Month 15...

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.


Behold the Herkimer...

My birthstone is a diamond, something that I have always loved because I love the look of a clear stone. However, throughout my life, every diamond I ever owned was [maybe] lost or stolen. Perhaps they were misplaced but I rarely misplace anything of value, so, I believe thy were taken. A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the Herkimer diamond. He said it was a faux diamond used in jewelry before the man made cubic zirconium.

The Herkimer is a quartz stone found in Herkimer County, New York, and the surrounding area. The quartz is a double terminated quartz crystal, a rarer form of crystal, found forming in pockets of clay and not on the side of stone, dolostone. Because of this it is said to possess esoteric qualities. I loved it instantly because of it's clarity and because it is a quartz.  The beautiful, modest, approachable quartz.  I have always loved the magical look of the stone since I was a kid. Quartz is a pretty rock I have always been able to find, unlike diamonds. I have never come across a diamond on the ground, embedded in the dirt, or even any of my own, lost diamond jewelry. But I have stumbled upon pink quartz and it's made my day.  I don't think I'd ever lose a Herkimer.

The Babbler

"Language is a virus from outer space." ~ William S. Burroughs

She babbles. She babbles a lot! She says "Mama" and then her second word surprised me, a pronoun, "This",  as  in, "This little piggy". She says, "Thiiiiiiiis, thiiiiiiiis" and touches her toes. She also uses it to point out things she wants me to notice.  She points with questioning intonations at things around us she wants to know more about using the sound or word, "brur".  Bruuuurrrr?

I love to hear her babble. I am truly enjoying the babble that often sounds like several different languages mixed together. It has me thinking of William S. Burroughs' paranoid theory on what language is and it's limitations. When I speak to August and show her things, in a children's book, for example,  there is the object itself, the color and shape. In the world around us, there is the object itself, the color, shape and action, usually things are in motion. There are whatever emotions she is feeling at the time, where we are, indoors, in her room or outside on a walk... As I speak to her and show her things, name things, I wonder what exactly it is she is associating. There are so many variables, not least of all, what it is exactly she is pointing to when she gives a general point.

Then there is the phone babble. When I or anyone around us gets on the phone she picks up her toy phone or any object that is next to her and holds it up to her ear then babbles up a storm. There are pauses and laughs and her volume increases and decreases as she paces around. I wish I were privy to all that was being communicated, there is no "this" or "brur" when she is phone babbling.

I have shown August the illustrations of the moon in Goodnight Moon and in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and at the end of Big Red Barn. When we had the super moon appear a few weeks ago, it was a clear night with a clear view of the full moon, high above trees and any other distractions. "Moooooooon", we said to her, she said, "Bruuuur?",  leaving me in a delicious wonder of what her mind was grasping and what associations she was making.  She even babbles in her sleep, leaving me tickled and in love.


Mother and child

August has pulled me out of the world I was once in. I have entered her world of wonder and find myself pondering things that are far removed from the concerns of the average, everyday, adult life. 
The two of us seem to transcend time. We left Oklahoma over a week ago, it feels like a month ago, ages ago... a long time ago. 

Yesterday we had a small party, just us and her sister cousin. I put up decorations, made us cupcakes, we put on our nice dresses, some Sinatra and we laughed at each other, took pictures, danced. I couldn't tell you what time it was or how long it lasted, that is a bit magical. Being able to stay home with August and live a life removed from the ordinary is a luxury I am grateful for. I love my days with August, something otherworldly happens to me around her.  She inspires and leaves me transformed, constantly. This is the mother and child relationship for now.


The New Little Mommies...

Visiting her older cousin, August has found herself in baby doll and toy heaven...