Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Sphere

12 Weeks

This year, I will lose weight, stay in shape, keep the bathroom sink clean, finish a commissioned play, submit my work, clean out my inbox at my job, make a plan for grad school, meditate more, be a better wife-friend-daughter-mother-writer-employee, paint the kitchen, save money for Ren, be an elegant example of diligence and grace and forgiveness and stop obstructing my son's point of view with my iPhone.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Big Things, Small Packages

1 Day

10 Weeks

Ren is just 11 weeks old now and Greg and I cannot imagine life without him. Every want or desire we've encountered in the past is the tiniest inspiration compared to our love for Ren and our new family. This holiday season, we are counting lucky stars every lucky second and wishing the same peace for all on earth...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Whatever Gets You Through The Night

10 Weeks, 5 Days

"Did you tell him I write plays?"

"Well, I don't know. I'm not sure it came up?"

"You didn't tell him your wife is a playwright?"

"I don't know, honey. Maybe? If I talk to him again I'll mention it. It didn't seem like a natural part of the conversation."

"But he told you what his wife did."

"Yes, but..."

"I'm sorry. Never mind. I just can't think of... I've not done anything but... I haven't been outside of the house in six days."

"I know, honey. I know."


"I know."

Ren went through another growth spurt this week. We think. The Milk Monster suddenly needed boob every two hours to the point that it gave him terrible gas. One night we spent the entire evening trying to get him to burp. Tears, yelps. Poor little belly. We tried everything from baths to walking the stairs and eventually the three of us ended up laying in a huddle—Greg and I cheering Ren on as he gutturally and audibly pushed. Hours. It's amazing the things we take for granted as adults. Can you imagine a bunch of frat guys after a keg party trying to help each other get a good belch out? Crying, group massages, over the shoulder, bouncing carry-walks...

The first day after Ren's growing jag he slept through the night (and continues to do so, knock on wood). He woke up the next morning a new boy. I swear his hands and feet doubled in size. He is suddenly able to reach a focused arm out at books and toys, he can easily put his thumb in his mouth and grasp things, and he burps like a champ opening his mouth in preparation. He's literally growing up before our eyes.

Next week we introduce a bottle to Ren so Greg or a sitter will be able to feed him. I go back to work in a month and Ren will need sustenance from an apparatus not attached to my chest. I have such mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I'll have the freedom to be within a much wider radius from Ren and our house. Physically and mentally. On the other, we will experience a slight separation. Something we've been slowly doing since his cells started dividing inside of my body. It's a little bitter sweet and of course, a good thing. Ren will see that food can come from more than his mom and I won't have to vicariously remind myself that I write plays.

Friday, December 12, 2014

ante meridiem

9 Weeks

Somewhere deep inside I am pushed gently from a soft quiet to a thin wake
I hear a breath
I hear a whimper
I drag my feet between the sheet and mattress and find the rug
This happens before I'm alive
I find myself standing in a small panic, pulling off the wrist brace I wear to correct my new ache

In his room there is a layer of sound—nature uncovering
I feel my way to a soft light and turn it on
I hum
I hush
I say his name so he knows I'm near
He already knows

I go to him and lift
We are both relieved
I feel a rush fill my breasts
The right one mostly

I carry him across the room, holding him close to my shoulder
I notice he's over my heart
I lay his back in my arm and open my night dress while he whimpers
His eyes move from my face to my chest and he widens his little beak
I move him towards me
His lips hunt until they latch and I am overcome with comfort at his chomping chin
Somehow I am able to keep him alive this way

This magical way

In the dark
I doze
He does the same and I shift to nudge him into feeding again
The picture I look down upon burns into my brain

Milky circles
Glowing in the dim
Warm little circles
A bundle of survival and potential and honest, purest love 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Boca Boca Boca

8 Weeks
8 Weeks, 2 Days
8 Weeks, 3 Days

8 Weeks, 3.5 Days

This week, Ren held a toy: Sophie. He promptly got her in his mouth. (Thank you, cousin Lisa.) Ren also managed to get his thumb in there more often than not—a feat he's been battling since birth. He got his first round of vaccinations, which required an oral dose. It was cute to watch him swallow something without a boob attached. It wasn't so cute to watch him writhe and scream in horror from the shots. Greg and I choked on tears and heartache but his whimpers were over in minutes when we sat on a bench outside the doc's office and fed him. He was pretty cranky for three days after the shots. Especially that same night. Stewart and I sat on the couch with him while he cried. Ren also knows how to kiss. We've been practicing on stuffed animals, saying, "KISS!" bringing them to our mouths, then "KISS!" and to his. He puckers, then opens wide and smiles. When we read to him, Greg now introduces a "KISS!" to the book once the cover is closed. Sometimes Ren giggles about that. It's the most fulfilling sound on the planet.

Ren has BEAUTIFUL eyes. As they say—windows to his soul. You can almost read his thoughts swimming around in them. But this week, I'm especially keen on his sweet, slobbery, smiley, frowny, chatty, crying, happy mouth. He can't speak and has already said so much.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Don't Kill the Rabbit

7 Weeks

7 Weeks, 2 Days
7 Weeks, 5 Days

"...and once they are starving, they learn to kill the rabbit. That's why they chase them around the track."

"That's so sad."

"It's how they do it."

"So cruel."

I'm sitting in the wood-paneled waiting room at the Red Hook Vet holding a trembling Stewart. Greg is outside in the cold, bouncing a hungry Ren on his shoulder. I'm trying to do a life chore without obsessing about the comfort of my new son—impossible. As per the usual, someone asks, 'what kind of dog is that?' and then there is a story about Greyhounds and the cruelties of Greyhound racing. I am always baffled by the evils that humans can perpetrate on the weak. What do we gain? It must be about our egos. The ego needs a lift and it's easier to pull the ladder out from under someone else.

I get in the car, turn around to tell Ren a sing-song 'hello' and let Greg know that Stewart needs a few teeth pulled. Poor Stewart. He's now the second most important tiny creature in the house. We didn't even know he was having a tooth problem until he started bleeding on the new furniture. I wonder how long he's been suffering and think about the waiting room conversation. How would it feel to be the person whose job it is to starve a young, scared animal in a windowless room until they are forced to kill another young, scared animal. Is that trainer just as young and scared? Is his boss? What kind of fear and pain causes that kind of ripple effect? If I were that trainer, what kind of damage would I be doing to my soul? What about the dog? What if YOU were the dog? Would you kill to survive? And what kind of survival is that? To become what someone else wants you to be in order to stay alive. Would you think you had a choice? I see our egos as that human trainer. The ego can do twisted things to our souls in order to keep its agenda.

We have to be careful we don't let fear get out of hand. It isn't good for anyone, especially our children. I keep telling myself that in my sleep deprived, new-mother, new home-owner, new life transitions I must turn off that monster ego craving a 'thank you' or a 'good job' or a 'you're right'—not that I don't hear those things from people I care about, I do—but those things aren't fulfilling to the ego in the long run. Once you go down that road there isn't enough 'good jobs' in the world to make a difference. Let's not do something for the applause (says the actor). Let's do it for the journey, the experience, the good of another and the growing world around us.

Please remind me of this the next time someone criticizes my cooking.