You are two months old today were two months old a few days ago. Sorry I’m late. I tend to be a bit behind on things sometimes. Just ask the CD mix club members, who still have not received the CD I was supposed to make and send back in November. Not to worry: I always come through, even if I’m not quite on time. To be fair, kid, you are the main reason I didn’t post on the 26th. Not a day has passed since you arrived on the planet that I haven’t preferred being with you over doing anything else–eating, watching TV, even sleeping. When people ask me if motherhood is anything like I thought it would be, I quickly answer, “no.” The truth is, it’s better than I ever expected. What positively mundane crap filled my days before?
When you were four days old the pediatrician told me we would need a leash for you when you reach toddlerhood. That’s how active you were even then, and the motion has not ceased for a moment. Your feet cycle constantly. Your arms wave all the time–you appear to be signalling aircraft, or perhaps practicing Tai Chi, or maybe even throwing gang signs. Whatever the case, it’s rich entertainment to put you on the play mat with all the kick toys and hangy things. It’s like Stomp!with ladybugs and giraffes. You also enjoy sitting in the Bumbo seat, which I put you in once just to see how you would look there. The verdict: you look adorable, and you seem to feel a great sense of empowerment in the upright position. It’s like a little green throne. But your favorite activity center is the bathtub. You love the water so much, I have to wonder if the city is secretly pumping vodka in through the pipes. Your favorite part of bath time is when I put you in the [6 inch] deep end. You start kicking and moving your arms with purpose then, and you get this focused look on your face, like you might just backstroke right out of the tub if I’d only let go of you.
My every day is filled with this kind of entertainment. I thought I would miss the days when you were tiny and slept on me all the time, but you are changing so rapidly, and learning so quickly, that I don’t have time to think about that. I wake up every morning excited to see you, to see what new thing you will do in the course of the day. And you wake up excited as well–when I hear you stirring and I peer down at you over the edge of the crib, your entire face lights up and you smile with your entire body. It only gets better from there. Your “ooohs” and “aaahhs” and “goos” and “grrrs” are such sweet music; you shriek with glee; you squeal. You’re learning to spit voluntarily and blow bubbles, and occasionally you make a little raspberry sound. It always surprises you, much like seeing your hand float by your face surprises you, and your look of awe at this phenomenon is priceless.
Speaking of sounds, your farts are becoming legendary, and not just because they can clear a room. They are loud, purposeful farts, and it’s evident from the look on your face and the concentration in your tiny body just before you rip one that you are working to perfect them. You’re not so talented as a belcher, although the potential is there. A few weeks ago Nonna was burping you after a feeding and I was sitting at the computer across the room, and you burped so loudly it startled me. It startled you, too, though, as though you were surprised that such a magnificent sound escaped your lips. Not so with the farting–those seem to bring you such satisfaction, much like the satisfaction I feel when I remember to brush my teeth before 4 in the afternoon.
I am still overwhelmed by how beautiful you are. Strangers stop me in public to comment on your looks, your hair, your bright eyes, your insanely long eyelashes. Your weird curly-when-wet, straight-when-dry hair is starting to thicken and keep its wave even when it’s dry, and you have these amazing golden red highlights. I used to pay for those highlights. There was a week earlier this month when you developed some red patchy places on your face, and some little bumps popped up, and your hairline got kind of scaly, and I was afraid you were going to spend the next few months plagued with baby acne and cradle cap. But within days your smooth rosy skin was back. I used to pay for that skin, too. One of the most overwhelming things about you is how much of me I see in you. I’ve never cared for my looks and often criticize things about myself that I now see manifested in you. You’ve made me take a long, hard look at the way I see myself. It’s hard to hate things about a face, a body, even a pair of long gangly feet, when I see them reflected back at me in your tiny form.
But there is something you’ve inherited that I’m not so pleased about, and we need to discuss it: your temper. You didn’t exactly get it from me, although I do tend toward high emotion. No, the true temper, that which incites you to stiffen, arch your back, and scream like a jaguar at bay, came from your grandfather, Papa Mo, and my grandfather, your namesake. I can’t say I’m surprised considering that temper runs in both sides of my family, but I fear for your safety. Can we talk about the thrashing? The arm flinging? The sudden backward arching? My god, you are only two months old. What happens when you’re two yearsold? Ask your Auntie M. She may recall that time she exhibited similar behavior and flung herself backward onto a concrete sidewalk. And the screaming? When the angry screaming starts I swear it erases words from my brain. I am unable to have coherent thoughts. I forget how to complete simple tasks, like ramming a wooden spoon into my ear canal. I am convinced that if the U.S. military recorded those screams and played them on loudspeakers in the deserts of the Middle East, the Taliban, Osama, even dead Saddam himself would throw themselves at the President’s feet and beg for mercy. Better yet, let’s broadcast the sounds of your discontent in the White House. Why wait until 2008 to get rid of W? After all, I’m sure part of your anger is rooted in politics.
Actually, I like your spunk. I like your energy. Hell, I like everything about you, the temper notwithstanding. I love how you manage to cram your last three fingers into your mouth and then suck vigorously and loudly, like Maggie Simpson, and I love how your eyes get big and you raise your eyebrows when you are surprised. I love how you chomp at thin air when you’re hungry, and I love how you gaze at light sources like they contain all the meaning in the universe. And I love how your presence in the world has made me so happy, so content with life, that the month of February, a time when I have, in the past, spiralled into near black despair, sailed right by and I hardly noticed what time of year it was. I was too busy loving the curl of your hair, the grip of your little hand, the sounds you make in the early morning, and I just didn’t have time for that old sadness. I can’t promise it won’t ever find me again, but I can’t imagine it will stay long, because all I have to do is look at you and balance settles over me. You are my guru, my mantra. You are yoga for my soul. Namaste, baby.
Ti amo, Mommy