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Thursday, December 11, 2008

precious

I don’t post about Zoë very often because, well, she’s a baby. She does baby things: covers her face with pureed carrots; scurries around the wood floor collecting lint and trying to get it into her eager mouth before I intercept her. She dances, rocking her body like the tiniest Deadhead when she hears any kind of music. She smashes bits of spaghetti onto the wall. And she sleeps and poops and cries and laughs. I’m not sure how interesting reporting on her progress as a person would be to readers. I admit that sometimes even I, her own mother, get bored after the twelfth time I have rolled the tiny soccer ball across the rug to her and squealed with exaggerated glee when she triumphantly holds it up to me.

But I wanted to take a minute to say how precious she is. It is difficult for me to believe that just a year ago I was sick and coughing with perpetual cold and heavily pregnant with her. How full of worry I was, counting the days until I was 28 weeks, then 30, then 32, ticking off each milestone with a statistic on survival rates and the probability of a disability. It’s difficult for me to believe that she came out of me at 6 pounds, which then seemed so huge and now seems unimaginably small. It’s difficult to remember those early months, holding her constantly, bouncing her for hours, staying up until she finally fell asleep nestled in my tired arms.

Zoë is now nine months old. She smiles easily and often, at strangers and people she knows. She is indiscriminately friendly. When I am out at the grocery store or Target (the two main places I go), people stop me constantly, huge smiles on their faces: “What gorgeous red hair!” “Look at that smile!” “She just made my day!” “She likes me!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if, as adults, we could walk around smiling, and we would get the same response? But if we pushed our carts through Target, making eye contact and giving everyone a huge smile, people wouldn’t think we were adorable. They wouldn’t tell us that we just made their day. Most would look away quickly and think we had a screw loose. (I’m speaking for the Midwest here. Things might be different elsewhere.)

Stella and Zoë and I have all had colds this week. (Mine has turned into a sinus infection, per usual.) But because I wasn’t feeling well, I did something I rarely do these days: I lay down with Zoë and we napped together. How luxurious, even with her coughing into my face and wiping snot on my shirt. She woke at one point and sat up, and I thought that was it, nap over. But then I picked her up and she fell back asleep on my chest. She’s a baby that likes to be on the go and she rarely allows me to cuddle her, so I had forgotten what it felt like to have her head on my chest, her face inches from my own. I touched her soft forehead and marveled at her hair, which, in the sunlight, is the color of a new penny. I gave her the softest of kisses, not wanting to wake her, not wanting the moment to end.

8 comments:

meredithwinn said...

hair the color of a new penny. that's beautiful.
i always wanted red hair growing up. and i often think of what you described in target, us as adults walking about as babies getting less than loving results :)

i'm glad to read about where you are today and remember where you were last year at this time.

Elizabeth said...

That was precious. I envy a nine month old -- I remember my own fat little guys and that wonderful, wonderful time.

Kara said...

You make me look forward--even more--to this new baby. And yes, like you (even though I've never had a premie) count down the weeks. Now at 30 and breathing easier... Being pregnant is also a little like being a baby. People are SO nice to you. Maybe we should all go around wearing those fake belly pillows so people will think we are when we're not and smile, and open doors and say nice things about the way you look (even when 30+ pounds heavier...)

cath c said...

beautiful. my whole house has been sick, one cold after another, etc for weeks now. i finally couldn't take it any longer myself, and lay down for 3 naps with my 8mo daughter, too. nothing more beautiful than these small breath moments, even when they're snoring, clogged with snog.

American_in_Cairo said...

I love baby stories. Pureed carrots and soccer balls! I hope you'll email me a photo of Zoe - I haven't seen a pic since D sent some when she was born.

Rhena said...

She is a sweetie....

MelindaH said...

I am so happy to have found your blog tonight as I am a mother who writes.

My baby is now 13. She still delights me (and also can infuriate me) as her hormones are waxing while mine are waning. Each stage of mothering has its moments and each needs to be written about.

Thanks, too, for adding another redhead to the world. I am one, but, alas, my baby is not. I am pleased to know that she carries the potential within her. Perhaps I must wait for a redheaded grandchild. And yes, I can wait. Many stages to write of in between.

MelindaH said...

As a mother who writes, I am so happy to have found your blog tonight.

My baby just turned 13. She still delights (and infuriates) me, perhaps more regularly as her hormones are waxing as mine wane.

Also, I am so happy that you have added another redhead to the world! I am a redhead and always wanted to have one of my own. Alas the aforementioned new teenager is a blonde, who I am happy to know, carries a redheaded gene inside of her.

Perhaps I must wait for a redheaded grandchild. Believe me, I can wait.