Monday, November 23, 2009

New Motherhood: A Sensory Inventory

After a long night of getting up to feed and diaper Olivia, and now of hearing her babble and blow raspberries to herself when she wakes up in the night, I still love mornings with her.  This is why:

That sweet melonhead wakes up DELIGHTED to to greet a new day and ELATED to get to spend it with us.  She'll holler and yell, as opposed to crying, for someone to come in and free her from her swaddle, and when she's finally rescued from her loneliness and confinement she bursts into giggles, squeals, and spastic wiggling.  Truly, it is a sight to behold.  It makes getting out of bed worthwhile and, even after nights of only a few interrupted hours of sleep, exciting.

Now would be as good an opportunity as any to talk about the time Livy spat up into my mouth, but reliving the experience in writing might unbalance my delicate psychic constitution and then the nightmares will return.  So I'll just say this: oddly sweet, spookily viscous curds.  The rest is up to your imagination.

But, officially, motherhood will always taste like this.

At least two in the morning: 

At least one in the evening:

Never before has so much of my outlook, productivity, and ability to navigate consciousness depended on mere fluids.  This is where addiction comes from.  It comes from babies.

Oh, the temptation to make poop and fart jokes is overwhelming!  Later for you, my feculent and flatulent loves!  Later for you, sweet princes!

My memories of these months will always smell like 48-hour-unwashed baby head.  I am in love with the smell of Livy's sizable unwashed noggin.  We don't bathe her all that often in part because of this (the other parts being laziness and her sensitive skin), and I am intoxicated by the smell of her scalp just before a bath.  It's a scent so distinctly her that it's like mainlining infant pheromones directly into my maternal lizard brain.  She should keep some of that scent on hand for when she's a teenager.  She can spring it on me just as I'm telling her she's not wearing THAT out of the house or that her curfew is 11:00 for a reason, young lady.  I'd instantly go dreamy-eyed, hold her gently, and then give her whatever she wanted.

Thank the gods of teen pregnancy, MIP's, and juvenile detention that this isn't possible.

Olivia loves to "moosh heads," as we call it.  She's a snuggler, and it's generally not enough if we're just holding her.  She's happiest when she's held AND smooshing, mashing, and pushing her head into our faces.  I've had many a bloody lip from her signature headbutt-and-moosh maneuver, and I've become adept at speaking with a mouthful of baby hair, cheek, or forehead.

So, in an Oliver Sacksian twist of sensory representation, here is a photo of my favorite tactile mommy experience.

That neck.  It is so very soft, like the kiss of angels' wings.  And the fine hairs, the few that still agree to grow on Livy's head, are like velvet against my cheek.  I spend half of the day with my face nuzzled against that soft neck and the other half with it pressed hard up against my face.  These are some good days, my friends.  I may be oxygen deprived and she may get snuggle abrasions, but it's worth it.  I'll miss this when she's bigger, less baby soft, and inclined towards freedom rather than constant contact.

It's an awful and ironic name, but it's so very descriptive.  I love what we call "the aborted sneeze."  Olivia, like most folks, sneezes in multiples.  But she's not very good at it, and the last sneeze often fails after its initiation.  So, she'll take the big inhale, pause for dramatic sneeze effect, and then just yell instead of sneezing.  I can't tell if she's relieved, or frustrated, or celebratory, but I laugh every time.  If I'm ever able to record one and submit it to America's Funniest Videos, I'm sure that Tom Bergeron will cut me a huge novelty check.  But they are wily, these aborted sneezes.  Like another local legend, the Sasquatch, they have never been captured live on film.

That's it!  The end!  As you were!


Brianna said...

I miss it all too...those days were a blurr of wonderful. Even though my babies are all big, I still have moments when I look at them and see my sweet babies. Soak it up, it goes too fast.

snoopy said...


baby sneezes are the best. My niece does a little shriek right before she sneezes. hilarious! we used to call Yoshi's baby sneeze spray "Ginger Ale Mist" because it was putting your face near the cup's surface of a just-poured ginger ale.