This week marks the end of the final full week of working from home with Padawan. It’s bittersweet in many ways. While I will enjoy the routine of being back at the office and the ability to focus on big projects for extended periods of time I will miss all of the little things that made being at home special.
The experience provided me insights about what I could or should feel is a priority at any given moment. Everybody interprets the inputs of the world slightly different and in my days at home there was a definite change in perception about all things. Some as simple as the importance, or at times relative lack thereof, of a well brewed cup of hot coffee or cereal that still had its crunch, while some were more complex like whether to keep email and messenger constantly open or not during the day in case an “urgent” message came in. The infamous work-life balance was put to all kinds of tests throughout and for the most part, I can say, the concept although awkward passed muster for the most part. I am fortunate that both work and life cooperated as much as they did and I not only came away sane, I am a better person for having experience all the time home with Padawan.
Padawan this week taught me about patience first and foremost. They tested mine. I tested theirs. We both threw things that probably resemble tantrums at times and yet, we both seemed to understand that while patience is a virtue it’s intricately tied to many other things like the expression of needs and the expectation when and how they are able to be met and the gratefulness of them being met.
From about maybe the end of last week through most of this week Padawan explored a bunch of different ways to express needs, the most interesting one was the pouty face. While we’ve seen the bottom lip curl before it was mostly reactionary to external stimuli. This was more deliberate and . One might interpret it as part of the learning process. Exploring what types of reactions the face might illicit when used at different times. Many times, in fact, the face happened and even just saying their name would be enough to turn the frown upside down into a bright smile. They brought it out particularly around diaper changes, feedings and over-tired times after we had a particularly rambunctious playtime as part of experimenting with how that would change the reactions or routines around what we normally do during those times. Even at the doctor’s office it came out once, and when the doctor laughed at the expression Padawan laughed right back.
Speaking of the pouty face, I discovered that Padawan also doesn’t like descending scales. Actually, any sound effect that has a high to low pitch modulation will do it but it started with singing a step melody that went downward. The first few notes were fine and then by the third the eyes squinted, then the lip curled and by the fifth note is was perfectly clear that they were none-to-pleased. Reversing course and singing a made up upward melody brought back a pleasant smile. So, of course, like any sane, rational person would do, I sang another descending one. There’s that pouty face again. And back up. Smiles. And back down. And then for good measure, back down some more till I ran out of vocal range. You know, because there’s something to be said for testing a theory to ensure it’s accuracy and not because being a tease is humorous sometimes. Anyway, from there we learned that things like imitating the doppler effect when doing airplane or train sounds illicit the same response. I’m sure it’s in part a momentary preference and in part an extension of the same exploration of action-reaction.
Of course not everything was about the pouty face. We’re quite fortunate the Padawan is relatively easy to deal with for diaper and clothing changes but this took on an entirely different look this week too and they began exploring further how different actions on their part illicit different results from us. Clothing changes especially brought on giggles and smiles and full body excitement. It was fun, to the point where sometimes I swapped out onesies under the guise of them being too drooled on when the reality was it was just because I wanted to watch Padawan go crazy with excitement for a few moments.
The other burst of excitement this week came during playtime. We have several toys now that Padawan enjoys because they have rattles and other noisemakers attached to them. The interest however isn’t necessarily always in using the toy as intended to generate sound. Sometimes, actually a lot of time, the focus was more on trying to take said noise maker apart. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them a future Demolitions Expert quite yet, but there’s a certain pattern to their playtime that includes a desire to remove the rattles and undo the clasps and generally try to separate everything. It’s cute now. It could be problematic in a few months.