and he gives kisses.
he is seven months old today.
-he calls out for me, his ‘ama’ at night when anyone else tries to hold him. he loves playing with sounds of all volumes and consonants. he reaches out for us when we say ‘scoop the baby!’ or undo the clasp of his car seat.
-he can remain sitting, when placed that way, for ages and ages. he loves to hold a toy in each hand, play with them, bang them together, examine each, alternately put them down and pick them up. he can scoot backward. he’s been able to roll over for months.
-his thighs are too chunky for my hands to reach around. his feet are longer than my palms are wide. he has more hair every day, and i found his first freckle on his wrist.
-we’ve been spending more time outside in the nice weather. his skin is beginning to brown. he loves picking things up out of the grass, examining them, licking them, then putting them down. he loves looking at the trees, the sky, the dog. he was thrilled today when the second half of our walk was interrupted by a sprinkle of rain.
-he has eaten yogurt, egg yolk, sweet potato, white beans, chickpeas, white potato with garlic, avocado, banana, chewed on broccoli stem, sucked the juice out of apples.
-for the most part, he is the happiest of babies – in the car seat, in the ergo, in my arms, with his dad, with his grandparents, with the dog, outside, inside. except, you know, when he’s not.
-he’s not growing longer – he’s been in the same onesies for months, and didn’t (by the pediatrician’s measurements) grow in length at all from 4 to 6 months.
-he’s not crawling. and he can’t sit himself up.
-i haven’t followed through with EC. or with sign language (we’re trying to start now).
-i don’t play constructively enough with him. i sing the same five songs over and over, and i don’t know what skills to be encouraging. i don’t know how to help build him up.
-we’ve been cosleeping since the start (that’s not the worry). from his second to third month, he was sleeping through the night (6-8 hours straight) regularly in his cradle. we haven’t seen that since, and i’m tiring of the baby in my bed, tiring of not being able to choose between nuzzling into the crook of my husband’s arms or sleeping untouched by another, tiring of nursing nursing nursing. we sort of decided not to sleep ‘train’ until mark’s done teaching for the year, but i am so tired of things as they are. do i have mark try to soothe him when he wakes at night? do we take him from the toddler bed pressed against ours and give him a floor bed elsewhere in our room? or in his room? what do we do?
I’m craving flowers. Our yard is fine, relatively neat, a few flowers here and there, chard seeds hidden underground right now, pepper and eggplant seeds in tiny trays, scapes sprouting from a few missed planted garlic cloves last year. I’ve no natural talent for gardens, and no one ever taught me.
But lately I want wild things. Blackberry bushes and hydrangeas. Foxglove. Magnolia. I wish I knew about roses. I wish I had herbs – rosemary, thyme, lemon basil, cilantro, chocolate mint – bursting out of their confines and onto the lawn.
We have a neighbor a few houses up the street with a fairy garden. Flowers in great painted pots. Trees and bushes so that you can hardly see his house, its glassed-in room, its cupola. He’s a nice man – we’ve talked once or twice as we passed one another on the road – but keeps to himself. I don’t know how to ask him to teach me. I don’t know how to become an apprentice.
The baby I could do. I tell myself it was natural, easy, but that’s not the whole story. I read about birthing babies for months and months before I was even pregnant. I had two midwives. I talked to women – mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends. Is that the way? Do I check out every book from the library, two by two, ask everyone I know who’s grown a thing?
A baby is more simple, in some respects. You can research the methods, the different techniques, all you want to, but once the seed is planted it’ll most likely sprout and grow and be with you for decades. Green things are more fickle. Miscarriage and stillbirth more likely than not.
It’s mid-April. Is it too late already?
it isn’t that i need a break from this life; i just want to strike preemptively. preventative medicine, as winter drags on and on. instead of filling my hands with wool and cotton, needles and pins, it’s been paper. books. devouring a slew of delicious books over a number of weeks. in the winter cold, huddling under a blanket of other lives in other climes, other times.
james joyce’s ‘dubliners’ – rereading, remembering. simple.
edith wharton’s ‘ethan frome’ – dark and small and bittersweet and lovely.
mark doty’s ‘still life with oysters and lemons’ – intimate and perceptive.
mary ruelfe’s ‘madness, rack, and honey’ – literature and philosophy in a series of beautiful essays.
pearl s. buck’s ‘dragon seed’ – war and ruin and the strength of women shoring up the strength of men
isabel allende’s ‘the island at the bottom of the sea’ – also war and ruin and the strength of women. read right after the buck book, and oddly similar, oddly haunting.
i feel like i’m missing some.
i forget sometimes that other people aren’t woken up multiple times every night. i forget that for some people, six uninterrupted hours of sleep is not a godsend but an expectation. i forget what it’s like to really sleep in at all.
i know there was a time when i cared so much about the appearance of my body, my hair, my figure, my skin, my clothes. but it’s not important anymore, that excess of care, of worry. i birthed and carry and feed a baby, i wear clean, simple clothes every day, i shower regularly (though often a bit rushed), and that feels like enough right now. i’m back to my old size & shape, and it’s time to buy new blue jeans, the kind that button instead of the kind with elastic to stretch over a baby-filled belly.
i need to find a summer job.