September 23, 2011

Asher at One

by Sarah

Asher’s birth was different from Elliot’s in everyway. Rather than an unexpected earth mother whirlwind, Asher came as planned and requested, on the full Harvest Moon. It was convenient for me emotionally, and convenient logistically for Dr. Wu, who was delivering him. “Thursdays are good,” he said, checking his calendar. When Asher was born, there were bright, worried surgical lights and dull, worried nursing staff, all hanging out in a preventive sort of way. Asher was breech and people don’t know much about delivering breech babies anymore; things can go wrong. Nothing did, but they took Asher off for testing and prodding anyway, which was fine (as it turned out) because the epidural made me nauseous and I spent the half hour after his birth puking over the side of my hospital bed while Brandon followed our newborn babe around the NICU ward and Michelle Gerber held my hair.

I’ll have more to say about all that some other time, I imagine. It was fine. The good part was that, an hour or two after he was born, I got some time with him alone and it was bliss immediately. He was this alert blossoming person in my hands, and I could recognize him as my son, my love, his own sweet self. It’s hard to recognize a newborn! They’re so unformed. But Asher—though he wasn’t Asher then, we hadn’t yet named him, he was just our Blue—was absolutely just the one I was looking for. I loved him so much, even then.

Here are some things you might not know about Asher. He likes to stomp around. He has discovered some of the bolder and shriekier parts of his vocal register. His favorite book is This Little Chick, which I would recommend to anyone. He seems to but may not know that a cow says “moo” and the word “dance” means to dance and that “mommommom” means me. But sometimes he definitely dances. He both likes and dislikes letting Ada lick his neck. He loves all foods but his favorites are avocado and mango, and all that good avocado makes me happy for his smart well-oiled California brain. He watches Elliot like a hawk.

He doesn’t like it when you leave, particularly. He likes to rest his head back on a pillow. If you can’t find him he’s probably somewhere dangerous, like crawling into the washing machine (!) or the shower. If a phone rings, he’ll pick up whatever’s convenient—a toy car, a piece of paper—and hold it to his ear. He may or may not say hi. He knows more about iphone maneuverings than you would have thought possible if you didn’t know about babies or iphones.

His grin is the biggest grin in the history of grins. His crawl is the stompiest crawl in the history of crawls. His basic mood is cheerful and his basic mode is interested and once when I held him too close to the ocean and a wave frothed full and salty in his face, he laughed with joy.

Oh, Asher Asher Blue. Sweet maker; sweet finder. In the still moment before you were born, when they told me the time had come but the lights were not yet lit and the nurses not in a row, I turned the page to find words to hold until they put you in my arms. “It is no little matter,” I read, “this round and delicious globe, moving so exactly in its orbit.” Blue, you pass from a babe, learn to articulate and walk. You are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen. “And that my soul embraces you this hour, and that we affect each other…is every bit as wonderful.”

August 29, 2011

The first day of the rest of your life

Elliot is starting kindergarten! He is there, right now!

I have not written here for a long time, but felt today was a milestone that deserved some attention.

The main thing I have to say is that Elliot was so completely awesome, such a sweet trooper, such a clever autonomous guy. Which is not to say that he was leaping with joy about the whole thing; he was definitely not “oh, yay, I cannot wait to plunge into an entirely new environment full of strangers speaking German!” He was, I know, lingeringly concerned.

But this morning, he was level headed and cheerful. He did not balk at getting dressed. He did not resist or mourn, walking into the schoolyard. He smiled at the PTA volunteer greeter lady, at the other parents who he’d met, at his teacher. He did not want to get his picture taken, but then was a good sport when I told him it was a rule (which, okay, is basically true). He was only somewhat intense about getting in the right line and following it in the right way.

When we got to his classroom, he gave Brandon and I hugs, solemnly each in turn. I'm actually going to go ahead and say that he embraced us, because it felt like that sort of thing, like a hug with serious gravitas. Then, unbidden, he walked straight to the center of the room and sat down for circle time, shoulders squared. It was, absolutely, a great moment in my life.

I expect this week will be super tough on Elliot, despite this beginning. But to see his composure was a spectacular thing. I hadn’t realized until the moment that I'd been gearing up for some serious reluctance and melancholy. He takes things hard, that one. So it was great to witness his strength on display, to see that boy, starting his third school in three years, knowing he had a job to do, and walking right into it.

As for myself, I really don’t feel melancholy, or like the time has flown by. Parenting young children has been full of joys, but, I can’t lie, it continues to be pretty hard on me. It doesn’t really play to my strengths. So, I feel glad that he’s growing, and that school time has finally arrived. Check out that kid!

I overheard the mom behind us in line prepping her son on what was going to happen, and I loved what she said: “Now we’re going to walk with you to your room, and then you get to do it.” I wish I had found exactly those words for Elliot, because that sort of enthusiasm, the thrill of getting to do it, is just what I wish for him. Our code, for what it’s worth, is borrowed from Elliot’s current favorite story, Riki-Tiki-Tavi: “the motto of all the mongoose family is, ‘Run and find out’.” Whatever the week and year brings, I’m feeling so amped and happy right now. It’s great to be so full of respect for this sweet scholar mongoose, whose life we are privileged to share.

June 27, 2011

Forward Motion Week 6

Forward Motion, plus jaunty scarf. (Unstaged.)