Oh beautiful wonderful little monkey-
I am so in love with you it’s crazy. I can’t stop looking at you. I sneak in and peak in whenever you are sleeping wherever you are sleeping constantly like a crack addict for another hit of you.
I can’t believe how big gigantic enormous a gift it is that I get to watch a little person discover their hands and feet. And I could watch it for days. It’s my favorite pastime. I know I don’t make silly voices or sing you made up songs all day, but I do watch you like a hawk and do my best to learn from you, because you are, without a doubt, the most profound teacher I have ever known.
We finally figured out that your diapers were too small. I bet you were happy about that. I know Papa and I are fumbling through a lot of this but you have to understand, we have no tribe to teach us, no paradigms to follow, no village to raise a child. That is why it has been so incredibly illuminating having my family around the last week. Grandma’s are amazing! They have so many tricks up their sleeves and they are so calm cool and collected when it comes to crazy making babies. I love watching them hold you, sing to you, and rock you around like a little sack of potatoes as each one tries to find that special spot that might soothe you. The creativity is astounding. I feel so simple.
I don’t know how it happened but I do know when it happened. The moment I stopped being terrified that something bad would happen to you any second and I started trusting everything would be okay and that you were actually going to make, and I wasn’t going to break you. It was on the freeway coming back from Venice Beach Boardwalk, which was where we took Grandma and Grandpa Wally from Salt Lake City, Utah when they visited last weekend. I knew in my gut that Venice Beach was a bad idea. I had originally envisioned Huntington Gardens- a serene lush environment- but acquiesced out of my own neurotic impulses to people please. Which is inane because nobody would of cared if I’d really stuck to my original plan- but I have issues so let’s move on. Well, it was a long day of driving and the energy on the boardwalk is dark and scary. I was anxious, as usual. When we finally got you back in the car and headed home, that was when the trouble began. I was sitting next to you in the back with Grandma Judy on my left. Grandpa was up front with Papa. Not ten minutes into the drive and you began to howl and wail like never before. Your face looked like it might explode it got so red. You were absolutely extremely pissed off. I didn’t know what to do. I was like a deer in headlights. My whole body was sweating and shaking. But Grandma Judy next to me was so calm and reassuring. She rubbed your head and distracted you as long as we could until she finally suggested we pull over and feed you. I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms. We pulled over into some seedy Carls’ Jr parking lot off of La Brea and I grabbed you and pulled you into my boob. You were too upset to eat at first but finally you did. And that was the moment I realized how tough you were. How resilient. And that it was all going to be okay. I took a deep breath and watched you while everyone talked amongst themselves. I felt the huge knot that had been in my stomach since we brought you back from the hospital begin to dissolve as I realized this is what babies do, and this is what new moms go through, and here were three generations of people working it out. And the whole world had babies and my friends all had babies and apparently babies cry and don’t die. If they could do it, so could I.
I still beat myself up about it for days on end. But I realized that did nobody any good. Like Betsy told us via Dr. Hawkins, it’s about witnessing and observing and learning. Not guilt and shaming. Onwards and upwards!
Your Grandpa Wally is my real father. He left when I was 6 months old. I looked him up for the first time when I was 18 and then again when I was 31 and about to get a divorce and get sober. He wasn’t around much for me, but he’s here now, and here he is holding you in his arms. Kind of a miracle for a guy like him. His story is pretty remarkable and I believe I’ll have to write it down for him someday if he’s too lazy to do so himself. 😉
The day after they left we went down to Laguna Beach for your cousin Asher’s 3rd birthday party. I wasn’t sure if the My Little Pony I got for him was going to be a hit or not- but who knew? All the little boys were obsessed with her. Ha. I wanted a little sister so badly that I used to buy my little brother Dusty Barbie’s for Christmas every year. My personal favorite was the Special Olympics Barbie. She was in a wheel chair. ‘If she can do it, so can you!” I’m not sure Dusty appreciated the humor, I mean he was a grown man and all, but it supplied me with endless bouts of laughter. And the tradition continues with his son. Who apparently appreciates me a little more than his father did. I’ll insert photos later when I have time. I’m writing this on the fly.
I wore you in the Sleepy Wrap that whole day and this is your face while we fed you in the car before driving home. You kept stopping and smiling. It melts me every time.
Lastly your Nama Jill, my own mother, has been with us for a few days now. She’s gonna watch you while I go run a writing workshop for foster kids this afternoon and while your Papa and I go out on an actual date tomorrow night! We are gonna see a movie. I can’t believe it. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. But Nama Jill is a pro. She swings you and soothes you and loves you and has been a huge help to us these past few days. I understand now why having family around is so helpful. They can tell you things like, it’s okay, all babies do that, why don’t you try this? Maybe it’s gas? Don’t eat this. Eat this.
It’s amazing! It’s almost like having baby translators in the house. Even though all babies are different, it helps. Translating babies is a gift that only comes with experience. Experience your Papa and I don’t have. We fumble, we roll, when we are tackled by you, but we always get up, brush ourselves off and start again. It’s a true labor of love.
What I don’t understand though, darling little hummingbird girl, is how for your early day naps I can sweetly lay you down and you’ll smile at me, coo at me, look around, start chewing on your hands, and peacefully fall asleep without any rocking, cajoling, or bribing on our part. There is no fight. No struggle.
But starting at 4pm and up until you fall asleep- you turn into an anti-sleeping Ninja and it’s a battle I don’t like fighting. You aren’t happy anywhere for too long. I do everything. I strap you on and walk with you. I’m a bouncing, rocking, singing, breastfeeding machine and it’s never enough. After hours of this I finally lay you down and let you work it out for a little bit. It kills me to do so but it’s the only option left. It has helped so much to have my Mom here to sit with me and remind me, we all went through this. I told her that I heard it kills brain cells for babies to cry. She said that my older brother Strider must be an idiot then. Which made me laugh because Strider is the farthest thing from an idiot. He’s one of the smartest people I have ever met. And all she had in those days was Dr. Spock. So he cried a lot. I took a pacifier, so I saved myself the trouble.
All babies are different. Learning who you are is my job right now. My only job. You are sensitive, and delicate at times, hardy and full of laughter at others. You love to talk and coo. You’ve got a lot to say. You have a cheeky sense of humor. You are incredibly alert and love to watch, people, places, and things. You want to sit facing out more than in. You are curious. You are sweet. You are a little hummingbird.
I love you.
My little bird.