Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hyper Extensions

When The Boss is mad, she invariably thrusts out her lower lip in a square pout and presses her face to the floor--from a sitting position.

Other times, I find her asleep in her crib, one foot pressed against her ear.

Flexibility is just one example of how far removed babies are from their grown up counterparts. Another is vocabulary. Though I suppose it's convenient to lump every animal, vegetable and mineral into one category called "dog," it's not very descriptive. Yet another example is a child's utter lack of discernment when it comes to what she will put in her mouth--though I suppose it can be argued that gumming rocks, sticks, solidified dog poop, loose change and live wires is not significantly more enlightened than smoking cigarettes. Not that I would personally make such an argument on the grounds of being hypocritical. Anyhoo.

Occasionally I watch The Boss taking in and pointing out the world around her and I wonder, "who are you?" Then, the extended version: "Who are you going to be?" It's hard to make any determinations based on that tiny human being splayed at my feet, her legs sticking out at ninety degree angles as she buries her mouth in a patch of dirt on the playground.

And that's usually when I realize I forgot the camera. Though I wonder about the future, I am all too aware that the to-be questions will soon be replaced by wistfulness and by backwards glances that lack the joy of all this newness. Today in the toddler section of the department store I was nostalgic for newborn layettes. Not for newborns--oh, no, the wounds are too fresh for that--but for the layettes a first time mother-to-be holds against her face, then her belly, as she dreams for nine months about a lifetime of unknowable days. I remembered visiting that very section while pregnant and looking only at what was before me. A year and change later, it's hard not to look back.

She is wild and fantastic, this boss of mine. She is completely strange. Her emergence forever changed my place in the world. Before, everything was in front of me. I could move forward in any direction. Looking back was an option, but why would I? Now, it's different. I am retrospective. Circumspective. I try to live in the moment, but I will indulge the past. I don't think I will ever again feel the total preoccupation with the future that I experienced as the pregnant mother of my baby girl.

Because now I understand what the future holds.


Whirlwind said...

As always, I love it! I got a chuckle at the last line, expecially since you get to see Moe in action in the terrible two phase. You definately know wha you are getting into, although I hope the Boss isn't as bad as Moe is lately!

toyfoto said...

It's so true. Now that Ittybiit's a preschooler (ack) I've been looking back wistfully at baby clothes. In my case, I was terribly frugal about buying. None of her outfits were picked by me: they were all hand-me-downs or gifts. Now I delight in buying clothes for other kids, so that's been my "outlet."
And as for that flexibility: Someday we should get together for a 'imaginary friends' playdate. I'll make sure to bring my camera!

T. said...

Beautiful post.

I understand the wistfulness of the past, but dog gone it, with the adoption coming up, I am giddy with excitement at the What will it be, and what does the future hold.

mothergoosemouse said...

I love to see the wonder in their faces as they discover the world around them and attempt to make sense of it.

Pregnancy was a romantic time, and the newborn weeks were hell on earth, but watching them grow into their own selves is truly amazing.

Desitin's Child said...

Nice post. "Who are you? Who are you going to be?" is exactly what I keep thinking.

Jenifer said...

Well said. It strikes a chord with me especially since I now have a two year old that I look at the same way you describe and also a six week old to reopen those new born "wounds" and start the process all over again. I marvel at how much he has grown and changed in the mere 6 weeks he has been on this earth and I keep reminding myself that I need to remember and enjoy this time. However with a middle name that should have been colic, it seems a bit difficult to find enjoyment in the passing weeks..... hopefully we are on the downhill slope towards a happy infant!!