Parenting H

Month: May, 2013

One day you look up and realize that your baby doesn’t spit up much anymore. He still does occasionally, yes, but not near as often as he used to. When did that change? One month ago? Two?

You’re not sure, but you suddenly miss that baby. It’s not the spitting up you miss, although you had grown quite accustomed to and comfortable with always being covered in spit up. It’s the other things about that baby – the way he always rested his heavy head on your shoulder when you held him. The easy way you could flip him around to nurse at the second breast. The way you had to support his head and neck when you sat him up to burp him. The way he raised his arms, as if in salute, while you patted and straightened his back to help him burp. The deep ferociousness of those burps when they finally came. The deep slate blue of his newborn eyes.

You feel nostalgic already for the not so distant past. You revisit it, but you don’t stay too long, because time doesn’t stop. And you don’t want to miss the baby you have right now.

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I am still, in my late thirties, working on feeling fully seen and kept in mind. I’m starting to understand that not feeling kept in mind contributes to my loneliness, despite knowing intellectually that I am anything but alone. In fact, I believe we are all connected and in this crazy, wild, hard, wonderful life together. And still I can sometimes feel quite alone.

I do not know where these issues came from, nor does it matter. (And I do not blame my own gentle, involved mother.) I work on them and myself now so that H might not have to. I work on myself and on being fully present with H, on making sure he sees me seeing him, on sitting with him through all of his experiences, and on welcoming all of his emotions.

This post, What Our Children Want Us To See, on Hands Free Mama resonated with me.

I see you H. And I always have you in mind.

I was studying H’s hands while nursing him to sleep tonight. He has rubber band wrists, dimpled knuckles, and little hammocks hanging on the palm side of his fingers from the knuckles to the first joints. His hands are small and deliciously plump.

I thought about my impressions of his hands when he was first born. His pinkie fingernails were so small that they could barely be seen. They were, of course, visible, but they were very, very small. His thumbs also seemed impossibly small. Holding his hand felt like holding something fragile and delicate.

As I was studying H’s hands tonight, I marveled at how huge his little hands have become. And that it’s all because we nurse. Amazing.

Sometimes after nursing, H throws himself onto my lap, viewing the world from upside down. I look down at his small-scale-replica-of-T’s mouth, which, from this perspective, sits above his small button nose, which is nestled between his two full cheeks, which pile on top of his big blue-brown-green eyes, which are adorned by the longest eyelashes I have ever seen, and I think it impossible that he could be so adorable even upside down. But he is. He is heart meltingly, stunningly adorable. I never knew my heart could grow so big.

H loves books. For a long time, they went right into his mouth, and now he’s discovered that it’s also really fun to turn the pages. He turns them much faster than I can read.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar might sound something like this:

In the light of the moon a…

One Sunday morning the warm sun came…

He started to look for some food.

On Monday he ate through…

On Tuesday…

On Friday he ate through five…

On Saturday he…

…stomachache.

The next day was Sunday again…

Now he wasn’t hungry anymore –

He built a small house, called a cocoon, around…

he was a beautiful butterfly!

 

It’s really quite adorable.