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Just Below The Surface

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You know…

I love this blog.  I love knowing that we’re going to have all these early memories recorded to look back on, all these photos explained and with stories attached, rather than packed away in a box or on a disk drive.

I love that it’s a way to let our family and friends know what’s going on with us, because I know that I, for one, am terrible at keeping up with my long overdue “catch up” phone calls.

HOWEVER… I find myself putting off writing here sometimes.  I think I feel like I need to have several great stories and pieces of news, pretty pictures and hence, time to write it all and upload and arrange photos.

But I’m thinking that all that just isn’t necessary all the time.

So here I am, with some quick news that I can’t even give you visual proof of yet… because still hidden under the surface… but just near enough to feel a little sharp ridge… we felt Mason’s first tooth this morning!

He was chomping away at my finger when he woke up, and I thought I felt something less gummy than usual.  Sure enough, after some feeling…. there it was!  Which gives us an explanation for why he’s been an absolute BEAR to put to sleep the past couple nights.  He’s been cutting a tooth!  Poor baby!

But excited parents!!

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Ah, to be a beginner

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I’m in the living room, Melody Gardot singing to me, while I’m wishing I knew how to work the heater without fear of something going wrong.

I put the baby in the swing while I made my breakfast, and in a lucky stroke, he’s fallen asleep and rocks contentedly even after I’ve finished eating. Whenever he falls asleep outside of my arms, I search my mind for what I should or could be doing with this valuable hands free time. Sometimes responsibility gets the better of me and I do the dishes or fold laundry or pick up around the house. But this morning (thanks to another lucky stroke yesterday) none of that needs to be done. Sometimes I’m still tired from the night, or freshly tired from the day, and all I want to do is lay and watch a show or read what other people have written. And then there’s the occasional revelation that I could do something just for me. Something creative. Something like writing or cooking or drawing or scrapbooking.  Things that I used to be able to do freely once upon a time, that I didn’t do nearly as often as I could, but still did far more often than I’m able to now. Since it’s on the less labor intensive side of the scale, I chose to write. Writing can be started and stopped if my sleeping babe decides his nap is over. But to have glorious stretches of time in which to write… that chance is rare these days. And now that I have it… I’m struggling with what I want to say.

It’s interesting to live, this whole process of being a mother. The incredible and complex contexts of meaning that word brings up just on it’s own… but then the actual practice of it. It is literally a practice. A compilation of trials and errors, leading us to some things that are helpful and some things we have to keep practicing in different ways until one seems to fit. For the time being.

I’ve always been good at being a beginner. When I’m interested in learning, that is. If you put me in a math class that I don’t want to be in, I’m bitter, I’m resistant, I’m willingly distracted and I’m generally pretty arrogant about what’s worth my time and what’s not. But put me in a learning context that I want to immerse myself in, and I will eagerly explore. I have no problem trying new approaches, asking for advice, admitting when I haven’t a clue of what I’m doing. It’s true with dancing, it’s true learning bodywork, it’s true in a finance class. And so I’ve come to understand… it’s true with mothering. Of course when something is really important to me, I have the initial instinct to want to know that I am absolutely doing the right thing. But I’ve known too, and realize more every day, that there isn’t a right way of putting your baby to sleep, or comforting him when he’s upset, or of using your free time when he’s napping. There’s your way of putting your baby to sleep and there’s my way. And furthermore, there’s my way of putting him to sleep tonight, and my way of putting him to sleep yesterday. And my way a month ago. Because everyday, every hour even… we get to know our baby a little bit more. And tomorrow his habits might change, and we’ll have to be beginners all over again.

My days are much simpler now. Sometimes we go for a walk around town, sometimes we only walk out to the backyard. Sometimes he naps long enough for me to write for an hour, sometimes he doesn’t stay content long enough for me to do throw a load of wash in. Sometimes he loves the swing, watches me as I walk around, makes faces at himself in the mirror above him, snoozes. Sometimes he screams as soon as I put him in it and doesn’t stop till he’s picked up again. His mood determines the productivity of my day, and his presence has redefined that word for me. I haven’t found a predictable routine to our days yet… but patterns are starting to emerge, and certain activities are starting to stand out and reoccur. And what a productive or successful day has started to mean to me, is a day in which I am most present throughout it. The days that I enjoy the most, are the days that I’m most able to let go of any imposed ideas of what I should be able to do or accomplish. Those are the days where I am most reactive. Responding to what the moment calls for. What Mason will enjoy in the moment, and what I will feel good about in the moment. Which… ironically enough… is something I had been trying to achieve long before Mason was even a twinkle. And I think it’s the simplicity of our days that has allowed me to tune into this responsiveness better now than I had been able to before.

Soak up your moments as well.
Whether they are momentarily filled with frustrations, coos and smiles, or open-ended time.

Swinging Nap

How Things Change

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Like Mark said… how things change.

There’s a tiny baby sleeping on my chest.  With his hands folded under his resting cheek.  His tiny, short, fast breathes.

He rustles every now and then, coos… or makes a concerned noise.

He’s so soft.  So warm.  So sweet.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of this.  Resting my chin on his warm little head.  Wrapping my arms around his tiny body.  Holding his little baby hands, pulled into tight little fists.  Spreading kisses all over his soft little forehead and nose and cheeks.

He was four weeks old yesterday.  And looking back in disbelief at how quickly these four weeks have gone, gives me a grasp of the truth in that thing that parents always say.  About how it goes by so fast.  It makes me amazed.  Still in wonder at how much he’s going to change and grow.  And at the same time… a little desperate to cling onto these moments as they’re happening.  Almost a little sad already, as I hold this tiny baby close and realize that he will never be this small again.

I have such a hard time imagining him as a three year old…  or a ten year old.  Our sweet, sleepy, little baby as a teenager.  Or a grown man.

But then sometimes… when he’s quiet, but awake.  And just looking around with those big gorgeous (currently blue) eyes… I can see the little boy in our beautiful cheeky baby’s face.  And I wonder how long it will be before I can see the grown man in our little boy’s face.

I’ve been putting off posting.  Not just because new babies are a handful (which my goodness, they are!)… but also because I don’t know if I can find the words to convey all the crazy amazing and unimaginably brand new feelings I have.  I don’t know if I can capture just how radically our whole world has been changed.  How this itty bitty creature can cause so many emotions to fill me to the brim.  All simultaneously.  All overwhelming at different times.

There’s not much variation in the daily routine.  Baby snuggles and wailing cries.  Feedings, diaper changes, visits from family or friends.  Finding time to feed myself, do dishes or laundry.  Watching shows when he’s not content to be anywhere but in my arms.  But inside… there’s so much going on.  New things to be awestruck at.  New loves, new worries, new fears, new thoughts about the future, new excitements, new discussions, new stresses…

And I guess maybe it’s all still so new that the only way I can convey it is in bits & pieces.  Individual moments and emotions.  Little by little.  As this new routine becomes a part of us all.