the sling diaries: wisdom

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We woke up early and went out to the back garden in the rain to take these photos. It was one of those mornings where one moment it was pouring, and the next was clear with the background noise of all the leaves dripping quietly. I’ll miss these sling diary assignments. I’ll have to come up with other reasons for taking all these photos, it’s too fun to resist documenting this stage in our family. This is my last entry for Sakura Bloom and I’m wearing what turned out to be my favorite sling through the series, the simple silk in amber (currently sold out). The double silk is so solid, it is my trusty partner in babywearing.

This month’s subject was wisdom, so I’ll say this: I checked out a whole stack of library books when I first found out I was pregnant two years ago. I’m a researcher, when it comes to a new topic in my life, I want to read everything. Once Lux was born it escalated—I was online trying to figure out how to get the baby to sleep, I was highlighting pages of and folding over corners of my books, I was emailing my friends and strangers for advice.

Eventually, I figured out what a few good people had tried to tell me all along: listen to yourself. Listen to the voice that tells you that you know what you’re doing. Close the books, scoff at the experts. Tell ‘em you’re different, your babe is one of a kind, and by golly, you know what you’re doing.

 

at Nahant Beach

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I was up early with Joan on Saturday and twiddled her toes patiently waiting for Joe and Lux to open their eyes. Then I pounced and declared we were going to the beach. They barely had time to find their swimsuits before we were outside, picking up coffee and egg sandwiches on the way (after a long pause to debate what was the perfect driving-to-the-beach music….Ron Sexsmith and MGMT were chosen).

The weekends are nearly vital to my sanity right now as I wade very slowly through the first month of life with two. I enjoy the time with the four of us together so much. I am accustomed to satisfying one child, and trying to fully satisfy two at all times has been overwhelming. But with Joe around we can relax and take turns with each girl, chasing after bouncing Lux or curling up with cuddly Joan. Many times we flop exhausted on the couch at the end of the day, reliving the funny things that happend, and feeling more like partners in this adventure than ever.

If I just stumbled on these photos, I would think hmm, posed photo? A sling and a bathing suit, really? But it happened, we were at the beach and it was glorious but Joan wasn’t sleeping blissfully in her little beach tent as I planned. So into the sling she went, to fall asleep somewhere between the tumult of the waves and the steady thud of my heart. On second thought, I think her plan was better than mine anyways. The best part was I could flip up the extra sling fabric to cover her as a sunshade while we walked. Nothing goes with polka dots like wild tussah silk, am I right?

This is my penultimate post for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries. I’m wearing a luxe wild silk sling in shiitake. My four previous sling diary posts are right here. If you’re thinking about buying a sling, My Corner View has a great introduction to them. And Goodnight Mush wrote up a super helpful fabric comparison too. 

 

at home

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July babies. Both my girls have come in the heat of the summer. Their rumblings will forever be tied to clammy nights under the steady breeze of a fan, to walks on heated pavement ambling from shade to shade; the slow avalanche of their births both begun on heady evenings when the sun had only just blinked to dark. Boston is drifting under a week-long heatwave right now. I do so love these cooped up mornings: no expectation of leaving the apartment, the windows closed to the heat and one or two air conditioner units humming away.

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I have mentioned before that I like to imagine motherhood as the lazy summertime of a woman’s life. With Joan Bea’s arrival last week, again I encounter the bliss of a day less full, a project not started, a voyage left for another time. We all have voices within us that speak louder and even compete at times: the creative urge, the rowdy adventuring spirit, the maternal leaning, the enthusiasm and passion of a new idea, the quiet tug to rest and be still. I am happy to tell you that it is significantly easier with the second baby to relax and enjoy, to listen to the voice that says cherish, relish, savor.

I know Boston’s isn’t the only city anticipating a heat index over 100 today and tomorrow. Let’s all have a tall glass of water and savor the breeze when you discover it.

quiet_kitchensling_diaries2sling_diaries3I’m so grateful for this project from Sakura Bloom–I fear that many of these moments would not have been captured without it! I’m wearing the Sakura Bloom pure baby linen sling in twilight. 

joy, mine and hers

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true story: the newborn days were not joyful for me. I know some women are able to love it and bask in their well earned status as new mother of a milky babe. I was pretty confused about what Lux needed, what she wanted, what I was supposed to be doing. Joy was a word a lot of old people exclaimed to me on the street. “What a joy she is!” they said. I scrunched my eyes shut and tried to imagine how they saw her. Where was that ethereal glow, that leapt into their eyes at the sight of her, coming from? They grinned at me expecting an eager nod of agreement, but received only a smile and few fuzzy blinks from my tired eyes. This rumored joy of being a mother felt like an elusive promise in those early days.

I suppose my greatest moments of joy have come from sharing the work of raising Lux with Joe. Watching how he responds to a situation when I am at a loss, learning what inspires him about her, and most especially watching their long-lost-best-friends reunion every evening when he comes home from work. And–that wonderful feeling when you think, “oh I don’t know if I have it in me for this right now,” but wait! Your partner appears and handles it for you, in a way far different from what you would have done. A sigh of relief, and you sit back, watch, and learn.

Meanwhile, toddlers spend at least five minutes every day in a state of sheer joy. We go to a carousal in our park quite frequently. It’s a treat, but not an exotic one for the kids in our neighborhood. The animals are nicked here and there from overlove, but glossy with paint and bedazzled with jewels, and in the evenings they turn on the rows of bulbs and from across the park you can see the ribboning lights spin by. Lux’s current favorite is a rabbit with a pink collar and blue eyes who is completely missing one of his ears. Anyway, yesterday, as soon as the gate opened, Lux took off in a sprint around it, her arms thrown back as she circled the wooden animals. She was completely overjoyed at the prospect of the ride and did a full lap of glee. I watched her mini celebration of the moment in awe. Learning from her, learning from Joe, that’s where I finally stumbled on the promised joy.

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This is the third in a series of posts for the Sling Diaries. I’m wearing the Sakura Bloom pure baby linen sling in twilight. 

Memory at Haymarket

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oh, the memories we all have of food! When do they form? I think of just summer alone: salty chips and candy bars at a beach stand, strawberry ice cream on a hot afternoon, lemonade after a long swim, cheeseburgers with friends, tomatoes off the vine and sprinkled with salt, corn cobs spun in butter, cold oysters mingled with tart mignonette, melty peach pie in evening, hot doughnuts in the morning…. We seem to pull our strongest memories from childhood, the flavors melded with moments, locations, the presence of loved ones, all of it recalled in an instant with just a taste or a whiff.

Toddlers seem to me to be nearly fruitarians. They just love it. Look for them at a party and you’ll find them all round the fruit tray, pinching watermelon squares, bundling blueberries into their hands for later, telltale strawberry stains long since dried on their shirt collars. To love something as a toddler is to want it over and over—a book only gets better on the 3rd read; a lunch, then a dinner, of only fresh raspberries is never refused.

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Imagine the wonder of a market to a toddler’s eye: the fruit heaped, piled, trays lining tables, tables forming rows fading off into the distance. The fruit of Boston’s Haymarket is not farmer’s market fruit: fresh from the fields and only just ripe to sell. Instead it is overripe, really on the verge of rotten. It is opulence from grocery stores across the city, an order that was overestimated and must be sold quickly or wasted altogether. The vendors will warn you, “eat these right away,” as they hand over a bag of mush-soft avocados. If you’re planning a party that night and want an enormous bowl of guacamole, a margarita pitcher sharp with fresh limes, or mojitos brimming with trampled mint, it’s perfect. Otherwise, think fast.

I remember coming to Haymarket when I was due, so very overdue, with Lux. I bought lemons and made a lemon cake. Though I’m now only at 33 weeks, I still feel a bit like the fruit piled here. Bursting at the seams here and there, even softer in spots than you might expect. Getting dressed in your third trimester, I’ve always felt, is a bit like slipping a rubber band over a ripe peach. Abundant, and preposterous.

I’m wearing Lux in sakura bloom simple silk in amber. All of these photos were taken by Cambria Grace, a dreamy Boston photographer. Lux and I had so much fun wandering the market with her and Joe and I are absolutely over the moon about these photos (she got smiles from Lux we never seem to managed to capture!). 

Sling Diares: inspiration

IMG_0106 IMG_0132 IMG_0191IMG_0248on_the_phoneIMG_0174IMG_0280I returned from visiting another city inspired to rediscover my own. That was the most unexpected element of our trip, the way I came back ready to see Boston as I had seen Rome. What are the old habits you find yourself in, that you haven’t even noticed? The cafe you always go to, the cafe you never go to? The part of town you haven’t visited in years. That park you’ve heard is beautiful, but it never quite works out to visit. If you were visiting your city for the first time, what do you think you would fall in love with first?

Carrying a toddler can have a similar effect. We talk about ducks, and suddenly she’s pointing out that ducks are everywhere, in fact there are flyers for a duck parade in every window on our street. When I’m pushing her in a stroller, we have a bit of separate experience—she’s chatting away while I’m eyeing street signs, curb ledges, the uneven sidewalks that are coming up next. But slung up next to me, we share the moments as they pass. And why not stop to watch the bikers ride by, their wheels skimming over the pavement with such precision? Why not closely examine the flower buds as they open just a little bit more each day? Why not head in a new direction for the morning, the day unplanned but certain to be filled with something new?

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This is my first post for the Sakura Bloom sling diaries. Lux is slung in the simple silk sling in amber made by sakura bloom. There are thirteen other moms with babes of all ages participating, what a treat to take part!