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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Morning time

The Bird gets up early, around five o’clock. If I could, I would stay in bed with her and cuddle and coo and wrap the blankets around our heads until big brother woke with the rising sun. But, this is the noisiest darn baby I have ever heard. She rarely cries, and when she does it comes out in short caw-like bursts, but she twists and groans and clicks and tweets and grunts and makes all kinds of sounds that aren’t fit for a baby. Pure animal. So, in order not to annoy and wake brother before the dawn, I wrap her up and snuggle her close and we exit the big bed and carefully descend the stairs.

In the mornings my little birdy likes to look up at me with her swollen sleepy eyes and she gets this big, sweet, open-mouth smile on her face. I feel like I’ve known this smile my entire life. I felt similarly with my Jude. I don’t know if it’s some kind of spirit inside of them and if we’ve all been connected before any of us could remember  or if it’s that they resided inside of me for nine months and some of them was left there forever.

Whatever it is, the chirpy bird and I sit downstairs in the dark, and sometimes she gets some special grandpa time where they sing together and dance, and sometimes it’s just her and me. When it’s just us I look at her and I can’t help it, the words “Princess baby” just come out of my mouth. I don’t know why. She’s not actually a princess and the way that she grunts and snorts and turns red in the face as she wriggles doesn’t exactly make her of the princess and the pea variety, but I can’t stop myself. Sometimes she will give me that open mouth grin, and move her shoulders up so her chubby face is even more covered in rolls and I just Loose. My. Shit.

“Oh my God. Princess Baby, Beautiful beautiful princess baby!” I squeal it, and then I kiss her cheeks and her tummy and her arms and I rub my nose against hers and smell her hair.

But, I guess that’s my right as a parent. How could I fight it?

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The small man and I made a trip to the pediatrician’s office a little while ago for his three year old check up. The nurse asked us the usual stream of questions; the ones about about his eating habits, how he speaks (or a better question would be if he ever stops), sleeping, if he puts on his own pants (which, ahem, he can…but normally doesn’t), and if he had an imaginary friend. Imaginary friend? Is this a milestone of childhood? I don’t ever recall having an imaginary friend. I remember imagining that my toys were friends, but they were tangible objects that I spoke to and cuddled and pretended were real. They weren’t a non-existent entity that I named and spoke to and spoke about. My Jude had always done the same, naming and speaking to his toys, but never had what would be considered an imaginary friend. This is what I told to the nurse and this is what she quickly typed into the computer and then never mentioned again. She didn’t seem too vexed by it, but I sort of kind of was. The small mister, who has hit every development goal spot on and whom I stare at in amazement as he recounts every detail of his day, and as he uses terms like, “Doomed” correctly, was maybe possibly not doing something that he maybe possibly should be doing.

And then, the very next day, Brokelynn showed up.

Brokelynn is five then one then three. We don’t know what his hair looks like or his face, or even how tall he is. I don’t pry. Brokelynn became an inhabitant of our household after the new babe showed up, and then after the trauma of a doctors trip that included three shots. I assumed that Brokelynn would become the whipping boy. Spilled juice and torn paper and snips out of the rug could all fall on Brokelynn. I assumed that this was what imaginary friends were for. Instead, when nuts or sprinkles or something else messy ended up on the floor I jokeingly turned to the small man and asked, “Did Brokelynn do this?”, and he replied, “No, I did.”

Instead, Brokelynn exists as a kind of fair-weather friend. He shows up sometimes when we get snacks. Jude pours out juice and takes an extra cup, “For Brokelynn”. In the morning Brokelynn sometimes walks out of dreams. Sometimes he joins us for a swim. But mostly he just kind of hovers around, someone that exists and doesn’t exist and who I thought would mean more than he seems to mean.

Sometimes, all of the time, I’m sure that Brokelynn exists because Delila exists. It is at these moments that I close my eyes and in my mind the words, “What have I done what have I done what have I done” echo like rain drops. It is not that Brokelynn is bad, or even abnormal, obviously he is a part of childhood that is so normal that he is included in the three year old check-up, but he is also a very viable mark of a very huge disruption in my three year olds life. I think of us before. Our cuddle time and our walks and the talks we had that were so much more deep and important that all the talks I’ve ever had before him, and then I look down at the sweet little person in my arms, who I can’t seem to stop looking at and smiling at and cuddling, and know that those moments will never be the same.

I know in some ways that a sibling is a wonderful asset to a single child. But, I’ve never been an only child. All I ever knew was having an older sister, having someone. Most of the time I think that it’s okay. The small man seems happy, he wants to hold the baby and to kiss her and is interested in the things she does. But then, when we snuggle up in the big bed at night, things are different. The small new baby squirms and squiggles, and even though I know that she’s okay some instinct inside of me says that I need to pull her in close and pat her back and feed her until she’s calm and content and sleeping. At this time I turn, and my back is to the little man and he’s sort of alone there when once not too long ago he was the one in my arms that I was cuddling to sleep. And sometimes he cries and yells. Sometimes he gets out of bed and plays and jumps and wakes everyone up and I cry and yell. But then there are the sometimes that I whisper to him, “Come snuggle with us” and he lies on the other side of Delila, so that we’re kind of this little family sandwich with the baby between us, and then he wraps his arms around her so that he can grasp on to me, and he kisses her, and he whispers back, “I love you mommy, so much.”

And then I close my eyes and I think, “Maybe it will be okay, Maybe it will all be okay.”

Image

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Delila

Surprise Surprise Starlight Eyes

That up there is my little internet secret, making her second debut, the first being her round little face’s appearance on Facebook.

Some people may be a little confused as to why I never officially announced her, why my rounded belly and widened hips never showed up on their news feed, or why the first pictures of her, nestled inside of my womb were never proudly displayed. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure. My first pregnancy was so public. I displayed my growing belly, my ultrasound pictures, the name my partner and I picked, love songs to my little boy. As I contemplated all of this it just felt too personal. This was mine, she was mine, and as many feelings I may have hurt by deciding not to share, I wanted to keep the little ball of human safe and secret and hidden deep inside of me.

As a result of my secrecy, or maybe just because she was tiny and petite inside of me and didn’t begin to show herself until she was nearly fully formed, I felt like maybe she didn’t exist outside of my body and maybe I didn’t exist outside of housing her. I tried to remember how I felt through my pregnancy with my sweet boy, how I felt not myself, full and round and exposed in public. This wasn’t the same. I forgot that the roundness of my body existed and along with it forgot that a tiny person would soon be naked and squawking her way into this world. I went where I needed to go and did what I needed to do and carted the Jude bug around. Squawking seemed appropriate, as her little body felt like wings that flapped and shifted and settled into my hips. The little Wren.

Her birth was nearly as secret as her formation. It happened early Tuesday morning, 1:35 am August 21st, nine days before her expected due date. It seemed like something was tight inside of me, but as I waited and snuggled the wee boy I figured I had hours left for the tightening to progress. I ran a bath and laid down in it. When I was in labor with the boy everything I read told me that water would sooth my body and the baby inside of it. When I was in labor with the boy this was not true. This time as soon as I laid myself down something that felt like the word calm surrounded me and something that sounded like thunder cracked outside. As the rain came down I wrapped around the tight little ball of my body and talked to the baby, “Little birdy, together, we’ll do this together”. By the time I realized this was “labor for real” I had about enough time to cry out to my father, hop in the car, and crawl through the emergency room door before the nurse on call delivered my little, surprisingly quiet, bird. At six lbs and 5 oz she seemed like a dream with tiny little feet that I couldn’t help but trace over and over.

So, no epidural this time either. Go figure.

Our little family is settling in together. The small mister needs maybe a little time to adjust, but that’s okay, maybe I do too. Our little bird is just as sweet and chirpy as she was in the womb.

Us

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So, about a week after Christmas it seems appropriate to do my Christmas post!

We had a beautiful time. It was different than years past, and on the edges there were tinges of sorrow and a stomach flu that kept me away from all the rich and wonderful foods, but there were more smiles this year than the past three years combined.

We were up before dawn with squeals of, “Christmas! Christmas!” and the mad dash to wake up all the other sleepers of the house insued. We were then down the stairs and into the family room where the tree still glowed and the presents were lined up happily and waiting the little one’s twitching fingers. The babe, of course, received a store full of toys and candy and paints. We even spaced the gift opening out, and he finished opening his last present this morning. Even so, he opened each with gusto. He yelled upon each new discovery, “Oh my gosh! A (car truck fingerpaint toy train etc.). I LOVE THIS!”, and everyone was more than pleased to offer up their gifts. He was the perfect receiver and he genuinely enjoys each one.

My brother got the chance to take leave from his base in Kentucky and spend some time with us, which has been fun and has made the family feel sort of kind of whole again. He picks on the babe and the babe picks on him. He has taught him some army wrestling moves and the babe has taught him how to translate toddler speak. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

I still look forward to the rest of the season. New years where I’ll sip sparkling grape juice, the days I plan to spend with my grandmother, days and days and days with the babe.

Of course, I still long for some. Every day I do, but always at the holidays. Isn’t it funny how when you miss someone you remember distinctly pieces of them? The rough spot inside of their palms, the way a nose curves, a gap between teeth. This season I missed the soft brush of a cheek against mine. I remembered the soft baby hairs that fell across the skin and the way her face felt soft when it pressed against mine, and the way I could smell her hair and the lotion she used when I leaned up against her. I missed our night time giggling, our comparison of gifts. But, I told myself it was okay to miss and it was okay to be happy. And I was, and I am. Happy still 🙂

 

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So, how do you all feel about this season?

I’m pretty conflicted about it. The babe is going to be bombarded with piles of stuff stuff stuff. I can’t help myself. This is the first year that I know he’ll be excited about Christmas, about presents, and I want to feel excited too. It’s selfish, I know that, but I don’t mind. It’s so hard for me to hold on to something happy about Christmas that I’m not going to let this go. It took me so long to let myself feel happy, to tell myself that happy is okay, that I don’t really want to admit that I’m spending money that I can’t really spend to give the babe things that maybe possibly he doesn’t even want. All because I want the smile. The squeals of joy. The, “Christmas! Presents!”, that will come when he wakes up.

Three years ago sister and I went from store to store scouting out unique gifts. We made plans, we split the cost, and we wrote both our names on the package. It’s hard for me now to write just mine, and so on every gift I write, “From Jude.”

The gifts may not be healthy. I know it’s not a tradition I want to start with the babe, piles of meaningless things that I bought. But I know too that a lot of them will be fun for us both to play with, a lot of them will encourage outdoor play, and a lot of them will be tossed to the side. I wish that I had spent time making them. I wanted to make puppets and a puppet house and a cardboard kingdom. I guess it’s okay though. Christmas doesn’t have to be the only time for gifts and fun.

We spent yesterday at the plant nursery looking for herbs and playing in the “Jungle”. We looked for lions and the babe swam in the gravel.

The babe with his can full of gravel

Passion Fruit blossom

What's that over there?

A lovely green anole, deceased at the park

I know my pictures kind of stink, they’re blurry and out of the phone (not even an Iphone at that!), but I like to look at them and I hope you do too 🙂

I look forward to the rest of this season and the rest of the year. I look forward to Christmas and presents and cookies and I feel happy. Happy. I hope all of you out there do too.

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I don’t think that I want to be the kind of girl that hangs out at penitentiaries, or asylums, or places of incarceration. That girl whose fingertips stretch further than they are able to try to touch the flesh of another palm. One whose skin is white like paper and whose eyes look deep and dark and hidden. I like the freckles on my shoulders and across my nose. I like the way my skin smells when the babe and I have spent hours searching for polywogs and beetles in the lake. When I kiss, I like the taste of my lover’s lips and the old coffee and sandwiches that cling to his tongue to dance across mine. I don’t want to be another mouth pressed up against glass trying to feel the heat on the other side.

But in too many other ways I already am that girl and always have been. My attraction to caged things is undying. As a child I liked to catch lizards and flies and hold them close to me in an attempt to make them happy in my warmth. I’ve always loved the zoo, the fact that I could stand so close to lions and tigers and monkeys, but I would always will them out. Someone told me that if you believed in something with enough of you, if it was real to you, it was real. In childhood this is an easy concept. I believed that by willing it, I could release the animals from their cages. I believed that they would come out and lie prostrate at my feet. That they would bite me, just enough to draw blood, and then lick the wound when I cried out. I want to believe this now. That by willing the bars to come down I can grant freedom, and that in that freedom all that the incarcerated will want is to be trapped by me.

The babe is sleeping now. He gets so sweaty when he sleeps and I like to go in there and cuddle up to him and smell his hair. It still smells like newborn to me, maybe because I wash it maybe once every two weeks. No crib, babe sleeps on the mattress on the floor next to me. We’ll go out tomorrow to enjoy the sunshine, but lately this is what life has looked like for us:

Light up UCF with the aunties

A medieval wedding for my Uncle and his Bride, Eldonna

Sister and Me, who has been holding my hands in dreams and brushing my hair.

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A day ago, or a few days ago, or every day, a woman was out on her lawn on a mattress that she had pulled out and laid in the center because, “I like to sleep in the sun.” And she was doing just that, she was asleep and the sun was pouring down on her and moving its way underneath her skin and making her brown and warm and smell like the earth, and that’s when her boyfriend came around the corner and covered her in gasoline and lit her a flame. Did anyone even hear about this? I like to imagine that as the gasoline poured down her face and over her body she was dreaming of being a little girl in the bathtub when her mama would bathe her. Except, she was full sized and the bathtub was huge and her mama was even huger. As the gasoline ran down her face and over her hair she dreamed of her mama with a big plastic cup and her hand sheilding her eyes. She was singing “Amazing Grace” and the warm water was running down her cheeks and over her shoulders and the bathtime suds were floating in the water around her. When he lit the match and threw it over her body I imagine that she had a brief moment where she thought the sun was just too hot, and that maybe she should go inside and get a glass of sweet tea, but then the flames burned so fast and so hot that her body turned the heat into cold and she considered a blanket, but was just too tired to get one, and so instead she slept and slept and slept inside the warm sunlight.

Things like this have been keeping me up at night. This, and scenes from the Holocaust that I’ve been reading for class, and the chance images of men and women being shot in the streets of some place far far away from me popping up on screen while momma daddy baby and me had dinner. I don’t think I fear for myself or for pain or for death. I feel peaceful about these processes, that this is just a body and that death and life intermingle and get tangled up and are just more pieces of existence and non-existence. But, I worry about the babe. My thoughts center around keeping him safe, away from fear. I worry, if we were taken away somewhere, carted off in the darkness, what would I do? Could I hold on tight enough, sing loud enough, smile convincingly enough to drown out the blanket of fear? I know that I have to let these things go, that they are outside of my control. I know that I need to just relax and enjoy the softness of his cheeks and the way that his breath still smells faintly of milk. And while I love his sweet rolls and the way he clings to me, I do have an inkling of desire for the days when he will be giant and strong and be able to destroy armies and catch bullets in his hands.

What, readers, are your fears? Do you fear the things that go bump in the night?

When I get restless like this I cut my hair. I had my dear Jessie to help me this time.

This is new.

In the sunshine.

Frrriieeeennndddssss

Mon Bebe

More on life later.

 

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