I really am gearing up to write about a few things other than birth, and my baby, and my pregnancy. But for now, this is what has been on my mind. And thus, I write.
And I have no excuse for my entirely-too-long-to-post-but-do-it-anyways letters to my girl except that she moves me. And thus…I write.
My sweet, sweet baby on her 22 moons,
I am positive that many a letter – and many a mama’s daily thoughts – has started out in this hopeful way: “Someday I will look back on these times and <insert variety of phrases here>”… In fact, I have read some of these very letters, which have included phrases such as: laugh, cry, mourn, smile, remember, wonder what the heck I was doing, cringe (ok, not really).
I’ve been reminded myself alot lately that someday I will look back on the past few weeks and wish I could summon them up again on a moment’s notice. I will wish I could barge into your bedroom as the morning light filters onto your chubby face and scoop up your tiny, warm, smiling body as you gleefully proclaim “G’morning!” I will wish that time could rewind and then remain on pause as you rest your sunscreen-smelling, sandy-haired head on my shoulder, or gently pat my back, or relax your body in my lap for a book reading with your tanned legs dangling down. I will look in my rear-view mirror and imagine I see you once again blowing spit bubbles like a pro or watch you bob your head as you create your own lyrics to songs. I even guess I’ll wish I could even witness the bittersweet humor in your daily meltdowns and tantrums; watching my pregnant body tense up just a bit, noticing how my eyes flutter momentarily in frustration, and seeing how I mostly try to muster the courage to surrender to your power and needs. I will probably wish I could hug that person and tell her that it’s all part of this crazy, beautiful life of motherhood and how I really will someday look back…and miss every moment of it.
So, yes…you have officially mastered the art of total drama-mama diva-mistress tantrum meltdown. I mean the rearing your head back, throwing your body to the floor, steam-rolling across the carpet, piercing scream-emitting, blinking tears, body-arching, sliding from your chair, yelling “noooooooo” tantrum. It’s rather incredible the amount of energy you exert to get your message across and the wrecking-ball technique you’ve perfected where you throw items with hurricane force. One would gather that a simple “Me no like it!” growled slowly like your friend Julianna Banana would suffice. But alas, that wouldn’t make your Mama and Daddy as crazy as these Wicked Witch of the West puddle-inducing meltdowns could, now would they?
But my girl, I must admit that while they were shockingly effective at first, they are starting to lose their appeal and their effectiveness. More often than not, you are being left to squeal alone (okay, within a few feet of us), to get it all out, to voice your concerns to the heavens, to puncture the otherwise peaceful serenity of our home with a charge of hormones and anger. Unless we happen to be in a restaurant, which is looking like it shall nary happen more than once a month as this rate. Thanks for helping us save a chunk of change, my love. We will use it for our weekly heaping dose of chocolate to level out our nerves.
Not to go dwell on it or anything, but you most of my friends (and their babies) have learned not to awaken the beast. Here are some of the rules that I’ve gathered: Don’t take anything out of your hands, assume your plastic piggy toy will make you completely crazy with frustration every single time you play with it, don’t let Daddy sip a smoothie in the car lest he damn well be intent on giving you 95% of it, don’t firmly ask you to not throw food on the ground or to be gentle you’re your friends (because you will hiss like a cat or growl like a lion as a response, leaving me with no choice but to cover my laughing mouth), don’t let your dog JP actually consume the dog bone you begged to help give him, don’t ever remind you of any of your owwies, don’t ever go two days without strictly sticking to your nap schedule, and please, oh please for pete’s sake, don’t ask you if you are “done yet” with your tantrum. Because another tornado will follow in its place
Wait, did I really say I would probably look back with fondness on these times?
I will say that dragging you to my reduced-sized lap (due to baby) to read a good book, or softly chanting Om Namah Shivaya into your ears works almost every time. You muscles usually soften, your eyes gently focus, and your breathing stabilizes. You look at me again with trust in your eyes. That is so very refreshing. Seasoned mama MB says that you are such a powerful woman and that it’s difficult to learn how to deal with girlies like you; how to balance gentle guidance without taking away your power. She knows. She has a little Mia Rose, who despite her delicate name is also a firecracker, an energy-worker, a fierce leader, a powerful woman like you. We need your power in this world. We just need to figure out how to work within it, how to help you tame it at times and channel it lovingly and appropriately. Oh, how we do desperately need to protect your power and ability to move mountains in this world! Help me guide you, not show you. Help me encourage you, not stifle you. Help me sit back and watch as you explore, learn, and both fail and succeed on your journey with fabulousness.
Then there’s this sibling that you’ll be dealing with next month. I don’t know if it’s your age, or the fact that you sense you won’t be my only baby soon (or maybe all of it combined) but you have become much more clingy lately. This is strange for you, you who I’ve always known as Ms. Independent Spirit, Ms. Gimme My Own Space, Ms. I Can Do It On My Own. And while I’ll admit it wears me down at times (think: bending over to pick you up, you not wanting me to put you down, you pulling yourself into my lap with a determined fervor) I’m totally digging the closeness we share and I’m trying to remain in the moment. Because that very moment could be the last of its type; the last of just you and me, me and you, kid. How raw. How mind-boggling. How incomprehensible. How very, very big that all is. I’m still trying to take it all in, process it in my heart, and wonder what it all really means.
Your Daddy has really been great about stepping up to take an every more active role in your life. He is wise and knows that very soon that will be more of the norm. I love watching your relationship with this man blossom like a field of wild daisies. He is the man I chose, or rather the man whose spirit called to mine for many, many years and whose beckoning I could finally hear. He is the guy who taught my heart to cartwheel, reminded me that bliss was around every corner. Together, we were so blessed to invite another spirit to join our lives: and you chose us. That is way, way cool. Because you’ve reinvigorated much of that first-years’ love and giggles and silliness into our lives.
In the mornings, you ask “Daddy work?” and we remind you that yes, Daddy does have to go to work. You grip his neck with your arms when he says “Hang on to Daddy!” and then suspend your feet like a monkey, laughing all the way as he skips you down the hall. He has a way with you, a way of reasoning with you to do things I couldn’t dare, like change your diaper or towel dry your hair. Or actually eat food! He has the best nighttime routine with you and can barely put you down in your crib, often begging “Please, won’t you sleep with us tonight, just for once???” When you and I we were taking a stroll around the block tonight looking for bunnies and airplanes and collecting neat rocks, you stopped in your tracks when you saw his outline against the star-lit sky. You grinned. And then you ran with your short little legs to him, cackling and laughing with joy.
As for me, I’m slowly trying to learn the delicate balance of conveying important messages to you; between telling you the truth and effective-distraction-by-white-lie (“Honey, the cookies are all gone” *wink wink* or “That bug is just going for a swim in the toilet” *wink wink*, and “No, baby, movies are nigh-night *wink wink*).
With the impending arrival of your sibling, you’ve also demonstrated your nurturing side to become a midwife of sorts. You watch birth videos on my lap with curiosity and awe, often saying “Ohhh, baby!” as a baby emerges from its Mama’s yoni and then turning to me when the clip is done to ask “Again!? Again!?” We watch them over and over. At our prenatal appointments, you palpate my belly gingerly, pretend to listen to baby with the fetoscope, and very seriously try to listen to my heart with the stethoscope. You are sometimes very protective of me, freaking out once or twice when the Doppler has been brought out to listen to the baby. You don’t always like when strange looking (but painless) things are done to your Mama. You lift my shirt sometimes – revealing my stretched and tight belly – and say “Nigh-nigh baby”.
Some other random tidbits from this past month: you chipped your front tooth (Daddy is extremely devastated. You know how protective he is of teeth!), cavorted on the beach and in the ocean in San Diego, decided that eating isn’t mandatory, perfected some climbing maneuvers, fallen (er, rolled) down some stairs (quite scary, but you remained unscathed), started really revving up on talking in sentences in your own language, let loose with your imagination and pretend skills (I still get giddy watching you play out scenes with your animals or toys or dolls), ate mud for the first time (and wailed your head off after you tasted it), started to really act out with hitting (oh, girl, those “Terrible Twos” are upon me quickly!) , learned to say “Thank You” and “Your Welcome” at the appropriate times, and managed to kind-sorta-assisted-by-Mama-via-transfer mid-poop to actually poop once on the potty. It’s been a packed month. Oh, and you learned that your body likes to be in rhythm with the sun, waking when it does. Not so cool. We may have to invest in good, darkening shades for your room, little missy.
That said, you still typically crave and thrive on your twice a day naps and go down without a fight at night with the change of a dipe, a zip of the PJ’s, and a flick of the light switch. Holy heck, I am so lucky (and am reminded of this fact most every time I’m with my friends). Please, please, please hang on to this habit for a least a few more months. Mama will be eternally grateful. I never really thought about it, but my friends have also pointed out how you really like your own space. It’s true. You are like me in this way. You practically dive with relief into your crib when you head to sleep and don’t like it much when others invade your personal space when you are cranky. You won’t sleep, or even nap, with your Daddy or I in our bed. In fact, you crave the sanctity of your space so much that when you are having one of your meltdowns, or have acted a bit naughty, I can pick you up and suggest to you that you need some alone time to cool off and relax your energy. And then I take you to your room, lay you in your crib, and you usually chill out there for 10 minutes or so without a fuss. When you emerge, you are happy-go-lucky as ever. I can relate to this as well. Sometimes, we all just need to lie down in our sacred space and curl up, do nothing, let all the day’s frustrations melt away. It can do a world of good.
I will not forget the image and the feeling of standing behind you this weekend – facing the mother ocean together – as the tide rushed in around our ankles. I actually took a snapshot of it in my mind, captured it forever. That image, as I looked down at our feet next to each other and toes wiggling into the sand and seaweed, is precious and perfect and so reflective of us and our relationship. It is about surrender and letting go, about giving into the forces of life and nature; sometimes scary, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes sad, and sometimes unknown. It’s about how life can shift with the sand and the waves and we decide to either stay stuck or break free…and that either choice is okay. It’s about reaching in and touching our inner-selves, honoring them, holding them sacred. It’s about trust. It’s about you: Kaia Marin, “of the earth AND of the sea.”. It’s about being on the edge of it all – sea and earth – and brazenly shouting to the sky.
You still love your binkys, you still drool like crazy, you still melt my heart with your half-moon eyes and messy hair and toothy smile, and you still go at mostly 110% all day long. You are the present I’ve been gifted with. To unwrap you and marvel at you every single day is completely delicious, decadent, and de-lovely! To be your mama is an honor. It’s hard, often uncomfortably unpredictable and tiring work, but one that pays off in a priceless, exorbitant way hour by hour.
Someday I will look back on these times… and recall how your spirit unfolded before my eyes and pervaded every, single moment of my insignificant, magnificent life. I’ll probably remember how you pooped and pee-pee’d on the floor a lot too. Oh well. Either way, I’ll smile.
I love you.
Your Mama Always