I have four weeks left before I return to work. It doesn’t feel real, this maternity limbo I’m in. Today Nova wasn’t too bad, but I also didn’t try to do too much. I let myself hold her most of the day. Yep, she’s getting older and the love is entwining deeper into my soul.
I have to say, I do find nursing really satisfying. Breasts are so sexualized in our society, we forget their biological importance. There is something so primal in having a baby on the breast, her face pressed against my flesh, her hands splayed above and below, her jaw working, the rhythm of her swallows. . .suck suck suck . . .suck suck suck. In this, I don’t have to worry if I’m doing it right, I don’t have to think at all. In this, I am hers and she is mine.
She is a very pink baby, the doctors always like her color. Even at birth, she had no trace of jaundice. She also has some baby acne, so her skin is a bit mottled, pink on pink. In the afternoon sun, her wispy hair has a reddish cast and I can see the golden tips of new hairs underneath, like spring shoots. When she is awake, it is funny to see the faces she makes, some of them decidedly un-cute. Her little mouth is like a buttonhole when she is asleep, and a great big maw when she screams, exposing her toothless gums.
I write all this down, because having a baby is both so common, yet unique (even when it’s your second), and I know I will forget all this. This morning, when the baby was awake yet surprisingly peaceful, I went to wake up her sister. Rowan’s face was longer than I remembered it, more oval. I still think she has the most perfect lips, the full coral lips that my mother has. I missed out on displaying those genes, but at least I got to carry them down. Nova may end up more looking more like me. She’s got my wayward eyebrows already, although her hair is so light, only I notice it. Sometimes I wish I had one of those really fancy lenses, the ones that can capture the hair follicles, the diamond and hexagon patterns on skin.
I was grateful this afternoon, grateful for the sun outside, casting shadows through the plants. Grateful for a peaceful baby on my breast. Grateful for the cats, because they are beautiful and soft and warm, and I love having other kinds of life in the house. Grateful for hot tea, and the endless designs of the steam wafting upwards into nothingness. Grateful for our house, with the red walls, and the gold cabinets. Grateful for the quiet, before Rowan comes through the door, telling me about school and princesses and her love of dark-skinned people. (Princess Tiana from the latest Disney movie is her favorite princess yet, and you should see all the black mermaids she draws.) There is a lot of good in my life.