thought there might be days like this
feared it because I am not ...
know me know how I gloss and deny and disassociate
would I love her would I want her would I ...
she looks up at me with eyes blue like a deep lagoon
flecked with white like foam on the waves
like poetry even though I know I know the white flecks
are not just beautiful
they are there because she has ...
and I love her more than I ever thought was possible
and I yearn for her and want for her more than I ever wanted for myself
and she deserves everything everything all that there is
but all I have to give is ...
she's still so young so small so full of opportunity and potential
I say this I feel this I know this
but then there are days like this when ...
desperate to share her to take her out to show her off
so many people stop to play with her coo at her bask in her blue and white eyes
beautiful they call her and I want to ...
I let as many people hold her as seem to want to
love on her hold her and watch and absorb and keep in my soul
because one day one day not too far off
most people will glance and glance away quickly
will no longer see the beautiful baby
they will only see ...
she looks deep into me with eyes blue like a deep lagoon
flecked with white like foam on the waves
and if she could speak I think she might say ...
most days I am fearless and doubtless and I think
she is not just my blessing but a blessing to the world
and the lucky ones are the ones who take the time to know her
to hold her hand and let her guide them down her path
they are the lucky ones who will let her teach them how ...
but then there are days like this when I am reminded
not of her imperfections but of my own
when she is days weeks months behind how does that translate
into useless hours minutes seconds I spent ...
if I'm not being her mother her teacher her guide
from dawn to dawn every heartbeat every breath
how much farther will she fall behind how much more will she ...
she focusses on me with eyes blue like a deep lagoon
flecked with white like foam on the waves
and if she could speak I hope she might say ...
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
thought there might be days like this
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Today is Grandma's birthday. She would have been 93 today.
I'd always dreamed of watching Grandma hold, love, and play with my baby. I don't in the least bit regret waiting for Kiki to come into my life; and I can't regret that Grandma died when she was ready to go; but I can't help but be a little sad today, holding my baby girl, and knowing Grandma never knew her.
I rocked her to sleep tonight telling her about her Grandma Margaret. I believe Grandma is looking over her, like she watched over me as a child. I believe Grandma knows her, somehow, even if I'm not able to witness it as I would like to. I feel her near, sometimes, when Kiki cuddles close to me, when she smiles up at me.
A part of me hoped Kiki would have Grandma's eyes, as if somehow that would mean that she is Grandma reincarnated, the two of them merged together in some way that keeps them both in my life forever. But Kiki's eyes remain blue, dark blue, and they are so beautiful, and so uniquely her.
I don't have any recollection of Grandma's favorite song, but I know she played this often after her sister died. It was Aunt Agnes's favorite song, and I think that somehow made it Grandma's as well. I feel both of them sometimes, nearby, loving her. I know they are checking in.
Happy Birthday, Grandma. I miss you so much.
Posted by Jeannie at 8:00 PM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Something scary and something incredibly adorable.
Yes, the scary is me.
She seems singularly unimpressed with being a dronkey. I think it's because she hasn't yet seen any of the Shreks. She will change her mind.
I know it's not Halloween yet. I couldn't wait. I love to dress her up! And she's very patient about it, bless her heart.
Posted by Jeannie at 11:34 PM
Thursday, October 18, 2007
So I have a grand total of two songs I sing regularly to Kiki. These have already become routine and plant themselves deep in her subconscious for the entirety of her life.
Or so is my master plan! muhahahahahaha!
The first song is a song I made up. It's her wake-up song. I will relate the words to you because I am not ashamed. I know it's goofy, and it's not creative, and I don't care because it makes HER smile a LOT. It goes like this:
Good morning, Kiki
Good morning, dear
I am so happy
To have you near.
You are the darling
Who I adore
And I will love you
I don't know what the melody is from; I will not pretend I made the melody up myself. I'm afraid it's from something creepy, because that's how I'm wired.
Case in point.
The other song I sing her every night when she goes to sleep or when I'm trying to soothe her. It's Hush, Little Baby. Which I love, mainly because it's the only lullabye I know from beginning to end (I do not count Rockabye Baby or Twinkle Twinkle and for no good reason either, so don't try to logic me.)
There is a reason I remember it from beginning to end. It is not a sentimental reason. It is a CREEPY reason.
It's because of Evil Dead 2.
And every time I sing it, even though it's supposed to be a lullabye/soother, all I can think of is a naked corpse doing a stop-action ballet with her decapitated head and a creepy ghoulish thing in a cellar.
And yet? I do not stop singing her this song. How did I ever pass the parent test and get entrusted with this child?
Posted by Jeannie at 11:15 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
So we went to the doc's today. She's in the 50th percentile for length, 70th for weight, and 70th for head circumference. Her growth has charted perfectly which supposedly makes me a Great Mom. Go me! I find it hard to believe that I should receive more credit than her genes, but who's arguing? Great Mom! Go me!
She had fallen asleep while we were waiting for the doctor (truth be told, so did Mama) because I'd been running all over town all morning before the appointment so she'd had zero napping. It usually takes her a little while to get over the groggy, so the doc was giggling a little at her while she tried to focus on the doc's face. You could almost read the words going through her head. "Okay. I'm not going to freak because Mom's right there. But you? I know you. There's something about you that I should remember. I can't quite place it. Let me think here."
She's ready for teething biscuits. Doc said we can expect her to be popping out a tooth or two in the next couple of weeks. Joy! Which means that now she's on vitamins with fluoride (there's no fluoride in our drinking water, and our city drinking water is pure enough to use for mixing formula straight out of the tap.)
Then the doc asks, "How's her cough?"
I replied, "I haven't heard her cough in days."
Cue the baby. *hack* *hack* *hack*
Well, I had that Great Mom trophy in my hands for almost 5 minutes that time. One day it will last long enough to sit on a shelf.
Yes, she's still croupy. Yes, the doc still wants me to monitor it in case it gets worse. But she says it happens sometimes when they're about to teethe, so maybe it will go away soon. I hope. Poor darling.
And that blood test that I thought was normal? Not so much. Her white blood cells, it turns out, are slightly misshapen. Not enough to cause alarm, but enough to make a medical note. So I will not worry about it; there's no point. No harm, no foul. If it becomes a problem later, I'll deal with it then. In the meantime, it means regular blood tests for the bebe; but starting at a year, she'll need to do thyroid panels anyway, so the doc figures she'll just scrunch the two together.
And then came the shots. The nurse is very quick with them. But Kiki felt 'em this time, and wailed. For 5 sobs, more or less, then went back to normal. I think she only wailed to begin with because she hadn't napped much and was a little grumpy.
She's working up a bigger tantrum in her playpen right now, in between zerberts, trying to keep herself awake.
Silly pumpkin. Well, I must see to the child. Oh, look! I finally got a pic of her laughing!! Ok, yes, it's a laugh on the verge of melting down into a cry, but it's as close as I could get!
Posted by Jeannie at 6:31 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
In a lot of ways, I've come to peace with Kiki's Downs. I'm not sure how to explain how exactly. This will probably sound odd when spoken aloud.
When I found out about her having Downs, I had three major blows to the gut over it. One was knowing that the world is full of people like me who are uncomfortable around others with disabilities; two was knowing she would never be the brilliant prep school prodigy of my dreams; and the third was knowing that statistically speaking, I will more than likely outlive her.
The funny thing is what finally snapped me out of the pity spiral. Obviously, just spending time with her, I've fallen so in love with her that I -- I can't even express the depth of it. But for a long time, there would times I would hold her while she was sleeping, and I'd feel this overwhelming love for her, and then this extraordinary sadness, and I would just cry.
I struggled with all three, trying to figure out a way to conquer them all. And one day, while I was feeling sorry for myself that I would some day lose her, I thought, "Well, what's the alternative?" There's only one. Either she dies before I do; or I die before she does.
My response to this epiphany was immediate, matter-of-fact, and finally shook some good solid sense into me. It is simply NOT acceptable for me to die before her. I will not abandon her. It will not happen.
This somehow put everything else into perspective, like a giant mess of machinery that suddenly up and clicked together and started running smoothly.
It doesn't matter if the rest of the world out there doesn't know how to behave themselves around her. I'm not their mother. I'm her mother. I will protect her with a buffer of close friends and family who love her unconditionally, as I do, until she grows into her own and expands her buffer. The rest is incidental.
All I care about, all that is important, is that she be happy and content, confident in her own skin, and self-reliant to whatever extent makes her feel strong and capable. In the end, it all boils down to, if she is well-rounded and happy, then I have nothing to be unhappy about.
That said, I have been remarkably positive lately. I haven't cried while holding her in over a month. I actually for the first time feel up to any challenge that comes up.
And that said, I still get my panties in a twist over things that I refuse to accept. People still say things to me that absolutely boggle me, and they say them with the intent to be supportive which absolutely kills me. One person, who works in an institution environment with people who have Downs, who has an uncle with Downs, was telling me about the people she works with. She mentioned a 12-year-old girl, who she called high-functioning, who was able to dress herself; but she was *high functioning*, with emphasis, which implied to me that that was a high bar for me to set for Kiki.
And today someone who has worked with austistic and Downs children in the past offered to babysit sometime, making sure to point out her experience with Downs children, and then backed off that to apologetically point out that she's aware at Kiki's age there's no difference in care between her and any other baby. But then went on to add that the milestone lapses and special care requirements will come later, in probably a year or so.
I just don't get it, really. On one hand, I want to think, these aren't ignorant people; these are people with experience in this arena, while I am completely and utterly the newbie.
And yet, I can't stop thinking that if I lower the bar on her, it will cripple her. I continuously find and read things that foster hope in me that she has the potential for greater things than just being able to brush her teeth without assistance. I feel like not having that hope just means giving up on her, and I cannot do that.
And that is all.
Posted by Jeannie at 9:28 PM
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I am giddy about the upcoming holidays because they will be Kiki's first exposure to 'em. The first Halloween I get to dress her up! (And probably the last Halloween I'll get to pick a costume for her.)
So I started hunting online for costume ideas (because I wait until the last minute to do ANYTHING hence becoming a first-time mom at the ripe age of 40).
Seeing as she's totally enamored with the zerbert sound, and will amuse herself for hours by zerberting in every direction possible, I thought this was the perfect costume for her. Because I am also a Horrible Mom who finds this absolutely hilarious. Kipp pointed out to me though that if I dress her up in it, I run the risk of people being tempted to sit on her.
However, I will most likely relent and go along with the Dronkey costume instead because C & B will absolutely love it.
I found the cutest red Christmas sleeper at WalMart tonight and resisted buying it. If this continues, it's likely I may dress her up as a turkey, Pilgrim, or Indian girl for Thanksgiving.
I do get an inordinate amount of glee out of dressing her up. It's interesting -- when I just dress her in a onesie and take her out, she doesn't get half the attention as if I doll her up in a coordinated outfit and put up her hair.
And I get that babies are inherently unisex in that it's difficult to determine their gender, for the most part, without certain clues. But when I dress her in a pink shirt and jeans with frilly cuffs and put up her hair like Pebbles, wouldn't you think that people wouldn't ask if she was a girl? I mean, granted, I'm thinking of dressing my baby up as a Whoopee Cushion for Halloween, but even I wouldn't dress my baby up for an outing in frilly pink things and bows if she were a boy.
Next time, I shall answer, "No, he's an Executive Transvestite."
Posted by Jeannie at 8:36 PM
Sunday, October 7, 2007
So in responding to K's comment yesterday, which she began by calling herself a crap mom, something clicked in my brain. She mentioned that Dessa outgrew her Pack n Play bassinet attachment last week; that the weight limit on the thing is 15 lbs.
Click. It has been mentioned before that Dessa and Kiki have the same (or at least strikingly similar) boring brown Pack n Play.
Click. Kiki weighs 16 pounds.
So of course, I race to check the weight limit on the Pack n Play. 15 pounds. Crap. I race into the bedroom to check the weight limit on the bassinet. 15 pounds. Okay. So for the last 2 weeks AT LEAST, I have been putting my daughter's health and welfare on the line and putting her to rest in things that are not designed to hold her weight.
I? Am the crap mom.
So I had to break down last night, and put Kiki in her own room, in her safe crib, for the night. I was very iffy about it. I don't know that I would classify myself as a Family Bed type, really, but I really loved having her so close to me all night long.
So I rocked her while Kipp pulled the bumper off her crib -- no one was sleeping in the crib, and I wanted it to be pretty, so it had the bumper on it, but there was NO WAY I would leave her alone in the crib overnight with that still on it.
As he's working, he began to hum Pomp and Circumstance.
"Shut up," I told him.
"Come on, honey," he said, "this is the biggest milestone possible until she graduates from college."
"I think we should have a parade. Don't we have balloons or something somewhere?"
"You're not shutting up."
"Okay, okay. We'll save the parade for when she's potty trained."
At which point it became necessary to apologize to Kiki in advance if she woke up in the morning fatherless.
Which reminds me of something funny (because I'm morbid). The other day, I dressed Kiki in a rather loose sleeper. Now, she has short arms (I've mentioned this before), so even in a long sleeve anything that fits her torso, I have to roll the sleeves up so her hands aren't covered.
So, she's napping in this loose sleeper, and her sleeves got unrolled, and somehow in her squirming, she manages to pull one arm completely out of the armhole and into her sleeper, clutched against her chest. I'm not sure exactly how this happened.
All I know is, she's sleeping peacefully one second, and the next second she is screaming bloody murder. I run over to her side, and she looks up at me, one sleeve flopping emptily at her side, and her eyes just wide as saucers, and I swear to God the expression on her face said this word for word, "My arm!!! Mom! I lost my arm!! It was right there when I went to sleep! And then I woke up AND IT WAS GONE!!"
I helped her find it once I stopped laughing my ass off. Because I am nothing if not empathetic.
Oh, I got sidetracked. Sorry. So Kiki slept by herself, in her own room, last night, the only being in the house to sleep alone, mind you, as the dogs got themselves very comfortable in our bed. Which of course made me feel guilty as hell. Here I am, downstairs in bed with my husband and our two dogs, and our itsy bitsy infant daughter is all alone all the way upstairs in an empty room without anybody around at all. Alone. Bereft. Abandoned.
At some point during the night, Kipp took the baby monitor out of my hand and put it on the nightstand. Evidently I had it cranked to the highest setting, and I was clutching it to my head as I slept.
She survived the night. In fact, she slept really well. She woke up at her regular time, and did her regular routine of kicking then vocalizing. No traumatized screams. No uncontrollable wailing and gnashing of tee- -- gums.
And so the growing up goes on. My precious girl.
Posted by Jeannie at 12:10 PM
Friday, October 5, 2007
It's official. Kiki has her first cold.
I'll have to chalk this up to mother's intution because the kid? Does NOT act sick. She's not running a fever. But last Friday, she had a fever of about 99 degrees -- not alarming -- and the rosiest cheeks you have ever seen. I thought she was wheezing, and maybe having a little difficult breathing. But it's hard to tell with her because she's a snorter (small nose + shallow nose bridge = snorting).
Since then she's had some random bouts of clamminess, and this morning she coughed 6 times. Not productive or anything, just a dry cough. I decided to take her to the doctor's just in case, and sure enough? She has a cold. Not a bad one, but enough to just keep an eye on.
Again -- she does NOT act sick. She's eating, she's sleeping, she's no more fussy than usual, and she's been laughing and smiling more often, so... on one hand, I feel guilty for not taking her in a week ago, and on the other hand, I know there was nothing to do about it anyway, and she's doing fine now.
She's fighting sleep more and more these days. Once she is asleep, she's out, but she'll fight it as long as she can. She's getting close to that 6-month marker where I'd promised Kipp that I'd start putting her in her own room to sleep. I can't do it!! I'm not ready!!!
But last night, after her last feeding, when she started fussing from being so tired and refusing to sleep, I started to put her in her swing, and Kipp said, "Just put her in the bedroom. Put her to bed." I of course took this to mean OUR room, in the bassinet, so that's where I put her, turned the lights out, and five minutes later, she was snoring away. So it looks like bedtime really has to mean actual bed from now on -- starting with the bassinet and working my way upstairs towards the end of next week.
I am the worst proponent of the Back to Sleep program. I always put her down on her back, I do!! And at night, in her bassinet, I put her in a positioner, just in case. But during the day, I just put her down in her Pack n Play, so she can work off some energy, and without fail, she'll end up passing out on her stomach or on her side.
I have photographic evidence of my poor motherhood. Look at this. On her side and WITH a blanket toy to boot. But she looks so peaceful and happy and I check on her a million times a minute to make sure her face isn't covered so... (sigh)
Posted by Jeannie at 10:48 AM
Thursday, October 4, 2007
As a scopist, I learn something new every day. That's just one of many things I love about my job. Anywho, I learned something about percentiles the other day. I don't know why I never just asked the doctor; I guess I figured I already knew what they were talking about. Never assume.
So, anyway, Kiki has been in the 50th percentile for weight since her first checkup (on the non-Downs chart, mind you). I thought that meant that she was at 50% of average (normal) weight. Ha! It does not mean that. It means that she's smack in the middle of normal. Or she was. At her last weighing at WIC, she was in the 70th percentile which means that out of 100 babies, only 29 would weigh more than she does.
THAT is a hugely different meaning than what I'd been assuming all along. And it explains why when I put her in a 3-6 month size onesie yesterday, the snaps popped open when I picked her up. She's not even 6 months old yet, and she has outgrown everything smaller than 6-9 month size.
It's hard to remember her smaller. But I was looking through her pics, and there's one of her in a NB size onesie -- I know this, because I still have it and I checked -- and she's practically swimming in it. She was so tiny once. And now my arm aches when I carry her for more than 10 minutes. (Which is less a statement on how heavy she is than on how weak I am.)
I have packed up all the clothes she's outgrown (except for a few I'm keeping as keepsakes), and I'm ready to head for a consignment store. Winter is coming, and I have no winter clothes for her. I have one cute cute cute outfit she has never worn and it may be too small for her now (dammit!) but I'm gonna shove her in it sometime this week and get a pic of her in it and take her out in it at least once!
I hate waste.
Posted by Jeannie at 12:40 AM