Friday, April 27, 2007
Remembering that imitation is the best form of flattery, I attempt my own feeble monthly letters to the one who has stolen my heart.
Tomorrow you will be one month old. I look at the pictures of you from our luxurious spa-like stay at the hospital and marvel at how quickly you've grown. I have entered the world of parenthood, where children are constantly changing and morphing into new beings and there is little to do apart from pausing to shake one's head in wonder.
Here are things I have learned about motherhood in our short month together. The things people say about developing "Mommy Brain," whereby one forgets names, places, details, to even use the restroom is true. I cannot believe how scattered I have become, how difficult it is for me to concentrate. Of course "Mommy Brain" could also be affiliated with its quite accurate counterpart "Sleep Deprived Zombie." This is difficult for one who feels called to a contemplative dimension. I have said very few prayers, as concentration is shot to hell. Very few prayers, that is, except for the one I breathe countless times throughout the day and night as I inhale your delicate baby scent, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Also, on a more practical note, I've learned that there are amazing contraptions, gadgets and gizmos for parents and babies. I marvel in slack-jawed wonder at whoever came up with the idea for the Diaper Genie. I would give him or her a sloppy wet kiss and a nice aged bottle of Glen Livet scotch if I only knew who to credit. And, as for sleepers that zip rather than snap? Nobel Prize to that person. Immediately. And pacifiers? Perfect name for them. Enough said. And in time to come when you have a baby of your own, if someone tells you that swings are a waste of time? Hit them. Hit them really hard. Oops...we're pacifists, and Brethren pacifists at that, so I guess you'll have to be really passive aggressive with them. Maybe "forget" to tell them about an important church meeting or something.
Weekends change when you are a parent, at least in this household. Because your father is teaching and facing the end of the year stress of most professors, I stay up with you on the weeknights while Daddy teaches the next day, and Daddy does weekend duty. Therefore, whilst in college Friday and Saturday nights were filled with excitement as my roommates and I pondered what parties or dances we might attend, what boys we would flirt with, or how many bottles of Boone's Farm wine we might consume, life has changed. It is equally thrilling to know that on a weekend night after a glass of chardonay (a benefit of not breast-feeding), I can retire at 8:00 p.m. and sleep a full twelve hours while you are tended by Daddy. I'm not sure I've ever had a more fulfilling weekend night. I'm hoping this changes by the time you're seven or eight years old, or else you're going to have a pretty pathetic mommy, perhaps the kind who wears stretch-pants and makes you wear headgear to your eighth-grade holiday dance.
It's probably important to apologize at this time for that nasty comb-over I've been giving you. Ever since your baby hair started falling out, I act as your self-appointed baby groomer and dutifully brush your locks across your gigantic chrome dome of a head (sorry, it had to be said). Both your grandfathers remind me that you are in good company, but I'm afraid your comb-over rivals that of my former high school algebra teacher, and for that I am oh-so-very-sorry. Please don't join the Eagle Forum or any of Phyllis Schaffly's minions to pay me back, as Mr. Becker was a card-carrying member of the aforementioned associations.
You don't do so much "social smiling" as the baby books call it. However, I chalk that up to your discerning mind. There simply hasn't been all that much to smile at yet, I mean, let's face it Geroge W. is still in office. Perhaps your first smile will peak in mid-January of 2009? Your father claims that you did indeed smile at him when he was making faces at you last night. But, as I am the primary caregiver for the time being, I would prefer to believe that it was just gas pains and that you are reserving that first big smile for the woman who wakes up with you at 3:00 a.m. five of the seven days of the week. Having said that, your father is pretty silly when he wants to be and there is no other person I'd smile at in the universe given my druthers.
You are, for all intents and purposes, an "easy baby" it seems. When you cry, you're pretty clear about why you're crying. However, it's hard not to laugh at your fast-breathing, overexaggerated hyperventilation if you're not fed IMMEDIATELY. You breathe, quick-quick-quick through your mouth in what sounds like a Lamaze exercise. Once the problem is addressed, and an Avent bottle inserted properly into your full baby lips you usually calm. You often lie in your cradle in the mornings and stare at the light above you as if to say, "Take me to your leader" and coo contentedly or grunt vigorously. You hate, hate, hate having your diaper changed and you hate, hate, hate the one who changes it...for about thirty seconds (your memory hasn't developed that much...have you considered that it could be sleep deprivation?).
As a rabid feminist, I continue to dress you in gender-neutral clothing (although I am cheap as well and take whatever hand-me-downs or gifts that anyone offers, so you do have lots of blues in your wardrobe). You wear lots of greens and yellows and puppies and bunnies, and still today at the eye doctor's office a sweet little old woman approached me and said, "He's a beautiful boy isn't he?" I wonder if she would have said the same if I had dressed you in your "Future Feminist" onesie?
You have developed a tender relationship with your big sister, B. She absolutely adores you and insists on picking you up and holding you as soon as she gets home. She changes your diapers, mixes your formula, feeds you, burps you, and comforts you. Keep this in mind, kiddo. She's got your back and in time to come you will have to refrain from embarassing her around significant others or annoying her with repeating the lyrics to the Barney theme song for hours at a time on our road trips to Texas to visit your beloved relatives there.
I am astounded by the utter joy you bring me. I am a more passionate activist, a more ardent feminist, a more earnest disciple because of the ways in which I want this world to be right for your generation.
I adore you beyond words.