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06/01 Direct Link

Walking around in Best Buy, killing time, waiting for Eric to get his new phone. I gave Parker an Xbox remote and let her have a go at the baseball game on the screen. An older girl walked up, saw that the game was already taken, and whined a loud "Waaaaaaaaaaaah" to her mother (literally that sound, that many a's). As if prefaced by "Don't worry, Mom--I got this," 16-month-old Parker copied the exact whine back in this girl’s direction and stared her dead in the eye until she walked away. Never wanted to high-five my kid so badly.  

06/02 Direct Link

You’re in love with moon. Get sunglasses, hat, sunblock slathered on, head out for a morning walk, and even in broad daylight your eyes are scanning the sky for a pale blip of white, not waiting for night. Finding the full round orb, clearly defined; a blotchy half circle, like a chalk stamp not pressed hard enough into blue skin; or a thinly curved feather of pale. Your eyes are seeking, fattened fingers lifted, marking, steering attention upward. Your little voice, urgent, charged with all the breath in your lungs:

 

“Moon! Moon! Moon!”

 

With all certainty, this daughter is mine. 

06/03 Direct Link

We were supposed to Skype with Grandpa today at 3:00, but we went upstairs for a nap at 2:00pm and didn’t wake up until nearly 5:30. He called and left a message and waited for you. And waited and waited. He took a shower and had Maria on phone watch in case we showed up. Hours later, we signed on. He made faces for you, did Sock Monkey dances for you, listened to your song on the xylophone. He said this was exactly what he wanted for his birthday today—and I have no doubt how much he meant that. 

06/04 Direct Link

Visit to Goodwill. First stop, children’s books; three good hardbacks, but I’m too cheap to spend $3.99 on each used book, so no go. Next, children’s clothes: one pair of black shorts to add to the hand-me-downs (how did we inherit so many tops and no bottoms?). Toys:  a Leap Frog ‘phonics desktop’ which you started using immediately (good batteries thrifted?—like a four-leaf clover) as we perused aisles and began repeating alphabet letters for the first time. You put up a fuss as we checked out until I let you hold the “puppy card”—the Visa with Walter’s face. 

06/05 Direct Link
Woke up in a good mood. Fed Jules your breakfast toast with strawberry jam. Shared my peanut butter smoothie but kept biting the straw flat so we could barely take sips (hot tip: this is why Mommy doesn't like to share). Scattered dried pinto beans all over the floor and pretended you didn't understand when it was time to clean up. Said "airplane" for Dad and learned to make wooshing noises. Pointed to the monkey on your shirt and called it "George." Kept touching my eyes, nose, and mouth while I rocked you to sleep to try to stay awake. 
06/06 Direct Link

I brought you into the glass stall shower with me today. I was afraid it would be too cramped, that you’d get frustrated with water constantly sprinkling overhead. But you loved it. You got your own hair wet (impossible feat in the bath). I sat on the floor with you, limbs angled, so that I could shave my legs and wash my hair at eye level with you. You jibber-jabbered, wiped the glass, started to put a bar of soap in your mouth and quickly realized your mistake. I felt, for those moments, like I was a little girl too.

06/07 Direct Link

Took Jules to doggy daycare as soon as you woke up. You weren’t happy in the carseat on the way home. I thought we’d just been in the car too long, but the next thing I know you’re throwing up. Unexpected, unexplainable vomit. We’re both strapped in, separately from each other; you’re crying, half choking, struggling to breathe. I’m trying to watch the road and watch you, make sure you’re in manageable distress without freaking out. First time it ever happened, I nearly swerved across three lanes of traffic. I can’t imagine ever getting used to this as a parent.

06/08 Direct Link

I went back up to bed for extra sleep this morning. When Dad brought you up to wake me, he plopped you on the bed and asked you what sounds some animals make, and—no pictures necessary—you just rattled them off. Dog, lion, owl, monkey (which you sometimes do all high-pitched and squeaky now because of Dora & Boots). You’re repeating letters when we read alphabet books. Saying “airplane” (working on R and L) and “princess.” Tonight when one of us sneezed and we said “bless you,” you repeated it too. You’re learning so fast. Little sponge. Always listening. 

06/09 Direct Link

Right now,

we’re the perfect size

for you to walk to me on the floor

hand me a book

do a slow, choppy spin to

face your back toward me and

plop down

into the cushioned nooks of my legs.

The top of your head fits

just right—just like a Tetris piece,

snugly under—so that my chin

is kissing your hair.

Nestled.

Someday, you’ll have to

sit on just one leg. Someday,

your head will have to rest

beside my head instead.

Someday, we’ll have to read

side by side, pushing together

two pieces instead of

reuniting

one.  

06/10 Direct Link

Today at Grandma & Grandpa’s, you and Grandma were on either side of the ottoman as we were getting ready to go, and she started tapping her long nails on the leather top, scurrying her fingers toward you and tickling you. You loved the tap, tried to imitate it, loved the tickle of the solid slick of false nails when they poked your soft skin. I wonder what small sensations like that you will never feel from me—bitten nails and soft finger pads barely brushing a wisp of sound, flat nubs hopelessly scratching, not waking your nerves or senses. 

06/11 Direct Link

When we took a nap, Billy started meowing (as if to wake you up) and before I could get pissed, you started meowing back at him with your squawkiest meow, leaving out the E’s, sounding out just “Moww! Moww! Moww!”

 

Then, just as I think we’re getting somewhere with the business of sleep, you open your eyes, look at me, and start saying something like “Joon, joon, joon… Joon joon joon.” I have no idea what it means. But you can tell I think it’s funny, which makes it all the funnier.

 

Giggling ‘til we dream—this is my favorite.

06/12 Direct Link

I can’t believe, at 18 months old, we are still rocking you to sleep. I thought it would’ve naturally evolved into something else, which is silly—to think you would somehow realize you didn’t need us for something we do every night. It’s wearing now, how you nurse on one side, then the other, then back to the first, then switch again, sometimes never seeming to get tired. Every time I decide it needs to change, I remember “They grow up so fast, enjoy it while you can” and know soon I won’t be able to rock you at all. 

06/13 Direct Link

Every morning during breakfast

you eyeball Jules through the window

or, after, stick half your pudgy body

through the dog door

scouting the scene.

I open the screen door, hand you

a baggie of chalk, and you scoot out the door

on your butt (never feet, this one step

a seeming cliff). You scratch

choppy pastel slashes, faint squiggles

into cement, laying over your drawings

to transfer them to skin, pausing

every time a breeze blows by—

brushing hair, grazing

eyelashes, sweeping skin—

freezing for that moment

as if listening

to something the wind

is telling you, then

smiling, pleased. 

06/14 Direct Link

A Mommy heart attack, something on par with how I feel when you throw up in the backseat and I think you’re choking.

We were going to give Jules a bath so I turned on the hose and let you play with the water while I grabbed a towel. Before I get back out, you’re crying. Water is splashed on your face and there is a cockroach crawling up your leg, black beetles by your feet, a pincer bug in your elbow pit. NIGHTMARE.

Couldn’t breathe. Swept you clean and ran us inside. Heebie jeebies all day long. Apologies, baby. 

06/15 Direct Link

We get to the baby shower and you have your dress on and your tiny pig tails in, perfection. And me, I’ve got you, your diaper bag, two gift bags in my hands, a gift still in the trunk, and keys suddenly locked in the car. I walk in sweating and frazzled, people offering to take the baby, to call my husband, to take my bags and bring me water.

I see it—‘Someone help that poor girl…’

Just a reminder that you belong to the Mom who never has it all under control. I’ll always keep it that way.

06/16 Direct Link

Father’s day – and amazing what a change from last year. 

 

Father’s day at 5 months old – she barely cared that I existed.

 

Father’s day at 17 months – started with a hug, continued with new tricks and new words.  Next year, who knows.  At 2 and a half, a world of new possibilities.

 

It’s a day that I never much cared about growing up – because really, what kid does?  But now that it’s MY day, all of a sudden it holds all of these new possibilities for things to do with her.

 

Father’s day in 10 years?  Where will we be? 

06/17 Direct Link

So many words are popping up. You’re repeating better than ever. You say “coffee” now when I let you watch as I pour the grounds into the basket. Dad got you to say “Washington” as he held up a $1 bill, but it came out sounding more like “washi washi.”

I’ve made a point to say “shoot” around you when I drop something or stub my toe or realize you made a mess I hadn’t noticed. But when you go to repeat the word, it sounded just like “shit.”

Days later, even when I say “scheisse,” you still say “shit.”

06/18 Direct Link

Went to the Science Center with the cousins. Passed by all the exhibits that explain the functions of your body, how a house works from the inside out, how weather affects land. Instead we are grabbing plastic balls from a pool of water, trying desperately to lift you high enough to dunk it into a whirlpool. We are playing in a playhouse with a tiny kitchen and a garden full of Lincoln logs. We are scooping wet sand that reeks of bleach from side to side to create dams. Wonder how this science will be stored in your baby brain.   

06/19 Direct Link

After the patio repair, we met up with the cousins and went to see Adam. Rae and I got teas, Reece and Avery got little vanilla frappa-shake-somethings, and you got a tiny cup of whipped cream with a tiny straw as a spoon. You had a taste and looked up smiling. Suddenly he was the ice cream man.

We walked around the store and you took out your ponytails and fought me to let your hair be free. Reece and Avery ran around like wild beasts, grabbing every toy, earning us glares. I know it’s only a matter of time…

06/20 Direct Link

You grab your snacks, your cup, go to the dog door and sit in the tiny carpeted space between the inside flap and the outside flap. I hear the magnets pull away and slap back together as you adjust yourself in there, legs in or legs out, and your voice is suddenly muffled, trapped in the warm air between the doors. You talk to yourself, talk to Jules, whisper things. I say loud enough for you to hear, “Don’t go outside...”  and you peek in slightly, just your nose like Walter used to do, to see if I mean it. 

06/21 Direct Link

At the Science Center again today, but this time with Christy, Topher, and Freddy. I got the Mama Bear vibes at the playhouse when some old man in sunglasses sat square in front of the door to the playhouse and watched the littles play. No smile on his face, no particular attention to one child or another.

Christy broke down at lunch and cried, saying she feels guilty. Everyone says, “Enjoy this time while your children are young,” but she feels like she’s always annoyed, desperate for naptime. Another barb when I consider how I’ll keep my cool with Nina2.0. 

06/22 Direct Link

What is this twisted thing parents do with comparing? Against best intentions, despite knowing it’s completely useless, once our littles are in the same room with other littles, we are silently or subconsciously ticking through a checklist of milestones, appropriate behaviors, who has the developmental edge. It’s got to stem from anxiety in the first months about what’s normal, what’s to be expected, but it turns into this sick relief that a kid older than yours is barely speaking, still on a pacifier, throwing a fit in a restaurant while yours is politely eating lunch and saying hello when asked. 



 



 

06/23 Direct Link

In the nursery, you were an independent little thing. If some kid wanted a toy you wanted, you were holding your own, finger wagging like Dikembe Mutombo saying “No, no, no!” I’m stuck watching, needing to draw a line in front of these other kids and women about when you’re right and when you’re wrong and trying to decide how to communicate that to you. It’s difficult not knowing, not having definite answers. I feel like I already say “no” too much, you repeat it so often. How do I turn it all into YES and keep you grounded, respectful?

06/24 Direct Link

You let me put you to sleep tonight, which is rare for us.  Usually it’s mom or nothing.

 

I like to do it, even though it’s nerve-racking and sometimes stressful.  Once you are out, and we are in that in-between before I precariously try to transfer you into the crib, it’s always one of my favorite times to just look at your tiny sleeping face and kiss you on the forehead (and hoe it doesn’t wake you).  It never does.

 

Your tiny sleepy voice is the best.  I ask you questions, and through your sleepy cries, an “uh-huh’ comes through.

06/25 Direct Link

PARKER-ESE

human:  “excuse me”

butch:  “book”

tits:  “toast”

us:  “yes”

wone:  “phone”

baff:  “bath”

mulch:  “milk”

coco:  “coconut milk”

billy:  “cat”

bulella:  “umbrella”

meese:  “please”

beschew:  “bless you”

mote:  “remote control”

why:  “Can you fly me on your feet like Superman?”

Elmo/Ein-tein/Doh-wa: “What is this crap you have on TV? Put on something decent.”

pyoo/poop: “You should check to see if I pooped. There’s a 50% chance I actually pooped and a 50% chance that I am just trying to stall whatever it is you’re asking me to do.”

no:  [Everything else she could possibly want to say. Literally EVERYTHING.]

06/26 Direct Link

Finally got you suited up and off to the splash pad. Wasn’t sure what to expect, but the place was huge, water spilling from colored buckets, shooting out of a row of hoops that kids were running through, fountains of water arcing from the ground. There were tons of kids, adults, a pregnant woman fully clothed standing under a bucket of water. You walked up in your blue and white polka dot suit, pink shoes, pink sunglasses. It took a little time for you to warm up to the water, but eventually you were soaked and an image of summer.

06/27 Direct Link

Hanging at Aunt Rae’s today, catching up and baking. It’s strange how much easier it can be when there are more kids around, kind of a counterintuitive thing. But Reece can play with you and Avery, Avery can play with you and Jimmy, and there are extra eyes around to say “Mommy, Jimmy has something in his mouth!” Even without all the other kids, you’re entertained for hours over there with new toys, unfamiliar things to try to open and carry around. Makes me see that you’re so bored at home, need to upgrade the things that will engage you.  

06/28 Direct Link

I was laughing today in one of my first pretty blatant ‘lame mom’ moments. “It’s Raining Men” came on the cable radio station and I started dancing like a fool, and you were pretty appalled. I was clearly not allowed to dance. If I pick you up and dance around with you, hopping from foot to foot and swinging you down and in circles, you’re all for it. But leave you as spectator to my horrendous rhythm and flailing limbs and you’re sure to indicate something along the lines of: “Please, Mom… don’t.”  Happy to have embarrassed you so early. 

06/29 Direct Link

I worry so much about your eating. You get so picky. You used to like all fruits and veggies, but one day all you wanted was bread and you never turned back. Every morning you want toast, toast, more toast. And when we try veggies now, you balk a little and politely say “No.” You’re still nursing but I wonder if we’re really meeting all of the nutritional marks. Hard to tell because you’re still fat & happy. Most get concerned when their littles are skinny, but you still have plump thighs, belly overhanging your diaper. My carb-loving little lump.

06/30 Direct Link

It’s so crazy to me that I can set you in front of a bowl of freshly cut strawberries and you will just go to town. Not without fail, but they’re certainly your favorite. It makes me think of when I was pregnant, how  I would buy double or triple the amount of strawberries we would normally eat because it was all I wanted. Often what I wanted was unpredictable, but strawberries were constant. You were listening. You were tasting. You remember. What an amazing thing our bodies were, connected like that, talking over meals, sharing delicious bites of red.