Friday, July 6, 2007

Giant Inflatable Babies


I think maybe I don't write enough here about the depth of tenderness I feel for my kids, the way the little bit of baby fat left at Addie's wrists makes me want to grab her and hold her to me, refusing to give up the last vestiges of her baby-ness to the passage of time.  Or the sweet little smile Nolie makes at Eric when he pushes her in her swing, the air blowing through the fine bits of hair that grow longer over her scalp.  The way they both lunge at me when we play, slobbering and suffocating, pulling and scratching their love into my skin, my bones. 

I was out yesterday buying a dress for a wedding we're going to tomorrow night (can I just give a shout-out to Marshall's for carrying a $15 full-length dress from the Gap that kicks ass?), and I swung by the kids section to buy Addie a few t-shirts.  The things this kid can do to a t-shirt!  We go through them like toilet paper.  Anyway, I was amazed at how tiny the t-shirts were, the ones in her size.  Somehow, in my head, she is much bigger, physically, than those shirts suggested.

This happened to me when she was a baby, too.  I remember having this quasi-psychedelic moment when she was four or five months old:  she was getting up once a night to breastfeed, and she and I were sprawled out on the guest bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, the heat of summer just barely dissipating from that old house.  She stared at me as she nursed, her eyes wide--piercing, almost--as if she knew things about me that I hadn't revealed yet, that she shouldn't know or understand.  And in those moments of almost-lucidity, it was as if her baby-body grew giant, overcame me with its needs and demands.  I didn't feel afraid or oppressed, but surprised at how large this child that came from me had suddenly become.  It took me many days to shake that feeling of disproportion.

But it shouldn't surprise, right?  I mean, these kids occupy so much of our mental and emotional space; we care for them and love them to our limits.  Of course they become symbolically inflated as well, seeming to grow bigger and larger than they really are  Until those baby wrists and wisps of hair resituate our vision, help us to see them anew, as best we can, as best as we can hope to, through our crazy, distorted view.


  1. This was very touching - made me tear up! I remember before the kids were born, I'd just sit there holding the little onsies that would soon cover their tiny bodies and think, "there is no way my baby is this small." It would make me feel overwhelmed because to me they were everything and so big.

  2. Great article and blog and we want more!