Monday, December 28, 2009

The Making of a Mom: Part I

If the G is my Christmas present, her cold, flu and ear ache are three lumps of coal. Why didn't I know that my kid would be a miserable sick kid who would not be knocked out by doses of children's Tylenol and Motrin? Her first Christmas and it was was filled with screaming (her), cursing (her parents) and a trip to the ER for meds.

I think I figured at this point that I would know a few things about being a mom. I would have the mamma-conviction that I have come to expect in my own Mother who always knows everything, and even if she doesn't, she makes it sound like she does, and I buy it.

Our fancy and not inexpensive ear thermometer, we have come to learn, can be two degrees off. So when the G's temp was saying 102, it was probably more like 104. Yikes.

I never really thought much about being a mom until I became one, but I definitely thought the whole thing would be different, that I would feel different. At times, I can forget that I am a mom altogether. I still feel like me, like I have always felt, at 10, at 16, at 23. I look around at other moms on the playground, in the grocery store, on their way to work, and they seem to know things that I don't: the best preschools, the best play groups, the most expensive gymborees, that items called, "Buggie Wipes" exist. They have a confidence about them that I don't, a conviction that I don't.

On the way home from the ER, T and I stopped at the drug store. We bought two cheap rectal thermometers. G screamed that night again, even though we were convinced that she wouldn't. There was more cursing and more failed attempts to sooth the old gal. I did, however, throw out the ear thermometer. Some moms may be born, but this one anyway, will definitely be made.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


My Mother had a strategy designed to keep me from growing older. She would hold my hand in hers, pat it, inhale sharply through her teeth and say, "I'm gonna put a brick on your head." I didn't think much of it at the time, except to imagine my Mom going out to the side of the house where my brother and his best friend played and coming back with a brick in her hand to place on my head. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Of course now I do.

It pains T and me to watch old videos of G. We love to see her as she was, tiny and alien-like, but we hate it too. It reminds us that G just keeps growing, moving on, moving away from us. We are living days that we can never live again with her. That sounds weird. And sort of dumb. Aren't we all living days we will never live again? Yet, G is a constant reminder of how fast life is going, how fleeting moments are and how we will never get any of them back. It's sort of painful. Everything means so much more with G around. Time means so much more with G around. Life means so much more with G around. Sucking the marrow seems all too important with G around.

A friend of mine recently pointed out that kids are painful, not because they may disappoint you or dislike you at times, but because as a parent, your job is to devote your life to someone who will in the end if you did it right, want to leave you.

When I came home tonight, G gave me a big smile and opened her arms out for me to take her.
I think I'll check the side yard for some good, clean, bricks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Season of Gifts

Tis the season of gifts. This year and for every year after, G is my gift. I am trying to really revel in the G and live in the moment. I watch her smile when I play with her. I watch her eyes when she looks up at me. I try to really feel her head against mine and really hear her breathing when she sleeps.

The human experience is so fleeting and SO hard to hold on to, no matter how hard we try. Seconds after G leans her body into my legs as we both stand in the kitchen, the instant is gone and I easily forget it happened. Moments after G laughs as I tickle her feet, the air is filled with silence.

Maybe this is why we all always want things for Christmas, things that we can hold onto in our hands, and touch and smell and play with all day long. Material things that go under the Christmas tree - tangibles that we can take with us from moment to moment, and Christmas party to Christmas party.

Heaven must be a place where things like laughter and smiles come in boxes. Or maybe holding onto laughter and smiles is the sixth sense we gain in the next lifetime. Or maybe we just haven't evolved yet to the point where we can hold onto the things that really matter, like hugs and kisses.

In any case, this year, I will continue to try (and fail) to hold onto every tick of the clock with my gift. She is definitely the best gift of all.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The G has started to dance. She can't talk. She can't run. But the girl has moves. Mostly her moves are head- centric, sort of Stevie Wonder-like. Her head goes left. Her head goes right. She doesn't do it for too long, probably because moving her head too much can throw her off balance. But it's THE best when she does it. Last night, Sting got her groove. This morning it was Aimee Mann. She isn't too picky about who is it is at this point. When she hears the music, she just has to move.

The T and I have music on all the time, but we aren't much of a dancing couple- especially the Stevie Wonder kind of moving. So we were wondering, how does G who doesn't know English, know dancing?

There's this heady book on my night stand that I attempted to read a few months ago on babies. It's too thick for me, heavy on psychology and I dunno, big words. But the gist of it is that babies know far more than we give them credit for. And if you think about it, they have to know more than we do, what with all they have to figure out in a short time. (When was the last time we learned a language in two years?) I wonder though what is innate in them? What are they born knowing already? Is love innate? Is music innate? Is dancing innate?

How cool to think that we were all born with knowledge of such beautiful things.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For all her ability to scream and make herself known, G is an extremely affectionate lady. She crawls up on my lap. She looks for me around the corner. She sits on the floor to play with her back leaning against my leg.

I have been reading the biography "Strength in What Remains" by Tracy Kidder. I almost stopped a few chapters ago. It's about how one man survived the genocide in Burundi. (I did not know this before, but I guess the genocide in Rowanda was precipitated by killings in its neighbor country Burundi.) It was tough reading for a while and I almost put it down. Being a mom has given me a low tolerance for anything sad or scary. I just wanted to get to the happy ending where the man is a doctor living in the US.

It's awful and amazing how humans can mistreat fellow humans. I started thinking about G and praying that she would never realize this. Of course, she will someday. But right now, she must think the world is pretty great and pretty beautiful. Her world is all love and only love. She doesn't even know what hate is, let alone that it exists. No one has even pushed her down on the playground yet. How great that the world is so pure to her! For all she knows, she's still in Heaven.

I guess this is why some parents try to shelter their kids. It's a gift, really, to give them the illusion of a perfect world. Why not keep that going as long as possible? She will have enough reality. She will be an adult someday and see it for herself. In the meantime, why not let her live in her all-love world, full of hugs, kisses and smiles, full tummies and fun times in the pool?

I hate knowing that someday she will realize it's not all love out there.