Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sigh . . . again

OK, I know it's kind of lame to post two poems in a row, especially since I didn't compose either of them. But, these poems about mothering just slay me. This one could easily be titled, "Jonah's Scent." And, I'm sure every other mother in the world could just as easily insert her own baby's name into the title. It reminds me that being mother is joyous, sensual and also a little bit heartbreaking. Enjoy. ~ Nicole

Sebastian's Scent

By Anna Kiss

munchkin breath,
sugar boot,
my squish,
the smell of you intoxicates me,
i sigh, long for you,
i breathe you in, your hair rising in my nostrils
the plump skin of your cheek
moves forth and back,
ears rising and falling
it does not react to my inhale
your brown eyes stare off
as your fingers twiddle
and legs kick lazily.

you are home as i cannot remember feeling,
my embrace your sacred feeding, weeping, sleeping ground,
soon enough you will outgrow me,
yet i will forever remain open to you,
i will hold you in my lap and breathe you in
when you are twice my size and the weight of you crushes me
when you are a man and have given your heart to someone else
still i will cherish the pheromones seeping from your scalp,
and hope to recognize the bit of you that came from me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A poem for you
By Rebecca del Rio

Between these lines is a poem
The words are, by turns, wise, foolish and always beautiful.
They are the instructions you need
To live this life.

These spaces describe your first memories:
The sound of branches groaning in the wind,
The smell of your father's shoes,
How tears tasted and felt.

Here is the first dream you thought worth writing down,
The first verse you committed to memory,
A list of the lies you told to get out of trouble,
An explanation of the animal you chose
For a totem and how it chose you.

Between these lines is a tale of tragedy,
Of hilarity, the telling of your first kiss,
Your first betrayal, the first time
You felt different. And why.

Next you tell when your parents failed you
and how you learned to forgive them.
You list all your teachers, beginning
With the one you could not charm who taught you the most.
This space names the birds at your grandmother's feeder
And describes the sound of your grandfather's snoring.

These numbers count the times you were forgiven
For ignorance, malice and sheer stupidity.

This is the list of the countries you visited,
the ones you went back to see again underlined .
Next follows a list of the friends you had and kept. First names and last.
Another names the trees that surrounded your house.
This shaky cipher numbers the times you wished you could touch
Your mother's cheek one more time.

These spaces describe the smell of your child's hair,
How her hand felt in yours when you slept in the same bed,
Here is the first sentence he uttered about the moon and
a figure for the times you wished you could still
Hold her in your lap or caress his hair without rejection.

Between these lines is a story.
It is at times comical, at times confusing,
But it is yours.
I started it for you. Now it's your turn.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Separation anxiety

For about 30 minutes yesterday, we didn't know where Jonah was. Actually, he was right where he was supposed to be, sort of, and everything was fine, but it gave us quite a scare, like nothing I have ever felt before.

I dropped Jonah off at the babysitter's house at 1 p.m., as usual. My friend, Brie, and I have babies of the same age and recently started swapping babysitting for each other twice a week. She watches Jonah for three hours each Monday and Friday afternoon and I watch her daughter, Tatum, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The routine is pretty much the same every time. Jonah and Tatum play together for a bit at Brie's. Then, it's time for a walk and naps in the big double stroller we have borrowed for this purpose. The babies usually nap from around 2 to 3 p.m. Then, it's back to Brie's for more playtime or sometimes they end up at a park or playground in our neighborhood.

Yesterday, after I dropped off Jonah, I headed to a cafe just down the street so I could work on my computer without the distractions of home, like piles of laundry and dishes to do. (I recently started working part-time from home.) By 3:45 p.m., I felt like I had been very productive and done about as much as I could do, so I packed up my stuff. Just as I was leaving the cafe, Matthew sent me a text message saying he was on his way home from work. Perfect timing, I thought. I walked over to Brie's house and arrived a few minutes early.

It wasn't that unusual that Brie didn't answer the door when I knocked -- she is often occupied wrangling two nearly 10-month-old babies -- so, as I often do, I pushed the door open and said, "Hello!" Strangely, the apartment was dark. And quiet. Well, I thought, I am a bit early. Maybe the babies took late naps or maybe they are playing outside somewhere. I bet they will be here any minute. I decided to sit on the front steps and wait for them. At 4 p.m. I sent Brie a text message saying I was at her house. After a few minutes and no reply, I gave her a call. After I dialed her number, I got a strange message saying that the call could not go through. This is when I started to worry.

I called Matthew, who was almost to our neighborhood. He reassured me that everything was probably fine but said he would meet me at Brie's and we'd try to figure out what to do next. I walked back in the house and found Brie's landlord. "What time did Brie leave with the babies?" I asked. "Oh, some time ago," she said. By now, Matthew had arrived. I decided to check Brie's apartment one more time, on the off-chance that she and the babies had been in the back bedroom and didn't hear me the first time. "Hello!" I yelled. "Brie?" No answer. No sign of the stroller.

We called Brie's husband, who works nearby. He hadn't heard from Brie but didn't seem alarmed about her phone. "Her phone does that sometimes." For some reason, that didn't make me feel better. He offered to walk over to one of the parks where we sometimes bring the babies to see if they were there.

"It's just not like Brie to be late," I told Matthew. "It's not like her to not let me know where she's going to be."

I called Brie's cell phone a few more times. I still couldn't get through.

Matthew decided to drive around on some of the streets where Brie usually walks. I would wait at Brie's.

Before Matthew got in the car, I realized that about 25 minutes had passed since I had arrived at Brie's house. For the first time ever, I had no knowledge of Jonah's whereabouts.

"Where could they be?" I said. I searched the streets with my eyes, wondering, where is my baby? Where is Jonah? I sat on the curb and put my face in my hands and let the fear that had been building up inside me overtake me. After a moments, I pulled myself together and sent Matthew on his way, clutching my cell phone tightly in my fist. By now, it was nearly 4:30 p.m.

Suddenly, my phone rang. I looked at the screen. Brie!

"I'm at Walter Pierce Park," she said. One of the playgrounds near our house. One of the parks where we always take the babies to play.

Everything was OK. Nothing bad had happened. Brie had sent me several text messages, but because her phone wasn't working, I never got them.

"My phone said they went through. I thought it was weird that you didn't reply, but then I just figured you were really busy working," Brie said.

I started walking really fast toward my house, where Brie said she would meet us in a few minutes. I called Matthew to tell him everything was OK. He picked me up along the way and we headed home.

"That was such a scary feeling," he said after I got in the car.

A few minutes later, Brie walked up to our house, both babies smiling happily, chomping on their sippy cups.

"I'm so sorry," Brie said, a little out of breath, as I picked up Jonah and held him close.

"It's OK," I said, kissing my baby, taking in his scent, touching his soft hair. I looked into his eyes, blue like Matthew's with some flecks of brown, like mine, and said, "It's OK." ~ Nicole

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Jonah cut his top teeth this week. They are still just barely there, but they are coming in. He is chewing on just about anything he can get his hands on. He especially likes his friend Tatum's toys. Today, he crawled around with her teething butterfly in his mouth most of the afternoon. It was very cute and funny. I know he probably doesn't even know he's being funny, but sometimes I wonder if he does. He's such a happy boy. I love his giggles, his belly laughs, when Matthew is "chasing" him around the living room on all fours. And, his big, wide open-mouthed grin, sporting two new adorable teeth. My baby is becoming a little boy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Latest stats

At 9 months, Jonah weighs 19 pounds, 4 ounces and he is 29 inches long, though since he is more and more vertical these days, perhaps we can say "tall."

His favorite words are "bus" and "kitty." Bus sounds like "Da!" and kitty sounds like "kihhy." In addition, "da" refers to lots of other things, including "I want more food" and "Mommy" and even sometimes "kitty." Other fun Jonah sounds that I have yet to interpret include "nya nya nya" and "itah!" and "mmmmmm" and "ah" and "ba ba ba ba ba."

His favorite foods: all of them. Yup, so far he has yet to turn his nose up at any foods I have offered him. He loves eating with his hands best, everything from bits of carrots to clumps of oatmeal. He has a good appetite. Always has. (Maybe that's why I can fit into my skinny jeans now. My real skinny jeans!)

Favorite activities: Standing up and pushing something along the floor to use as a walker. He also enjoys sitting on the front steps watching the buses go by. Every time he sees one he says, "da!" He also loves waving and clapping.