Ten and a Half Months – My Sweet Julien

Dear Julien,

You sleep, with only a diaper on, between your Daddy and sister Indigo.  Your brother is shifting in his sleep here on the leather sofa behind me in the office.  And your biggest sister, Kaia, is curled in a fleece blanket at my feet on the floor.   I sit here, my own legs tucked to the side, and words are stacked upon my spine and nestled in the crevices of my vertebra and form the very core of me.   I cannot seem to unshelve them or catalog them.  The words swell into a library of memories and longing and they are my daily communion.

halloween  We’ve made this life, all of us, and you are often the epicenter of it.    And this life belongs to us in the most transient of ways;  like the seasons that come and go.  And yet they always come, without fail;  the blaze of summer giving way to the exhale of winter.

Last winter, you were the result of the final exhale that brought you earthside.  Still in our bathtub, I bore down with wide eyes and, with my hands,  followed the curve of your soft head down to your shoulders.

Welcoming the Moment (censored because GRRRR the internet).  Photo by Jeanette LeBlanc

Welcoming the Moment (censored because GRRRR the internet). Photo by Jeanette LeBlanc

I remember hooking my index and middle fingers gently under your armpits and carefully guiding you up out of the water and to my chest.   Every cell in my body still quivers accordingly when I recall this moment or gaze at this photo.  And I return home, again and again, in that remembrance.

sedonaI am not ready for ONE.  I don’t know if it’s possible to be.  You diffuse ridiculously simply joy wherever you are, Julien, and so much of what I cherish and love in this world is wrapped up in your compact and chubby body.   It’s as if you are my always-lucky fortune cookie, my winning lottery ticket, the last scoop of salted caramel ice cream in the bucket, the comfort of a warm bed in the morning.

The ends of this earth would tie themselves into a bow for you, Julien Atlas, because you are a gift.   And the way you give is with a honey-laden ease and how sweet it is – yes – to be loved by you.  And to love you. 10 months

You are a beacon of bliss, my fourth child.

May the fourth be with you.  Heh.

What I mean to say is, I love you.

Mama

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Just for posterity, here is the infamous “list” of your milestones at ten and a half months old:

  • The last of your gummy-baby-smiles disappeared a few short months ago and you now have four little teeth: two up top and two down below.    You use these teeth accordingly to eat most anything, including all forms of chocolate.
  • In the mornings, you awaken with a glorious giggle and inviting grin and babble for awhile until your Daddy or I are coherent enough to play with you.
  • There are only a few things that make you grumpy:  long sleeves, hats, sitting in a high chair, being inside as you watch your siblings play outside (you stand at the sliding glass door, bang on it, and fuss), when I purposely close the dishwasher door too tight for you to open it, when I deny you a bite of chocolate (hardly ever happens), getting your clothes on, and being in your car seat at night.
  • Your favorite toys are cell phone chargers, any cord plugged in (ulgh!), electronic equipment, my cell phone, drawers you can open and close, playing the piano and guitar, and buttons you can press or turn.   As such, you love to sit in my lap when my van is parked and “drive” the car.  You also like to turn on the windshield wipers, the turn signals, mess with the radio, and generally wreak havoc.
  • You go down for naps easily but don’t sleep for long.
  • You love your binky but don’t have to have it in all night.
  • You awaken just as light begins to appear through the curtains.
  • The chaos of our home doesn’t seem to bother you at bit and you are content to be right in the middle of it all.
  • You love the outdoors, are able to be soothed and even rocked to sleep by Daddy (and Nana), beg for baths and showers with anyone willing to share one with you.
  • Last week, while we were in a hotel breakfast area in Flagstaff, I stood beside two waffle irons that weren’t even in use.   You looked down and them and signed the sign for “HOT”.   I was aghast.   You also sign “All done” and “More” although the differentiation between the signs is quite slight.
  • You began pointing a few weeks ago and it absolutely sends me, as it has with every one of my babies.  That stubby finger pointing out is just about the most darling thing in the universe.
  • You also began waving “hi” and “bye” recently;  your whole arm flapping up and down as you smile.

Snippets: Motherhood Moments Not to Forget

Motherhood is rarely ordinary.  Before I had kids, I think I really believed it would be rather ordinary;  filled with routine tasks and predictable events and simple solutions.   It wasn’t that I believed it would be easy, but perhaps more…normal.

I can’t begin to list the number of times I pause during my day and night and mentally whisper “I can’t believe I’m doing/saying this”.   Sometimes the moments are irreverent and silly, sometimes they are gut-wrenching and difficult, and other times they are downright bizarre.   Here is a list of a few recent incidents that had me chuckling or sighing.  I capture them here, mostly for me.

  • Combing the mane and tail of a Barbie horse into buns – twice, as they kept falling out, at 9:00 pm – smack in the middle of trying to get the kids to bed – because Indigo just had to have it done (and asked so very sweetly).    And then I realize that often it’s these simple gestures that mean so much to children, the knowledge that they can rely on Mama to transform their dolls into something magical.
  • Explaining gingerly to Kaia that I am not comfortable with her attending a sleepover (of school friend’s I do not know) just yet.  And then being shocked when my answer didn’t phase her a bit and she said “No problem, I can just go to the party and not sleep over”.  She seemed to understand my reasoning and it hurt my heart to have to even discuss why we need to be smart and cautious about kids spending the night in another family’s home.
  • Noticing Kaia’s profile in the dimly lit room before bed as she reads a book.   She has transitioned, grown, and in that moment I could see her as a young woman.  My body filled with the warmth of pride and love and adoration for her, for her Becoming and Being.
  • Nestled so close to Julien at night that our his belly touches mine and I can feel every rise and fall of his breathing.  And we are one little unit again and I am being filled by his Aliveness.  And I reckon I am like a hybrid car being plugged in for the night; recharged by this exchange of energy and quiet love.