A good friend (with a four month old daughter) sent me a care package after Smudgie was born, and in this package was a novel, A Big Storm knocked it Over by Laurie Colwin, an author I love. I spent the past week reading the novel in fits and spurts-- a few pages in bed before collapsing to sleep, a chapter or two in a coffee shop around the corner from my house, a big chunk lying on the floor of the bathroom while Smudgie chilled out in his bouncy chair, lulled to sleep by the bathroom fan and running shower (yes, it wastes both water and electricity, but it calms him down so that's that).
Toward the end of the book, I found a post-it note in the novel left by my friend. She wrote: "To me, this is the perfect description of mothering a newborn." The paragraph she described is this one:
Motherhood is a storm, a seizure: It is like weather. Nights of high wind followed by calm mornings of dense fog or brilliant sunshine that gives way to tropical rain, or blinding snow. Jane Louise and Edie found themselves swept away, cast ashore, washed overboard. It was hard to keep anything straight. The days seemed to congeal like rubber cement, although moments stood out in clearest, starkest brilliance. You might string these together on the charm bracelet of your memory if you could keep your eyes open long enough to remember anything (Colwin 225).
My little boy has had quite a stormy day, which succeeds the calmest and easiest night since he was born 1 month and 1 day ago. (So long a time! And so short!). He weighs 7 lbs 10 oz, which is almost two pounds more than when he was discharged from the hospital. He's awake for longer during the day and notices more and more-- lights shining through blinds, the orange hanging squirrel on his activity mat, his puppy sister Bella, his mommy's and daddy's eyes. He has formidable neck strength and is lulled to complacency (most of the time) by a running hairdryer. Last night, Lawyer Guy and I laid pillows and blankets on the floor of his room so we could run the hairdryer until Smudgie slept without worrying about burning his room down.
(I felt like a kid who had made a secret fort. We kissed under the blankets and it was one of those perfect moments I know I'll never forget).
I figured out how to get out of the house on my own-- snap the baby in his car seat, carry it down the stairs, negotiate getting stroller base/baby/diaper bag (and sometimes dog) out the door in shifts and down to the sidewalk and putting it all together, and then walk or meet a new friend or sit and eat lunch and read. It does make a difference to see the sunshine. The time passes faster until LG returns home.
And yesterday, on his One Month birthday, I thought that Smudgie gave me his first smile. We propped him against the boppy to photograph him and he looked right at me and smiled. I smiled back and he did it again, and I snapped this picture:
And then he pooped. A lot and loudly. Which is maybe also a metaphor for motherhood.
Looks like there's a stormy night ahead. I'd better go and get him from his daddy so we can batten down the hatches.
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