Smile

L has had her first ever cold this past week (which KIND OF got in the way of my cover reveal. THANKS L.TIME YOUR COLDS BETTER.) It’s been sad, seeing her so stuffy and coughing throughout the night. She’s herself, but not really. Tired, angry, sad, confused. And as much as I try to explain to her what’s going on, I know my words aren’t helping much. An appetite would be better. Not vomiting would be better.

But this morning, for a second, between cries, I smiled big at her to cheer her up, and she stopped. She looked up. She beautifully smiled back.

And I thought how wonderful it is, to change your mood so quickly. I thought, how great it is that something as simple as a smile could make you smile, too. It’s crazy, isn’t it?

Wouldn’t it be great, if it was always that easy? If you’re having a bad day and a something so simple could turn everything around? That a simple gesture could make a bad feeling great? If that was enough?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a small smile could make you incredibly, overwhelmingly happy?

And then she smiled again.

And then she giggled.

And as I smiled back, I thought, oh, it can. 

Nightmares

Every now and then, L has nightmares. It’s really sad; she’ll start crying and won’t stop until I wake her up and tell her it’s okay. At three months, I’m not sue what she fears (no food? painful gas? missing mommy? birth?), but whatever it is, it scares her. And I don’t like seeing her scared.

She’s so small, you see, and so new. She hasn’t experienced anything yet, at least anything that can give her real nightmares. The kind you run from, hide under your bed from. Or worse, the kinds you can’t. She’s unmarked, undamaged, just new and clean. And despite wanting to, I know I can’ keep her that way.

Because eventually she’ll start to move more and maybe skin her knee. Or fall and bump her head. And she’ll cry from the pain and I’ll try my best to make it better.

And later she’ll meet kids her own age and while some will be kind, they won’t all be. Some might say things to hurt her feelings, some might be mean to her, and I’ll just be able to tell her it’s okay, they’re wrong, she’s wonderful.

She’ll fall in love one day, and maybe that person won’t reciprocate her feelings. Maybe she’ll have a broken heart, or two, and mommy won’t be able to sew it back together.

Or worse, maybe she’ll get to the stage in her teenage years where she won’t even tell me she’s hurt. Where she’ll carry around her pain and i’ll see it in her face, hear it in her voice, but she won’t share. And all I’ll want is for her to lay it on me, let me make it better.

But all of that is in the future. And perhaps it won’t happen, but it all probably will. Because we all grow up. And the pains and fears that we carry are the ones that shape us to be who we are. And though I want to shelter her from everything that might make her frown, I know she has to experience everything. Good and bad. Large and small. With me and without.

But for now, i’ll take solace in the fact that her nightmares are small. I’ll hold on to the fact that, for at least now, I can make everything better with a hug and a kiss.

The Wall

There are a lot of books and websites and phone apps that tell you how to raise a child. A plethora, in fact. I should know, I looked at a number of them. They all agree on certain things (sleep on the back!), disagree on others (set a sleep schedule as early as possible; don’t set a sleep schedule until a few months old!), but mostly they all boast that you should engage your child as much as possible. Okay.

Yesterday, I grabbed a rattle and started shaking it by L, trying to get her to follow the sound with her eyes. She looked at it momentarily, then stared at the wall behind us. No matter what I did, she just kept staring at the wall. What’s so interesting about an off-white wall? I thought out loud before realizing something. At just over two weeks, her eyesight is improving. She’s seeing things more clearly – she’s seeing things for the first time.

That includes the boring off-white wall. That moment could have possibly been the first time she really saw a wall.

How cool is that?

Everything, no matter how bland and boring, is new to her. Everything! The floor, the lights…even the sounds around us. She has no idea what any of it is – to her, everything is magical.

So I put down the rattle and my songs about the alphabet and numbers. Instead, I took her outside and we saw the grass, the sidewalk. We felt the sun, the breeze. We heard a lawnmower, a bird chirping. I explained everything, and though she fell asleep, I think she heard.

We have time for hand/eye coordination and mobility. Right now, I just want her to see and feel and experience all that’s around us. Because, to her, even the most ordinary things and insanely extraordinary. And seeing everything in this new, fresh light is pretty extraordinary for me, too.

Bend and Snap

It’s weird how the body can adapt to situations as need be.

Like how it created a viable, comfortable (I think?) home for Leila during my pregnancy. How it changed and moved and grew just to accommodate all 7 lbs 11 oz. of her. (I give my body full credit – the only thing I did to assist was eat. A lot.)

And how it prepared itself for her birth. And how it, now, is slowly going back to what it once was prior to her invasion. (Invasion sounds weird here, but it’s kind of what she did.)

Now it’s doing it again. I was in labor for 33 hours, and it ended with surgery. I have sore muscles and scars to show what I went through. (I’m not complaining – it was a hard process, but the end result made it beyond worth it).

It was bad at first. If I was sitting and holding L, S would have to help me stand up because I couldn’t on my own. If I was sitting in bed, S would have to take L to put her in the bassinet because my torn muscles wouldn’t allow me to turn. And for someone so independent like myself, it was a trying experience. I wanted to do everything I could, and yet, physically, I couldn’t.

Now, two weeks post birth, S is back at work and i’m having to figure out how to move and lift and place on my own. And, again, it’s as if my body just knows it’s time to act. Because two nights ago I put her in the bassinet on my own. And yesterday I got out of the rocking chair while holding her without assistance. Yes, i’m still sore at times, and the cuts and scars have not healed, but i’m adapting. I’m growing.

I’m not totally okay yet, and I don’t know when I will be, but i’m happy with my progress, and i’m excited to see it continue. Because she’ll only get heavier and snugglier, and I want to be strong enough for every hug and cuddle.

Leila

Sleepy sleepy

Baby Leila is here! Born just a week ago, she’s been an absolute joy. S and I are completely and utterly in love with our little girl.

I’ll admit I was hesitant about being a parent at first. What if I didn’t know what to do? What if I did everything wrong? Could I be responsible for someone? Could I be okay with changing up my life so much that it revolves around someone else? Even with S’s constant love and help, could we do it?

Obviously we decided that we could, that we wanted to. It was a natural decision. We took our time and I think that was for the best. Because now we’re ready. And, yes, we’re still petrified of doing something wrong, and yes, we’re not sure what we’re doing, but we know it’ll all be okay. Because we’re in it together. The three of us now.

It feels right.

Before Leila, I considered TNWSY to be my baby. In a way, there are similarities. I birthed it, nurtured it. It sometimes made me stressed or sad, but also extraordinarily happy and proud. And, when it was ready, I put it out into the world to create its own life.

I still consider TNWSY to be my baby (it will always be!), but it’s different now that I have an actual one. When TNWSY comes out, if someone doesn’t like it, it won’t be the end of the world. Sure i’ll feel rejected and sad, but it can’t force someone to like something I wrote. But if someone says something negative about my girl, I will come at them with the fury of dragons. I will do everything I can – everything in my power – to protect this little human. I will show her a good life. I will keep her nurtured and loved. I will love her every single day as she learned the highs and lows of the world. I will hold her close through everything.

It’s amazing, looking at this little girl as I am right now, and realizing that S and I created her. She’s ours, all ours. I never thought I could love someone I barely know – yet someone know so well – so much.