There’s so much stuff to write about. And yet, here I am, babbling on about the same old, same old – my ever-beautiful daughter and her daily leaps in development.
It reminds me of my first few years playing the clarinet. You practice a half an hour a day and the quality of your playing increases tenfold every time you pick up a new piece of music. That’s what life is like for her right now.
Brian and I can understand about 99% of what she says. Her teachers can, too, and so can RB, who has recently gone through toddlerhood with her equally gorgeous and smart son. But as her speech patterns clarify, more and more people are able to understand her – and I’m not entirely sure I like that. Her words have been like a secret code – and we were special because only we could understand it. Only we were tuned in enough to her wants and needs to translate “ah buddy” as “I want to play with the roboraptor on top of the entertainment center.” (Which has, by the way, pretty much stayed there since Christmas day.)
What’s intense about this is my constant awareness of her daily transformation into a new person, which builds on (and at the same time replaces) the person she was yesterday. Our relationship changes every day, too – so say good-bye to the bond you had, and say hello to today’s brand-new interaction. It’s a continual lesson in letting go and accepting what’s happening right now.
This is supposed to happen, I know. She’s hitting all the developmental milestones right on target. My nagging first-year worry about whether or not she’s a perfectly-made child has dissolved into an odd mixture of overwhelming joyful celebration of the
She learns names immediately. The new bear her daddy found for a dollar at the grocery store day before yesterday is officially known as Lovey-Bear. This morning on the changing table she hugged it and said brightly, “Hi, Lovey-Bear!” She loves the word “elephant” even though she can’t quite pronounce it correctly yet. The combination of consonants is a little challenging, especially for someone who hasn’t mastered “l.”
She’s learning how to express emotion. We’ve worked on saying, “I’m mad, Mommy!” because watching her get so furious she can’t speak hits a little close to home. If she can at least express her anger, it seems to go a long way towards dispelling it.
Affection is different. The more you encourage it, the more it grows. She has the sweetest smile, y’all. Her face lights up completely, and when that little-girl sunshine is directed at me, it can literally take my breath away. In the morning as she wakes up, no matter how lousy we’ve slept the night before, I give her a big goofy grin, just to see if she’ll smile back. Nine times out of ten, she does. It’s an awesome way to start a day. I figure my job is to spread that love around to folks who may not be gifted with that supercharged emotional connection. It doesn’t take much to share the wealth. Granted, it doesn’t happen every day – but it’s a start.
My trip to Charlotte was
Apparently it’s possible to have a busy, leisurely day. The next morning we went to the YMCA, which had a great workout facility, then headed back to the house, took showers, and put together a couple of pie crusts. It’s not often you find a kindred soul who appreciates the smell of good quality sweet cream butter cut into fresh, unbleached all-purpose flour. I think it’s almost as gratifying as smelling the pie a couple of minutes before it comes out of the oven.
On the way back from the Y, we had passed by the Neighborhood Theater, which is a great venue akin to the Orange Peel in Asheville. It’s a nonsmoking house, but it serves beer and wine and snacks – so I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy Gaelic Storm, who happened to be playing there that night.
We headed to Manifest Disks and Tapes, got our tickets, indulged in some used CDs, then visited what Coz called “the Tajma Teeter. It has its own dome.” No way. But she wasn’t exaggerating. The Taj is a Harris Teeter jacked up on very expensive steroids. My brain short-circuited mere seconds after we walked in. It really does have its own golden dome – and a sushi bar. With two sushi chefs on duty behind the counter. (Coz steered me unobtrusively away from the bakery section, knowing my blood sugar level was dangerously low.) I walked out with some sushi and a few cans of sour cherries for the pie filling. (The cherries, that is, not the sushi.)
Delicious dinner served up by Coz, who is a fantastic cook when she has the time, took the pie out of the oven just in time to swing over to the Neighborhood Theater. I felt more than a little silly in the flowy hippy dancing dress I had inherited from Buffy – all the other chicks were in jeans and tiny tops that showed off their fat-free midriffs. (Bitches.)
It took a long while before I got bold enough to go down to the stage. There was plenty of room on the sides, away from the squirming early-twenties dancers who couldn’t quite figure out how to jive to the fiddle and the bagpipe. I quickly discovered what had kept me from dancing so far – it was all about the shoes. Now, these shoes are fantastic in just about every way – big clunky velvet Mary Janes I inherited from RB – but absolutely not appropriate for dancing. Once I hid the shoes under a chair and stripped off an outer layer (not the dress, guys, don’t get excited,) the music had a chance to do its thing. I wish I had lost the shoes earlier. And I wish I had worn a sports bra, given the bouncy nature of the music. But there’s always next time. (Bristol, Tennessee, baby, May 22nd.)
Feet hurt the next day, but what did I care? There was cherry pie for breakfast.
So Charlotte was a grand success, and I came home relaxed and replenished by friendship, guacamole, cherry pie, and kick-ass Celtic rock.
The last couple of weeks have been
Skipper’s been gone for almost a month now – he went back to the beach for doctor visits, lawyer consultations about his disability appeals, and hoping for his hearing date. He’s not seeing that the best way to get a date scheduled in court is to come back to the mountains. He’ll be here all of two days before they call him to come back. Same concept as lighting a cigarette to get your food at a busy restaurant.
It’s a shame that my stability is so affected by the presence (or absence) of another person. But I didn’t marry Skipper, I married Brian, and I never really anticipated sharing a house with his dad. So we make the best of it, enjoy the time we have now, and try not to let the things we can't change get to us.
I’m experimenting again with cutting the Lexapro in half – from 5 mg down to 2.5. (This is something my pdoc and I have been discussing for a few months now.) Like I said, things have felt really solid lately, and I think it’s time to try again. We’ll see what happens.
Finally finished the most recent George R. R. Martin. Kinda nice to take it slowly. Started Thich Nhat Hanh's Teachings on Love last night. I’ll take this in little bits, too – it seems really simple on the surface, but the implementation is more challenging for me. The concept of loving everyone and everything seems all nice and grand and sunshiny – but it’s a bitch, especially when you know yourself to be an intellectual snob.
Enough rambling for now. Work beckons. Oh but wait, I almost forgot to introduce you to my newest blogfriend, Andrea, at A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens. She’s just awesome. I’ve really enjoyed her posts – they’re very thoughtful, insightful, intelligent, sensitive, and not at all preachy. She’s a pretty deep chick, and a killer writer, too. Oh and she does yoga. And triathalons. And she’s a mom, too. And we share a name. I highly recommend a visit.
Wishing you lightness of heart and warm loving kisses –
P.S. Oh, damn, I can’t help sharing this; it’s too funny. Last night I was at E’s house rehearsing for our performance next week. My purple music binder was on the table, adorned with a political cartoon from last year (I can't find it otherwise I'd certainly provide a link). It's a picture of the Shrub with his head on a desk next to him, screwed off his neck like a lightbulb. The caption is "Conserve energy - turn off things you're not using."
E’s eldest daughter came up and, being the curious child she is, said, “That’s funny. His head fell off.”
“That’s right,” said E.
“He laughed so hard his head fell off,” said her daughter.
“All the way to the bank,” I agreed quietly.
“Do you know who that is?” E asked her.
“I think it’s the President,” M said cautiously.
“That’s right!” E said.
“He kind of looks like a monkey,” said M, at which point I snorted in a very unladylike fashion.
“You’re very astute,” said E, making every effort not to fall down laughing.
“What’s astute?” asked M.
“It means you pick up on things, and that you’re very wise and clever,” E said, kissing her.
This girl's going to go a long way, I can tell already.