Two years ago I made out a baby registry for August. It included teenie pieces of clothing in white, ecru, beige, and a soft grey... all made with natural fabrics like silk and wool, cashmere and cotton. I knitted a sweet little wool hat for her and crocheted a delicate, ecru bed jacket, from a soft, fine cotton thread and sewed Made by Mommy
tags on them both. I only wanted a few pieces of clothing because that was in step with a very romantic vision I had of motherhood and babies. The colors I chose were also part of this clean, peaceful image I had carefully created and curated in my head for years. It was one that included hardwood floors, handmade, wooden toys that had only beeswax applied to them, cotton and silk blend sheets in a natural color, unbleached muslin swaddling blankets and light cashmere baby blankets. I pictured cloth diapers that were always spotless and fresh. No need for a stroller, or colorful mobiles, no baby walkers, nothing made of plastic, only the most natural of materials.
From the moment I got pregnant (I knew), I knew that August was a girl and only concentrated on girl's names. I saw, in my mind, what she'd look like when I saw her the first time. I could see what her smile would look like, I felt I knew her already. Into my fourth month of pregnancy it was if August was telegraphing me to make some changes to her baby registry. These were changes I didn't want to make but they nagged at me. While I wanted muted, natural colors, she was requesting pinks, yellows, oranges and reds. I made those changes and thought of the colorful chaos that surrounds so many babies. A friend then told me she felt August would love colors and to provide her with a colorful environment. I abandoned the boring and relaxing colors that were better suited for spas and Copenhagen interiors and started looking at rainbows.
On my registry were several swaddling blankets. I also made her a very sweet, muslin swaddling blanket with a pale pink, scalloped, crocheted trim. I finished it a month before she was born. I envisioned a quiet baby girl in a deep slumber, swaddled and cozy, feeling safe in my blanket. I listed a co-sleeper, glass bottles and cloth diapers with wool diaper covers. I listed several bibs, must have bibs and burp cloths... I wanted a rocking chair to make things easier when she'd wake up during the night. What I didn't list was a high chair, stroller or walker. Clutter I thought, all clutter.
Once August arrived, she was exactly as I had pictured her. However, she didn't like being swaddled. She did her very best at only a day old to undo the binding. She wanted her little feet free and to be able to move. It was good I had done away with anything that had footies and didn't ask for too many socks. Again, something I felt she was telegraphing to me. So all those swaddling blankets were used to cover her in the rain or to put down on the ground so she'd have something soft to lay on while outside. She does love to play with the swaddling blanket I made her and sometimes sleeps with it. To this day she kicks off the covers, takes off socks. She never liked bibs, ever, and spit up only about five times so I didn't get to use all those bibs and burping cloths much.
August slept through the night after only a week and a half, so there was little need for a rocking chair. I still have a box of bottles left unopened because she never liked bottles. At 15 months she is still nursing, an unexpected gift to me. I had hoped to make it until at least six months. I had heard nursing was not always easy nor did it always come naturally and could be uncomfortable. From he moment I held August in my arms for the very first time, she latched on correctly, all on her own, and we never looked back. La Leche League has assured me that toddler nursing is normal and I am lucky.
Cloth diapers, how I have loved cloth diapers. Last year my grandmother and I rinsed diapers in a large, galvanized metal washing tub she has had for years. I thought it was brand new but she told me she got it when my father was a baby to rinse his diapers. We'd rinse and soak before putting them in her washing machine then we'd hang them on her clothesline and they'd bleach to spotless perfection. August would be out with us and we'd laugh and joke about things she'd do and go back in forth through time. During our first weeks with August, it was Jacob who would tirelessly keep up with all the washing and drying of the diapers. Never an empty diaper pail or diaper stacker. We have had to use disposable diapers here and there, but I love the cloth diapers and prefer them to disposable. August doesn't seem to have a preference.
At four months she was trying to stand and by six months she was standing and trying to take steps. She was walking at seven months and didn't like her playpen and was bored with her bouncer. She wanted to be up and about. I bought her a simple walker so that I would be able to put her somewhere safe while I prepared meals. She didn't enjoy the walker for long. We ended up buying a high chair at six months when she started solids. She will sometimes sit in the high chair to eat, but she prefers to sit on her Papi's lap or roam and nibble. The high chair was steadily used for only three months.
I never wanted to use a stroller because it seems all strollers, except for English prams, are at the level of car exhaust. A pram was romantic but babies usually outgrow it by four months. We carried August everywhere until she was six months old when I bought a stroller while visiting friends and thought it would come in handy for the craft fair and shopping we had planned. I missed wearing her in a sling so I didn't use a stroller until we moved to a small, Oklahoma town. August loves her stroller now. Since we have been living in small towns, it has been easy to walk through neighborhoods with little to no traffic. She will never get drowsy in a stroller, too much to see and much waving to do.
It's been 15 months of hit or miss, trying new things, growing and learning, for the three of us. It is only now that I feel I know, not everything but I know so much more. Each child is an individual that will shake up your world and change your plans. They are full of surprises you could never predict and that is the most exciting thing ever. I sit in her colorful playroom, with the bright reds, yellows, oranges, blues and greens, and watch her look at one book after another. I never thought she would love books as much as she does. That pleases me. I thought of a room full of wooden toys without any color to them, just beeswax and laughed. She loves her stuffed animals, dolls and colorful blocks. I remember trying to find a teether for her and was set on ordering a wooden piece of art, then I spotted Sophie and thought she would be more fun. August sill loves her Sophie. I spot her little doll who is naked on the floor. I stopped putting clothes on that doll months ago. August has everything just the way she likes it.
Labels: Notes to August