As of yesterday, you have experienced 10 new moons (and yesterday was the 1st quarter phase of the moon, a half moon, a wedge of cheese, a taco…) Your bright light has swirled it’s way inside of our lives, your love as powerful as the lunar waves, filling us with cool renewal and gratitude. This past month, your personality blossomed in harmony with the spring’s desert landscape, and is just as diverse.
It’s become apparent that you inherited your Mama’s lack of patience. I am so sorry for that. Yes, I’m the one who seems to always tear the cereal bags vertically because I’m in too much of a hurry to care. And Cheerios go spilling out everywhere into the cardboard box, never to pour out the same way again. Incidentally, you’ve actually helped to teach me to focus on patience. I’m happy to say I’ve become a bit better at living with (some) patience…so there’s hope for you yet. Every time I gingerly guide your chubby limbs into your PJ’s, or take away a “toy”, or walk out of the room when you are greepy or slumpy (grumpy-sleepy combo) thou dost protest too much! Your tiny back arches, your head flings back, and your eyes clamp shut while you wail. And sometimes, dare I say it; you start to hold your breath. You may not know, dear child, that I expressed my childhood dismay by holding my breath until I passed out cold on the floor. Guess what? Your Grams did the same thing. I fear your Papa and I are doomed to witness the same fate in you. Know that our arms will be there to catch you. At the least, we will make sure there is something soft to break your fall.
There is one thing that is guaranteed to make you stop crying. It’s when Mama sings you the lyrics of the “Jazz Fly” book: “ZZZZ, a fly buzzed by it was late in the day, and he was lost, so he flew to the frog who was sitting on the log, and asked the frog which way to town.”Za-baza Be-zaba Zee-za RONI”. Your tears cease and and you look up at me with knowing eyes. The rhythm of the words soothes you and makes you feel safe.
You finally learned to crawl and quickly mastered the skill. Your fat baby knees and tops of your feet got calloused and red from all of your scooting. Pulling up on furniture or your crib is your newest skill and you grin at me, baring your top 2 teeth, as if you are the proudest big girl around. Pulling up, combined with your lack of patience and keen ability to pitch a fit, make for an interesting drama when you are ticked off in your crib. You even throw your binky’s on the floor in your room just to make a point. And to watch me pick them up.
This past month, I got a big taste of how your Cheerios must feel. Let’s just say, they have my fullest sympathy. Those four chompers of yours pack a powerful punch, er, bite. Particularly when they are on my sensitive bits! You are on about a three week streak of full-on biting me while nursing. My nipples have a bone to pick with you! It doesn’t faze you when I shriek and jerk away and put you down while saying “Noooo, no biting. That hurts Mama!”. In fact, sometimes you look at me and smirk.
This new hobby of yours has presented a plethora of new problems. Because I can’t seem to finish a nursing session with you, I am FULL of milk. Which means, I have to try and find time to pump more often. One night, I was watching TV and pumping along until I looked down to notice pink milk! Yes, I was bleeding. Fab-u-lous. I’m sore, so I cringe every time you latch on, while simultaneously trying to relaxxxxx. It’s sorta like that machine at the eye doctor where they blow a puff of air into your eye. The anticipation makes you crazy. But at least that process is painless! As of late, you’ve become a little bit (bite?) better about at least waiting until you are done to give me the ritual sayonara bite. I’m glad you’ve seemed to calm down because I really, really enjoy our bonding time together. It’s part of how I’ve learned about the beauty of patience and mindfulness. I don’t wait to give it up to some little pearly whites that will eventually fall out anyways.
Need I even mention that you still don’t sleep through the night?
Your babbling makes me giddy. Of course, your Daddy and I, along with your grandparents, swear you say a lot of words (hi, bye-bye, Elmo, Grams, Grandpa, Papa, Nana, Mama, Dada). Daddy told me about how you saw him roll in your Bugaboo Frog stroller and exclaimed “Bugaboo!” You make all kinds of silly noises and have found out how to blow applesauce all over the place while making some of them. You also understand the word “No”…I’m trying really hard to make sure you life isn’t full of No’s though…I want you to understand that Yes’ are all around you! You are worth every Y, E, and S.
Food is your passion. Girl, can you EAT! You are a food scrounge and try to steal my food all of the time, particularly my PB&J sandwiches. When we place you in your highchair, you immediately stick your hand in the shallow built-in cup holder, searching for Cheerios. If I take too long chopping your carrots, or blending your sweet potatoes, or peeling your squash, the Diva Kaia (that’s you) begins to take over. Yelling from her royal high chair, she tenses up her body and smacks the tray. Sometimes she even groans and roars deeply and slowly like a protective lioness! I cannot believe how you devour beans, fingerful by fingerful. Beans of any kind – kidney, white beans, black beans. Beans, beans, good for the heart…Today, Daddy noticed how there were beans in your poop. Yep. And you still love them. More of your favorites: avocado, cheese, apples, pears, peaches. Your so-so’s are pineapple, green beans, mango. Daddy found out you like pickles and even onions. This, you inherited from him.
You’ve also developed some interesting habits. You love your binkys. Your Elmo doll has a binky and so does your $3 Wal-Mart dollie. These binky’s are your best friend, next to your Puppy JP. Lately, you’ve wanted an additional binky to hold on to at night (which Daddy has termed your “safety binky”). Another habit is that you try to chew on the glass top of our coffee table. Ay-yi-yie, it’s like fingers on a chalkboard!
You love to swing really high in your red plastic swing outside. The higher Grandpa Ritchie pushes you, the more you squeal and smile. Your fine brown hair even blows with the breeze. I hope you’ll grow up hearing him chant “Rocket Ship to the Mooooooon” like I did when I was a young girl. I taught you how to clap to “Pat-a-Cake” this past week, even though you don’t quite understand the motions to the “Roll ’em Up, Roll ’em Up, Throw ‘Em in the Pan” part yet. I’m sure that will come with time. Another cute thing is you have a few dolls who you will usually hug and pat their backs when asked to do so. When I carry you to bed, your head nestled on my shoulders and eyelids heavy, you will pat my back when I say “Pat Mama’s back!” Already a mothering instinct!
Perhaps one of the proudest skills you’ve demonstrated is your keen sense of rhythm. Your Daddy beams with pride at this one (“My little musician”, he says). A few weeks ago, we stopped to watch a live Jazz trio set up at the Country Club and play their first song. You stared in awe at the upright bass and was so enthralled by its deep pulsing vibe that you sat, mouth agape, and drooled. Then, you noticed the drums and starting waving your arms in perfect time. Seriously. Then you shirked in joy while they played. In your carseat, you start doing the same thing when you hear Ben Folds. Good girl! Daddy plays his congas and, again, you wave your arms to the beat and watch with intent. When I approach the congas with you in arm, you reach out and begin to beat them, creating your own music.
You are still a social baby and enjoy nothing more than playing with, and watching, other children. This is when you are truly most content. Stranger anxiety hasn’t set in just yet with you and you are almost always up to giving a bit ol’ toothy smile to anyone who peers your way.
My Kaia, my lovely little peanut, my heart cannot contain the pure pleasure you bring me. Surely, my heart must be bleeding onto the pages of my life! That’s a good thing, really. It’s not just that your innocence is so endearing, and that you are impossibly cute, that make me beam with pride. It’s that I see how open you are to love, how sensitive you are to the vibration of our universe. How accepting you are to all of life’s surprises and mysteries. Its how your little arms and legs cling to me when you ride on my hip, as if you’ve always been there, you belong there.
A few weeks ago, you were fussing in your crib and just wouldn’t go to sleep. Your nose was runny, your hair wild. I brought you into bed next to me and held you on my chest. Then, you began a strange and ritualistic sort of dance with me. With your eyes closed, you crawled and rolled your body down and over mine while I gently held on to you…to the left and the right you slowly crawled and gently swayed with me, still entangled in the safely of my arms. It seemed to have soothed your tired soul, while it penetrated mine with love. It felt almost like you were snuggled within my body again, safe and warm and gentle. You needed me. We needed each other. The same feeling of oneness washed over me and I was overcome with emotion and memory of our nine intensely close months together. Thank you for this brief experience that night. So spiritual, so special.
It seemed fitting that we spent yesterday, your 10 moon anniversary, at a Day of the Midwife Rally that I had helped to organize along with our dear Marinah and other lovely birth advocates. We played in the sun, lolled in the grass with other Mamas, and shared birth poetry in a circle. You left exhausted. I left with sunburn.
While you napped today, your Daddy and I sat on the couch and reminisced about how you’ve grown from a helpless, tiny infant to a sweet, kind, vivacious little bean. I said “Honey, she is our contribution to the world!” Your Daddy responded with such tenderness “She is the world’s contribution to us“. He was so very right.
Kaia Marin, thank you for the gift of your spirit. It has pervaded our lives in ways we understand more deeply every single day. Now, please, don’t grow up any faster. And let’s work on that biting thing…
I love you,