That right now she calls noodles “noodle-u”s.
daddy holds little bunny and follows the little girl around the room and the little girl tells little bunny about all the things she knows.
she takes him to the fireplace. hot! she says. she blows like we taught her to blow on hot food. fire! she says. I didn’t even know she knew the word fire.
she runs over to the door. cold! she says. she wraps her arms around her chest and says brrrrr!
oh! says little bunny. you have a fire when it’s cold outside!
yeah! she says.
she knows so much.
she shows him a little pink felt heart from valentine’s day. she whispers at him, the way her pop whispers I love you in her ear whenever he sees her.
she knows lots of important things.
at the end of every day, it turns out that I have just enough. just enough energy to do all the things I have to do. just enough patience to help a little person who has lots of energy and lots of emotions all day long. I get just enough sleep to wake up on Beijing time to tutor my students. there is not a lot of me left over. but having only a tiny plate of leftovers above being actively burnt-out.
I don’t quite know what to do with the leftovers.
it’s naptime. what can I do with my leftovers in an hour? most days I just take a long hot shower. drink a of cup of tea. sit in the quiet and soak it up. spend some time daydreaming of things I could do with a few more leftovers. I want to write. I have writing goals and deadlines. but I can’t sit down and write without having logged a few hours of mental prepwork beforehand…and I can’t do that mental work during my days. for that kind of thinking, I need emptiness. and all day long I am plugged into everybody else’s thoughts and feelings and needs. there is no space in my head for thoughts of my own.
some days I have more left over. like Mondays, when I get to drive to my dance class and spend two hours alone in my car. just thinking. and my stories fall together…but then it’s hard to keep momentum going on a story you can only dream about one night a week.
lately all my leftovers belong to the little fellow. thinking about labor. practicing breathing patterns and relaxation techniques and trying to think ahead for when I’ve got a toddler and a newborn and there won’t be leftovers, none at all, just empty plates for a few wild months.
but in the meantime I’ve got leftovers and I’m not sure what to feed them to.
That when she plays with her farm animals, she calls them Mama, Daddy, Elmo, and Abby.
the morning he woke me up saying, I could feel the baby kicking me through the covers.
I don’t want to forget the evening at my aunt’s house that he spent running his hands over my belly.
her fluffy brown hair used to be too short to wear up. little tendrils would fall out at the sides and back of her head. now we put her hair up in a ponytail every day just to keep it out of her eyes.
her eighteen-month leggings and pants used to be too long, we would roll them up. now there’s a three-inch gap between her ankles and her pants.
her size-5 pink cowgirl boots used to be too big, she would shuffle around in them just trying to keep them on. now she can put them on herself and she runs and climbs and jumps in them.
she is growing, growing, growing and I am amazed every time I notice something new about her.
this Sunday looks like:
listening to the clock ticking over the silence of afternoon naps.
eating all the coconut chocolate and chocolate fudge truffles out of my box of Valentine’s candies on the couch.
snuggling with a cozy warm peter-cat curled up at my side.
the little girl bringing me her purple fox sweater and wanting to put it on.
watching the little girl run through the spring-green grass in our front yard picking daffodils and scratching in the dirt with sticks.
feeling the little fellow kicking and rolling and scooting just under my ribs.
we started this game a few weeks ago. tiny faces drawn on our fingers and toes. now every time she finds a pen, she brings it to me, saying, Mama, mama, draw. and I draw tiny faces on her tiny fingers and tiny toes and she draws tiny black lines on my fingers and toes and our tiny people kiss each other and tickle and talk.
my pregnancy with our daughter was such a busy time. when I think back on it, all I can think of is how busy busy busy I felt. busy switching to a new job at the very beginning of my pregnancy, busy finishing my last semester of classes for my graduate degree, busy writing my thesis, busy working full time up until the day my water broke, busy completing my hundred-hour internship while nine months pregnant.
and so we didn’t do much at all to prepare to have a baby. her room wasn’t ready, her tiny baby clothes weren’t washed and folded and put away, we hadn’t even thought about labor and all the choices that come with it. even down to the very basic question of medicated or unmedicated labor. we hadn’t taken a birth class, hadn’t toured a hospital, hadn’t preregistered, hadn’t even discussed anything with the doctors and midwives at our practice. we hadn’t even discussed what it might be like between ourselves.
this time, I have felt an overwhelming need to prepare. fixing up the spare room. cleaning out cabinets. reading books on childbirth, watching youtube videos on hypnobirthing breathing methods, sitting on the birth ball every night, prenatal yoga. and this time around, we went to a childbirth class.
I did wonder how much good it would do to go to a childbirth class. the class was expensive and long – a seven hour confident childbirth workshop. would it be worth it? I mean. I have given birth before, read a dozen books on the topic since then, and I went into this class and I was learning things I’d never known about childbirth. the teacher gave us all pens and a manual and I was taking the entire time because there was so much I didn’t know.
she went through the entire process of labor. she taught methods for relaxation during an unmedicated birth. she taught techniques partners could use to assist during labor. the best part, though, was just talking about it. there were only about six couples in room, so there was lots of discussion. and it was like childbirth-pstd therapy. I got to describe how my previous labor and delivery had gone, and the teacher managed to do what my midwives and nurses hadn’t bothered to do, and put a lot of what happened to me in context. this was probably why this happened, this was why this happened.
and it sparked a dialogue between us, too. we talked about our daughter’s birth, and what we hoped for for our son’s birth. it was so, so nice to talk about it. I may not be finishing a graduate degree this time, but this pregnancy has gone by so fast. if the little fellow comes as early as his sister, he’ll be here in six weeks. it’s hard to believe.
I feel so much better just for having gone to a class. I feel so much better just having talked to someone knowledgeable about these things. what a good thing this was.