// she's only happy in the sun.
Apr 12

letters to phoenix // 4

dear phoenix,

it is the 27th of april, which means that today you are TWO MONTHS OLD!

i usually refrain from using exclamation points but this statement deserves all caps and an exclamation point and perhaps even a flashmob. so i’ll get on that. oh you know, right after i’ve changed out of my uniform of maternity leggings and a t-shirt covered in spit-up stains that has morphed into a wide scoop neck because i just pull it down to feed you. not exactly satorialist approved.

it’s safe to say that you are the cutest two month old baby i have ever laid eyes on. i don’t want to place too much emphasis on your physical attributes every time i write you letters, because it’s temporary and we live in a world that places way too much importance on looks, but baby boy, you’re a stunner. dark flicky hair, indigo blue eyes, cheeks for days, and a certain smirk that some might say you’ve inherited from your mama.

last week i made you pose for your thank you email. (sidenote: i had planned to get beautiful letterpress cards printed, but that plan has gone on a hike along with the plan to attend yoga classes, and the plan to catch up on work emails. in fact, i imagine all these plans are now lounging about enjoying a picnic in the sun and laughing at my naivety.)

anyway, you were such an expert poser that it was hard to pick just one photo, so i went with this triptych approach:

and in response to your thank you email, you now have a stock pile of responses to read from friends and family that already love you so much. no pressure or anything, but your inbox awaits.

all your eating has paid off and you are now TWICE the weight you were when you were born, which means you are 12.5 pounds of cute. this makes you even more squeezable, however the multitasking i used to be able to do when i could nurse you with one arm while iphoning/tea drinking/eyebrow plucking with the other, is no longer possible. so basically i’m forced to focus on you and the cacaphony of sounds you make as you nurse – which are all pretty hilarious actually. there is one particular ‘snorting’ sound that makes your grandma laugh. i imagine it’s the same sound that those pigs that dig for elusive truffles make. and i mean that in the nicest possible way.

and while we’re on the subject of nursing – you now recognize when i have you in the horizontal-you-are-about-to-be-fed position and you get very eager to get started (this is why i just pull my tops down. you have ZERO patience for zippers and buttons and modest disrobing). as soon as you realize what’s about to happen your eyes get wild and you start shaking your head from side to side before lunging at me and clamping on. (this is probably far too detailed for 99% of the readers of this blog, but there you go. i’m also sure our mailman wishes he wasn’t privvy to all the nuances of breastfeeding either but our house just happens to have a lot of windows. sorry!) anyway, your papa calls this move of yours ‘the piranha’ because it really is quite a frenzied attack. we’ve tried to capture it on video, but since we’re not exactly national geographic camera ops, we can’t ever get it. you’re too fast and there’s only so much space between you and i, and once your papa’s giant orb of hair starts encroaching and you add an iPhone to the mix, i hit my limit.

watching your relationship with your papa is probably the most heart expanding thing i’ve ever experienced. he absolutely adores you. the moment he steps through the front door he starts yelling MY BOY, MY JOY! MY BOY, MY JOY! like a siren until he locates you in the house. when he does find you, his skin can’t contain his excitement and even if you are sleeping you will sense his energy in the room, and you’ll wake up. which just excites your papa even more. within moments he has you propped against the couch cushions while he plays you made-up songs on his guitar. and you watch him mesmerized as if you are his number one groupie. and my heart can barely handle the sweetness that surrounds a papa and his son.

last week mamani and i packed up your newborn outfits. i fingered the tiny sleeves and collars and couldn’t believe you were once so small. everything you’ve worn for the past two months fits into a small plastic package that once contained the fitted sheet for our bed (mamani’s resourcefulness means that no packet/container/box is ever thrown away as there is always another way it can be used). the package is now stored in our wardrobe awaiting baby number two or someone else’s newborn, or perhaps a day when i need a good cry because i miss my once-baby.

i aspire to be honest and vulnerable with you in these letters little phix. perhaps for no other reason than to one day remind you that i’m human, and flawed and fragile at times. i’m doing the best that i can but sometimes my best feels nowhere near enough. yesterday, for example you spent the entire day annoyed with the world. nothing soothed your nerves – not baths, or cuddles, or walks outside. we even gave you colic calm drops to no avail. even though you were bleary eyed with fatigue you refused to sleep with every ounce of fight in your body. so when your papa came home you grumbled in his arms as well and so he turned to me and asked why you were crying. his innocent question sliced through the remaining threads of sanity i was holding on to and i fell apart. i went into the bathroom, held my head in my hands and i cried.

i cried because you were uncomfortable and i couldn’t fix you. i cried because i miss my job and i cried because that makes me feel guilty. i cried because it doesn’t seem fair that the baby next door sleeps through the night. i cried because the shower needs to be cleaned. i cried because i haven’t had a decent cup of coffee in a year. and i cried because i realized that there are barely any photographs of the three of us as a family. but most of all, i cried because i was more tired than i have ever experienced

when i finally resurfaced i had just enough strength to crawl into bed and that’s where i stayed while your papa and grandma entertained you and hugged and kissed your blues away. i pulled the covers over my head and tried to fall asleep, which you’d think would be easy when you’re so exhausted that even your eyelashes ache, but no. so instead, i checked my emails and saw a video someone had sent me of a baby having his first bath. and it was so beautiful, so serene and sweet, and i burst into tears all over again. tears of remorse that your first bath was not this experience, tears because the person bathing the baby was SO present and careful and attentive, and i felt like i’d been none of those things that day. tears because you will never be that tiny again, and i only get a certain amount of time with you and i don’t want to fail you in my small window of opportunity.

so that was yesterday. last night you slept for a stretch of six (count ‘em) hours(!) and today is a new day. you’re figuring out how to be a baby and i’m figuring out how to be a mama and ahead of us lies another million chances to get it right.



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6 comments on “letters to phoenix // 4”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    i can’t wait to hear the siren. smooches to all three of yous. love you.

  2. martha Says:

    You are doing an amazing job Gol. Phix is so lucky to have you; and, while he probably won’t realize that for another 20 years, the rest of us know. i can scarcely imagine how hard it must be to have to choose between a career and a child both of which you love so passionately. hopefully one day soon you won’t have to choose anymore, you will be able to wear non-cotton v-neck shirts and drink delicious espresso till you jitter. until then, you ARE an incredible, present, attentive, nurturing and loving mother and the hell with whoever gets the unreal-super-mom-video-award. xoxo

  3. Tara Says:

    i feel like i am vicariously experiencing motherhood through you sometimes when i read your blog. and i follow a few different mommy blogs (which i know is sort of weird for a college student), but yours is the only one where i feel like i get a realistic depiction of what motherhood is, and i think it has a lot to do with how raw and honest you are in this space. and i’m so happy you do that, because it’s really refreshing to read about the tears and headaches and not-quite-as-romantic aspects of motherhood, in addition to the smiles and chubby cheeks and overflow of love. it’s making me appreciate my mom so much more. thanks gol.

  4. Lea Ciceraro Says:

    Not only did I love this post (yet AGAIN), but (1) I can totally relate to appreciate all your wrote about breastfeeding down to the noises and piranha-like behaviors (I have a 2.5 year old boy that still breastfeeds 1-2 times a day and has been a fanatic of it since birth… lol), and (2) I almost died when I watched the video of that baby getting a bath!! I have NEVER seen anything like that and it makes me miss my son’s newborn days AND makes me ever so long for another baby. Wow. That was truly magical. Thank you for sharing ALL of this. xo

  5. Cheryl Says:

    I know it sounds terribly selfish and horrible of me to say that I love reading your posts.. Not because I’m glad you suffer, but because you give me consolation in knowing that I’m not the only mother who goes through this (because so often us new mums feel entirely on our own when our wee ones are in pain). At the weekend, my husband and I had a 40 minute drive along the motorway to share an afternoon of prayer and food with friends. The drive up, our 5 month old decided to get fretful.. It didn’t take long before her whimpers were full-blown screams that even my mum sitting in the back with her couldn’t settle. Driving along a motorway at 60mph I tell him to pull over (who does that!? so dangerous!!) and I lift her out to settle her, and have to pass to my mum.. Daisy-Ann stops crying immediately and I am just in a complete trance of worry thinking what the heck made her scream so violently and what if she does it again. The time spent at our friends was wasted on me as I tried to settle her to sleep, read her books, feed her, play with toys with her and imagine ‘what if she cried again’. I tried to enjoy the meal and told myself she’d be fine on the way home.. 20mins into the car journey the screams erupted again, and again my mum had to sit her on her lap as we continued the journey. The screams were unbearable! That night, I cried and cried to my husband. I could not understand why having children is a good thing when they have to suffer so much, and I made myself believe (for a short while) that its a cruel thing to bring a new life into the world. I love her dearly but the thought of her suffering and not being able to cure it breaks my heart.. I asked how is it possible to be strong as a Mother, to be this pillar for this wee baby, if we’re called to be children ourselves, but my husband encouraged me that it is in being a child, that we are fully able to act and behave like a child – fully trusting God with all our might that we don’t even need to question or worry, but take each moment as it comes.. The next day, the Gospel at Church on Sunday was about how much God loves us because we are His Children, and I was amazed and tried to be attentive, but more than anything, I am trying to just trust that all will be well, and that I am being looked after even though I may not realise it. I know you’re not Christian, but I just wanted to share with you that you’re not alone in your feelings, thoughts or experiences, and that there is a Gracious and Loving God who never gives us too much that we are unable to handle it (even though it may seem like it sometimes) Gb Cx

  6. golriz Says:

    i appreciated this so much. thank you.

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