Kaya found his thumb, and it’s been a very happy union. I’ve never seen someone suck a thumb with such abandon, although if my mother is to be believed, I might have given him a run for the money in my day.
My father loved to tell people that when he was reporting in NY in the late 70s and early 80s, if he were on the subway late at night and felt himself attracting unwanted attention, he would suck his thumb while smearing his saliva on his face with his free fingers. What he charitably left out if that story was that he learned this disgusting trick from me. It is one of the many things that I look back on and wonder how my parents managed not to freak out. I think I might have if it were Baki. Well, they may have been content to allow my quirks to resolve themselves, but they didn’t forget them; when I told my mom about Kaya and his thumb meeting at last, she said with a laugh, “Ah, well pretty soon he’ll be rubbing his spit all over his face!” I should hope not!
More than one person has asked me if it was love at first sight when Kaya was born. I’d have to say that it wasn’t. I think my first reaction was relief, to be honest, followed by various forms of disbelief: although I’ve done this once before, it is the hardest thing in the world for me to believe that an actual human can come out of my body. There was the weeklong physical train wreck period and there was also a period of complete emotional chaos, where Kaya was the calm eye of the storm and I was flapping around him.
We wake with the sun now, so that we can water the garden before the heat of the day. Once I’m sure Kaya has had his fill of milk, I wrap my sling around myself, slip him in, and we’re off. This is the time of day when I have it all: Kaya is with me, Baki is sleeping, Ali is watering as well. I sometimes listen to podcasts as I work, and I see all of the plants, one at a time. I looked down this morning, as I have so often over the past few weeks since we’ve started watering every morning, and I sighed. It might not have happened the instant we met, but there’s no denying that I’m besotted now.
I was watering the pots when Baki ran up all super heroed up. Then he ran down the hill, past our garden, to the bottom of the land, where he found some folks from Sundance. He called me down and I chatted with them a little while Baki ran amok with their two children. All the while I was thinking how nice it was that he’d turned up in a mask, looking as if we do creative projects together all the time. The reality of course is that my mom did the mask with him. She’s been doing all sorts of wonderful projects with Baki, and he’s going to miss her a lot when she leaves this Sunday.
Of course, no one will miss her more than me. My mom has been here covering my back for the past two and a half months, helping me to get dinner on the table, clean the kitchen, keep Baki busy, you name it. She is largely responsible for how mellow and frankly fun the first two months with Kaya have been. And that really is saying a lot because the first two months can be pretty hairy, at least I know they were with Baki.
So maybe I will completely freak for the next two months, since I haven’t been thrown in at the deep end yet. We’ll see. But to look at this photo, taken just now by Baki, you’d never suspect what might be in store!
“You guys don’t know what to do with cut flowers,” my mother said when she saw some cut snapdragons in a glass with no water in it. Ali had cut them so that I could smell them; they were supposed to be scented and it turned out they were.
She’s right- we love to grow flowers, and we really enjoy them in the garden, but we hardly ever cut them. I also possess an uncanny ability to take any bunch if flowers, no matter how lovely or well composed, and make a complete mess of them. So it is really lovely to find little arrangements of cut flowers everywhere. My mother is keeping well on top of cutting the sweetpeas before they can set seed, which means more flowers for longer, and lovely scented corners in every room
And on a completely unrelated note, here is Kaya charming his daddy.
Laundry has always been a subject dear to my heart, although if you didn’t candy coat it, you could reasonably call me anal about laundry. That’s why it was so satisfying to finally find an efficient way to do laundry here (seepost). And one of the main reasons that I was so keen to untangle our laundry conundrum was another thing dear to my heart: cloth diapers.
I used cloth diapers with Baki and really liked them. I thought I might use disposables this time around, but once we got the Lehman’s Hand Washer, I realized that it would be possible to use cloth. I use disposables from time to time as well, by the way- I can’t always keep up with all the laundry.
Anyway, Kaya has been staying awake for longer spells, and surveying the kingdom. He likes to sit in his bouncy chair and watch what is going on. So I take him out to the garden and set him down in a shady spot while I do the laundry. He seems to find it diverting, while I am very pleased that he is showing an early interest in the ins and outs of proper laundry procedure; these things ought to be done just so, after all, and it can take a while to learn.
I remember before Baki was born, a friend told me I could forget about reading ever again. I was disheartened by this, but I needn’t have been. Breastfeeding chained me to a chair for hours, and I read stacks of old New Yorkers from my parents’ house.
This time around, my iPod has changed things slightly (I’m typing this with my thumb as Kaya drinks), i have been thumbing through a few old New Yorkers. In one of them, I read a piece on Christopher Walken, in the Shouts and Murmurs section. He went to Astoria, where he’d grown up, and visited the building where he’d lived. He described how they’d laid him on the kitchen table to change his diapers and said that his earliest memory was of turning his head and seeing a plate of eggs next to him on the table. Naturally, this came to mind when Baki shot this picture of Kaya on our table in the aftermath of breakfast.
Of all of us, Baki is the one who’s seem the biggest change on his life. After all, I was already a mom and Ali was already a dad. But Baki has only just become a brother.
Naturally, we all wondered how he would take to it, especially once he voiced his disapproval at having a baby brother instead of a baby sister. We found out Kaya would be a boy months ago, though, which gave Baki time to come around.
And it seems that he has. He was so excited to see us that he met us at the gate when we returned from the hospital, and he reacted with calm approval upon meeting Kaya for the first time. Since then, he has been loving towards Kaya, hugging and kissing him, or, like us, just staring at him. And he’s been very helpful, fetching diapers when I need them and wetting wash cloths.
No doubt it helps a lot that my mom is here, and we’ve managed to get back to some of our old routines, like a bedtime story or two. Still, I am amazed at how open-hearted Baki has been and at how much he seems to have grown up.