Dear Kiki (27 mos.) and Gogo (4 mos),
Yeah, those are your nicknames. I’m sorry, they just happened. They seemed so natural.
Actually, Kaia, when you were still my womb baby – and before I knew you were a little girl – the only name I kept hearing to myself was Kiki. Then, your Uncle Craig dubbed you “Kai-Kai” when you were teesny tiny. And from there you have Kiki. I think it quite fits your tangy, bubbly personality.
Indi, yours is more simple. I took to chanting “Indigo go go go go” like some kind of amped up cheerleader when I changed your diapers. Thus, shortening your name to Gogo came easy.
My girls, I’m so sorry that they resemble good stripper names.
And one thing: I really set out each and every month to make these letters short. I really do. But your mama is a wordy thang, and though I know it’s not always polite to ramble about your kids I think “Screw that!” These letters are for you, and I am going to take my grand old time elaboratin‘, and drawin‘ out, and ramblin‘. I’ll save the edited snippets for lesser things. These letters are my safe place and I hope they will be the same for you. Because really, how do you edit love?
The past four weeks have been pretty incredible, Indi. You vocalize and babble so well now, but I kinda have to roll my eyes when you let you your favorite happy “shriek” because I just know that your big sister taught that one to ya. It is, of course, what you hear all day long.
And oh how you adore that Kiki girl. You crane and twist your porcelain neck when you hear her voice, immediately opening wide your eyes to follow her trotting across the room. Once, all three of us were in the bath. You were watching Kaia do something very ordinary like splash water. And the giggles that emitted from your Buddha belly had me exploding with bliss. Over and over you curled your upper lip and crinkled your eyes in glee. To see you adore her – and to see her reciprocate – is quite possibly the most unforgettable way to substantiate the whole “yes, this is why I want more than one kid” thing.
And Kaia, today when you sat down and “read” Indi some of your favorite books, I noticed how you’d periodically peer up through the strands of hair hanging into your eyelashes to meet her gaze. You’d pause, notice her baby face engaged on yours, and then release this authentically euphoric smile. And I know it’s authentic because your upper lip pulls back and practically disappears and your nose wrinkles up into your forehead. And your pearly whites gleam because your body is basically exploding with childhood sprightliness. It is a vision to behold, my sweet sweet girl. And in this way, your relationship is symbiotic, right (something I actually retained from biology class)? You give, she takes. She takes, you give. Sometimes – like during this reading time – you both give at the same time and life virtually explodes in front of us like those fireworks that crackle and sparkle in the night sky.
You still care for your baby sister quite well, only occasionally getting her all shook up. I really believe you do these things accidentally, like when you try to “rock” her in the Exersaucer (er, neglecto-tron as my mama friend H affectionately deems them). This ends up being more like rock-n-roll and I have to quickly divert your attention to another important toddler task, like dipping your PB&J in the dog’s water bowl. Honestly, you pat Indi’s head here and there, read her books, bring her toys and her binky, and kiss her goodnight. Oh, you also have taken to comforting her when she wails in her carseat, loving reaching over to her and saying “Indigo Sol, it’s okay. We’re almost hoooome!” You say this even if we’ve just barely left the driveway. Other than that, I rather think you probably guess she’s just a third arm growing out of mama’s torso because you pretty much politely ignore her.
As of late, you’ve been dealing with a constantly runny nose and cough. And guess what? Looks like this nasty bug is what it takes for you to actually cuddle and sleep with mama and daddy…and Indi. You’ve joined us in bed many a night at around 2 am and we are still shocked that you actually fall asleep with us. I have to say, we love it. Because there is nothing like inhaling the heat of your crown chakra and listening to the easy rhythm of your breathing. Of course,in our tiny bed it gets mighty crowded which means either mama or daddy’s ass ends up hanging off unto the wooden rail of the platform. So, I wake up a few hours later and carry your cozy and slack body into your crib. Yes, you still sleep in your beloved crib. And no, you’ve not tried to climb out of it yet.
And you know what else slays me about you? That you can go from 60 to 0 (and visa versa) in one minute. From shaking your booty to snoozing soundly. From just-awoken slumber to toybox-dumping maniac. You rock me.
Potty-learning/training/sitting/trying? Not yet. Listen, I am very lazy. And you don’t really dig the whole “hey, wanna go sit on the potty for awhile” gig, so taking you every hour just doesn’t work. For a ball of energy like you to sit still that long is just not really feasible. I’ve tried reading you books while on the potty. Nope, all you wanna do is tear off piece after piece of toilet paper and say “I wanna wipe”. Before I know it, the toilet is clogged with bits of paper and there is no pee or poop in sight. I mean, at least the clog would be worth it if there were waste products to show for it. Seriously, though, I’m not worried. Like most things you’ve taken on in life, when you are ready you are READY. You’ll let me know. That said, I must really learn to not let you be naked for hours on end because I inevitably hear you calling “Uh oh, poo-poo. Icky icky!”. The evidence in on the carpet, why always on the carpet? And usually you’ve attempted to be a good citizen and remove the offending poo with a wipe. Unfortunately, that whole ordeal usually isn’t very successful and so I scoop you up and throw you in the bath.
So, here’s what you are diggin‘ and not diggin‘ this past month.
Diggin‘: Reading, reading, reading. Singing (you can do your ABC’s and many other cute songs). Coloring. With markers. On the furniture. Helping mama clean the glass table with homemade window cleaner. Teasing the dog. Watching YouTube with mama. Swinging like a monkey at the playground. Eating oatmeal. Building with blocks and legos. Playing in mama’s makeup. Painting with mama’s makeup. Dragging TP through the house. Stacking CD’s on the spindle. Spitting juice out all over yourself. Jumping. Any stupid song mama makes up to distract you (you remember it and request it later). Your daily vitamins. Pushing the doorbell and the garage door button. Our Sunday “Park and Burrito” day. Let me just say you obsess about certain things and are very ritualistic about them…
Not Diggin‘: Interrupted rituals. Me combing your hair (unless I bribe you by telling you I’ll let you look in the mirror afterwards. Then you love it). When we run out of breakfast bars or juice. The fact that your friends Sula and Mia have moved to WA. When I try to take your picture while you are attempting something very frustrating (like dragging 4 big sticks through a creek bed this past week). Dog-hair covered binkys. When the cat scratches you after you taunt her. The freebie lotion mama rubbed onto your dry legs this week while shopping that somehow burned the hell outta ’em and had you failing and screaming while I ran you to the restroom to wash it off (lawsuit, anyone? just kidding).
You know what you want, when you want it. And you know exactly how to ask for it now. You amaze me. You dole out kisses for “free” now and even pause mid-play to proclaim “I wanna hug mama”. To feel you wrap your arms around my neck is pleasure and gift all at once. This, my love, is what keeps me waking up every morning, even when our house is in a state of disaster. Damn, how I love you my very first baby…
Your zest for childhood is as unstoppable as a storm and as unquenchable as the desert during it. This will take you places you never dreamed.
Oh, and you wanna know how I am categorically sure that you are my girl? Because when I asked you “Who do you love?” you went through your family and friends. And then, you stopped, looked up into mid air for a moment and said ever-so-sweetly “And uhhh…choc-o-late?!”. Right on.
Gogo, back to you. This age is so freakin‘ adorable. I know, I know I say that about every age. Which is probably why I’ll keep having more babies, but anyways…So here’s where I go down the list of what milestones you are achieving, how well you are sleeping, what your poop looks like, etc.
Seriously, even your Daddy has noticed recently the leaps and bounds you’ve made in the past weeks. You are discovering and exploring toys now which makes us crack up when we hear the crinkling of one of them in your carseat as we drive. You entertain yourself incredibly well, content to lay on your back and grab your foot, pulling it to your chest. The other hand is being gobbled up in your drooling mouth and you are just blissed out happy. We’ve tried you out in the Exersaucer but I end up feeling guilty after five minutes so I scoop you up. You are finally big enough for you lime green Bumbo seat and I have to say it’s been a lifesaver for when I’m cooking – now you can sit straight up and watch all the action happen (which isn’t much in our kitchen). You are laying on your chest and pushing up like a pro, showing off that adorable neck of yours that is plastered in my kisses. You’ve rolled from side to side ever since you were about 4 weeks old and you are thisclose to rolling from back to front. A new, bigger family bed is imminent.
Like your sister, you seem to be pretty keen on routine, although you always welcome the spontaneous flow of life. You take 2 solid naps each day and then snooze on and off throughout. And for many of those naps you’ll actually – gasp! – let me lay you in the bed awake with a binky and put yourself to sleep, sometimes quietly groaning contently as you drift off. I totally do the happy dance on the way out of the bedroom (and then duck for fear my friends are gonna kill me…). And yes, there are certainly many times you want to be nursed to sleep but HELLO, I love those because I usually end up falling asleep too. Nothing like a cozy lil‘ midday nap (of course, Kaia is sleeping during this too).
As for nighttime sleeping, you still do pretty darn good. Again, I never look at the clock when you wake to nurse nor keep track so I really don’t have a clue how long you go between nursing. And I don’t care. Because since I don’t really wake up it doesn’t bother me. Yet. And I’m not sleep deprived because you and Kiki don’t like rising before 8am (duck again). And you are easily swayed into continuing sleep.
I cannot elaborate enough on the fabulosity of sleeping with you nestled in my arms. Glorious. Safe. Rewarding. Natural. There you are, bundled in your PJ’s, your eyelids signaling peaceful travel in the dream realm. Your hands coil softly and settle on my breast and your mouth puckers in a way that reminds me of taking a bite of a red, ripe strawberry. Your whole body relents to the call of sleep and to the safety of mama’s vessel. And for those magical night hours, its as if we are connected again, womb-like. And to top it off, your smile is as broad as a canyon when you wake in the morning and notice me. How do I deserve you?
No coaxing is needed to display your silent, tall smile. You give it away completely for free. You are such a little servant, a giver-of-great-joy, an observer of us crazies. And JP the Dog always manages to make you crack up.
I want to savor you at this moment, right now, and every moment after. I am finding it difficult to not hold and cuddle you all day long (and so, I just give into it cuz that’s how I roll), and finding it a bit harder to surrender to the fact that you will grow bigger and more independent. Your mellowness is like a drug, so addictive, and your benevolent spirit reminds me of the goodness in this life. It reminds me to ease up, to stop prioritizing, to breathe it all in and then…breathe it all lout without regrets. Yes, Indi, perhaps YOU are the one bringing me this deep and sweeping lesson of impermanence that has been pervading my soul the past months.
Did I tell you that your toots really, really, really stink? And that you don’t even bat an eye when you rip ’em?
Oh, and that we think you are gonna be a blue eyed, strawberry blond? And that your old-man hair still makes us laugh?
Oh, oh, oh, and when your first kid is watching a movie it much harder to keep it away from a 2nd child?
The only times you cry are when you are gassy in the carseat or when I put you down to “play” before you are ready for it. Or when, in a sleepy stupor, I try to stuff a binky in your mouth instead of my boob when you wake at night. And I cannot help it, but you are so damn cute when you protest because it’s so much less intense than Kaia (and believe me when I say I did not think Kaia was cute when she cried). It’s more of a plea instead of a frustrated, angry bellow. Especially because the rest of the time you are Patience embodied. So that juxtaposition gets me.
You are just such a different baby than Kaia was. She has this intensity, this desire to suck the marrow from life like a vacuum. She can move mountains with that desire, but beware of anyone in her way. She can warm a village with her fire. But you, Gogo, are that ancient shady oak tree that stands reticent and guards us. You are the smell of sage after a rain. You are an open hammock begging me to rest. If Kaia is The Storm, then you are The Calm before it. And the stillness after it.
And really, how lucky am I to have daughters that are both?
I love you girls. My heart is wrapped around yours.