Saturday, November 19, 2011

Letter to a 13-month-old

Dear Dax/Daxy/Daxadocious,

Would you stop getting cooler and cooler and funner and funner? I don't think my heart can take it, it's going to explode. Especially in the mornings when I'm all sleepy and I don't want to hear your giggles, and I try to get you to stay asleep by snuggling in the bed with us but you always get squirmy and at some point you sit up and smile at me as if you alone own JOY. And I can't help but geniuinely smile, because I got blessed with the happiest brightest eyes and smile at 7am in the damn morning erg.

Then Daddy, bless his heart, gets up and does a quick babyproof (stair gate hitched, cat's water removed, phone up high), before we put you on the floor to toddle around like a maniac, moving things to and fro, while Daddy gets ready for work and I try to peel my brain from my deep dark awesome sleep and into the present which requires me to get up and do stuff. Lots of stuff. All day.

When Daddy leaves, I throw in the towel and leave the most cozy place on the planet to scoop you up and take you downstairs where we turn on some light morning tunes and cook breakfast together. You still like to cuddle up with me in the sling in the mornings as I waltz around the kitchen breaking eggs and chopping peppers and cutting fruit. I love to smell the top of your head and ruffle the curls by your neck.

You and me eat much of the same things and almost the same amounts, although you randomly get picky about weird things now, like too-soggy textures and hidden broccoli in macaroni. You still throw unacceptable things on the floor. While I've gotten 100 times better at sweeping & mopping, your habits of food dispensing cause the kitchen to look destroyed more often than I'd like to admit.

The rest of the day, I try to keep you out of the house and busy during the day or you get crazy and cranky. We go to my mom's playdate group at lot, and we go on walks in the neighborhood, and I run errands with you and take you to the park. I try to leave the house every day to keep your hunger-for-exploration satiated. Plus, we still have lots of visitors that keep you thrilled. Beth came this month again, and we finally planted those winter vegetables!

Your 13th-month started out with some extra time with your Grandma Deb after everyone else left. We took you to the nearby pumpkin patch where you were wheeled around in a wheelbarrow through the rows of bright orange pumpkins.

The main reason we went was because of the petting zoo. Your Grandma loves to introduce you to animals. She has her own farm up in Alaska where she teaches kids all about the farm and the animals and the food there. She wants to make sure you know all about it too! You did great with the goats & the llama & the camels.

A couple of days later, we took you to the Wild Animal Park up in Escondido for your first time! You fell asleep in my arms right as we took off on the big safari to see the giraffes, but when you woke up you got to see elephants & gorillas & monkeys & loons & all sorts of other fun stuff.

After your Grandma and Vito left, your father and I took you back to the pumpkin patch! Your Daddy wheeled you around this time in the wheelbarrow. They had all sorts of odd opportunities for photo-ops scattered around the little carnival, so I capitalized on the weirdness and took some shots.

how handsome is your father, geeezz?!
You have been sick all stinking month kid. I think my breastmilk is broken because it doesn't seem to be helping you at all. I feel like I am failing you. I think I need to carry sanitizer and wash your hands more, because this is getting ridiculous. 

You got well long enough at the end of the month to make it to a few Halloween events. My mom's playdate group set up a fun event at the park where everyone decorated the trunks of their cars and the dressed-up kids trick-or-treated from car to car. You wore an old polyester suit that your daddy had when he was young! You looked so dapper in your vintage pants and vest.

you don't eat candy, but I do let you play with it!

this is you with some of the other kids in their costumes
The actual day of Halloween was a very scary day for us though. You woke up and you were very wheezy and your breath was very heavy. It looked like you were struggling to breathe and your heartbeat was very fast. At the pediatrician's office, he was worried he might have to send you off to the hospital, but the breathing treatments we did there worked to calm down your breath. We were there almost all day as the doc checked all sorts of things and did a chest xray to check for pneumonia (I hated this one the worst!). You were diagnosed with severe bronchiolitis and we were sent home with a nebulizer to give you treatments every four hours.

Your Daddy and I pulled a mattress into your bedroom and your Daddy got up all night long and counted your breaths to make sure they weren't too high. We figured you needed a really good rest, so we just kept checking on you instead of waking you up all night. The next day you were much better and the pediatrician looked relieved. You recovered almost completely by the next day as if nothing had happened. Kid, oh kid, I can't imagine what other parents go through during a tough illness or something worse. It makes me ill to even think about. 

Dax in one of my fave cloth diapers & the first pair of shoes that  truly fit right
I have the best news ever for you though. This month, for the first time EVER, you slept through the night. It happened when the fams was here. We thought something happened to you, but you were always safe & sound. We thought it was a fluke, but it just kept happening. We couldn't believe it. What an enormous treat to sleep uninterrupted for 6-9 hours! I felt refreshed actually!

You still take two naps, but are getting close to transitioning to one. You smile and laugh all the time. You say 'dada' when I say 'bathtime' because he gives you most of your baths. You freak out when I take something away that you want. You chase Diego all around no matter how many times I say 'gentle buddy' and 'careful buddy.' You get a twinkle in your eye when you know you are doing something I don't want you to do. You know the words 'ball' and 'book' and 'blanket' and many others. Your understanding seems more and more each day. 

You are the light of my life, little buddy. You have filled my life with an enormous sense of purpose that I've never felt before. Life is harder, funner, fuller, and more amazing than ever before. I pray that I can be the mother that you need me to be. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Once Saw a Psychic Who Told Me I'd Have 2 Kids

When I was in college, living in Tempe, Arizona, the summers blew air like ovens--stagnant and too much to bear.

I lived with a bunch of girls--best gal pals--who lived together & worked together & schooled together. We rode bright beachcruiser bikes to classes. We lit tealights in the stairwell of our walk-up. We cocktail waitressed at the bar on the downtown main street--a bar with live music & art & we took shots with the manager to ignite the nights. If it all sounds carefree & light & bohemian, it's Because It Was.

Just a hop over the fence behind our rental with its 2 beds & 2 baths was the local taco shop and a head shop and a liquor store. Just a skip from that was Mrs. Rita's house. It was a clapboard 1950's home on the main drag that we'd pad by everytime we went to the food co-op or the Irish pub. Mrs. Rita was (is) a psychic, a very well known one for the simple fact that she owned that little bungalow on the main main drag.

Her house was quaint and decorated with that diamond-shaped sign in the lawn that said says her name and her psychic services in bright blue cursive. The curtains were always drawn. A few cars always littered the driveway. And I never saw a single person coming or going in my decade of living there. But Mrs. Rita is kind of a local celebrity, since any person frequenting the center of town would pass by that diamond-shaped sign every time.

I like psychics, as people, being that they are typically asymmetrically interesting in their thoughts and their ways. However, now I don't suppose I like going to them anymore. Age & superstitions & changing ideas about destiny have eased out this particular curiosity over time. I used to think it was fun & interesting. Now, for the very reason that I can't stand violence in movies anymore, I can't stand listening to a perhaps future: I'm simply too sensitive. I can't risk a mind full of images.

Or maybe it has to do with Mrs. Rita. Because after I went to her, I could never shake the feeling that she was right.

My brother and I decided to make the journey across the street and tap on her door because we had a sense of adventure and curious minds and we half-believed we'd get some real insight into our lives. At the door, a young Mexican girl, no older than 18, asked us what we wanted. We replied, and held out the bills in our hands. She asked my brother to follow her, and she sent me into a dusty old room with a tattered wingback chair in the center and soon there appeared Mrs. Rita.

For forty dollars she sleepily told me that I would live a lovely life and that I would find what I was looking for and she didn't think any great tragedy would befall me. She told me specific things too, without me telling her a thing, like I would love three men in my life. At that time, I had already truly madly deeply loved two, and hadn't met the third yet. And she was right, soon after, I met and fell in love with David--my magnus opus--and I'll never love another.

The thing she told me that bothers me is that I would only have two children. One boy. And one girl. The boy would be the older one, and after having Dax, that's true too. And here I am, butted up against the reality of the amount of children I will have and I'm thinking my next will be a girl and then there will be no more and the reason I think this most is Because Mrs. Rita Said So.

My brother got some abrupted Tarot card reading from the young girl and doesn't remember a thing, but for me, it's been at least a decade and I can't shake it. Part of me wants to have more than two children, just to prove her wrong. To tell myself that even if a psychic gets some things right they don't get all things right and just because it stuck in my brain for so long, that it doesn't make it so.  But I suppose it's silly to make decisions about one's life just to make a point.

I don't know how many children I'm going to have (ps two or three are the choices). I grew up as the middle misfit child of three. I liked the set-up: two people to talk to (in case I needed a second opinion). I think multiple siblings help people know that the world can go a whole bunch of different ways. Almost no one agrees, even those people you love most in the world, and I think that's a good thing to know about. On the other hand though, I simply might not have the energy for three. Plain & simple.

Most people will tell ya that you'll know when you're done, you'll get this 'all finished' feeling in your gut that lets you know. I guess I won't know until I have that second baby. I think I want three, but according to Mrs. Rita, it ain't gunna happen.  We'll see, Mrs. Rita, we'll see. 

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