Empty. Our home for the last 2 years 2 months, in which my toddler girl grew into a little girl; in which my little son was born; where we became Four — echoes with emptiness. Freshly-painted and ready for the next family to build their nest. My little son sleeps on the last remaining piece of furnishing - a deck chair cushion, while I wander around being flooded with memories of my family’s early days. This space held our joys, sorrows, the extraordinary and mundane. We’re starting a new chapter. #changes #moving #family
my little guy. in the midst of all the transitional crazies of leaving hamburg in the past couple of months, i haven’t been able to document all the beautiful sweetness you have been expressing. you have learned so much since i last wrote about you here. and you’ve also had a growth spurt and moved up another clothes size.
you like to experiment with walking on your tiptoes, and walking backwards, sideways, tilting from side to side, shuffling your feet very fast, turning in circles, and best of all, dancing your little heart out. you have a passion for keys, having outgrown your obsession with the refrigerator and dishwasher. your love of the washing machine remains. you love your tante mike and playgroups, and things with wheels and buttons are awesome. you love music, and you try to sing along. you’re a little freaked out by feathers though.
you’re talking up a storm in your high-pitched chatter and loud bellows, new words punctuated by a swinging, singing up-tilt at the end.
you like to give things. ”here, mama” ”here, lala”.
you’re super cuddly and smoochy.
you’re already an empathetic little guy, sharing your food and toys willingly and observing curiously without comment or complaint when sometimes another child doesn’t do the same. you haven’t learned yet how mean little kids can be to one another.
today, lani was standing at the kitchen counter on a chair, helping papa stir scrambled eggs. when she got down do something else, you climbed up and also started stirring the scrambled eggs, tiptoeing, bare-legged and fluff-bottomed. you want to do everything lani does. lani returned and saw you there, and cried in dismay, “nooo!! I was helping papa cook!!” you turned, looked at her and saw that she was upset, and climbed down from the chair. no complaining, just went to go do something else. but not before they kissed each other.
you’re my heart on the outside.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Jan Crawford introduces viewers to Ina May Gaskin, an Iowa farm woman who is helping to revive a natural childbirth process used by more and more American mothers.
the trend in the u.s. is moving towards a more mama and baby-centered approach, thanks in no small part to Ina May Gaskin. we are re-inventing what “normal” means to pregnant and birthing mamas. full disclosure and options (that don’t bring the bottom lines of hospitals, doctors and insurance companies to the forefront) so that all women are empowered to make conscious, informed decisions. having experienced birth in a birthing center/hospital (c-section) settings as well as in a planned, unmedicated home birth setting, i am absolutely convinced of which was the more gentle, individualized, respectful and thorough model of care (take a guess). however, if we keep striving for making the full range of education and options available, it doesn’t have to be an either or situation. i am immensely grateful to my awesome midwife and OBGYN who worked beautifully together. no matter how you decide to bring your baby earthside, be informed, own your experience, be present with the enormous privilege and blessing it is to be so integrally, undeniably a part of the grand design of mother nature.
here’s another piece on the mainstream news: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50146659n&tag=api
what i got for mother’s day:
- lots of hugs and kisses
- to watch my sweet babies loving on each other all day. playing, giggling, cuddling, smooching
- a giant vase of pink, purple and yellow flowers
- and this. (see video) a little baby bootyshaking.
i LOVE mother’s day!
my small son and i had our first verbal conversation today. here’s what it was like:
i was sitting on the bathroom floor, getting us ready to go pick up lani from a friend’s place. noey, who just got a new diaper and had then wandered out of the room, came shuffling back to me. he stood right in front of me so that he was close and at eye-level with me. he looked me straight in the eye, tilted his head and inquired, “neh neh?” (“neh neh” is how he says “nursing.” he also says “neh neh” when he wants to drink water.)
me: “no, little guy, not right now. right now we are getting ready to go and pick up lani. a little bit later.”
"la-la!’ he said (how he says "lani"), and turned and waddled out of the bathroom.
a minute or two later, he waddled back in and came to me while i stood at the sink. he hugged me around the knees, requesting my attention. i knelt down to meet him at eye-level. “what’s up, noey?” i asked, looking him in the eye.
“neh neh?” he asked again, with the same tilt of the head and querying eye contact.
i replied, “not right now, my love, let’s do that a little bit later, when we see lani. right now we’re getting ready to leave.”
seemingly accepting that, he turned and meandered out of the room again, teetering a bit to and fro like a tiny drunk person.
less than one minute later, he came back in, and we repeated this dialogue one more time.
he clearly communicated his wish, understood my response, and decided to try that again. i am very touched as well as amused that the very first verbal conversation my small son and i have ever had is a request for nursing.
she was tired tonight after and excitement-filled afternoon with two favorite friends, and was the opposite of cooperative with any of the standard end-of-the-day activities (“i do NOT appreciate your behaveness!” she said to me, preemptively). we had clashed and made up, and we lay in bed to cuddle her to sleep.
“mama,” she said to me, “i’m going to miss you.”
“when? when are you going to miss me?” i asked.
“when you’re an angel.” with this, she started to weep. ”when you’re an angel, and you’re not here anymore with me. when i’m all alone and no one is here to love me! when you’re an angel, does that mean you can see me and i can’t see you?” she sobbed, tears began to dampen her pillow.
“i don’t know, sweet pea. maybe, but i don’t know. anything is possible.”
“i don’t want that. i’m going to miss you so much. we won’t be together!” her small shoulders trembled and heaved with her sobbing.
i held her tight and kissed her again and again. ”yes, that’s very sad, babygirl. very, very sad. but that won’t happen for a long, long time. probably when you’re a grown-up yourself. and noey will be there, and you might even have children and a family of your own. and lots of friends. lots of people who love you will be there. and we have a lot of wonderful, fun times to look forward to when we are together.”
“but one day you’ll be DEAD” and i’ll never see you again!” she said, her voice strained and breaking with the sobbing.
“my poor love. that is very sad indeed, and i am sad that you feel so sad. we have a long time to be together, and i’m not going anywhere now. i’m right here.”
“i’m going to miss you so much, mama.”
“and i’m going to miss you, babygirl.” i continued to hold her tiny and strong little girl body tight, kiss her silky head, and murmur words of comfort to her as she cried her grief out.
she is 4 years old. i wasn’t prepared for the death conversation yet. now that i think about it, she’s mentioned death several times in the past month or so. however, i’m a little shocked that she’s dealing with the fear of losing me at 4 years old. that’s so heavy. experienced parents out there — is this normal?? should i be worried? any advice on the best tried and true ways to be with the little ones to learn about death?
at this age
lani (4 years, 3 months)
playing with horses/unicorns/pegasi/ponies in the bathtub, chewing gum, singing, “my little pony” and “pipi longstocking,” princess dresses, trampoline jumping and impressively fast running, long hair, “precious stones,” cut paper “art,” birthday parties, carrying her little brother around, and nail polish.
- being told what to do, monsters, pinnochio, being interrupted to use the toilet, broccoli, the end of “my little pony,” not reading anymore books tonight, waking up without anyone right next to her, and mama cuddling with noey when she wants to cuddle.
noey (12 months, 29 days)
eating, cuddling, laughing, “gomji gomji,” his albatross cuddle toy, peek-a-boo, imitating grown-ups, taking a bath, “talking,” mama’s milk, the washing machine and dishwasher, walking around the table, and creating loud noises.
his carseat, teeth-brushing, having his movement restricted in any way, new people, not being picked up, and mama cuddling with lani when he wants to cuddle.
a year in
a year after kanoa’s birth, the sharp, crystalline edges of my postpartum angst have eased their grip on my heart (read here for my essay on that experience). the continuous oscillation between birth and death and all the nuances in between fold and unfold in and out of view. i meander the shimmering line between glowing, joyful gratitude immersed in the present moment, and the melancholy longing sensation of continuously letting go.
today, like everyday, i am soaked in gratitude, wonder, bring-me-to-my-knees kind of love for my babies and the life experience i share with them, layered with the premature, preemptive missing of my babies as babies, and inexorably intertwined with the soft monotony of daily routines with small children.
lani is a bookworm, like her mama. this is the back inside cover of a copy of rapunzel, from the ladybird tales collection. she’s been showing this to me and telling me (pointing and tapping with her small middle finger to specify the desired stories) which volumes she wants to “read.” i suggested to lani that she writes the initial “L” for leilani next to her favorites, and we could include them in her letter to santa. some of them are a bit hard to see, but i like how all the L-versions are of varying sizes and ink-color intensity - like she tried out different pressures of pen to paper, just to see. she then “helped” me write the letter to santa by practicing her letters (and experimenting with her colors) all over the page.
back from the bakery
joern has always loved breakfast, and he especially loves the weekend breakfasts with a bigger spread and more time to enjoy it. when lani joined us, he took her with him on his saturday and sunday morning bakery runs. it was always the weekend morning ritual: papa and lani go to the bakery and mama gets to sleep in. when noey made us four, the breakfast club expanded. now sometimes the three of them go together (lani alternately speeding ahead on her scooter or riding the kiddie board. noa sits in the stroller facing lani and papa; the two of them share a roll or a croissant) while mama still gets to have a lie-in. other times, lani stays home with me and we have girl time while the boys go out to forage for bread. this morning it was the latter. lani and i lounged in bed and read books.