A couple of mornings ago, Luciana woke up at 6:15. I woke up at 6:06 and upon checking the clock, immediately panicked. My daughter has slept past 6am exactly 3 times in the past 6 months, so 6:15 seemed like justifiable cause for alarm.
Then I remembered: oh yes. Me and worry. We're old friends and even though I've tried to break off our relationship, W has a habit of paying unexpected and intense visits at times I didn't realize I'd left the door open. Should the little miss choose to sleep in again someday, dear God, please help me to lie there and enjoy it.
So Luciana is one. Coming up on 13 months actually. I'm pretty sure my lag in posting has been because I'm convinced there's a perfect and profound thing I want to say about her being this age. About us both completing a huge year. But here's something else I know about mothering: there isn't the time to try to be perfect anymore. And the deepest insights I have about her and myself happen unplanned: right before I fall asleep. During a quiet moment in the car. While watching her on the playground. My life isn't set up anymore to dedicate long stretches to crafting words about observations, and I've been longing just to get something down.
My babe is one.
Some things that are going on: she's walking. Pretty much....Her record is 15 steps, over the weekend she went from usually taking 3 or 4 to usually taking 6 or 8. She lifts her arms over her head and I want to hand her a tiny umbrella and play circus music. It is so so sweet.
I still nurse her 4x a day, and I have no idea when that will change. Neither one of us seems in a rush.
The monologues before naps and bed are....I have no word. The most glorious sounds I hear all day. She loves her crib and loves her world in there. If you remember me agonizing about moving her in there you know how major this is for me. She asks to get in when she's tired: we'll be snuggling in the big chair and suddenly she'll sit up and point. I'll ask if she's ready to go see Lambie (our creative name for her lovey which is.....a lamb) and she'll wave her arms and legs--her signature I am Excited that You Understand Me move--and I'll take her over and place her inside. She says Bye Bye to me and begins to coo to Lambie. I leave and spend the next 15 minutes or so listening to her. She sings--I swear the other day it was a tune I sing to her---she makes loud sounds over and over. She rolls around and looks at books and all the time is chattering away to her friends that live in the crib--her cow and her dolls and her rabbit-- that clearly understand everything she says. I honestly marvel every day at the range and the pitch and the openness with which she just lets it all out. I've taken to putting my iphone outside the door and making voice memos of her. I'm going to listen to them before my next audition.
She eats what she eats and it seems, from a chat we had in our mommy-and-me group, that most kids her age like only a few things. Since she shoves palmfuls of pasta (usually whole-grain at least) in her mouth I've taken to tossing the "nuh nuh" with hempseeds, flax and quinoa along with the cheese and/or yogurt. She likes them as much as the parmesan and butter ones and I sleep easier knowing she's getting food groups other than dairy and carb.
At her party (which was bigger than any I've had for myself I think ever) she had one bite of cake and was off to play.
She has friends that she knows and loves, one of her besties being her cousin Dash.
I'm starting to let her pick her clothes out--offering her a couple choices and she gets to decide.
A year into being a mom.
Delia sent me this article from the Huffington Post and my whole body exhaled when I read it because the writer says so perfectly the 2 sides that go on being a mom. The bliss, the love that is so crazy and so big, and the incredible challenge that it is--to be a mom, a wife, an artist, a person living in a tech world of emails and tweets and Pinterest. HOW does anybody have time to do pinterest????
I mean it when I say I love being a mom more than anything I have ever felt, been, done.
And there are ways I so wish I could do "better" all the time. I know Luciana feels things without me saying them or consciously expressing them. I worry (yes, that friend again) that she'll pick up my habit of rushing through things--of being frenetic when I feel late or behind; that she'll be a grazer like I am rather than enjoying beautiful complete meals; that she senses when my fuse is short and will blame it on herself. I know she knows when I tune out--she looks away. What does she think of my phone which I try not to use but I definitely do?
Here's what I know 12 1/2 months in: I can't control what she feels and thinks any more than I can control what another adult feels or thinks. And if I was a Perfect Mom she would never see feelings and stress and might feel weird when she had them. So instead of trying not to have those things happen, I'm working on how to I behave when I'm stressed, sad, angry and I'm with her. I know that when I take care of myself by meditating, even for 3 minutes in the morning, I ride the day with so much more grace. And still I stubbornly refuse to do it sometimes, believing I have to check email like a rat pressing a lever. But these days when I feel myself about to blow, I tell her we're taking a Breathing Break. Rather than blowing a fuse, I blow my lips like a horse and she does the same, and we do that til we both start giggling. Or I tell her I'm going into my room for a minute to let some feelings out. I try to get ready to leave way before I or we have to walk out the door so I'm not freaking out looking for my keys. Things like that.
I've stopped making to-do lists at the end of the day and am instead reading or journaling or hanging with Sky on the couch. Speaking of my exquisite husband--we are Bringing Sexy Back. It ain't always easy, but we're up for the challenge:). It used to be that my spiritual life and self-care was for me. Then it was for me and my marriage. Now it's for me, for my marriage and for Luciana. I can't be the mother I want to be to her and the partner I want to be to Sky if I don't take tiny steps to keep my own heart open and surrendered. Happy mama equals happy baby equals happy family. If I have time to check email, I have time to spend 5 minutes taking care of myself. For most of this first year, I didn't need it like I'm starting to need it, maybe because I am re-meeting areas of my life that I've let lie dormant for many months. I can't give away what I don't have, so as we all head into our second year together, my promise to all of is I'm bringing some of my practices back. I've been at it for about a week, and it makes a difference when I go to clean the floor for the fourth time that day.
So yes, there's the feeling of passing the year mark and the game changing. It's more complicated, but it's better than ever. We are so lucky. Our life is so beautiful. Looking back on photos of her at one, three, five days old, what I want to say to my family is I love you. I love you. I love you so deeply, so endlessly, for forever. It goes too fast to stress about dishes and bills. We did it! One turn around the sun. May we be blessed with many many more.
Now I get asked at least 3 times a week When is Number 2? Not yet, my friends. I will let you know.