21 Months

Dear Kaia Marin,

You have decided that this month’s lesson – your big 21st – is all about testing the limits, breaking through boundaries, and otherwise smashing anything resembling a “rule” or “request”. My lovely, lively little girl let me gently remind you that we really don’t have many rules in this house. Really. Running around naked most of the day? No problem. Going pee-pee (and occasionally poo-poo) on the floor? We can deal. Coloring on the sliding glass doors? I can hang. Dragging items out of the pantry ten times a day? Tiring, but we don’t mind. Rubbing dirt and sand into your hair and in every crease of your skin? Cool and fun. Pulling out shoes and socks and clothes from your drawers and scattering them about your room? Alrightee. Adamantly, terribly, loudly refusing to wear shoes at the park? Welllll, not really OK with me, but OK with Daddy.

But, I beg of you, the throwing-your-food-on-the-floor and smirking while you shout “Funnnnyyyy!” is really, really not funny anymore. Actually, we’re getting quite annoyed. And it’s not about having to clean it up, because goodness knows your yellow puppy gladly obliges in that task. We used to let it go, knowing all kids go through this phase. But, you are becoming wise enough to know better. At least I think you are. So now, please be kind to us as we tell you firmly “No, we do not throw food on the floor. That is wasteful and we do not want to waste Mother Earth’s food. You don’t have to eat it, but just leave it on your plate”. Because it really it wasteful. And not very respectful.

I do realize that exploring the limits of boundaries is part of growing up. I don’t want to stifle that in you. I want you to connect consequence and action on your own accord, without me behind you or in front of you acting as an authority figure. Because I don’t necessarily think that age equates to universal wisdom or power or authority. I simply think it equates to experience. I have more experience that you – so, yes, I can definitely let you know that “You may fall if you climb on the chair like that”. But I also believe that we can’t measure wisdom…because I’ve observed so much of it radiate from your tiny body and your endless, loving heart. And perhaps your wisdom is “Yes, mama, but I will never know until I try. Let me try. Safely, under your supervision, but let me try.” And when I watch you from a distance – surrendering to your wisdom and curiosity– we build that trust together. Because, you my daughter somehow understand that:

“There are no boundaries–only possibilities.” – Sakyong Mipham

Last month, I wrote Your analytical mind seems to be blossoming quicker than your artistic, creative mind” . Well, you quickly proved me wrong as it now seems these skills are neck and neck with each other; sometimes one outpacing the other in a creative explosion of color or dance. Other times, it’s the mindful stacking of objects, or placing of puzzle pieces, or compulsive fastening and unfastening of buckles that erupts full force (yesterday at a packed music/play time at the mall, you said “to heck” with the program and went on a spree of going stroller to stroller, buckling the buckles). It is hard for me to keep up with the rapid vigor of your brain and your endeavors often leave this pregnant mama feeling like the wires in my brain somehow crossed during the past 7 months. Because I’m just not all that sharp anymore. Here are two photo examples of your creative and analytical side. The first one is interesting. Yesterday, I was in the living room as you wandered around the house. I heard you chattering somewhere and it seemed muffled. I followed the sound and realized you must be in a closet. I opened the door to our bathroom water-closet and found you contently creating this:

A perfect toilet paper tower. I admired your work and noticed how tall it was – much taller than you! You must only be about six rolls high. But there it was, leaning like the Tower of Pisa at nine rolls high, perfectly balanced against the jam of the door. An engineering marvel. Well done there. This is soooo something your architect Daddy would have done.

And here is one of your lovely “colorings”. I quite like the curves and the sea green/marine colors. To me, it represents the ocean, sky, and the burning sun. The opposing elements of you, my Kaia Marin.

Your new obsessions? Bugs and owwies. About a month ago, I heard you screaming “Owwie” in your bedroom as you pulled the clothes out from your drawers. I ran in to see you pointing to the smallest of bugs, a look of terror in your eyes. I sat down with you and said “Honey, it’s just a tiny bug. It’s a good bug, it’s not owwie. Look, niiiiiicce bug. Let’s go show it to Daddy.”. Daddy is the bug guy. I don’t really mind most bugs (I’m going to try and not pass down my serious fear of roaches to you) but Daddy likes to hold them and examine them. After that incident, you seem to now like bugs. You lie down on the patio (naked, of course), with your button nose centimeters above the concrete, and point at the teensiest of ants, wailing with glee: “Bug! Bug! Bug!”. I love how you really enunciate the “g” at the end of the word.

And owwies – girl, you point out every scratch and bruise and nick on your hazel skin. And you point mine out. And Daddy’s. And you even once pointed to a zit on my face and reminded me of its unwelcome presence with “Owwie”. Thanks.

Oh, and new words. Mostly, you are trying on small, two-word sentences for size, my most favorite being “Daddy work” and “Happy Day”, and “More Milk” and “Almost Home”, and “Water Ducky” (translation: put more water in my ducky watering can, please). And you dance and sing and request the Laurie Berkner song “We are the Dinosaurs” so you can march along to the beat. And you translate Deva Premal’s musical Sanskrit chants into your own; howling and swaying and singing away to your own inner-spirit, invoking the energy of the universe, acting as a little tiny medium of peace for the world. This all just reminds me of all how you move through the world with intention, with abundance, and with bliss.

How wonderful, heart-warming, and strange it is that you now like to be a little helper. I stumbled upon this new found interest accidentally by once asking you to assist me in some random housework – either because I was totally exhausted or because I was trying to distract you from something else. Now, you help me clean the glass coffee table (you are fastidious), load the dishwasher (you have your own system of organization, which I think is shape and color led, but I’ve yet to figure out), bring me your diapers, and even mop up some of your aforementioned food messes which you’ve flung onto the floor (i.e. yogurt, applesauce, beans).

But your newest, bestest, most favoritist job is called “Help Mommy”. This means you want to help me light incense. I let you choose from one of the many scents and watch as your miniature fingers pull a stick out of the box. Then, you guide the stick into the hole of the incense holder. You are very patient with yourself – and proud – during this process. Next, you know to back away as I light the incense (You say “Hot, hot”). Then anxiously, you start to blow on the stick and together we watch the skinny pillars of smoke rise and snake throughout the house. Three times yesterday you begged to “Help Mommy”. I caved twice because my day’s worries get gently carried off in the wafting, sacred scents and smoke of the clove, saffron, jasmine, tealeaf, papaya, lavender, mint, and patchouli. Just this weekend, your Daddy and I bought some divine, earthy, slightly spicy incense, burned in Bhutanese temples, that is a blend of over 100 aromatic substances. This will be the incense offering during your sibling’s June birth.

Speaking of you becoming a big sister; wow, my love. Only two more of these humble updates to you and you will be Kaia Marin, sister to…who knows? Sometimes when I think about it, tears well in my eyes because I cannot.stop.time. I cannot stop you from growing. And I shouldn’t want to. But when you lay warm in my arms for an hour (your legs resting on the bumps of your sibling) like you did last night, and we stare into the vast, chocolate depths of each other’s eyes, and I watch your eyelids soften as I stroke your cheek and forehead and chant along to Deva Premal’s harmonies, I feel the core of us connecting and separating at once, at an unexplainable speed.

And this stills my spirit. And what’s leftover is that utter, pure bitter sweetness of motherhood that pinches and tempers and mellows every part of me. And last night, when I held you and turned on those chants, you looked up at me and said confidently “Baby”. Did you know that I bought this CD to play during the baby’s birth? Or were you remembering the very similar, hallowed incantations of the CD I played during your very own time in my belly and your very own birth journey? Either way, I was floored by your deep understanding and intuition. And I simply, gratefully said “Yes, yes, yes”.

Kaia, you will always be a “yes” to me.

I love you,

Mama

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “21 Months

  1. “Sometimes when I think about it, tears well in my eyes because I cannot.stop.time. I cannot stop you from growing. And I shouldn’t want to. But when you lay warm in my arms for an hour (your legs resting on the bumps of your sibling) like you did last night, and we stare into the vast, chocolate depths of each other’s eyes, and I watch your eyelids soften as I stroke your cheek and forehead and chant along to Deva Premal’s harmonies, I feel the core of us connecting and separating at once, at an unexplainable speed”

    aaaah. i am right there with you. this is so beautiful and so true and so right and the reason why we are meant to be mothering.

    “and this stills my spirit. And what’s leftover is that utter, pure bitter sweetness of motherhood that pinches and tempers and mellows every part of me.”

    what a way to describe this leigh. when i read what you write, I become a better person; lover, mother, friend. your prose,,,what a gift to your girls (did just say that? girlS? i swear it just came out) thank you wise one, spirit sister. i feel like we have known eachother for eons, yet wonder how i have lived without you for so long? you are such a perfect piece in my life. muah.

    m

  2. Muah right back!
    Ya know, it was by reading your writing almost two years ago that I became inspired to write again, to really unleash that poetic prose in me. Seriously.
    So, take heart my love and know that you are indeed a piece of me, too. You are one of my teachers and I am EVER grateful for you.
    XOXO

  3. I think I’ll just take your updates, change Kaia’s name to Jules and pretend I have not just missed recording five or six months of her life. okay?

    Sakyong Mipham – I took meditation instruction with him. Had a hard time though, because he was the hottest Buddist I’d never run across. Hard to follow your breath when you’re wondering what’s under the robes. What can I say, I was like 20 or something.

    Jeanette

  4. Jeanette,
    Cool, as long as you can replace Julianna’s head with Kaia’s head in your amazing photos, then I can pretend like I haven’t missed a fabulous photo record of Kaia’s entire life. Deal? 🙂
    How funny about Sakyong! I had no idea…esp. no idea he was hot!
    XOXO

  5. Oh Leigh, she is such a vision of light and love and energy. The toilet paper tower had me in stitches. And I so know what you mean about not hovering about as an “authority figure”. I try so hard to let M explore her world and discover the limits (and possibilities) all on her own. Unless I think she is at risk of serious injury, I’m pretty hands off. And I agree — they are so, so wise. Oh, and we get the owie thing too (except here they’re “boooo boooos”). Every tiny scratch, mark and zit are pronounced to be boo boos. I recently started offering to kiss them, and oh my is she adorable, holding up the various parts of her body for me to kiss.

    If you find a way to stop time while simultaneously allowing it to unfold and gift us with all of the wonderful things the future holds, let me know.

Show Some Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s