So shortly after I posted the 15 month update, Austen acquired a new behavior: a slow, exaggerated nod that means "YES". He now signs "please" about half as much (i.e., only when he's asking for something, not answering a question about whether he wants something), but we can always teach him to put "yes" and "please" together later. For now it's just really gratifying to see him nod unambiguously when I ask him if he wants some yogurt or if he wants to play on the computer. He's also started responding with the correct answer when we ask him if he's pooped. (Not that I usually need to ask him, mind you; I can usually tell by the way he grunts or the way he smells.)
In not-so-positive news, I was shocked when I returned to work to find that the tendonitis that usually struck me only after long stretches of very intense work over a period of weeks had returned as well—with a vengeance, and almost immediately. I soon discovered the reason: I use those same muscles and tendons to hold Austen, especially when I'm putting him to bed at night. They were already being taxed pretty heavily, and adding 8-9 hours of computer work each day pushed them beyond their limit. I'm now stuck in that horrible RSI dilemma: How do I stop the pain when I can't stop using my arm?
I'm going to try stretching frequently and changing my desk setup a bit, but I also need to change the way I carry Austen. He's going to have to get used to being on the left side (he prefers the right), and instead of me walking him around the room and then rocking him while standing next to the crib at night, we're now going to be sitting in a chair until he conks out. (The irony is that the more my arm hurts, the less I'm able to support Austen in the position he wants to be in, and the longer it takes for him to get to sleep... which makes my arm hurt more. It used to take 5-15 minutes to get to get him to sleep at night; in the past week, it's taken me 20-30, and twice I've had to call Al to take over when I just. couldn't. do it. any. more.)
I'm hoping these small changes help, because I'm really not sure what else to do. I think some more regular exercise in general would help, but I find that after leaving Austen's room at night with my right forearm feeling like a throbbing, red-hot poker and my patience totally shot, I'm not inclined to go downstairs and do Pilates. Anyway, enough whining. Tops on my to-do list is to find some work-baby-exercise balance.
Tonight the work-baby balance wasn't going so well, as the meeting I was supposed to be in from 5pm to 6pm didn't start until 6:10, but when I did finally make it down to the basement to see Al and the Beaner, Austen was visibly thrilled. When he hasn't seen me for a while he likes to make—and keep—physical contact with me, I think to make sure I don't wander off again. Tonight I sat on the floor, and he stood behind me, walked around in front of me, flopped in my lap, knocked me over and sat on my head, kissed me, headbutted me, sat on my knee, stood with his hand on my shoulder, climbed onto my back... you name it. As long as some part of his body was making contact with mine, he was happy.
Part of his excitement in seeing me might have been because I walked in carrying the leftover sushi (two inari and one piece of California roll) from his and Al's dinner; he practically yanked the first inari out of my hand, and then tried to grab at the other pieces in the tray. I was able to fend him off by giving him a little of the rice from the California roll, and when we'd each finished our share of that piece, I gave some of the rice from the second inari. I was in the middle of taking a bite of that inari when he grabbed the entire wad of wasabi from the tray and stuffed it in his mouth.
I yelled, "no, buddy, that's too spicy!", but I had the tray and the inari in my hand, so I couldn't grab his hand before it reached his mouth. By the time I managed to put down the tray and the inari, he'd already bitten down. I scraped the green stuff out of his mouth when he opened it to scream, and when he realized that (a) Mommy tried to warn him, and (b) Mommy was now trying to help him (even though she was laughing hysterically at the same time), he chilled out. He did give me a "what the hell WAS that, anyway???" look, though, and his nose started running from the heat.
I was mostly laughing because the scene reminded me of one of my dad's favorite Lori Stories: namely, the one where I stuffed the scoop-of-butter nose from my IHOP Funny Face pancake straight into my mouth because I thought it was ice cream. (Hey, I was four or five at the time, and I'd never seen butter in anything but sticks and squirt bottles. I knew what a scoop of ice cream looked like, however, and that nose looked exactly like a miniature scoop of ice cream!) I figured out that I had a big wad of butter in my mouth at the same time my dad figured out why I'd just stuffed said butter into my mouth, and of course a fit of hysterical laughter ensued (on his part, not mine. I was just embarrassed, and a little confused.) Oh well, at least the butter didn't burn.