Thursday, June 26, 2008

How Small I Can Be

Tonight, after we had rocked a little in the rocking chair, and sang a little, I put Aoife in her little crib, and tucked the blanket around her. Now, her bed is made up like a teeny-tiny bed, with a pillow, and some blankets I tuck around her. It is so cozy, and she always cuddles right in. Tonight she asked if I could get in and snuggle with her.
"No, sweetie, I can't," I told her. "Your bed is too little for grown ups, it's just for kids your size."
Then I reconsidered.

"Actually, I think I could squeeze in there with you."
So I climbed right in.

It was delicious. Curled on my side, I just filled the crib, and she fit perfectly, curled on her side facing me, wrapped in the C of my body. I had my arm around her, scratching her little back, and she gazed at me as I sang to her, her tiny fingers tracing my nose, my lips, and my eyelashes, like a blind person learning the contours of somebody's face. It occurred to me that this was what I had done to her so many times as a newborn- felt her every curve, soaked in each nuance of her being, and she was now doing it to me.

I sang the songs I usually sing while I stand over the crib, "Little Bird, Little Bird, Fly Through my Window", whereby Aoife chooses three birds and I sing about them coming in to buy molasses candy, and this song Hey Motswala/Somagwaza (which I think is Zulu originally -- It's about a wedding and is the reason why my two year old can explain to you that a dowry is a really nice, big present) Only this time we were tucked in together so nicely. After she had learned my face she wrapped her tiny, wiry arm around my neck, squeezed ever so gently, and planted a little, wet kiss on the tip of my nose. I felt so glorious to have this two year old who craved a good cuddle as much as I did.

Finally I kissed her good night and climbed out. I think she felt a little lonely in her bed as I was leaving, and I did feel sad, almost sorry in a tiny way that I had showed her that I could fit in there with her. A new feeling of abandoning her came over me, so I kissed her a few extra times and tiptoed into Liam's room, closing her door behind me.

Liam was in his bed, slightly wired. He took a nap today, which always leaves bedtime with lots of trips downstairs for various reasons. Tonight he was raring to go. The thing I can't capture about Liam, and those of you who actually know him will giggle a little reading this, is the way he talks. Liam must have been Italian in his past life, or have spoken some other language with a drawn out, sing-songy cadence. I cannot for the life of me imagine where he has gotten this lilt from, except that perhaps we read SO much when he was one and I was hugely pregnant and didn't feel like doing much else (there were days when I never had to put a single toy away because we read books all day long) that he picked up on the exaggerated syllables of read-aloud text. Whatever the reason, however, Liam has this beautiful, unique, absolutely adorable way of talking where he draws out certain syllables, and also makes his voice rise and fall at certain places, to give his words an almost musical sound. I can't figure how I could write it here, but I'll try, and if you know him, you'll hear exactly how he said it, and if you don't, you'll have to imagine it.

Me: Good night, Liam.
Liam: At the back of the Pratt museum there is a road that's all gravel. (if you sang this sentence, all the words would be the same note, and then gravel would be a fifth lower and drawn out to last about three times as long as the previous words)

Me: Oh?

Liam: That's where I'm going to drive my titan (Type of huge off-road dump truck). I'm going to drive it back and forth and do huge deliveries of dinosaur bones.

Me: That sounds like a great job. Good night, I love you.

Liam: Good night!

Five minutes later: downstairs to go to the bathroom. I carry him upstairs. I am aware of how big he is becoming, of what work it is for me to heft him up the stairs. His head rests sweetly on my shoulder, his hair is thick and damp on my mouth.

Me: Liam, what will I do when I can't carry you anymore?
Liam: You'll just have to love me! You'll have to hug and kiss me a lot.

Me: Of course I will. I'll always love you, and hug and kiss you.

Liam: Mimi? If I decide to get married, will you come to my house?

Me: Of course! I will come to your house every day!
Liam: Some days I'll have to go to work.
Me: You will, but I'll come and make you a nice hot supper so it will be ready when you get home.

Liam: I'll be busy driving my titan, delivering the dinosaur bones. Then I'll come home.

Me: Who do you think you'll marry?
Liam: Phoebe. Or maybe Henry. But there's one problem! Henry and me are both boys!

Me: Well, sometimes boys can marry boys. It's more unusual, but it can happen. But you don't have to decide right now who you'll marry. Right now I'm happy to have you home with me.

Liam: I love you.

I feel so full, I love this boy so much.

Liam has this thing he says, randomly, sometimes: Nobody knows what's happening in our house right now. And I'm aware of this, the isolation of our family, the existentialist moment of OH! I am here, in a beautiful house that I own, and this is my family, and I love them so much. I'm just this little person in the world, and nobody knows what's happening in our house, and all over the place people are tucking their children into bed and feeling this same thing, this undaunting love, this amazing, powerful joy. And somehow I'm just part of this, this little, tiny part of this, but it feels so big to me.

My camera is broken. I feel so sad to not have new pictures to post. Hopefully it will be revived soon.


Meg said...

I'm very happy that you got to enjoy those moments. Your kids will always remember these times. Thanks so much for sharing.

Also, my 2 year old daughter talks like she is French. It's so funny. She says the word "chocolate' just like the movie with Jonny Depp "Chocolat". It's so adorable, because we never say it that way. How does she even know there's an O in the middle? It's so fun to hear her talk. I'm glad you are enjoying this time of life.

Sara said...

I love the image of you cuddling with Aiofe in her crib. It reminds me of cuddling with Henry. When he was brought into the hospital last September, they didn't have a small crib available, so they put him in one of the large ones. We had been there for a while before one of the nurses told me I was lucky to have a big crib because I could get right in there with him. At first I thought she was crazy, but I tried it. There were so many times I couldn't hold my baby, and snuggling next to him was such a treat.