A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Calms and Storms; or, One Month!

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.


  1. I love this picture. It's so adorable.

    And every time you mention the hair dryer, I think of the episode of My Strange Addiction with the woman who couldn't sleep without a hair dryer blowing on her. You're welcome.

  2. What an adorable picture. Glad you're getting out and, from the sound of it, thriving deep in the throes of motherhood.

  3. Love this picture!! I also love the title, "calms and storms"! How true!

  4. <3 this post! Happy one month to you and Smudgie!

  5. Great pic! Smudgie has a great smile! I wonder if he will always smile before a poopie. Pippa's mouth forms a big O and her eyes slightly cross when she's about to poop, so is nice to have advanced warning :o) you sound like you are doing great and I'm so glad you figured out. How to get outside on your own. I never did figure out how to use the moby properly, and P loved the face-in for first 2 months and after that refused to go in unless face out, which she LOVES. Faced inwards, the ergo is great once they get big enuf to not have to use that awful insert. She hated that and it was awkward as hell. Sending big hugs!

  6. What a great picture of Smudgie! You sound like things are going really well...especially since you've figured out how to get out of the apartment (it's the little things these days, right?)!

  7. LOVE the poop smile! And the image of you, LG, smudgie, hairdryer, and kiss!!!

  8. Be still my heart...what a gorgeous smile. Your son is so unbelievably handsome!

    That passage about newborn motherhood is perfection-- it really is so many things at once.

    And the image of you and LG sharing a moment under the blankets, basking in the glow of your beautiful boy just warms my heart.

    This is happiness. :)

  9. love this post and the picture of your ADORABLE little man!

  10. Slopie! He is BEAUTIFUL!!!

    As is this post. You are in the thick of it and I love reading how you're coping. It is wonderful and the most difficult thing ever all at once...you are doing AMAZING!!!

    I seriously cannot get over how sweet Smudgie is!! Love him! Love you! xoxo

  11. Love the metaphor and love the picture! So glad to hear you've figured out how to get out of the house! I'm sure that makes a big difference.

  12. That quote is perfect. I read it when you posted (I'm late in commenting - bad colds have struck the Delinquents) and thought: my God, that's it exactly. I hope the storms are fewer, the sunnier skies more. And I DO think that's a smile. O has just started in the past few days and I'm convinced it's interactive, to hell with what the "experts" say.