep is a great feeling. Not only is he getting his rest, but Craig and I have some time to ourselves to use as we please, whether it's getting things done around the house, checking in online, or chatting uninterrupted, or catching up on our TV shows. It's a little throwback to the days before Jacob. And while sometimes I feel guilty enjoying that feeling, I have to remind myself that life was pretty good pre-Jacob, and I'm probably allowed to miss that life just a little bit.
Of course, that's not to say that I don't enjoy every other minute with Jacob. I obviously enjoy my time playing with him and seeing his reactions to things out in the world. Just yesterday we went outside for a few minutes (I had to pick the one and only healthy green pepper I managed to grow this summer) and it was fun watching him in his swing. The other day we met Lori at the mall and while I was finishing up paying at one store, she took Jacob to Dick's, knowing that he'd have a field day pointing out all the balls. At one point I put him down and encouraged him to walk toward me, knowing that I had an entire wall of footballs behind me. And sure enough, he walked 10 steps in a row! Saturday night we went to the Amerks game, and although he was thrown off again when we first got there (he was even weird when we saw his day care teacher), by the end he was loving it! Just seeing him respond to those things is amazing, but when it comes to these five things specifically, I think what makes them so great is how they perk up the most mundane tasks. They're things that I do each day, and in the past they weren't that exciting (and in some cases were downright unpleasant). But now that Jacob is getting so interactive and fun, they're practically a pleasure!