Posts By: Maeve
This is me, flush faced at the Santa Monica stairs yesterday. It was the first time I’d visited in probably six to nine months. So yes, if I look shocked and confused, that’s why. That’s not true. I look like that because 1) I am incapable of taking a selfie because I do not know where to look, plus 2) I was embarrassed that I was vain enough to take one so I was rushing so I wouldn’t be seen taking it nor would I have any riff raff running into my shot. As such, I only took this one in which I am clearly trying to figure out where to look. (Insert stereotypical granny voice here) “How do you kids work these newfangled gadgets?” 3) Any but of photogenic capacity I once had disappeared in the past few years leaving my in a state of panic when I know my picture is being taken. Sometimes I will myself not to kick the phone out of people’s hands as they shoot. Especially if it’s mine.
As I parked at the stairs I thought, five laps. As I was doing five, I thought two sets of three is a better way to split it up, so six. At five, you’re gonna do seven. It’s your favorite number. At seven, I have the time, so why not 10? Then I wasn’t sure if I’d done 10 so I did a couple more. So I did anywhere from 10 to 12 laps and it felt like dragging your suitcase in the front door and getting purrs and meows after a week in Italy. And that’s a glimpse into my machinations.
I was doing the stairs more regularly when Caid was little andI I’d put him in the carrier, or before that when he was in my belly. It’s no surprise that when he finds sets of mini stairs that fit his legs he does laps. l think that he thinks that’s why they are there. Up down repeat. I haven’t taken him to these stairs since he started walking, which is probably the marker of my last visit, knowing he would want to do them with me. I have stopped doing certain things in order to have more time with Caid. I miss many of those things yet I don’t regret choosing him. I can be comfortable in my choice and still lament what I’m missing. That’s my right. If I was a younger mom, I would probably miss going out, but clearly since I can’t take a selfie and I’m posting on a Saturday night, that’s a non-issue. As I miss things that I could do more of pre-baby, I also know I will continue to feel more and more independent as he gets older. That has nothing to do with the glimpses of his tantrums I’ve seen: squeal of some kind followed by thrown item (with exquisite follow through), looks over either in defiance or expectation of accolades on said form.
This flight of stairs, 170 wooden steps and yes I googled that, a place where I’ve spent so much time over the years, presented an unexpected juxtaposition of my current versus my former life. I used to do 20 laps a visit, I did 30 once just to see how it would feel (felt the same as 20, just took longer). Doing these laps yesterday was like visiting with an old friend and falling back into the same banter — every other stair, then every third stair, going sideways, glute extension, jumping or sprinting them, running every step of running every other. It brought back memories of so many different periods of my life and the emotions of those periods. This physical place and this act of going up and down stairs is a form of meditation for me.
I was scared how my body would feel today but it’s surprisingly good. It’s not like I’m not doing anything, but these stairs will serve you your ass on a platter if you haven’t visited in a bit. It was nice to know I can go back without too much punishment. They will be there when time allows me to drop in. For today, I’m rocking Caid while he naps with his head in my inner arm and his ever-growing little paw on my shoulder. This is a non-permanent place I will miss tremendously as captured in the second picture. The third pic is accidental art. After taking the stairs selfie, I shoved the phone back into the back of my pants and while running up, captured this abstract self portrait of my ass. (No, that’s not crack.) I’m much more successful when I’m not worried about where to look.
My sweet little buster Caid,
It’s love letter time… They are all in my head/heart and I know I won’t remember all I feel. As real and ripe and intense as they currently exist, these moments get replaced with new ones.
I lament the speed at which you grow, but watching it is the best storyline ever. You’re almost 18 months old. You love flowers and we have to pick them everywhere we go. There’s a particular bush with yellow flowers on the way home from the park (which you just said for the first time). You grunt and point at it and won’t budge forward until I pick you one. Sorry neighbor.
Other things you say, off the top of my head: hot (sounds like ought and you open and close your fingers meaning don’t touch), socks, shirt, dog, duck, da, bubbles, banana, bath, ball, Liu Liu! Mama has become mommmm. All in the cutest little raspy voice.
You’re so good at sharing. I don’t even know how you learned the concept or maybe it’s innate to you. I’m sure you’ll have your “mine” time later. You especially like to give all your things to pretty older girls. Literally empty your bag of tricks as an offering of adoration. Oh boy.
You continue to excel physically and that’s not part of my #whatsyourbabydoing tall tales. You have the cutest little baby muscles. Lats, traps, deltoids, quads and calves! You are really good on your scooter now. You go into down dog and pick up your leg for me to lift you into handstand. You kick, throw, shoot and just learned to catch a ball! You’re funny and you have been working on your comedic timing — you do or say something, pause, look sideways and then break into laughter. We do too.
When you give me a kiss on the mouth, I die. It’s usually followed up by a couple of smacks which you somehow think is affection. I don’t think I’ll miss that little ditty, but I will miss picking you up from your crib and the squeeze or “pat pat” you give me as you put your head on my shoulder. You make me feel very loved. You fulfill me so deeply, a greater sense of purpose is omnipresent. I can’t speak for your daddy, but I have a very strong sense that he has his own love letters in his heart.
All my love,
You are crashing toward 17 months — sometimes quite literally. You nourish me more than air.
Today I watched you play in the mud at the park even though I said it wasn’t a mud day. Ha! You win. You picked up and gave another little boy the shovel he dropped, even though you were using a busted-ass one (which I said in front of a gaggle of parents and children, oops). Two days ago at another park, you found the saddest three wheeled car to play with even though there were awesome dump trucks and bulldozers. I commented today — with the half shovel play — that I hoped these choices were indicative of how you’d be as an adult, taking on the broken, and quickly backpedaled thinking of relationships and career! But your wise uncle Greg said well what I meant (I paraphrase loosely): the pretty things are cool but don’t always need your attention.
But you, my angel, are the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. On this 2019 summer solstice, I am thankful for some downtime to put down a few thoughts and more daylight hours to study this face. Curious, thoughtful, FUNNY, mischievous, loving and truly delicious.
I was getting ready in the locker room today after teaching class, and this older (than me) woman walked directly toward me and my little corner space. She was in just her undies, which is always awkward, and she said excuse me… I thought she wanted to use the magnifying mirror in my space so I smiled and moved a little to give her space to come in if she wanted. Instead she continued to look right at me and with a preemptive apology, she asked me if I would put her hair up. Her hair was about halfway down her back. I asked, just a ponytail? And she said no and kind of moved her hands side to side (ESL) and I exclaimed as if we were playing a raucous game of charades, ah! A braid! So with an attempt at tempering her expectations, I separated her wet hair into three sections, braided her up and put her hot pink hair tie on the bottom. She approved, turned and apologized for the fourth time for bothering me (to which of course said it was no bother) and then she asked me if she could give me a kiss. With a giggly yes, she kissed my cheek in the sweetest, most sincere way. 💗 I can’t lie, I was so grateful she didn’t hug me with her boobs out. 🤣
Why me? I have no idea. I work there but I’ve never seen her before so I don’t think she knew that. She passed at least five people on her way to me. Am I especially approachable? Meh. Not really. I think she was sent as a lesson. I cannot ask for help, to a fault. My spirit animal is a turtle on its back. Something so simple as asking your sister for an assist with your hair is so far out of my box it was like she was dropped off from Mars, but I felt so much joy at her expression of gratitude, it was the highlight of my day. Enough to share it with you here! She probably had a frozen shoulder and couldn’t do it herself, or wanted me to see her unusually young boobs (it’s true), but I’m going to let it stand as a lesson in asking for help. Thoughts? Analysis? Similar experience of random braiding?
7 months postpartum. Been talking a lot about this lately… It’s like one of those dreams you have between opening an eye at 6:48am, realizing you have 12 minutes unti your 7am alarm so you quickly shut your eyes. In that 12 minutes, you experience that you can dream a lifetime. This 7 months has been chocolate cake rich, satisfying and full (I love chocolate cake) while simultaneously a mere snooze button of time. 🖤
At about 6 months I started to move physically with less thought and hesitation, and to be more Maeve-like. Whatever that is. I guess being able to hold a handstand for a few seconds and string together some push ups. 🖤
I think back to 6 weeks postpartum, I was in Hawaii, and I thought that was an extensive expanse of time and I felt an urgency to feel like me again post surgery. Instead, why do my hips still feel loose and achy, will this skin ever go back and what is this scar going to look like? Now I’m thinking daaammmmnnn mama, that was just 6 weeks after your little human was pulled from your belly and air breathing. So if I catch myself saying, it’s been 7 months with some sort of expectation of anything, I remind myself that emotionally, it’s a snooze button of time. (As well as, do your damn pushups.) 🖤
This is my story, it might not be yours or maybe you can relate in some way, and honestly, it doesn’t matter! In my story, I’m even more Maeve-like after becoming a mother: stronger, kinder, funnier, more truthful. My 12 minute dreams are full of these things, and more. 🖤
When I was pregnant, multiple people informed me I was going to fall in love with my baby. What they didn’t explain to me was that I was going to fall in love. Someone probably told them the same thing at some point and eventually had the same epiphany I had, then repeated it to me. You also hear people say that you’ll never know love like this. Blah blah blah. You won’t.
I knew I’d love my baby. I even knew it would be the kind of love where you can’t stretch your arms long enough to open up the insides of your elbows for relief from the emotion. What I wasn’t prepared for was goosebumps and butterflies. Adrenaline. That you actually fall in love. The same way you fall in love with a lover. I didn’t know it was possible to have that sense of your heart physically opening to accommodate this love without the coupling/sexual component. The excitement of having a whole day with that person, not having to share them with anyone else. A decadent love where you feel like you’re pulling a fast one getting that time together. The love where the world whizzes past but you are caught in the most spectacular love warp.
Where you can lie in bed for hours. Just sitting and staring at them. You drink in every detail of face, hands, ears, the way the hair falls. You enjoy an intimacy no one else experiences. With a lover, it’s probing, desire filled, the want to share everything you love with them. Sights, tastes, songs, sounds. With your baby, nurturing, nursing,the curiosity of who will you be? How do I keep you safe?
And just as I thought the other times I fell in love, I will love you like this forever, my baby Caid. But you are not even 6 months old, so only time will tell, but I believe this is the one that proves true.
I tell you, if you have a baby, you will fall in love.
Starting week two of working after baby. No tears (that I can remember, but baby brain is in full effect) and I am really quite happy to be back to my classes! It’s a somewhat conflicting state, wanting to be home with Caid but also relishing the joy of teaching. As one of my students said, how lucky to WANT to be in those two places when so many people don’t want to be in any of their commitments. I can’t believe I’m going to use this word, mark the date, but I am blessed. I love my work and I adore being a mom.
The good news was I was able to walk (though pretty damn sore) after my first fitness class in which I got lightheaded no less than 3 times. I’ll take that as nature’s high rather than a mark of being grossly out of shape. My body is not the same. Thank you to the kind souls saying I don’t look like I had a baby, but I absolutely do and moreover, I feel it. Besides my substantially softer, fuller physical appearance — zaftig if you’d like (I had to Google that word to make sure it was right, who am I?) I am much weaker, much tighter, unsure of my movements and yes, at times, incredibly frustrated.
After having a really healthy pregnancy and exercising throughout, the recovery is not at all how I envisioned. Then again, neither was the birth. Having a C-section was a massive learning experience for me. I’ll save that for another post. I thought I’d be back in pre-baby shape by now. The last day I was in the hospital, I was dressed and ready to leave when a new nursing assistant came in, looked around and then skeptically asked me if I was the patient. I replied yes, with a little confusion and possibly insulted, and she said I looked too fit to have just had a baby so she was looking for the mom. Needless to say, my EGO surged with pride and we talked fitness for 30 minutes. The fact I’m even sharing that story shows how important that interaction was to my identity. I’m not proud of that. That was how I expected things to be post baby.
My core is completely different and it can be downright scary at times to ask those muscles to do things that were once familiar. This is the most out of my body I have felt since I was truly zaftig my freshman year of college! — Aside, zaftig is so much kinder than fat, chubby, etc. I should have been using it for years! I digress. — I want to push myself to feel confident and strong and to do the movements that once felt so good, and I also want to be smart and safe so I don’t cause more damage. Another conflicted state. This path back is truly a practice in self love and yoga! (And possibly buckling and buying bigger jeans. Sigh.)
Long story short, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Beating myself up for fleshy arms and cellulite isn’t going to fix it, but neither is eating cookies and binge watching HGTV! BALANCE.
As the sun sets on my first mother’s day, I share a few thoughts.
This baby made me a mother, but mothering has always been in me. I don’t feel that different other than extreme gratitude and loving this little guy like mad. Oh and nursing on the fly.
My sisters that feel alienated or sad by this day, I feel you. Remember you are powerful, often influencing and caring for other family members, friends’ children, students, pets, coworkers, etc. You are the village! If you are hoping to be a mother, I pray you realize that dream. If you don’t, know your importance isn’t diminished. In my nieces words, “I hope you are enjoying your “first” Mother’s Day… it really isn’t considering how you have basically been like a mom to me :)” And scene…
I am overwhelmed by the thoughtful sentiments (not just other parents either) and I feel like I’ve fallen incredibly short on acknowledging other first time moms over many years. From my family and friends to my students, to the neighbor’s little girl who left a handwritten note with pics on my doorstep (‼️) — your messages and cards truly warm me. Thank you for the love!
I learned today that mother’s day was enacted not just to recognize and honor the bond, but to recognize and call to action mothers as agents of change. That inspires me. 💞
To my beautiful baby Caid:
You are 14 weeks today. It’s also my last week home with you before I resume working. While I’m excited to get back to my classes, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to stay home with you just a little longer. Say, oh, I dunno — five years?
My heart aches when I look at how big you’ve gotten. You have doubled your weight from birth, you’re starting to roll over and doing your best to sit up from lying down. I purposely took this picture with your shirt drool soaked so I would remember this place you’re in right now. Also in this place, tracking me everywhere, kicking your legs in the bath, using your hands to start to hold and pull. I love watching your mind work: after you get over the shock of me holding an ever changing handsome baby in the mirror, you laugh and study our reflection. Your laugh is contagious and your cry makes my stomach flop, but my heart soars with making it stop.
Like every parent before me, I can’t believe you’re mine. When I leave you, I can’t wait to be back with you. You are pure magic. My baby. ✨
I’m lying with you in bed. You’re on my belly sideways, skin to skin, and you’re asleep with your head in the crook of my arm. Currently, you have one arm over your face, the other under you, but you roll around; grunt and stretch like a grown up. I think you’ll wake up but you don’t.
These late mornings in bed with you are the best. I’ve taken you out of the bassinet to nurse, then I take your little sleep sack off leaving you just in your diaper. I’ve never stayed in bed this late in my life. It would have killed me to waste the day away, but now I can’t imagine leaving you to get up. I should take advantage of this down time and get things done around the house or take a shower but I love your feel and sounds and I want to be the first thing you see when you wake up. And then I get that smile from you that all but stops time.
You’ll never be this little again. 12 pounds of little man with perfect ears and nose, beautiful mouth and deep soulful eyes. I often speculate that there is a Freaky Friday style adult trapped in your infant body with your sense of humor, facial expressions, antics and understanding, but I think it’s just your old soul that was waiting to come into my existence. I’ll never be the same again.
And shortly after this, you peed up the front of your diaper down the side of my body and into the bed. Doesn’t change a damn thing other than now I’m finally up, doing laundry.