|My child is nothing if not cooperative|
|One of the first, if not the first, photos of the Fidg|
|This is how we both spent most of the first few months|
No one told your mom how hard the early days would be, either. There were some hints and lots of jokes, but man, was I under prepared. Woefully under prepared. Even with a full time dad at my side, I was lost in a sea of lonely confusion, exhaustion, pain, and biological imperative. Though I fret about your not having a sibling, I don't think I can go back there, not even to give you a brother or sister, and I would do almost anything to give you stuff. There are questions there too: was it hormones? Was it normal? Was it excessive?
|Amanda, 1 of only 3 non familial hospital visitors.|
"Doesn't it go by so fast?" all the parents and non parents are trained to say. I suppose it does, Fidg. Except I would say good portions of the year were excruciatingly slow. The fast bits were the good bits - your early, so hard to earn laughter. The rare quiet evenings. The rare stress-free outings.
I don't want you to think you were a total drag, kid? You're not a total drag. Mommy's just always been slow to embrace change. I usually run on a 6 month schedule, but for something as big as little you, I guess I needed to allow for more time. I also don't have patience for things I'm not good at, and I'm not sure I was very good a parenting in the beginning. I'm not sure I'm good at it now. As a really rough analogy, it's like being camp counselor to the little kids. You're job is making sure they keep coming back to camp until they are old enough to make better people out of. My job was keeping you alive so you could keep making those neural connections until you're old enough to watch Sesame Street and converse about it. That takes time. And I hate waiting.
I love you in the morning when you wake up with lots to say. Babble babble. Lately, your noises take on a staccato cadence, with some rolling tongue and some endearing patterns. T-kit-tee-kit-tee-kit. Maybe you're saying kitty - you also say cat. Or your version of it. There are daddies in those words too. And some mamamama, but not quite in the same way as daddy. You know words though - you understand more. You make connections that make me think of that Helen Keller scene - cup, a cup, this is the word for cup, this is a cup, this is language, this is meaning. Your eyes go to balloons when you hear the word. You pick up your monkey when I say where's monkey. With that come new fears. Not of baby f-bombs, but of culture and television and messages and gender roles and all sorts of the world's big and small evils. How soon until you understand what the world is saying it wants from you? Will you agree with it? Disagree? Will you notice? Will you be a young skeptic? Will you be Thomasina, scientist and mathematician?
The days immediately after your birthday feel like a bit of a let down. Not a let down. They feel - normal. A new sense of normal not felt in a while. We hit that milestone. It's passed. It will never come again. In fact, my biggest regret on the exact day of your birthday is that, despite happening to be home for it, I missed holding you at the exact moment the clock struck 1556. I was downstairs loading the dishwasher. I'll never get that moment back. I'm more mournful about having missed it than I'd have thought.
But enough of all this for now. This rambling post that is, itself, not as great as I hoped when I started it - days ago. We dwell in a state of "enough" these days. Good enough. Enough sleep. Happy enough.
But one thing I have more than enough of: my love for you, my one-year-old daughter. And in thinking about that, I'm taken back to our hospital room the day we checked out. With daddy packing the car and you and I waiting for discharge papers. The glare was almost too much from the giant window. The blue sky scattered with clouds. I promised you the zoo. We're going to have fun, I told you, and choked up for the first time after an emotional few days. We're having fun already - but the best is surely yet to come. Happy Birthday, Fidget.
|"In your face, mom."|