Some nights are slower going. S is For Spirit Bear, Green Eggs and Ham and an Ivan Coyote story read out loud- you are still young enough that I pick the stories. Followed by a free style mashup song of Rock-A-Bye Baby, the song the kids sing before the Nazi’s come in sound Of Music and the song that the inventor dad sings his kids in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -maybe I just don’t really know any of them well enough. Attempts are made in my arms in the chair, the swinging hammock and eventually the bed. Sniffly nose and itchy face making the fighting of sleep a test of how well I filed your nails. You suck your plug so vigorously it pops out. You scream. You pull it out with your hand coiled in its ribbon. You scream.
I think back on the day to evaluate what you are wrestling with.
You woke up this morning when I decided I needed to move you from your favourite upside down splay across me. You relax into this position after nursing, I think it’s good for your chronically congested sinuses. You breathe easier.
Our chickens have had a weasel problem lately, coming in and eating their heads off. So I am in a hurry to get up to open their door, let them out into their small patch of yard, fresh with a new 30 centimeters of snow since I locked them in yesterday evening. Getting out to this twice daily open/close, feed and refresh water routine is a tricky dance I have been trying to fit around your napping. When there are other folks around I can slip out and your lack of object permanence is avoided as a problem. When it’s just the two of us here, I slip out and you are alone, tiny and helpless, scared for your life. I come back in, I scoop you up and we are reunited. You got to learn once more, that I come back. Sometimes I leave the room. I always come back. Throughout the day I sing across the house to you so you know I haven’t died into a forever gone-ness when I have to blow my nose or take your dirty diapers to the trash.
I make coffee for the first time in 3 days. This is the first day since the cold caught up with me that we have gotten out of bed for more than a pee or a shower or a broth and tea refill. As I set up my computer to put together my newsletter on the kitchen table, I make myself breakfast sandwiches; you sit in your bouncy little thrown. The one your grandma scored of the curb, originally came with a motor, but even without it’s a real savior for me as a solo papa. You are learning to sit up and soon we’ll usher in a whole new set of furnitures for you. You’ll have a seat at the table, and will be able to keep yourself in positions where you aren’t drowning in snot all on your own. But for now you are still small and wobbly. And your chair bounces just enough. And has a seat belt that I’ve been using more as you get closer to an ability to roll out of and off of things.
You fill a couple of diapers.
You fall asleep in your chair as you watch me morning. When you come back I put on a dance mix. We dance around, first you in my arms and then with you in your chair, throwing your arms and legs and butt to the music. I am ready to shirk my multiday pyjamas, so I clear off the tickle trunk and put on a shirt that really takes my milk laden tits to a next level cleavage. This whole body experience, of being pregnant and nursing feels like an elaborate double inverted full time drag act. I pair the push-up top with chaps and you pass back out. I continue dancing, take a round of selfies and return to my pyjamas.
Time bends with you. Days melt and blur into each other. I think it was just yesterday you shat into a towel while I got into the hot bath, hoping to enjoy it with you watching while it cooled enough for you to get in. I know it was today that we were listening to John Lewis on On Being when your Grandma called from Toronto en route to Cuba. She is just as sick as we’ve been but can’t find herself housebound. She asks how you are and I tell her of your new strategy of screaming the snot balls out. Seems to be effective. We both breathe much easier when it’s finally out. When the show rolled over into the next episode you were asleep again. I slipped out to the porch, sneaking peeks in at you as I sorted the firewood and garbage and dragged two more sleds full of wood in so I don’t have to do that in the night, or have a cold house in the morning. You are out deeply enough I can go close in the birds. The cookies in the oven aren’t for you yet, but I have this sense that figuring out how to do such things decently well before you can really know might be helpful for our relationship. And I wanted cookies.
You peed in the toilet twice today. I held your tiny body as you started to make poo grunts. I cheered you as your dangly little legs tapped the toilet seat and your pee streamed into the water. You also almost had a bath in the sink. You were interested enough in your face in the mirror that it could work so long as you were almost standing. As soon as you sunk low enough to even sit in the water, your mirror visibility was shot and you were not having it. So I held your tiny body as your wiggly little legs dangled in the just warm enough water.
We make faces at each other. You are just starting to laugh sometimes, but it’s often a fine line between laughter and tears. Your emotions are so big for your tiny little body.
I put you to bed and come down to write and watch some political parody, the most palatable way to be absorbing the news of our times. You call me back up. We start over. Dry diaper. Feed. Snug. Plug. Set you on your blanket and wrap you up like a bug in a rug. Hold your hands off your face. Breathe. Chill. And you’re out. I get downstairs for long enough to finish this and my eyes are heavy. I didn’t nap throughout the day. In fact I was up for part of the night spinning anxiously, grieving relationships and rereading old emails.
So I’d better brush my teeth and lay down. You could be up again any minute now. And the fire will need tending. And the chickens will need feeding. And the car, to get it rolling us into town will probably take a couple hours of shovelling. All in a day – and ready to post at 11:11- your birthday. Thanks kid- you are pure magic.