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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

I have been floating for a few weeks now.  Hovering just above the ground, only inches, perhaps less, so little that nobody notices. In fact, when people look at me (which they do all the time these days) they observe, among other things, a pair of feet flattened and spread, legs slightly bowed and swollen, a tremendous weight around my middle appearing to hold me down, a back unnaturally arched, an appearance of heaviness that is, I think, a disguise for this sense of suspension that fills me now- suspension of time, suspension of rationality, suspension of anger and fear, and even anxiety, a suspension of the world around me that lets me float between two worlds of imagination. It feels almost as if I, too, am encased in an amniotic world that is much like hers, my body turned inside out, amniotic fluid in my eyes, my ears, my heart, between my fingers and arms waiting to hold her, an underwater sea full of magic where thoughts are uniformed by the world outside, untouched – a dolphin, a whale, a human child. She can dream, now, and open and close her eyes. She can hear voices, and form thoughts and feel emotions. And she is within me, still, only slowly planning to swim out. If I eat, she does, and if I breathe deeply, she receives that oxygen. If I turn on the light, she, too can sense a glow through my skin. She does not yet know gravity, and I, my mind and body still one with hers, have lost all sense of it in these past weeks, waiting, weighting, weightless, for her arrival.  I cannot escape the huge pressures on my body, from within and without, only the sense that this pressure lifts more than weighs.

And it is only this: this liminal space: a fog, a journey, a mist, a doorway, an ocean, a mountain, the curve of a tree, a cave, a bedroom, a bear, a carpet, a nightlight. A cup of tea, a spring snow, a summer storm, a sweater, a song, the wishes of a family, the smell of dog curls, the vibration of the voice of her father, the  shadows moving across the wall of her nursery, the blossoms that formed and fell from our tree, the leaves that replace them, the lull and hush of the fan, the sleep that is dreamless, the sleep of strange dreams – it is this liminal space that forms our intention. And this intention – it is hers and ours, it is what we form slowly, quietly, for her. Because this time, when we have expected her arrival at any moment, has been a space to create intention. It is the intention that is weightless, that glows, that fills our moments with something that is not time, that is not even thought, exactly, nor quite as ephemeral as a wish. It is the words we murmur, the space between the two of us (my mountain boy and myself, a belly, a space for her, as wonderful as any filled space in the world) the words and silences we exchange, the knowing that when we see something beautiful, our first thought is one thought: the thought of her, this world she will enter. We have finished her nursery, kept the house clean for her, made everything ready over and over and over again, and it is here that we pause, that we float, that we continue to meditate and sit quietly with and lift up our intention. Nothing about it even vaguely suggests dictation – part of our intention is that she be a free spirit, that she follow her own heart, and that it be a good heart.

We don’t have much more time for this – her imminent arrival, moment by moment, approaches the inevitable – I am finishing this post between contractions. And of course I am aware of the weight, the pain, anxiety, fear, frustration, gravity – but only peripherally, as if watching from, yes, a few inches above the earth. They are very real, the discomfort of a baby past due cannot simply be floated away from her mother, but there is still a kind of peace that infiltrates, that informs, that, yes, with intention, mindfulness, hope, can be a gift as well, a reminder that physicality is part of reality.

Soon,  I will re-enter my body, fully and solely, bring it back to the earth, grounded, solid, a place to comfort and shape, feed and hold hers, her independent, strong and lovely and separate body. We will have floating, drifting, liminal moments together again but they will be different, held together by hands instead of an umbilical cord, communicated through air instead of water, shared with her father and communicated with the joy of her own legs running through the forest, skiing down the mountain, the physical space within his arms when he reads to her at night and she falls asleep.  She is coming into a world so blessed by her family, so many family members that love her already, and it is a real world, a solid world, a grounded space below the mountain, between the arms of her family, within the space that we have all created. A physical space, a space of intention, a place for a child to drift and dream and grow.

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lemon meringue pie

tarte aux fruits

Though I sometimes call myself Violette the Bearess, “she” is, in fact, the same person as “I” am, just slightly more adventurous and adroit than the quiet self behind her. (You see, I started the sentence saying “I call myself” rather than “I call her.”) I am not, in fact, a bearess but a young lady who might pretend to be a bear sometimes, and I can assure you that pretending is not the same thing as actually believing oneself to be a bear, no matter how vivid one’s imagination may be, no matter how deep into the forest I may wander. Though I was born gemini (and on the cusp to further complicate matters) and may, sometimes blame a phantom twin for my transgressions and fickleness, those are are metaphors rather than physical renderings. (Even if I do look over my shoulder sometimes – I wasn’t nicknamed “Angel-Dickens” for nothin’!) I may not have had the most steadfast of careers, though however many hats I have haberdashed, this head (hairless though it was at first) is the same that pushed itself through my mother’s womb (and what a topsy-turvy that journey was), and these arms, these legs are the same that pushed and kicked and patted and parted her body. And this belly is the same I always had.

a smidgeon (scale)

Except it isn’t. I have two hearts, but I am not The Doctor (nor a Time Lord, alas). I have two stomachs, but I am not half-bovine (though I certainly feel that way at times). I have four arms, and four legs but am not an octopus, nor a horse nor a bear. But if you were to tell me that there was an octopus or a bear or a horse inside of me, I would believe you because she, “she” that the world insists on calling “baby,” swims fluidly and ponderously, then rides a circus bicycle in circles around my belly, then gallops with extravagant flexing of flank and foreleg . I am myself, living inside of this body, with a new small tenant: ferocious, floating, fragile, fierce and fiercely loved (and imagined!). She has a personality completely independent of mine. She will have (indeed, has – however tiny!)  different eyes, hair, differently shaped elbows and toes, a heart that beats quicker than mine. She will adore different animals and trees, different books, different horizons, but many of the same people though in her own, independent way.

a macaron

Already she will turn over or push up again her father’s hand on my belly (if I can call it mine) or when he talks to her. From the way she moves (“kicking” really can’t be the proper term – she somersaults, she swims, she does yoga, then patters upside down on my belly button) I can almost imagine her playing peek-a-boo, or, in other moments, studiously re-arranging my organs like books in a library for a more comfortable spot to languish (though she never languishes for long).

fleur de sel

One thing I cannot, however, imagine is her as a kumquat. Or an ear of corn. Or a cabbage. (Really? a cabbage?) When I first found out that there was a baby inside of me, I learned that she was, at the time (no longer!) the size of a poppy seed. Happy happy imagination: amazing! And then she was a pea. And then an almond, then a peach, etc. and it just seemed all wrong. When I went from having a navel orange one week to an avocado the next I was befuddled and bemused. Aren’t navel oranges bigger than avocados? (I eat both nearly every day!) And why fruits? Why not furry animals, or birds (a chickadee, a sparrow, an oriole)? Or why not something that (I can’t help it!) is going into the building of this child? like… pastries?

a cupcake

( I do crave oranges (is it the “navel”?) – oh but clementines, too! and Cara Cara oranges and satsumas and, Oh, California, I miss you!) but the orange was only one week’s worth of size! She is NOT a cabbage! No way no how will I allow my little girl to be a cabbage.)  So I decided to make a chart of my own that I could, well, relate to a little bit better. What happened, in fact, was that I related to the chart so well that I found myself crossing the street to our lovely french bakery for, um, reference materials… And it is a little bit silly, and a little bit whimsical and not very scientific, but this is what I came up with.

The First Twenty Weeks

The First Twenty Weeks

The Second Twenty Weeks

The Second Twenty Weeks

Now I can be a mama bear and a petit four, or an angel food cake and a mama haberdasher, or a tiny little circus bear and a proper circus tent (at least, thats how I feel!) Either way, this is a double life I will gladly lead until she decides to become her own, independent little person who can choose her own cakes and breads and she can show us who, exactly, she will be.

angel food cake

a petit fours

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