Wee Ones

underwatertoesMood: Anticipatory
Drinking: Fluids

See those juicy underwater toes right there?

I’m planning to be nibbling on those in a couple of days. Perhaps even underwater, since it is still 93 degrees up northern Cal way, and there is a pool not too far from my sister’s house.

I always used to think it was weird when people would describe babies as delicious, as if they wanted to slather them in marmalade and feast.

But now I understand. My wee nephew is the possessor of many juicy appendages, and I have already been guilty of trying to gobble him up on more than one occasion.

I’ll have to remember not to mention that to him when he’s older and more easily embarrassed.

I’m not sure why people do that, anyway. At age 29, I met a woman who lived next door to my parents when I was a baby. She couldn’t stop shrieking at me, “I used to change your diapers!” As in, “Don’t tell me you don’t like onions, I used to change your diapers!”

I wanted to backhand her.

You know when people ask you what your superpower would be? Most people choose super-strength or flight or invisibility.

I think I would like the ability to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. Of course, I would totally use this power for evil.

I am not always great with words in their instantaneous, spoken form. On paper I get to push and prod them around until they line up in the little shapes I like, but when put spot on in any given situation, I can’t for the life of me find the words I most want.

In high school I was tormented by the constant lack of a clever retort, which would have come in handy with all the social awkwardness. Even now, with all these years of practice, I come up with a great response 2 or 3 days later.

I would like to add some measure of invicibility to my super-word superpower, though. So after I tell the shrieking diaper lady, “That’s nice, but don’t expect me to ever change yours!” I won’t be worried that she might pinch me.

Or, in more common situations, when some dude yells something from a passing vehicle, I can make my smart-ass comment back and then go all Buffy on his ass when he turns his truck around.

Wow. Look how far we’ve come from underwater baby toes. I have no idea how that happened. Or why. Or what the point of this post is, really. Except that I’m roadtripping for nephew time this weekend, and I’m excited.

It’s been an odd sort of week and I’m all out of sorts, so if you’ve made it this far in this post, you deserve some sort of medal. Or a snickers bar. Your choice.

-Lo, wandering off in search of baby bits.

Newborn

jude_hand_crop
Mood: Sweet
Drinking: Chai

There is a new person in the world. Small and innocent. His miniature feet are like velvet. His head smells of meadows and milk.

I am utterly in love.

My sister is a miracle worker, bringing such a perfect wee thing into being. I am so proud. So proud of her, and so in awe.

“You’re a woman now,” I said to her in the labor room. And we both laughed. But I was serious.

She has gone beyond. Someday, perhaps, I will follow. But until then, I’ll stand here in wonder that such a thing is possible. Nothing, and then life. Emptiness, and then a perfect small person.

It’s shaping up to be a wonderful Christmas.

Over the last few days, with the phone call that it was happening, it was happening Right Now! And then the trip to the hospital, the chaos of it all culminating in the arrival of new flesh and blood… It’s such an overwhelming experience. Over the last few days I kept thinking of a poem that I discovered in a poetry workshop earlier this year.

All I could remember was that it was written from the perspective of a newly born baby, and that I was deeply moved the first time I read it.

So I dug through my piles of poetry and found it there among the heap. It’s called “First Hour”, by American poet Sharon Olds, from her book The Unswept Room (2002)…

That hour, I was most myself. I had shrugged
my mother slowly off, I lay there
taking my first breaths, as if
the whir of the room was blowing me
like a bubble. All I had to do
was go out along the line of my gaze and back,
out and back, on gravity’s silk, the
pressure of the air a caress, smelling on my
self her creamy blood. The air
was softly touching my skin and tongue,
entering me and drawing forth the little
sighs I did not know as mine.
I was not afraid. I lay in the quiet
and looked, and did the wordless thought,
my mind getting its oxygen
direct, the rich mix by mouth.
I hated no-one. I gazed and gazed,
and everything was interesting, I was
free, not yet in love, I did not
belong to anyone, I had drunk
no milk yet, no-one had
my heart. I was not very human. I did not
know there was anyone else. I lay
like a god, for an hour, then they came for me,
and took me to my mother.

-Lo, who is celebrating the season of miracles.