Monday, January 31, 2011

Notes From A House Frau X

The World Is Constantly In Motion

The most surprising part of the last week or so is how magical the transformation is from "newborn" to "baby." RRBB's so much more active, especially when he's sleeping -- slurping and sucking on his hands, snorting, kicking off his covers, and somewhat trying to teach himself how to soothe himself, if not to sleep, then back to sleep, which I'll take at the moment.

And like he's constantly in motion, I, too, am in flux: up and down and up and down go the test results, which simply signals the need for more blood work, and more peeing into jugs. It's so undignified. No one likes peeing in jugs, I swear, and the things that doctors need are never the things that the patients need. In fact, we're more like babies than anything -- we need comfort, hugs, calm words, patient hands. The other day in the doctor's office, my SFDD took off my boots for me while I was on the examining table, just like a father would do to a five-year-old, and it was oddly comforting. And then, we saw my SFDD in the market the other day when we were grocery shopping. He's such a very kind and gentle man -- he stopped to talk to us quickly and cooed at the baby, commenting, like so many people do who know me better than they know my RRHB, that he looks the perfect picture of me.

So funny, people who know us both can't stop talking about how he's the spitting image of my RRHB, which is what I think; people who know me better all say the baby looks so much like me. In a sense, you see what you're familiar with, making the baby different in the eyes of each that see him. I like that -- different people seeing different things in my son (my son!) in terms of how they know me and his father, it's nice.

The prednisone seems to be charging ahead with some obsessive/compulsive side effects these days. While I'm definitely sleeping more, thanks to an older baby and a very supportive RRHB, strange things are occupying my mind: a never-ending to do list that has items like "back closet books" and "file 2010 paperwork." Longstanding, rolling items that are not remotely practical when you have a 15-week old baby. But the boxes and boxes of books in my house are no longer the sentimental mementos they once were -- they are out of order, out of space, and lost in a time when words didn't necessarily mean more to me, they just had more permanence.

I don't need to keep every single book I read any longer. I am more mature as a reader -- I know certain things about myself: I don't reread; I like to get through a book every couple of days; I work in publishing and see A LOT of books; I can remember a lot even though I read quickly but passionately (slow reading, pffft); and I'd much rather pass along the book to someone else who might enjoy it than have to dust it for the next twenty years. That's not to say I don't keep certain books, I do, like On the Road and other books that I'd consider my favourites; lovely coffee table books, cookbooks, but we only have so much space, and it seems that all the words are weighing heavily on my mind these days. Maybe it's because I have such limited time to string my own words together and maybe it's because I have lost so many words too.

I find myself unable to finish so many thoughts. I'll start to say something and drift right off. It's impossible to do two things at once. I've been playing loads of Scrabble just to make sure my brain still works at a basic level. You take words for granted when you use them in a social situation every day. Sometimes, I even forget to talk to the baby, I just think he knows what I'm thinking by some magical baby-mother osmosis. And then I'll snap out of it and start rhyming, making up silly songs, thinking that I've got a children's book in me (doesn't every mother think that? aren't we all just so very wrong?): "I love you like the air loves the trees; I love you like the flowers love the bees; I love you..." you get the idea, right? More often than not, my RRHB has to say, "Use your words," when I trail off yet again inexplicably in the middle of a thought, "can you pass me the, um, thing..."

We are going out this Friday night for the first time as couple since the baby was born WITHOUT the baby. My cousins are babysitting. I love the fact that our RRBB has a cousin who is about three weeks older than he is, my mind is full of all the fun the pair of them will have at the cottage, maybe not this summer because they'll still be a bit too young to explore the forest or find salamanders in the swamps, but in the upcoming years, they'll grow up as we did, and despite all of the truly tragic things that happened to me in my youth: my mother's accident, my disease, all the family troubles, we, my two cousins, brother and I, had an idyllic childhood at the cottage. For now, they'll have to be satisfied with knowing each other as baby friends, sleeping in the same crib and going to Stars and Strollers together.

Seeing, actively seeing and raising, the next generation forces you to come to terms with a lot of things that you maybe forgot. When I was out at my dad's the other day going through all my old childrens books, I found Rupert. The first thing I did was open it up and smell it -- the scent of the book as strong in its memories for me as the story. The idea that portions of my childhood have lasted so very long with me resonates in how I want to raise our boy. But it also resonates with me how little of his memories I'll be able to control -- what he remembers, how he remembers, what he holds with him into adulthood. I guess all we can hope is that we don't screw him up too badly. And on that note, he's fussing, and needs a cuddle.

Don't we all?

1 comment:

Kerry said...

What a gorgeous entry. You still have your words. And your son(!).