I know I’ve been lazy in the Lance department and I’m fine with that, as well.
I’ve been figuring out this mommy thing. Letting it run over me like warm water. Letting it settle into my bones like old age. Letting it hit my synapses like a drug. Letting it happen to me. Letting it be so special that even I, a writer, can’t put it into words. Not yet.
It’s bigger than me. Bigger than Joe. So enormous and so significant that I can’t pin a fancy word on it. You understand I’m sure.
I’m in the thick of it; staring at my kid, his perfect fingers, his big pink feet. They look like his father’s feet. They look like my feet.
His toes curl when he’s angry. His eyes widen when Joe plays the guitar and his brow furrows when he’s cold.
I still can’t believe I made this.
That we made this.
He’s asleep in my office in a motorized swing, which I programmed to level two because that’s the level he seems to like most right now, at three weeks old.
I think he’s the most magnificent when he wakes up in the morning. When he stretches. When he throws his fists above his head in an elastic maneuver that so resembles an adult stretch that I forget for a second that he’s a baby.
I think he’s the most hysterical when he’s breastfeeding and he makes these grunting noises that sound like a pterodactyl cawing at my chest.
I think he’s the most adorable when he’s in his father’s arms.
I think he’s the most peaceful when he’s outside and the sun hits his cheeks.
Once again my blog neglect has prompted curious inquiries from readers. Advice even. Thank you for your insight and support. It seems you people genuinely miss my writing, which is about the most encouraging thing a writer can hear. I’ve been paid to write for an audience since I was 17 years old, yet it’s as a blogger that I’ve received the best feedback. It’s a thing I started as a hobby. A thing that pays me nothing and reaches strangers across the world. It’s been a valuable lesson in stick-to-itiveness.
Some of you have wondered what I’ve been up to since Joe caught Henry in 98-degree bath water.
Here are a few key details:
In three weeks I’ve established a crucial nighttime feeding routine that consists of pleasant (uninterrupted) stretches of sleep from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
During the day I breastfeed every two hours. It’s an exhausting commitment, but the health and financial benefits far outweigh any personal inconveniences. Sometimes, for my sanity, I’ll let Henry go three hours between nursing if he’s the middle of an especially deep afternoon sleep.
I’ve returned to my three-mile walks. Joe’s even walking them with me. His goal is to lose 20 pounds before the baby gains 20, which I think is a reasonable ambition. My goal is to be running again by the end of next month. I’ve got a triathlon Oct. 2 on Siesta Key.
Henry loves it outside. He even loves the rain.
Yesterday I walked in a drizzle with him strapped to my chest in his baby carrier. The pug needed to go out and this was the only break in an otherwise stormy day. The humidity fogged up my glasses so I reached for the bottom of my shirt and with the same end I’ve been using to wipe his face, I wiped my lenses.
Cubbie was forging ahead on his leash. Henry was asleep, oblivious to the rain, or so it seemed. I was traipsing through murky puddle water in old, worn-out flip-flops. Cool drops of water were landing on my head in small pinches.
After so much sun it felt fabulous to be in the rain.
As I walked, I bowed my head over Henry’s to keep the drops from hitting him.
If he was bothered by the weather, he gave no indication. Besides, a little afternoon sprinkle never killed anybody and remember this baby was born in the water. Like a fish.
When we got back to the house, I freed him from his carrier, wrapped him in a small quilt and laid him on my bed beside a stack of magazines I had yet to read and a to-do list I had yet to tackle.
On my nightstand was a cold and cloudy cup of coffee. At the foot of my bed was a damp and dirty ball of pug.
Henry opened his eyes; blinked them wide, his gaze drifted from the left to the right. He stopped on me and smiled.
I’ve read that babies don’t communicate with smiles until they’re at least two or three months old. They say a newborn smile is spontaneous and subcortical, an unconscious reaction that happens often in REM sleep. It is, according to experts, seemingly meaningless.
I smiled back. The biggest, dorkiest smile on the planet. Never has something so meaningless meant so much to me.