Sunday, 6 May 2012

Slow and Fast. Good and Better.


How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
            Dr. Seuss


Her legs curl up into her belly, tucking and folding, all squishy and brand new. I forgot about the curling. The way newborn legs haven’t yet learned the infinity of space. Hers curl perfectly, like an old love letter that has sat folded through time so that the creases are permanent.

And there’s a tear in my eye because I forgot about the folding. I think back to the hours I spent watching my newborn. Memorizing the lines on his toes and the curl of his fingers. I knew that no camera could capture the endless wonder and promised myself that I would document it all with my heart. I would remember every noise and every scent and every inch of him. But already I forgot the curled legs. How could I forget the curled legs?

Mac’s legs don’t curl anymore. They kick. And they stretch. And they propel him across the room. And it feels like an eternity ago and yesterday that they were curled in the crook of my arm all warm and snuggly.

They are nine months apart. The length of one full pregnancy. She was conceived the week Mac was born. I like to think that he was her good luck charm. Still with connections on the other side, he smiled at his Auntie Valerie as she held him, her heart bursting with joy and envy, and told her that he knew the perfect baby for her. I’ll make a call he whispered in her ear as his legs curled into his belly.

Her mum asks if I’d like to hold her and I jump at the chance.  But the handoff is rocky. I know now what she’s doing as she passes her to me. Letting me hold her whole entire world in my arms. Outwardly she is calm and collected but inside she is screaming. Hold her head! Hold her head!

I don’t hold Mac’s head anymore. I hold him upside down by his ankles and tickle his ribs until he’s laughing so hard that he can’t breathe. I toss him over my shoulder and ask his mom if she ordered a sack of potatoes. And then we spin around until we collapse into a heap on the floor. Giggles tangled around legs. Bellies covered in kisses.

It seems impossible that he was ever that little. How do the parents of grown-up babies reconcile the conflicting images of infant and adult? How must my mother feel as her son peers down at her from a foot above?

9 Months


Time in parenthood is both sped up and slowed down. The hands on the clock dance back and forth. Slow and then fast and then slow again. Hours that are long. Days that are short. Nine months fly and crawl by. And in the middle of it all we stand still. Baby in our arms. Child in our hearts.  For a moment the clock stops. The three of us. A picture of our little family freezes in time for just a second. And then the bell rings, the hands on the clock gain momentum, and we are off. The squeals of a nine month old trumpet us into the next moment in time. Slow and fast. Good and better. 


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84 comments:

  1. A beautiful post. So true. My children are 18 months apart to the day.
    The image of legs and feet slowly uncurling and evolving from that fetal position is wonderful.

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  2. Man, time hasn't stood still for me. My 12 year old has aged me 20 years!!!
    Love those side-by-side photos. I hope you continue to take shots from that spot so we can see how he grows.
    Your Friend, m.

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    1. I guess I will re-visit this thought when I have a 12 year old. It's all still so new!

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  3. Fantastic post! :) I love the two photos side-by-side. It's amazing how much he has grown in 9 months!
    Thanks for this. I love Monday mornings for just this reason.

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  4. What a beautiful post. I love that Mac's legs are almost in the same position in both pictures. Can't wait to see the one you take like that when he's 18... ;-)

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    1. At this rate he'll be towering over me by 18!

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  5. Wonderful read to start the week off in perspective. I miss my babies. :)

    Thanks Kris.

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    1. Aww Kelly. They are still your babies. Even if less baby-ish. xo

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  6. Absolutely dead on. This is why my single most important piece of advice is to cherish every moment. They go from Newborn to toddler so damn quick that you almost forget what a newborn is. Then before you know it they are about to turn 11 and it makes you cry that your oldest is nearly a teenager. How did that happen so fast? Just yesterday he was learning how to ride a bike and now he rides it to school. The day before that he was drawing circles on a piece of paper and now he draws masterpieces. It is hardly fair that they go from being completely dependant on you for all things to only coming home when they are hungry. Every milestone you swell with pride but at the same time it is bittersweet because you know your baby is just growing up a little bit more.

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    1. Oh Leslie, I am so dreading that transition. How is it possible that I can go from being his whole world to his dinner provider?

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  7. What a treasure this was to read, thank you.

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    1. Thank-you Jess. Your comment was a treasure to read.

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  8. This was beautifully written. I don't think there was any way you could have said it better.

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  9. Amazing how you had me relive a lifetime with my trio in 8 short paragraphs. Mujer, you're good.


    BB2U

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  10. Beautiful post. I remember well the hours I spent watching infants sleep, marveling at every detail of this little being.

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  11. SO true--they change so fast! You put it into PERFECT words! I just looked at an infant today and couldn't remember if my 15 month old was ever that little.

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    1. They change so damn fast don't they?!

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  12. Blogging really helps. I can barely remember anything of my kids' infancy, all the little details I swore I could never possibly forget, and and they're only 5 and 3 now! Sometimes I spend hours reading back basking in the memories. I'm so grateful for writing stuff down.
    This is a beautiful post. I enjoyed it.

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    1. I'm glad for it too. At least I will remember the parts I committed to the internet!

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  13. My son is about to turn 21 and yet I can still remember every detail of his little newborn face. Time flies once they are born. Now he is covered in tattoos and in the Army! I wonder what Mac will grow up to be? Don't blink!

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    1. It's hard for me to imagine him heading to kindergarden.. let alone into the Army!

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  14. Oh, this makes my uterus hurt. What a sweet story and special way to reflect on how much your son has grown and the fleeting state that is childhood. Beautiful, erin

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    1. Uteruses can be so much trouble sometimes!

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  15. So beautiful - my daughter is seven months older than my sister's daughter - I know they must have planned that :-)

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  16. We have friends who have babies that are 9 & 10 months older than our Little Dude. I remember how tiny they were when they were born and then when he was born the weren't so tiny anymore. Now that they are all 2 & 3 (and my younger kid is bigger than both those older kids) it all runs together, but in the beginning it seemed like he'd never catch up.

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  17. Oh my goodness! This is so beautiful. I, too, remember the legs curling up. And that sweet newborn smell.
    What a gorgeous post.

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  18. Wonderful post. My little guy will be nine months in a few days. It's funny how you can barely remember him not being a part of the family, yet time has flown by so quickly it's as if he was born yesterday.

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  19. This is everything that has been going through my head that I couldn't seem to get down on paper in a way I was satisfied with. I feel like linking to this post and saying "Yeah. What she said. That's what I was so desperately trying to convey but was too mixed up inside to do effectively."

    Perfect.

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    1. Awww... that is so kind of you to say. Thank-you.

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  20. Beautiful. Like an old love letter, the creases permanent. Nice tribute, lovely description, and I love the photograph. Really sweet.

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  21. I really love this post. It makes me nostalgic for my kids younger days, and their not even that old (4, 2 and 1).

    This is a beautiful piece of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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    1. I never imagined I would be feeling nostalgia already either!

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  22. Aww, you did a great job capturing that moment.

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  23. I love the curled legs too! When you pick them up and they don't stretch out, but they make that stretchy face...adorable.

    WG
    http://itsmynd.com

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  24. So sweet. Loved your description of the curled legs...and comparing it to the permanent creases in a love letter. How beautiful and perfect.

    Great writing!

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  25. This is so perfectly written. I used to say they looked like the letter C the first month of their life. :P

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  26. Oh they grow so fast, doesn't they? I miss those curled newborn legs so much. Mine barely sit still long enough for hugs and snuggles anymore. I have to offer to babysit my 4 month old nephew so I can get my baby snuggles. Haha!

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  27. Beautiful. I love the visual imagery of the curled legs. I'm not a Mom, but I'm a teacher. And I always wonder at the fact that kids who are still in the womb will be in the same class as kids who are about to celebrate their first birthday. So much changes in a year.

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  28. This post was lovely! So true how they grow so fast - it's overwhelming!

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  29. I love the imagery at the beginning of your post. And yes, they do grow up so fast.

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  30. So glad I came by your blog!
    Loved this.
    I'm sorry to have to tell you this but the older they get the faster the time goes. You can literally see it zooming.

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  31. This was lovely. Amazing what a difference nine moths makes! We always called them "froggy legs" guh, so sweet! My first tiny little newborn is almost as tall as me now. It's crazy how they change in the blink of an eye.

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  32. You're a really great writer! I totally understand -- how can I forget to fast? -- thankfully, we never forget and it's just filed away for later uses and smiles :). Great thing we got blogs to document it all! Also, it's amazing how gently we handled our infants to how we handle them now! Tks for sharing a lovely post.

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    1. Thank-you Lisa! Ah yes the blogs.. I wonder what our babies will think of these documents when they become old enough to read?

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  33. Beautifully written. Sometimes I want to cry when I realize that I've forgotten something. Did Owen cut his first tooth at 4 months or was it 5? Shit, how could I not know that!? I swore I'd remember every change, every milestone but they're slipping away and time is going so fast. Of course, there are days when time is going so slow I want to scream "Is it bedtime yet?!!!" Thanks for sharing a great post.

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    1. It all just turns into a bit of a blur doesn't it?

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  34. It goes so fast and that makes me sad. I know I don't take it all in enough. I need to! Thank you for reminding me.

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    1. There is so much to take in! I try not to pressure myself into taking in every moment but just pick certain moments and try to really appreciate them.

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  35. Oh, that then and now shot hurt my heart! It just goes too damn fast! When you described that newborn "curling" I got a bit of baby fever. Thanks for that! Argh!

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    1. It's so biological isn't it? Mine doesn't really ever go away.

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  36. beautiful and now i have baby fever again

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    1. I don't think my baby fever ever went away. I need to win the lottery so I can have a litter.

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  37. Good and better - so nicely said. I was never really nostalgic about not having babies until "baby" #2 strode off to kindergarten. Then I started scanning the playground for babies with an almost predatory eye...those soft squishy bodies, their utter adoration of the perfection that is YOU (yeah, those days are gone over here, fer sure)... it's addictive. Now, with a 7 &11 year old, I understand what might impel people to have lots and lots of babies...

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    1. I am terrified of the "utter adoration of the perfection that is YOU" being over. How is that possible?

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  38. What a beautiful post! You've got those feelings so right, that slow and fast time. The sleepless nights that seem to go on forever and then in what seems like a blink, the baby is no longer one. Sigh... too quick!

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    1. Funny how one hour can feel like an eternity sometimes and yet an entire month can be gone in a blink isn't it?

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  39. You had me at curl. Your words resonate with love which surpasses anything time dares to change. Thank you for letting us witness your remembering, questioning, and wonderment.

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    1. You had me at "you had me" Thank-you.

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  40. I love the little dance that is the first few years of parenthood. Our son is a healthy 18 months old and it feels like just yesterday that he was born far too soon (31 weeks). But, on the nights it takes me 45 minutes to put him to bed instead of 20 minutes? Oh, how the hands on the clock feel like they're hardly moving at all. =)

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  41. Beautifully written.
    I don't know who said, "The days are long, but the years fly by..."

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