Birth Day Eve

It is the Eve of my Baby Bear’s birthday. I am in as much shock over this as I was when he was actually born: the swiftness and ease of his birth left me awestruck and amazed, much as I feel now. How could he already be a year old? I loved him every day of this past year; he has slept beside me literally since the day he was born. Even though the years, they pass, you will always be my baby. This thought has been echoing in my head and has turned into a poem, as I seek to capture the truth and transparency that statement makes me feel.
IMG_3865.JPGSleeping in my arms, he definitely is my baby.
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Dance Inside My Chest

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. -Rumi

IMG_3208.JPG

She is four and a half…amazing… She’s amazing… She’s smart, articulate, kind-hearted and loving. A curious kid, cautious, enthusiastic and wildly happy when she’s engaged, has your attention and focus.

I want to always do enough – everything (!) – for her; have enough time; be awake enough. Moving and having a baby has been a big adjustment for us, although so was her third year, with increase independence on her part. I am thankful for the time of her infancy, when we had time to gaze at each other, uninterrupted and in love. I want that time now, I want to always stare into her eyes and show her my love.

I will have to continue to find new ways to do that..she doesn’t lie still so much anymore. She knows more of needing to bend and accommodate than she did then. I guess that’s a part of life, a necessary skill, which I accept as long as it allows her to keep moving, keep dancing, keep joyfully expressing herself.

It’s essential to me that she knows, sees and feels my love every day. I wake every day with the desire and aim to show her. I am thankful for all the opportunities to do so.

IMG_3125.JPG She said we had to draw the sun and the rain, because Sun + Rain = Rainbow
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Reunion

It feels a bit reckless, posting here, for the first time in over a year. I’ve just read all the posts and truly appreciate all my gathered thoughts, the lovely love notes to my babe. What a treasure, which is what I meant them to be, of course.

Obviously a lot has changed since then, and why shouldn’t it, as so many days have passed.

In life, I have the most amazing son. He’s not yet one…but talk about a fast year. I still have the most amazing daughter, who’s more than four now. And the most amazing husband, still on this grand adventure called Life, and Parenting, with me.

I feel somewhat reserved about sharing here, I suppose I always have. But I’ve been writing poems and just adoring it, just so grateful for this gift that alights on my pillow as often as it does. The poems have become a sort of journal for me, capturing moments of our lives. They are raw and unedited, truly moments in time that I pen in the dim light through squinted eyes, shortly before passing out at night. I continue to feel a need to share them, so I am following that tug, right back to Love Notes Mama.

My hopes for this blog, in addition to me having enough time to write, are: to be a place of openness and pleasure, to be an outlet for sharing and receiving, to be a grateful witness to precious days with our precious ones.

Here is tonight’s poem, which I share as my first love note of the year….

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Snowshine

Our first real snow of the season brought much delight to our household.  It was on the weekend, which is great right there because we don’t have to drive to work. And it meant we had lots of time to play outside.

Pip and I got all bundled up. It was our first time using her new snowsuit. She kept calling it her bathing suit. She had some great boots that she could walk in easily, unlike last year’s pair that she could not maneuver in. Coats, hats and gloves completed the look.

The snowsuit stayed on for the good portion of the day…even inside.

As soon as we were outside, her look of wonder was on her face. Immediately, her gloves were off.

“Mom can I touch it?” she asked me. (She sometimes calls me “mom” now instead of “mommy” or “mama.” Such a 2-going-on-16-year-old!)

Yes, I told her.

“Can I touch it with my hands?” she asked, breathless. I smiled at the fact she asked me this, and told her yes, again.

We were down in front of the house when she thought to ask, “Can I eat it?”

The snow was so fresh and her face so expectant that I just had to say yes. She laughed and laughed as little red fingers lifted the snow to her lips, and tongue. Over and over.

Getting to watching Firsts is one of the coolest gifts of being a parent.

We made a snowman, then a snowdog (thanks to the Snowman movie we watched recently). We found rocks and twigs to accessorize them with. Eventually the snowman received Pip’s hat.

We made angels.

She sat on her little inflatable sled and I dragged her around and around the yard. “Faster! Slower! Don’t tip me!”

And of course, when we came inside, we had to have hot chocolate.

Summertime is really easy to love: sunshine, ocean, flowers, garden, warmth, bare skin.

But winter has its own treasures, too.  These snowflake joys, these cold-nosed pleasures.

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New Year

It’s a new year, and I’ve been reading through this special blog, grabbing snippets to paste into the annual family photo album I like to make.  It’s been really cool to read my observations, and I was struck again with what a gift recording these notes can be. So I’m endeavoring again to write some more.

Right now, Pip is two and 3/4s.. she’s not really a “pip” anymore, either! I was holding her hand the other night in bed and thought to myself, whose hand is this? It’s not the hand of a little child! She’s so big now!

She rationalizes and talks and outsmarts me – the other afternoon she wanted some milkies (yes, we are still nursing although I am working on weaning her) and I told her she could have some before bed. Without a moment’s hesitation she informed me she was sleepy and then asked for milkie’s again. Cheeky monkey!

We went to England over the holidays and she was a spectacular traveler for that long journey (17 hours door-to-door, a feat for us adults, nevermind a toddler). I was nervous the sounds of the engines on take-off would scare her, but my husband and I were determined to be as excited as possible about the flight, thus role modeling for her that it’s something enjoyable and exciting, not nerve-wracking. And she was totally fine – in fact, she nearly fell asleep in my arms within an hour except I had to buckle her in and she woke up. No sweat- she watched some TV before passing out. She had a quick cry halfway there, then slept again until it was time to land, when she sleepily but happily sucked a lollipop. The hour tube ride caused a resurgence of said lollipop, as the poor thing threw up during the morning commute on the crowded tube. It was wonderful to enter into our loved ones’ open arms when we finally arrived!

We saw a fun Pantomime (aka “Panto”) of “Jack & the Beanstalk” at the intimate and beautiful Harrogate Theater. A Panto is a mix of a musical and theatrical performance where the actors interact with the audience. The kids LOVED it, as did I. Singing, clapping and shouting “watch out behind you!” makes for a truly entertaining day. There’s gotta be a huge market in America for Pantos!

In England we barely saw the sun, but when we returned home it was to a snowstorm! The icy sparkle the next day, plus Pip’s glee at the magical wonderland made it all worth it.

snow

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Happy 100th Birthday Julia Child!

Today is Julia Child’s 100th Birthday! Let’s go make a mess in the kitchen in her honor!

Happy Birthday Julia!

Happy Birthday Julia!

I read My Life in France this year, and loved it. Her wit, her passionate love affair with food and with France, and her devotion to the science of cooking all took me by storm and made me want to grab the nearest bowl and whisk up a homemade batch of mayonnaise!

Pizza

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?” 

Julia was a role model to multiple generations of people, influencing what they ate, how they cooked, where they shopped for food, and how they approached the ritual of mealtime.

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream."

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

Some of my favorite sayings by Julia could easily apply to parenting as well… or really, anything you love, or life in general….

“…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”

“…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”

“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

“...no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

“…no one is born a great [parent], one learns by doing.”

“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

[Parenting is] love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

“[Parenting] is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

“Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”

flooor

“Maybe the cat has fallen into the potty, or the cereal has been dumped on the floor, or the first birthday cake collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s [parenting] is better than one thinks it is. And if [the house is] truly vile, then the [parent] must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”

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Toddler Laughs

Having such a linguistic child has given me a lot of laughs recently.  We have full on back and forth conversations now. There are questions, answers, connections, more questions. Her language development amazes me, and it is SO fun to know and hear – directly from her – what she is thinking / wondering / feeling, as much as she can vocalize it now.

For example, before we went to the zoo last week, I asked her what animals would we be seeing.  Her first answer: “Cookie Monster!!!” came with hands thrown up in the air in excitement.  Uhhh… yeah, guess that Sesame Street zoo book might have confused her. Or maybe it was wishful thinking?  When I asked her “what other animal?” she said, “Elmo! Grover!” And finally, maybe sick of my questioning (?!) she answered, “Mommy!”  Yes, Animal Mommy would certainly be seen at the zoo…!

Feeding the goat at the zoo

Feeding the goat at the zoo

In the car we stopped at a Starbucks for some morning brew and I asked for a croissant and a bagel.  The woman told me they didn’t have a plain bagel, or a cinnamon raisin one, just an “everything” bagel, which we declined.  As I drove around the corner, this happened:

“Get a bagel, Mommy?”

“No, they don’t have any bagels left.”

“Get a donut?”

Me: eyeing her warily in the mirror, “No, no donut….”

A brief pause, then an exasperated, “What do they have here, Mommy?”

Uh… Where did she come from?!  My husband and I look in amazement at each other thinking about how at one point she could only blink… and now all this!

The other night we were playing on the floor, and Pip said to me, “They’re sleeping, Mommy,” as she pointed to a knife and a fork she had lying down.

I played along, as she laid her plate over them. “Oh, they’re sleeping? And you’re covering them with a blanket?”

“No, a plate,” she corrected as she rubbed their “backs” and hummed them a tune goodnight.

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