She likes head scritches. She showed me. She rustles her little fingers across her hair when she wants me to scritch her head like a little puppy, nails digging and circles made.
She likes playing with the trucks. The ones that roll and make noise. Especially the fire truck that belongs to her cousin.
She likes baby shark and she wants it now. It doesn't help that I've been humming that infectious tunes to her since birth and mumbling the wrong words of ''baby Dorf" her whole life. If there's a screen on, she wants it to be that. I've also provided her with a decoy remote so she can pretend to 'turn it up' with her mouth.
She wears size four diapers and the box says 'toddler' on it and I may have ugly cried while carrying it inside.
She sleeps to dream more. The way her little limbs twitch and she cries out or coos in the night tells me so.
When she wants to be picked up she signals with her little hands, similar to the sign language for milk.
She tests me. When she touches things she's not supposed to and I inevitably make that erroneous mom noise she just stares at me, smirks, and reaches out again.
That's right, but they never attack the same place twice. They were testing the fences for weaknesses, scientifically. They remember.
She no longer cries at the sight of her Dad. Or my girlfriends. Or people in general.
She waves hello and good bye (AND YOU BETTER FUCKING WAVE BACK TO MY BABY OR I WILL COME AT YOU LIKE A RABID RACCOON WITH THE HEAT AND GUILT OF A THOUSAND SUNS)
She cruises along furniture and crawls like the wind.
She can pick things up and shove them in her mouth with minute accuracy at the speed of light.
She loves to be read to and loves picking out the books and turning the pages with me.
This is just the tip of the Nugget iceberg, the tiniest of fractions of what she amazes me with. She cracks me up and I love her more every day.
Man oh man, she's goooooing thrrrrrroooouuuugh chhhhhaaaaaaaannnnges.
Confession: I had to google how to pronounce the word 'sentient' today.
Fact: I was saying it wrong.
Dotty is sentient and it shows and shows and shows. Don't get me wrong, I was fully aware that she is a perceptive and feeling human being, but there's been a shift in her showing it. My Babe is ten months old and makes me laugh like a madwoman. She does things hoping to illicit a desired response and I can see it in her actions on the regular. Whether it be in the bath when she wants a toy, in the high chair when she squeals for a bite, or any other time she wants to tell me whats on her mind. One of my new favorite things is the belly blowing.
Since she was a tiny little Beeble I've been kissin on her belly and blowing raspberries onto it after baths, while changing diapers, while we play--anytime and all the time. It's just too cute of a little belly to ignore and the well-termed cute aggression gets the best of me. Plus, her little bellybutton is just staring back at me and that's where we started, tied together by pulse and blood.
Recently our bed time routine has begun to more consistently have book reading and some baby led play time. We read through three or four books and then I do what she does, I follow her lead, we wind down without screens.
But she, little adorable, has begun blowing raspberries on *my* belly and quickly turning her cute little cherub face to mine to make sure I'm laughing.
Oh my god the melts.
She's so tender and pure and soft and strong and smart and I just.... I just can't even.
I could tell you what I left with or I could tell you what I now know.
Time moves too fast for both to be relevant.
I just spent a meager six days at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert in Black Rock City, Nevada. It's my fifteenth year out there and I come home each time re-centered. I drive home solo in the silence and the wind and think until I can't think anymore. I come home understanding without the need to articulate. It's glorious.
In the past I've built large scale art, camped quietly in the corner, composed massive theme camps, led drunken Esplanade debauchery, volunteered, and barista'd. This year, like the few before it, I was Lead Barista Trainer in Center Camp Cafe with a crew of lovely baristas to support the baristas I train.
Does that make sense?
It's a labor of love, this Cafe, this coffee.
This year was no different. It is sweat, patience, humility, strength, repetition, appreciate, gratitude, and passion.
It's different things to everyone--in the moment of, in the moments before, and tomorrow. I learn year after year what it means so me.
This year, one of the things my playa experience means to me is IF YOU CAN'T BE GOOD TO SELF, AT LEAST BE BETTER.
"If you won't take a break, girl, we'll give you one.
Sincerely, Ligaments ."
It's not just our hands that hold things--it's our bodies, our organs, our backs, our beings... subconsciously and full-consciously. We carry things for other people and we carry other people’s things. Their weights, their sorrows, their stresses, their baggage, their stories, their loads.
During this experience, my six days at Burning Man, my hands put down my Nugget and I worked effortedly to pick up parts of myself. I drove away from my heart outside my body and forced myself to relax about it. She spent those six days with FOB and I was meant to take some time for me. I was told to rest and being told to rest is way harder to do than it sounds.
I dunno if y’all ever been to Burning Man, but sometimes it’s Working Man. Meeting after meeting, training after training I graciously, with morale, and punctually shared the love of the bean, the art of the shot, the fine lines of Center Camp Café, only to return to my jeep jeep, curl up into my smoosh taco, "rest," and do it all over again at 7am.
It was in that rest that my body seized up, but my mind re-opened and I finally had some time in the world to think.
After six months of breastfeeding unilaterally, mastitis, side lying, sleeping sitting up, carrying and sharing my body with my Babe, my joints, my ligaments, and my soul began screaming in agony, yelling at my body. It's almost like my flesh and all it's hard working components recognized that my Babe was not near and like a uniformed symphony came together to pluck every ligament in my Mothering body to express my physical need for help and rest.
I don’t know how to explain it, but my right side gives up.
Forcibly, my body is telling me to BE BETTER.
If we let the past define us we never really find the now.
I brought things of his to burn. An old shirt, a postcard, a photo or two. I thought in order to be absolved of his memory it had to disappear into ash.
I simply had to be open enough, woke enough, aware enough, to rid it's power over me. I now see that he is my partner in Babe--nothing more. I've been trying to communicate with him for months, for a year now... and he's still he and I am still me and we're two magnets destined to never touch again. We don't exist on the same plane. Our paths couldn't be more different. I'm happy to be out of his orbit.
I have to close all the doors between us and leave a window cracked.
While out on the playa I lived in the now. I was rusty at it. Being pregnant you project into the future and plan and worry. Being a Mom you wonder behind you, worry over the now, and secure the future front. Mentally exhausting oneself and always coming second.
It was nice to find the Now again.
Just for a few meager days.
The Now comes with the Choice of the moment. It comes with how one currently feels. It comes with what speaks to you inside and outside and what that equation means.
This post is taking days to come to fruition because decompression is a hard landing while running. Here's what was reinforced in a nut shell while at Burning Man 2018:
Motherhood seems to be made up of a fluctuating chorus of tiny achievements:
These moments are small moments of internal victory--inner dialogue, inside the ol' noodle. They are moments you'd love to share with your friends except you're afraid you've already become that Mom friend with nothing better to talk about than literal and metaphorical baby shit fits.
So you keep them in.
They begin to pile up and you sort of organize them into little stacks of Mom goal gold. Here and there... stacks and stacks of prideful new Mom moments all around, filling up all the empty space where the rest of your life used to be.
My latest bragging awe is the amount of perfect chub on Nugget's four month old legs. The way each roll perfectly rests atop another like soft serve, like the Stay Puft marshmallow man, like an assortment of beans crammed inside a well worn sock--her legs are pure baby bliss. I salute my boobs. I salute them for working overtime, putting in the effort, for not giving up, and especially for picking up the other's slack.
That's right, Lefty--you minimalist, two drop, single squirt dud. I'm looking at you.
These gains from unilaterally breastfeeding feel like a trophy in and of itself.
Morning smiles are some of the best smiles to be had. They've traveled straight from dream land, restful and pure. Sometimes you get them upon delicate baby eye opening, sometimes after a few minutes of feeding, sometimes both, sometimes more.
Don't be too anxious for them.
Because your little bundle of soul and joy will vomit inside your smiling mouth.
Let’s remember it together:
The kind of morning where your sheets are drenched in hormonal sweat—the sweat that smells like a classroom full of first-graders and all their farts and sneezes and not so much the kind of sweat that smells like body odor or good sex.
The kind of morning where you wake up startled by the fact that you maybe slept and frantically sit up checking all the spots you might’ve put your baby to maybe sleep, too. The crib? No. The bassinet? No. Ah, the Moses basket.
The kind of morning where your teeth have grown more hair than your armpits and it’s starting to dreadlock into the texture of your smile.
The kind of morning where you have a crick in your neck, a crick in your shoulder, a crick in your elbow, and three fingers on your right hand are inexplicably numb.
The kind of morning where the first thing you think about is FOB/child support/old bills/new bills/spoiled milk/taxes and a bath.
Let’s sit through it together;
Today I took the kind of bath that lasted over fifteen minutes. The kind of bath third trimesters everywhere dream of.
The kind of bath where you’re no longer afraid of your razor and your ‘gina doesn’t tremble at its sight.
The kind of bath where six weeks of leg debris is shaved off, revealing the fresh flesh of a 25 year old on a 34 year old.
The kind of bath where your imagination can run wild so long as your flexibility can follow and you can reshape your ladyscaping into any shape or symbol you like because time and visibility are on your side.
The kind of bath where you fall in love with your new and improved lady bits again, marvel at their reconstruction, pat them on their little labial backs and reunite in friendship and forgiveness.
The kind of bath where you get to deep condition those pregnancy locks that haven’t fallen out yet before you tie it all in a giant knot on top of your head.
The kind of bath where after you get to use the yummy smelling lotions and even tweeze that one chin hair that’s decided to appear with new hormones.
The kind of bath that’s interrupted by the living room volume of Willie Nelson... and my Mom brain thinks the harmonica is my Nugget wailing in my absence.
We are near three weeks out from D-Day (Dorothy Day) and routines are being hoped for every day. We ebb and flow together, we aren’t stir crazy or lonely, and we’re bonded beyond belief.
When I self care, I’m takin care of us. Nugget is warm and fed and nourished and although that’s all my soul needs, is really... really nice to have smooth legs once again.
Nah, but for reals.
Her shit doesn't stink to me.
It's like roses and sunshine.
It's like perfection and success.
It's a symbol of my commitment to loving her every time she's at my breast.
It's a little gross when it touches my hand, or gets in my hair, or on my cheek.
It's always funny when she farts on my Mom, my brother, on me.
So far she looks best in blue.
Four hours is our longest sleeping streak.
She's the most perfect human I've ever laid eyes on.
Schnugglebuns McPerfectPoops, I love you more each day and week.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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