Saturday, February 25, 2012

feedback loop

Dear Pea,
What a week!  You are reacting to us!   I got smiles in response to my action: I was changing your diaper and fluttered my lips at you, making a big dramatic horse noise.  You LOVED it, laughing silently at me. You've never smiled in response to an action like that before.  Thinking maybe it was a timing fluke, I did it again.  Again, the wide, whole face involved grin.  Hooked, I did it again and again and you loved it each time.

I don't know which is more amazing: that you're starting to function in your world and react to certain things with distinct personality or that you didn't do that for your first 7 weeks and I was still so crazy in love with you.  Truly, the first few weeks, all you did was eat, sleep and poop.  We sat on the couch and watched Big Love on HBO; you nursed and napped and I ate on a TV tray above you, often dropping food on your head.  You never noticed.  You fussed occasionally and I'd move to the ball to bounce you, or pace, or dance around the apartment.  But I really watched a lot of TV, there wasn't a whole lot that you needed that I couldn't best address from the couch.

And now, WOW.  We have some black and white images for you: a smiley face, circles, cubes, lines and dots; all sorts of things.  You are totally into them-they hold your attention and I see you concentrate on them.  This is a far cry from your first few weeks where frequently you were cross eyed. You seemed to be looking intently at things, but when we'd follow your gaze, we ended up at a blank wall, or the bookshelf behind our head. And now your big beautiful blue (for now) eyes are wide and seeing.

Just today I've noticed how much you, in your first months, look like my mom in her last ones.  Mom's hair had been lost to radiation and chemo, but was beginning to grow back.  You have a similar 'do, thin soft tresses lightly covering your head.  Mom's eyes stood out dramatically from her face-bright blue and often looking surprised.  She couldn't see that last nine months, but her eyes were so expressive.  Yours, too.  So much of your wonder at the world coming through your eyes, both of you.  But where Mom's cheeks had sunken into her face, yours are fuller than full.  And though her love of life never diminished, her appetite did.  You probably sleep as much as she did, but when you are awake, you are hungry. It's funny, but the nights I spent with Mom I thought of as practice for your arrival.  Mom would get up twice a night or so and need to use the bathroom and I figured it would be the same for you.  Ha! Not quite, though, really, it is similar.   You are up three of four times a night, needing to refill that tiny budha belly. But since I am already snuggled next to you, I just make sure you are latched on and fall back to sleep.  You gain and grow, with rolls of chub on your arms and legs.  You are growing so rapidly, in leaps and bounds.  Mom's health deteriorated even more quickly.  Funny how life works.

Today we were listening to music (as almost always) and Jack Johnson's If I Could came on: "new life makes losing life easier to understand."  Maybe.  You are so connected to my mom in so many ways, not least of all in name.  Even in my mind, I think of you as an extension of her.  Somehow beginning the journey of becoming your mother allows my role as her daughter to continue.  I can't explain it now, and maybe I never will be able to.  It's just a feeling I have.  I wonder if you will feel it, too.

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