Sunday, July 18, 2010
This was my anniversary gift from Kris. For almost a year now, whenever we made a trip to the bookstore, I would immediately go to the Arts/Photography section, pluck this book from the shelf, and read as much as I could, doing my best not to drool on the pages. Annie Leibovitz's photography is truly inspired and I can't help but pick up my own camera and make a humble and inexperienced attempt at taking photos of the same caliber. Of course she's had decades of experience, of trial and error, and I love her attitude toward photography, there's no pretention or ego. The following passage is taken from her book and is, quite possibly, the sole reason I loved this book so much...
...There are not many smiling people in my pictures. I've never asked anyone to smile. Almost never. Maybe a few times I felt I had to, when people looked really depressed, but I apologized for asking. You can almost hear the sigh of relief when you tell someone they don't have to smile...
...It took me years to understand that I equated asking someone to smile with asking them to do something false...
I've always loathed "smile for the camera". Being shoved into a picture that I didn't want to be in and then commanded to look happy about it. Not that I'm an unhappy person, some moments are full of smiles, ready to be captured, and some are not. I rarely ask people to smile simply because I prefer to take spontaneous pictures, not staged photos, with everyone looking like a wax work. Some of the best photo I've taken were the ones where all the occupants are unaware that a camera is even present, the slight blur in focus, the closed eyes, the genuine quality of these moments make them so memorable. These are the photographs I love the most.
Friday, July 9, 2010
You took your first plane ride at the ripe old age of 9 weeks and I can't tell you how many gray hairs I gave myself worrying about that flight. We were going to Cleveland, just the two of us, and the flight was a whole 3 hours, NON-STOP, the idea of being trapped in a fusel lodge at 36,000 feet made me feel ill. What if you had a GIANT crap?(which I'd heard was totally normal) What if you had a major meltdown and CRIED for 3 hours straight? What if you spit up down my shirt 10 minutes after takeoff and I had to smell SOUR breastmilk the entire flight? It didn't help that I ended up in a window seat on a completely booked flight. The list goes on but when the time came we boarded that plane, you fussed for two minutes until I got you your bottle, you ate, and you slept for 3 hours. It couldn't have gone better. Of course, as soon as the plane landed, you had one of the biggest bowel movements of your life. So, I'm hurrying through the Cleveland airport trying to find a bathroom and you're crying because you have 30 lbs. of poop in your diaper and I'd decided it would save time not to check any luggage so I'm carrying 50 lbs of luggage in addition to your total weight of 42 lbs. and I thought my arms would simply fall off and my legs would just give out and then we finally get to a bathroon and a cleaning woman has the nerve to tell me that, maybe, just maybe, you're hungry. So, I ignored her but that didn't stop her from repeating it several hundred times and I finally just couldn't take it any more and I snapped, he's NOT hungry! Babies CRY that's what they DO!
I must say it was so worth it to have that week in Cleveland, surrounded by love and an infinite amount of generosity and willingness to help. Everyone was so kind and not for one second did anyone ever act like you were anything other than a perfectly normal and charming baby even when you were being a Holy Terror. I so appreciated that. More than I can say.
Whoever said it takes a village to raise a baby, they weren't kidding! And your Papa and I, we've been in the trenches, utterly alone, when it comes to raising you. We don't have any family nearby to give us a hand and I now understand why people actually MOVE to where there family is because doing it on your own...well, it's BRUTAL. We looked into finding a sitter for you, someone close by that wouldn't mind watching you for a few hours and we thought we'd found a really nice young woman, who was a mama herself, with two younger children. We interviewed her and spent two hours at her house trying to decide whether or not she was worthy enough to watch you and she seemed fine, very capable. So we dropped you off for a "test run" just a 4 hour play date and after 2 and half she called me up and said she just "didn't think it was going to work out" that you wouldn't sleep and she'd "tried everything" and could I pick you up NOW. I flew out of the house and came close to breaking the sound barrier on my way to get you and when I'd gotten there you'd fallen asleep out of pure exhaustion. It turns out that her years of baby sitting "experience" was watching older kids. Kids that she can simply drop in front of the tv and leave for a couple hours. She just didn't have the time or experience to handle a newborn. Believe me, I now know that if a person offers to watch a newborn for 4 hours they should be prepared to spend every second of those 4 hours attending to the needs of that newborn, which are CONSTANT.
Luckily, we did find a woman, who has over 20 years of experience just with new babies, to watch you on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I am at work. I'm not even going to get into how hard that was for me, even though it was just for two days a week. On one hand it was great to have adult conversations and not wonder how I was going to entertain an infant for 90 minutes before your next nap but on the other I missed your little baby head and those big GRINS when you are just to thrilled you don't know what else to do. We are both still adjusting to this change and I am eager for you to start really enjoying your time at your Nana's house.
You really started noticing the cats this past month, especially Amelia, who is always rubbing against your head and your feet and sniffing your hands. You are fascinated by her tail and the other day she jumped up right next to you on the chair we were sitting in and instead of being startled you let out this huge belly laugh. It was one of your most charming moments yet. You are getting more mobile. The other day I left you facing one direction in your crib for a nap and when I went to get you, you had turned completely around. You looked just as surprised as I did. I've started reading to you before your naps and bedtime and right now our favorite book is The Giving Tree. The more I read that book the more I want to sit that boy down and have a stern word with him about taking advantage of those that love him and being a selfish douche bag and don't even get me started on the photograph of Shel Silverstein on the back cover. Yikes. But I think the reason I love that book so much is because it's such a touching story about how far our love can go, how, when you truly love someone, you'll give them everything you have to offer. No matter what the cost is to yourself.
Probably the best and most significant change that has taken place this last month is your night sleeping. I think it's safe to say that you are sleeping through the night and when I say this I mean that you are sleeping 12 hours with only one feed at around 2 or 3. The first several nights it happened I kept waking up every two hours and listening for those telltale hunger cries and then I was waking up because I needed to pump because my boobs had turned into these two uncomfortable boulders. So I'm not as rested as I should be but I'm getting there. Your naps on the other hand have recently become shorter and less frequent. I can't figure out a way to keep you sleeping longer than 40 minutes and there were a couple weeks where you were waking up after only 10 minutes and for those weeks you were a regular Grumplestiltskin. I loathed the afternoons and evenings with you for all the crying, yours and mine, and there was one day I put you to bed at 4:30 in the afternoon because we'd both HAD IT and that was the first night you slept 9 straight glorious hours. Hallelujah! Our eardrums thank you.
In June, you had your Second Month Checkup and you passed with flying colors. Your head is apparently smaller than average, only in the 10th percentile while your length was off the charts, peaking in the 90th percentile. This can only mean that you'll make a fine living as a beanpole or perhaps a light post. You were much less thrilled with your first set of vaccinations. We'd never heard you SCREAM like that before and I don't blame you one bit, I couldn't believe how BIG those needles where, I thought they'd go right through your little thigh into the table, they were that big. But you survived and only had a teeny temperature which prompted your first dose of Children's Tylenol. It did feel wonderful, though, to be able to hold you, wipe away the tears, and whisper that everything was going to be okay and see you calm down and bury your head in my shoulder. In other words, I truly felt like a mama capable of moving mountains, or the Earth, even, in that moment.