We go too


John Fuller

Sleep little baby, clean as a nut,
Your fingers uncurl and your eyes are shut.
Your life was ours, which is with you.
Go on your journey. We go too.

The bat is flying round the house
Like an umbrella turned into a mouse.
The moon is astonished and so are the sheep:
Their bells have come to send you to sleep.

Oh be our rest, our hopeful start.
Turn your head to my beating heart.
Sleep little baby, clean as a nut,
Your fingers uncurl and your eyes are shut.

Found here.


This liminal state of late middle pregnancy is starting to get to me. I remember a friend, who had her first baby a few years ago, talking about her experience with the nesting instinct. She found it categorically horrible – the high-pressure sense that there are necessary tasks to complete, that they must be completed right now, because everything has to be ready for when the baby comes. I’m feeling that same nervous energy now. The trouble is that I know exactly what must be done before the baby comes, and also what I would like to accomplish personally, separately from maternity tasks, but my brain is too fuelled by insistent hormones to let me sit down and enjoy what I know are my last couple of months of quiet evenings meant for slow reading. I am knitting a complicated piece of lace for no real reason except that the mind-numbing repetition seems to quell the compulsion to do, do, do when what the self underneath desires is to breathe, breathe, breathe.

In the meantime, so many parts of life are easy to enjoy. On Friday, I will have a two-year-old, which boggles my mind. And yet her growing is so obvious. In the last couple of weeks, she’s given up naps (sob), diapers (praise be), and most assistance with her wardrobe. Her birthday present from her grandmother, a jazzy red raincoat complete with matching sou’wester, has a row of snaps down the front, and I watched this afternoon as she thrashed around the living room, irate that her small hands couldn’t manage to do up the bottom-most snap. The fit she pitched when I offered to help her was so loud and furious that I retreated to the kitchen. Of course, she managed it all by herself in the end.

I’m learning that my daughter has a great deal more determination than I do. After a full year of her quite literally refusing to take a diaper change lying down, we set a date for putting the diapers away, as recommended by the book I bought for guidance (of course I bought a book; having never housetrained even a dog, why wouldn’t I?). I had a feeling that she would be thrilled by the independence, as she’s elated by any measure of it in all other areas (see above re: raincoat snaps) but I wasn’t sure how things would go. We began just after we returned home from a trip east to see the in-laws, a trip which had frustrated me from the moment we booked the plane tickets because it meant postponing potty training, which meant wrestling an unwilling child into unwanted diapers for another month (extra fun in airports!). We still have a long way to go, but the initial process has been so smooth that it’s almost been fun. I wish I could take credit for the ease with which she’s taken control over this simple function of the body, but the success is all hers. I’m learning a lot, watching this happen right in front of my nose. How funny that it’s taken two years to figure out concretely what I now see are such basic aspects of her personality. How strange to think how long it may take me to do this all over again with a new baby.

On the current occupant: it’s a boy. We were gobsmacked to learn this, which is dumb, given the odds. But I have a sister, and I fully expected to leave the ultrasound office in the knowledge that I would provide my daughter with one, too. This is not to say that I’m unhappy about it, despite knowing nothing about boys, except to run them daily, like German shepherds (not an analogy of my own invention), and avoid getting pee in the eye. While we were away we had dinner with friends, who responded to the news with, “Congratulations! So you’re done.” I wish I felt as confident in that statement as they did. I would really like a big, flashy sign from above when I am Done, done. Alas, I suspect one is not forthcoming. For now, I wait, and try to calm the frenetic pacing of my brain, and to enjoy the quiet while it lasts.

For Poetry Wednesday.


2 responses to “We go too

  1. Whoa– I also assumed (for absolutely no rational or explainable reason) you would have a girl. Congratulations on being the mother of a son! Sometimes I wonder what that might be like.
    I remember the nesting phase so well and likewise an underlying nagging sense that spending so much time and energy organizing and tidying might not be the best use of my time, given how easily it would all be undone once the baby was actually there, but I kept doing it anyway. N sounds like a handful and a half. I think we missed her birthday- yikes! We need to catch up soon.

    • I know! We were taken completely by surprise. N is excited (I think) – she pats my belly very solemnly and says, “Baby brother. Floating around.”

      Looking forward to having Jeff here next week. It’s a shame it’s so far, and that winter travelling is such a trial – it would be nice to see all of you. Of course, our guest room is full of crap due to nesting/painting projects…

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