Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This love has got no ceiling

I've often wished to have a kind of cosmic tape recorder, something I could use to document moments in my life that I want to replay over and over or tuck away as keepsakes. Some of the moments are big ones, like meeting MB or exchanging vows on our wedding day. Some of the moments are small ones, significant only to me, things like seeing the Pacific for the first time, watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, standing beneath the trees in the temperate rainforest.

Since Nico was born, my fondness for the idea of a memory recorder has (predictably) intensified. I want a recording of the moment I first heard him cry; of the moment I first saw his face, his tiny fingers and toes, his tufty red hair; of the way it felt when the nurse placed his little nearly-naked body on my chest. I want to play back the way he smells, that sweet undefinable baby scent that I have to soak up before I leave him for the day, burying my face in his neck and breathing it in. I want to feel the weight of him in my arms, back when he was tiny and now that he must top at least 15 pounds. I wish I had a recording of the way his kicks and tumbles felt while I was pregnant with him, of his newborn cry.

In the absence of such a wonderful gadget, I do my best. I take dozens of photos, I spend minutes that add up to hours just watching him and trying to memorize everything about him, and I write. Hoping each time that the words will call back the feelings and the sounds and the sights, I write.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poetic justice

Even though I know I'm not supposed to, I usually let Nico sleep on my lap in the mornings after I've nursed him in bed. We've never had any trouble or any scares until today, when he flat-out fell off the bed. I woke up from REM sleep to see his tiny blue-pajama'd body roll off the edge of the mattress, and I have never moved so fast in my life. But of course I wasn't fast enough, and he fell between the bed and the chair beside the bed where I put his Boppy and blanket when he's in his crib. He only cried for as long as it took me to scoop him up and clutch him to my chest, apologizing and rocking him. After cuddling him for a bit and nursing him again I put him in his own bed to sleep. He seemed no worse for wear, but I felt positively wretched.

We do our grocery shopping on Sundays, and today we decided to go out to lunch before we went to the store. Nico was a champ all through the meal, but by the time we were finished he was ready to eat. I nursed him in the passenger seat of the car and then because it was raining, I decided to put him in his carseat from the front seat instead of standing outside and getting wet. I had to kneel on my seat and recline the back in order to reach the straps on his seat, and once I got him fastened in, the reclined seat needed to be un-reclined before the baby seat would fit into the base. Maybe you can see where this is going. If you can, you're smarter than I am. I needed one hand to hold Nico's seat steady and one hand to operate the lever on my seat, so the only thing left to catch the seat back as it sprang upright was my face.

I can't help but think that it must've looked hilarious while it was happening.

Not quite the sympathetic reaction I was hoping for.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Because nobody makes "Baby's First Earth Day" bibs

I didn't completely forget about Earth Day this year, but I did forget that I wanted to take a cute cheesy picture of Nico in one of his hippie onesies for the occasion. I packed a week's worth of outfits for him in his grandma's house bag on Tuesday morning, not thinking about the fact that Thursday was Earth Day until, well, Thursday around lunchtime.

It seemed a bit cruel to re-dress Nico just for a photo and then re-dress him again for bedtime, so this is going to have to do:

"Happy Earth Day, everybody!"

" cotton!"

P.S. Two days left to win a book! It's good, I promise!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Among my tribe

I only have two local friends with babies, and I only see one of them regularly. This past Friday, I had an invitation to an informal get-together that a couple I hung out with in college put together for another couple I didn't know very well back in the day as a celebration of the impending birth of their second daughter. I waffled all day about going, feeling kind of wallflower-y and awkward, but decided I didn't really have anything to lose. I packed up Nico (MB was teaching) and stopped in, figuring if it sucked I could use the baby as an excuse to bail. And you know what? We ended up staying for about two and a half hours.

There were almost a dozen kids running around the house and a six-month-old boy riding around on his mother's hip. I hovered around the periphery for a bit, but before I realized what was happening, I found myself standing around the dining room table chatting with five other young hippie-ish mothers. When Nico got hungry, I contemplated leaving, but then retreated to an out-of-the-way armchair and nursed him under a cover while the six-month-old's mother nursed him in a chair nearby. Solidarity! After he ate I got called into the kitchen by the host, the guy who was my lab partner in quite a few classes in college, and ended up talking birth stories with another girl I've known casually for several years.

The people who read this who don't have kids probably think this all sounds lame, but I felt like I'd found my tribe and was among my people at last. This is why playgroups exist, I suspect, because even when you're committed to live a life that isn't All Baby All the Time, sometimes you just need to talk to someone else who really gets it, someone else who is in the trenches with you, changing the diapers and committing to breastfeeding even when it sucks (ha!) and taking the bad with the good in this crazy, wonderful, sometimes overwhelming but always worthwhile whirlwind.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Constant vigilance

It's that time again! We must stockpile our armaments and our awareness and such against the coming of Spring and velociraptor hunting season (them hunting us, that is). Join me for the second annual Velociraptor Awareness Day and be prepared!!!

Are you prepared?

>> Read up on the latest info, and be prepared to hold impromptu seminars on the streets

>> Post up- Whether it be "Velociraptor Entry Point" posted on weak areas in your neighborhood, or going online to your favorite forum and raising the alarm, let people know what's up!

>> Dress up- Hold mock attacks throughout the day to really raise eyebrows and raise awareness

>> Film it up- Whether it be Jurassic Park, or your favorite educational video, every little bit helps

>> Light it up- Hold a candlelight vigil in a central area for the victims and their families. Can't think of any victims? Put in the faces of the actors in the movies, or an xkcd stick figure, or Randal Munroe himself, or me, as I will be away from campus, and therefore I can be a substitute victim. Also, you could use the faces of the friends who didn't join the group, as they are potential future victims.

>> Party it up- If the day is over, and everyone is still alive, you've done your job, so celebrate!

Please have a safe and enjoyable Velociraptor Awareness Day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The end, the beginning

It's 6:35 AM when I begin this post, though it'll probably sit in the queue until I remember it's here, hours from now. I sit propped against the headboard, pillows at my back and the baby napping on my chest. He wakes up almost every morning around 6, nurses for 15 minutes, and falls back to sleep. I used to try to motivate myself to get out of bed once he went back to sleep, but it doesn't seem so important anymore. In five days at this time, I'll be scrambling to get our things together and drive Nico to my parents' house before going to work.

I tend to really enjoy my job, but I haven't missed it. I always thought I would, figured I'd be a bit bored and eager to get back after 12 weeks of maternity leave, but that's not the case. Instead I'm heavy-hearted, deeply envious of my Canadian friends and their entire year of leave. How can I go back now, when it seems like every day he's doing something new? I've arranged to work longer days so that I can take Mondays off to spend with my boy. Working 7 AM to 5 PM is going to be a bit brutal, I think. I'm not much of a morning person and spending ten hours a day at work was hard before I had a kid to miss. But I'm hoping it'll be worth it for the extra day at home.

I suspected motherhood would be a big change, and I suppose it is in a lot of accumulated small ways. I also expected there to be a period of adjustment and maybe a struggle to adapt, but it hasn't been hard at all. I feel like I slipped into this new skin so easily it was barely noticeable, as if some physical and emotional railroad switch was thrown and I trundled off in a new direction with barely a backward glance. As much as it stuns me to say out loud I am a mother, I have a son, it is also the most natural and uncomplicated thing.

Nico won't remember these 60 weekdays we spent together, usually just the two of us, but I will never forget. I will hold the memories of these calm hours like a treasure, something to clutch tightly in the days ahead as we adjust to our new routine, our new life.

Friday, April 02, 2010