17 Moons


It has finally begun cooling down here in the desert, just in time for your 17 moons. At night, the wind careens through the spaces of our home and whistles a vibrant, primal, humming tune. My soul has always felt at peace when the wind is fierce; a reminder that our Mother Earth is alive and that she too sings her love songs. Sometimes, in her WingSong, she weeps in powerful mourning. And I can relate to that cyclical song, that rhythmic dance in which muscles move without thought or permission, that moment in which we are vulnerable and open to light and dark. In your room, the WindSong is sweeping and grand and almost chaotic. The Bougainvillea on the exterior wall scrapes against the stucco like the sound of a wooden guiro instrument. You, my love, sleep so soundly through this entire symphony of wind. The wind must whisper her wisdom to you too.

On the evening of your 17 moons, you rode home from the sitter’s with me without making so much as a peep. You are never this quiet, usually talking about the moon or asking for some food or telling me what a kitty cat sounds like. But on this night, a night of a full moon, you relaxed in your car seat and pondered. I was deep in thought as well and I believe we were remembering, honoring, and celebrating our intense journey together.

You can draw and color now and have taken to twirling and marching and dancing about vicariously. You play more and more with your babies, telling them to go “Nigh-Night” and wrapping them in warm blankets. Your tenderness melts me. I brought out my big ol’ exercise birth ball again and it has been the only thing in the world you’ve ever been afraid of. I don’t think you liked its unpredictable roll and bounce. You’d run away and say “Baaall”. But, you must have made a truce with it because now you roll about on it and drum on it and it’s become a friend of yours. And hey, this is so cool – you learned how to play a Kazoo and how to whistle. After watching Dadda whistle one morning, you pursed your sweet red lips together and you blew. And out came a whistle, in practically the same tone and note as Dadda’s. We couldn’t believe it but got you to repeat your lil’ trick over and over. Your hair has grown long, wispy, and wild, often matted with food or juice, but I loathe the though of cutting it. And your impish little cheeks are still so full and chubby so they receive the brunt of my barrage of kisses each day.  Oh, and you have a very creative sense of humor…when we slide the arms of your PJ’s over your hands, and the ends hang down a bit until we can fish out your fingers, you start mumbling in a low, monster-like voice (I call it your Cookie Monster voice) while forming a talking “puppet” with your clothed hand.  And you smirk. How in the world did you come up with that?  I mean, that is complete cuteness and genius.

What I see mostly in you this moon in your increased will power and your deep emotional sensitivity. Let’s just say your Cancer sign shines through, baby! In fact, while writing this, you just had a major meltdown because we wouldn’t let you color on the chairs and carpet. And it wasn’t like we just said “No” and took the crayons away. We first taped paper to the coffee table so you had a huge canvas to work with. Then, when I caught you coloring on the chair, I covered it in paper too. I thought I was offering a good solution. But, no, you wanted to color ON the CHAIR, or on the carpet. So after talking to you about how we don’t want to ruin those things, I had to take the crayons away for a bit until you calmed down. Your frustration ended in a crying, hysterical fit of “Nooooo….NooooooooNoooooooNoooooo” while lying on the floor and flailing. It probably didn’t help that I think you were tired (although you’ve only been up an hour and a half) so I laid you in your cozy bed just now. I think you are down for the count.

You are jabbering so much these days that I really can’t keep a good inventory of your words. And, it’s not the words that matter or that move me as much as the sweet pitch of your voice, the curious and talented jumbling of vowels and constanants, the rise and fall of your questions. Your mumbling is my lullaby and when I think about you, it’s what I hear. It actually sounds quiet similar to your Daddy’s chattering when he talks in his sleep. I taught you how to say “Owie” because your teeth – of which you have sprouted at incredible speeds and short intervals – terrorize you. I had hoped it would give you an outlet for communicating your frustration and pain. And indeed, at night when the intensity of your chompers tearing through your little gums wakes you, your tears fall gently as you look into my eyes, chew on your finger, and say “Owwwwie”. You, of course, learned quickly that a lot of life’s little mishaps can become “Owie’s” and I admit that it’s quite adorable to hear you say. Even if it is slightly whiney. You also now say “Ginky” for your Binky’s and, my how you deep your love affair for them runs. I’m not quite sure what our plan is for weaning you off the Ginky, as it is your comfort during naps and nighttime especially. You love a Ginky for your mouth, and a Ginky for each hand, and even a Ginky that you like to stab in your eye, which we lovingly deemed your Stabbing Eye Ginky (sounds more like a Kung Fu move than a harmless soothing technique).

(you, as you typically are, with food stuffed in your mouth. Your cuz Skylar is the one with the Ginky)

Speaking of weaning, together we’ve made a huge step our nursing, mamababy relationship. This month, you have practically weaned yourself from nursing completely. There have been numerous times I’ve offered that you have refused and so now I just go with your flow, although after 17 months a Mama can feel a bit useless when her milk isn’t providing the same comfort it always has. The amazing thing is that you are now sleeping through most nights, only occasionally waking to eat some yogurt when your teeth hurt. Months ago, when I pondered the idea of weaning, I always imaged I’d be quite sad and regretful. Our special bonding time – those moments of spiritual, emotional, and physical nourishment – have been some of the fondest moments of our 17 moons. That relationship demonstrates the truest trust, the purest love, the deepest connection that I have ever experienced. But, it puts me at much ease to say that this weaning was completely led by you. Child led. Not Mama or Dadda led, not culture led, not led by guilt or selfishness. Led by your wise, knowing, tiny baby heart. And weaning in this way has been a model for the type of foundation I hope we continue to build in our relationship, one is which we totally trust each other’s intentions, listen to the WingSong of our hearts, and move in time with our innermost needs.

And as I learn more about how to listen to your blood-rhythm – that part of you that tantalizes your spirit, that’s buried deep in your bones; the part of you that is passionate and moves you to breathe deeper – may I also learn to sway in time with you. And in that timeless swaying, we connect again and experience the power of limitless love.

I love you, my girl.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. New Mama says:

    What a nice way to think of her weaning.

    I’ve been trying to ask Henry if he has an owie in his mouth (he doesn’t say “owie” yet) and the other night, while he was in the throes of intense pain, I asked him that and he said, “Uh uh UH!” as though he were so grateful for me to name it for him.

    Love the photos, by the way. She is adorable. 🙂

  2. Brooke says:

    Dear Leigh,
    I have revisited this post at least ten times now and never knew what to say that might do it justice. Your monthly tributes to Kaia take my breath away. They do. You have such a tenderness and honesty and deliciousness when you speak of her.

    It’s especially precious because I know you two now. Your posts about Kaia never reflected that simple, ‘nice’ person you mentioned.In fact, I didn’t find you to be at all the ‘nice’ and purely light ‘sweet thing’ that you’ve mentioned here. I found you to be deep, honest, thoughtful, careful with your words and extremely serene and balanced in your emotional being. I found you generous and loving and profound, not ‘nice.’ You are like a rock, Leigh, whether you know it or not. Yes, you are as yummy as honey but you are so much more than that. Your depth and reflections about your daughter express this better than anything else – other than experiencing you in person.
    I love you and am so moved by the relationship you have with Kaia. It is so NOT hearts and flowers, but quiet watching, carefulness without clucking, respect and total honor for the tiny little person, the divine being that she is. And that is who you are.
    (Do I even need to say)Love (?),

  3. That picture in the high heels slays me. The Stabbing Eye Ginky had me laughing out loud. Those chubby cheeks and pouty lips … she is adorable. Happy 17 moons Kaia. You have a wonderful mama.

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