Friday, April 15, 2011

Old School

In lieu of new content, I am publishing something I wrote back in April 2007 & published on the blog I then kept on MySpace:

I recall a thread a while ago on MotheringDotCommune in which the original poster said she was breastfeeding her first child and wanted to know why no one had told her what an overwhelmingly emotional experience it was.  (On MDC, I am amazed no one had.)

I wonder if we, as women, are reticent about talking about the wonders of being mothers.  If so, why? 

Perhaps it is because it is so, so hard to put it into words...

I cosleep with Esther, as I have with all my daughters.  My mother said she coslept with me because she was afraid of SIDS.  I knew logically that cosleeping helps protect against that, but with my first daughter I did it because it hurt so damned much to sit up in the hospital and check on her after my c-section.  It's one of the stories I always tell, how I'd planned to have her in a bassinette by my bed (out of consideration for room in the bed), but I got so little sleep with that setup in the hospital that I brought her home, laid her down beside me in bed to nurse, and fell asleep.  Sweet, sweet sleep.

I'll talk about that, or about how it is indeed safe, or about how rates of SIDS went down in Japan when rates of cosleeping went up, or even about how cosleeping hasn't impacted my sex life (one of the odder concerns I hear from people, to be honest). 

What I don't talk about, because it's difficult to express:

When my baby falls asleep with one foot propped up on my hip, it makes me so happy I could cry.  I am pretty sure I have done nothing in my life to deserve such love from another human.  I have always been prone to laying awake at night just to watch my babies sleep, and I am deeply, profoundly grateful that I have the blessing & the opportunity to parent these little people, to love them and nurture them and watch them grow.

And they are little people.  Discrete individuals.  That's the truly wonderful thing about being a parent.  We have this opportunity to watch a person grow and develop and turn into their adult selves.  While they are children, at least, we will know our children as well as it is possible to know another person, better even than we can know our spouse.  Because we will have been there for all of it.

Every age brings its own joys, which of course we all learn.

I am in love with Bobbie's curiosity, her desire to learn, her desire to be a big girl.  She speaks in complete, complex sentences.  She enunciates very clearly.  She's the easiest to communicate with of all my children, though of course at five she's not always logical in her actions or words as of yet.  She is stubborn and bossy like I am, but she also has a heartbreaking desire to please everybody and she wants to be friends with all the kids her age.

Linda is three, and she is very, very three.  She's what I guess is the typical toddler.  She usually obeys well, but standing still in line or waiting on something, she'll hold my hand and jump up and down.  No reason, other than that she's three.  She wants to do everything her sister does, which is why she's having reading lessons too.

Every morning in the wee early hours of the morning, she wakes up and comes and climbs in bed with Esther & I.  There's nothing like her sturdy little arms wrapped around me as best she can.  If I can wake her up enough she can obey basic commands like "Scoot over" or "Turn over and put your back to me", and that makes cosleeping a real pleasure.  She nearly always wakes up in a good mood and will kiss me before heading for her morning milkies.  The routine is "Mommy, Ro waked up," before latching on.  She knows she has to wait until the baby is awake.

Esther of course is my little Joy.  That's her middle name (her full first name is Esther Rosemary), and I've never met a child who fit her name quite so well.  She is so amazingly lovable that I wonder what I did to deserve her.  She is very demanding, but she is very sweet.  She always wants to sit in my lap, but she'll turn around and hug and kiss me.  She learned to kiss properly earlier than either of her sisters (Linda, when she first started 'kissing' would open her mouth very wide and press it against mine).  She gives great hugs too.

In truth I could spend the rest of my life hugging my girls.  Esther probably got more hugs as an infant than the other two, but she was born much larger and never had the fragile feel to her the other two did.  Bobbie and Linda I cradled gently for fear of hurting them, but Esther has always been visibly robust and so I squeezed her all the time.  But now I have three little ones to hug and squeeze on, and it's the best thing in this world.

We shouldn't be quiet about the joys.

I'm feeling the mama-happiness again quite a bit lately. It's truly wonderful.

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