Monday, January 30, 2006


I remember when I was a youngster, and I would catch some sort of glimpse of the world that I knew I couldn't capture in just the way I saw it. My eye would be an inch from a blade of grass, maybe, and in the background I might see a man walking, and I would hear a motor revving, and somehow the man in relation to the grass and the motor were perfect. And I despaired because it was perfect and so small, something so full of mood and unsignificant life, this tiny scene slipping into my brain and nowhere else. I understood there was no way for me to preserve and to hand that vision to the world. You couldn't take photos of these moments, there isn't the right shaped lens, there is, in the end, no lens like the eye sees.

I had forgotten all about this sort of despair until BabyG was born. I spend so much time breastfeeding, watching her face and expressions. Nobody sees them but me, and even though I try to convince GreenDaddy he should stare at our daughter nursing, since he doesn't have to be there with her and isn't actually attatched, he doesn't have -- or need -- the patience/desire it takes to just watch her.

There are so many little movements of hers I want her to know about, to see, and again I'm despairing that they can't really be caught. I don't think even filming it -- even if I was Fellini -- would catch what I want her to have. I don't feel like the world needs to see these moments, I just despair that BabyG won't ever see how she was born into the world filled with desire, and with the lungs to protest when her needs went unmet.

I read that babies are vulnerable, adorable, cute, sweet, or maybe even fussy, but BabyG is confident and intent, especially in relation to eating. She looks like an expert just as soon as my breast appears: she's calm, she assesses it, she waits to take it. If anything gets in the way, even her own hand, it makes her so angry she can't calm down enough to suckle, which makes her angrier. She has a high pitched, girly scream of frustration she uses in this moment. She makes a little grunting/humming noise and shakes her head as she attatches. With all obstacles are out of the way, and she's calmed and suckling, she looks resolute & peaceful and purposeful.

At first she gulps so much that a tiny stream of milk escapes from the side of her mouth and soaks my shirt, or sometimes hers, if I forget to put a towel below her chin. Then she screams because she's eaten so much she can't eat more, and I burp her. Then she gulps a little more, and then takes five tiny, quick sips in a row, then none for five or ten seconds; then five or six more tiny sips. When she's done, sometimes she suckles herself to sleep and I have to decide whether I want to wake and burp her, or leave her to her dreams and risk a spit-up. Other times, as GreenDaddy has written, she throws her head back all at once, her neck is extended backwards, and she focusses on some point in the distance or closes her eyes to contemplate some unknowable vision.

All this describing gets me nowhere near the vision I wish I could give to BabyG. She is already a strong little being who knows what she wants and needs. I want her to know that the secret to her own contentment and desire lies in the very core of who she is, though time and experience might confuse and bury her ability to recognize it.

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