Archive for November, 2009

Falling Leave

November 20, 2009

When I was 15 and learning to drive, I announced to my father that I’d probably just always go five miles under the speed limit, to be on the safe side.

I have a history of making pronouncements that in no way end up resembling reality.

Which explains why, eight weeks ago, I announced in conversation that I was looking forward to returning to work because “I think it’s important for me to still maintain the career aspect of my life.” Eight weeks ago I was still recovering from being gobsmacked by the whole process of childbirth and stay-at-home mothering. Breastfeeding still hurt some of the time and didn’t work particularly well a lot of the time. I couldn’t always identify why she was crying. I would clock-watch, counting the minutes until my husband walked through the door.

Now I’m clock-watching, willing it to stop.┬áIt’s my last day of maternity leave.

I’ve spent the past week reflecting on my time with my little buddy. How, together, we watched summer melt into fall and now turn to Christmas. How I learned that she loves to move, so we’d stroll at least two or three miles a day — to the White House, to Dupont Circle, to the zoo to visit the tiger and the lion. How she does this eyebrows-raise, eyelids-stay-closed thing when she’s sleeping and the breeze hits her face. How she thinks nobody sings Adele’s “Melt My Heart to Stone” better than me. How two hours of wailing are negated by two seconds of giggling.

She’ll only be a block away from me when I’m at work and she’s at daycare. The women there are loving and gentle — the best for which you can hope when you’re handing over your tiny daughter and silently praying, “Please have as much fun with her as I did.”

I’m sure that after the initial days and weeks pass, having to hand her over will get easier.

I have a history of making pronouncements that in no way end up resembling reality.

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Size Matters

November 8, 2009

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How is it possible that there is already a clear plastic trunk labeled “Newborn – 2 Months” containing tiny clothes that Sabine has outgrown? Inside, piles of folded dresses, sun bonnets, newborn blankets, and jammies that fit one day and the next looked like her feet were about to Hulk right through the bottom.

How is the need to sort and cull and stow possible when she just got here?

But she didn’t just get here. It was three months ago. Summer’s gone and the spaghetti-strap romper no bigger than a washcloth is in storage and the larger polar fleece hoodie has come into heavy rotation. I must confess to sniffling a bit when folding up the outfits that will forever be burned into my brain as The First Things Our Baby Ever Wore — the strawberry onesie with the fanny ruffles that she wore home from the hospital, the pink linen dress that was the first item I purchased after learning it was a girl. These are the things she wore when she lay there watching us watching her, all of us trying to figure this new arrangement out.

It’s a good sign though, all this sorting. It means she’s growing and healthy. It means we’ve got three months under our belts. The plastic trunk went down into our storage area this evening. I don’t know if we’ll ever need it again but I do know we’ll never get rid of it.