We’re still in shock I think. I mean, we don’t have time to think, we just do: Dab, hold, feed, pat, soothe, change, snap, wipe. It’s all just a series of tasks. Like an old game of pin the tail on the donkey, we’re blindfolded and we keep pinning bits of this and that to the wall, entirely afraid of stepping back far enough to see the big picture. That we have a baby. A real, live, kicking, cooing baby. And she’s staying.
We do a lot of staring, too. We stare at each other and stare at her and then stare at each other again and realize that we created this being. A creature who sometimes sounds like a little gremlin and other times more like a pigeon, and often looks like a little shepherd in a nativity play–her cream-colored swaddle around her, hands just barely visible, calm, watching her new flock of peeps.
Have I told you about her arms? On the changing table, she’s a classic music conductor, her arms jerking out and in and over and through, excited for the symphony of life. When she is placed in the bath, she is a storyteller, eyes wide and arms straight out as if she is describing a ghost and a really big fish in one breath. When interrupted from sleep, she is a dancer, arms floating up through the air—she floats, she flits, she fleetly flees, she flies.
Our favorite move is the Scarlett Stretch. After being released from her swaddle, her arms go up and over her head, her feet scrunch up toward her stomach in a big curl and her head tilts to the side, lips in a pout, eyebrows up as if to say: Why thank you, Jeeves, I’m ready for my breakfast now.
She love her sling. Babywearing is all the rage these days, you know. Its what all the third world countries do. It keeps her close to Me, feeling safe and secure. It allows Mommy to be all she can be in a world that honors multi-tasking. One day I will tell her all about it and by then, surely, they will have found evidence which proves that wearing your baby causes cancer.
I touch her head a lot. When my brother Philip was born, my Mom explained to my six year old self that he had a “soft spot” on his head–that all babies did. I was fascinated by this. Now I touch Scarlett’s soft spot, smoothing down her strands of hair. I think I am comforting her, but perhaps I am just comforting myself.
Birth was exhausting, but finite. Motherhood is forever. What if I’m not good at it? What if my instincts don’t show up? What if Scarlett can tell?
But I am surrounded by souls who support me every step of the way.
At my baby shower, Eva had the idea to create a paper chain for the nursery. Each attendee was to write a blessing, a piece of advice or a wish for my birth and my baby on a link of the chain. Everyone once in a while, I read one. Today’s said this: “If you ever doubt your ability as a mother, just know that you were chosen, before the beginning of time, to be this child’s mother. And you ARE good at it.” Whoever that was, thank you.