Sunday, February 24, 2013

She Looks Like...


My mother thinks Ivy looks like Rob. Old women in the grocery store who've never met anyone else in my family think she looks like me. Westley thinks she looks like him. (She really doesn't. Sorry, dude.) Rob refuses to play this game. "She looks like a baby."

Rob's grandma claims Ivy looks like her baby. And she has the pictures to prove it.

Rob's mom, circa babyhood.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Girl of My Dreams


I dreamed of having a daughter.

It seems so incredibly sexist to say, "I want a girl" or "I want a boy"—because what are we really saying, there? That boys are (by nature, across the board) one way, and girls are another? It seems we're really hoping for a set of traits that we associate with a particular sex. Ergo, sexist.

I didn't consciously associate anything in particular with "daughter" that I wouldn't also associate with "son," but having been raised a girl, I wondered what it would be like to raise one myself. It struck me as an experience worth having. To be on the other end of a mother-daughter relationship. Whatever that might mean.

Sweet Potato Baby

I didn't know Ivy was a girl right away. I hoped she might be. But I hoped for a lot of things. Six weeks pregnant and weeks pregnant and bleeding... I hoped I wouldn't have to face another loss. At eight weeks, I couldn't think in terms of "boy" or "girl" at all. Just healthy and safe. So when the ultrasound image of my eight-weeks'-gestation-beating-heart-fetus danced on the monitor above my head, I was awestruck by this tiny life. 

Her spirit was there, and in an instant, I felt like I knew her. Even though I didn't know she was a "she."
Sweet Potato Baby

I once scoffed at a picture frame in a baby stuff store that was clearly designed to hold an ultrasound picture. Script along the border read, "Love at First Sight." The whole sentiment seemed incredibly cheesy.

I get it now. I would put that picture frame on my wall now.

Six Months

Ivy turned six months old on Valentine's Day, and I am more in love with her than ever. Sometimes I still can't believe she's here, that she made it here (we made it), when I dreamed about her for so long.

Sometimes I worry about love and my babies. I worry that my love for Ivy is too fierce. She's half a year old, and already pushing away from me—sometimes diving out of my arms—one minute, and then cuddling into the curve of my neck the next. Most of all, though, I worry that Westley will intuit (now) or read (later) that I wasn't in love with him right away, and that he'll resent his sister or me for it. I worry that because I never thought, in my probably-sexist way, about raising a boy, that my son will think he wasn't wanted.

The measurable truth is that I don't know any more about Ivy at six months than I did about Westley at six months. I can rattle off the milestone stuff: she rolls over both ways, holds her head up when I lie her down on the floor (and does a little baby-yoga boat pose—it's adorable), passes a toy back and forth between hands, looks for me when I leave the room, reliably sleeps for six hours at a stretch at night. She's as wiggly on the outside as she was on the inside. But none of that means I know Ivy and the person she will become. I still don't even know what color her eyes are!

It's true that Ivy is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. I am amazed by her every day. I'm head-over-heels in love with her.

And I wonder if this feeling of being in love with the baby—so much more deeply, vulnerably in love than I was the first time—has nothing to do with the daughter I dreamed of, and everything to do with me becoming the mother I hoped to be.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Found Photos


I hope that some day, when I sit down to write, words will turn up again. Words about something other than the two-headed dragon of stress and depression I've been facing for the past week or two. I really don't want to write another word about depression. (There are at least 20 posts on this blog about it. Depression is my co-pilot.) And what's more depressing than reading about other people's mental illnesses?

Instead of not writing about depression, I went looking for my old new camera. My new new camera—the one that I carry around with me all the time and often forget to use—is just a little too fancy for me. It's smarter than I am, and its proud of its fanciness. It tries to help me out by focusing on the dust in the air instead of my daughter's eyes. I thought I might have better luck with the old new camera, the replacement for the old camera with which I was quite comfortable.

I found the camera, turned it on, and...there were pictures on it. Just a few, but I didn't recognize them. Maybe Rob did. In any case, they were from a while ago: Westley's hair freshly trimmed, Ivy wearing pajamas she hasn't fit into in months.


This unexpected treasure was a jolt to my tired, despairing system. A little sweet for my sour.


For a few minutes, I felt it: all is well.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013