Monday, September 24, 2012

meet Maeve Magnolia

in her first 48 hours:

Friday, September 21, 2012

laboring, pre-laboring, or pre-pre-laboring

It is 3:49AM.  A booming contraction woke me up around 1AM and there has been no sleep since.  The contractions hurt but are not hospital-big.  They blow through about every 10 minutes and so far haven't hastened their pace, so I wouldn't call this labor.  But I also wouldn't call it sleep-friendly.  So after doing laundry, making lunches for school tomorrow, rounding out my hospital bag, walking around the house, and making tea, I am now on the couch about to begin  a 4AM showing of Sex and the City.  Sarah Jessica Parker movies seem to have triggered my previous two labors, so I'm hoping.  Keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

At 1st Grade Back to School Night

I got to look in Silas's writing folder and read the details of life he's chosen to record:

 When I wake up in the morning my hair looks like a freak.
 When there are robbers out the window throw sharp objects out the window.
 At recess I like to jam wood chips down a hole in the middle of a picnic table.
I felt the baby's foot.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

After Two Weeks of School

I didn't expect to feel loss over school this Fall -- it's an in between year, a repeat in routine: preschool and a second year of elementary school -- but two weeks in I am aware of change, and change, as they say, involves loss.  The changes are quiet, daily, hard to see.  But I feel them.  They are small shifts in space.

The school bus contributes.  Rather than all piling in the car each morning, driving up to school, my kissing Silas goodbye on the sidewalk and watching  his skinny little body trumped by a plaid backpack hustling up the school walk, I walk out the front door, wait for a minute with neighbors and watch him climb three school bus steps and disappear into the crowd behind the tinted windows.  Whom does he sit with?  What do they talk about?  I don't know.  Seven hours later, he emerges into sunlight with a sheepish smile, trying to stifling how proud he is of himself for another independent ride and how glad he is to see me there waiting.  We walk home holding hands, his backpack on my shoulders.

By bedtime, what I know of those seven hours we spent apart is about three minutes worth of answers I've tugged out of him -- what he ate for lunch, one person whose name he's not sure of whom he spoke with at some point in the day, whether he sat alone on the bus, and a quick explanation of a math sheet in his folder.  That's it, the report from his space.

Last year, the second Eden climbed into the car, she burst with chatty news about her morning.  A minute or so in, I'd recognize her story-teller voice and, realize no one had actually climbed a tree, or fallen down, or laughed that hard at a joke, or dug a big hole or-- at least not in the way she was telling it.  But I loved the enthusiasm, the silliness, and the facts tucked into her tales the way they're tucked into dreams.  This year, she's settled into her car seat and told me they ate an elmo cookie for red day snack, that she dug in the sand, or that she saw her teacher from last year down the hall, and that's about it.  So far...

Our connections emerge through the afternoons in play and over time, not in nose-to-nose conversation.  I am learning this is all right.  But it isn't my favorite.  And the needs of each afternoon are so different: sometimes Eden and Silas disappear for hours, chatting and playing hotel or sweeper or building shoots for marbles; and sometimes they bite at each other within a minute of being together; sometimes we sit on my bed the whole afternoon eating huge mouthfuls of stories; and sometimes we have to evacuate immediately to keep from yelling.  We three are navigating the daily shifting spaces.

And in the midst of this navigation, the bumpy wagon-ride afternoons, I am waiting, braced for an onslaught of contractions at any moment and a baby to be born.  I am wondering which ducks I still need to get in a row to soften our transition, to make lunch-making easier, to cut down quarrels, to help each of us know what to expect, to find ways to connect well with each other -- but, of course, I don't know.  So instead, I am doing things piling grocery carts full of food to squirrel away in case I never emerge from newborn land again, and all we can eat is what's in the freezer or cupboard...  This week we ended up with an excess of zucchini, a food my kids won't even really eat, so Eden and I made zucchini bread.  This recipe makes a particularly good loaf.   I am pretty sure I could sit down to an entire pan...

First Day of School Zucchini Bread
(makes two loaves)

2 c grated zucchini
3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c oil
1 T vanilla
1 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
(1 c nuts)

-grease/spray loaf pans
-sprinkle zucchini with salt and let drain 1 hour, squeeze out (I forgot the salt and my zucchini drained nothing -- bread is still great, so I figure you can skip this step if need be)
-beat eggs, add sugar, oil and vanilla
-sift dry ingredients together
-combine all
-bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes

Sunday, September 09, 2012

a poem

New Religion  

This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling: the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven's not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air. Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.

            -Bill Holm 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Be Here Now (no other place to be)

I'm restless.

Perhaps it's the baby coming.

It IS the baby coming.

I wake up around 4:30 with my mind racing -- thoughts and lists that seems utterly pressing but that in the morning pale and reduce to nothing.

I want to watch movies, read something riveting, eat ice cream, be entertained, be distracted.
I find myself staring at my computer waiting for an email to pop up or for something on the screen to reach out and captivate me, which it doesn't.  Computers aren't very good initiators.

She doesn't have a name yet, but I feel like I can almost see her.  I can't wait to see her.

Today I stood in the kitchen with my hands on my stomach thinking how this is the last time in my whole life I will ever be stretched like this, will ever feel a baby inside of me, will ever trace her movements across my tight skin, or feel her tiny foot beneath the surface.  This stage of life, of creating children, will end, has nearly ended.

And then I will meet and hold an infant, one of my infants, for the last time.  And she will grow into the swift darkening fall days, for us to follow after and begin to discover.

Hurry up and wait is what my mom says when people race ahead, cut her off, and slam on their breaks at the red light in front of her.  Hurry up and wait.  I don't want to hurry, to rush these days when Eden presses her cheek to my stomach to feel her unborn sister hiccup against her cheek.  I want to feel the wait, not just pace my house making longer lists of what I could do to prepare for dinners, fall birthdays, Christmas, what I still need to buy for nursing or pack for the hospital or--

Each day there are moments, sometimes just a few, that I would call grace, when I can feel the paving stones of the present under my feet: sitting nestled on the yellow couch with Silas and Eden leaning against each of my arms (which makes me overheat madly these days) reading The Magic School bus and disappearing into volcanoes; watching Silas dive off the diving board, his ankles haphazardly crossing in midair; listening to the sound of the two of them giggling together in the other room as they wield kitchen tools; studying the freckles that have just emerged on Silas's right cheek; listening to the way words roll in Eden's mouth -- "bebember" and "thus" instead of just.

This Labor Day weekend, I will not be in labor and will be here.  Mason Jennings, in his straight-shooting way, says, "be here now, no other place to be" -- and isn't that it?  There is no other place to be, no other place we can be, just here and just now.