I finish nursing her for the night. Sleepily she reaches for her pacifier. I help her plug it in her mouth, and she settles in my arm as I open Llama Llama Red Pajamafor the hundredth, three-hundredth time.
I read, but I’ve memorized the book, so I also watch her. She tugs gently, purposefully at her curls. Her eyes close, but she isn’t quite asleep. She shifts a little at each page turn, and when I finish and bring her to my shoulder, she lifts her head and looks at me. I finish a song, kiss her face, and place her in her bed as she reaches for it, milk and words already lulling her most of the way to sleep.
Every year I like to put a tremendous amount of effort into growing vegetables only to inevitably watch half of them die, or go to rot because I don’t pick them fast enough, or be overcome by weeds that grow back like hydra heads when I pluck them. It’s fun (?) for me. Out in the sun, earbuds in, digging holes and getting lost in myself for a little bit.
Now I look up at every small sound from the toddler a few feet away. I pat the ground with my shovel as small hands come up beside me and do the same. I shift her small body around, keeping those tiny, unknowingly careless feet from crushing a small plant, only to cause her to fall back in frustration and crush something else entirely.
Even if I wait for her to sleep, I’m constantly checking the monitor, making sure she doesn’t need me, that I didn’t miss something while I did this thing for myself.
Choosing my plants has shifted too. Cucumbers and tomatoes made it into my cart like always, but I also picked watermelons, and peppers, which I do not like, but my daughter does. She’ll get to see them grow, and pick them for herself.
My head is too full of her, and even gardening isn’t something I can do entirely alone anymore. Like so much else of my life it has changed, shifted–but certainly not into anything bad.
Bonus Content: John Green also just made a video about gardening, and after an amusingly roundabout way of saying gardens don’t save any money, declared that he highly recommends it.
Before my daughter was even born, I wondered: what kind of things would she like? What would be her favorite shows, the books she read again and again? I figured I had a while before these preferences set in.
Then around 10 months, I read Llama Llama Red Pajama, repeating the story every time she flailed her arms and grunted, “Unh!” (It was many times, over many nights.) One afternoon she hit the PBS Kids app on my phone and accidentally started an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, thus beginning an ongoing love of imaginary tigers singing infuriatingly catchy songs. And she has not yet had her fill of this bunny video…
Her personality set in so much faster than I realized it would. Every day she becomes more distinct, more herself, and watching this happen is so exciting.
Oof, I haven’t written in a couple of months! But I do have an excuse. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in March, and as we crest the halfway point in the pregnancy, I keep finding things that take up a lot of thinking and researching time: day care, pediatricians, which cribs are actually safe…
But while I stress over all these things that are technically for future baby girl, I’m also stressing over things that are a little more selfish. Namely, the things that I’m going to lose, or that I’m worried I’ll lose. Most of these are just me overly panicking, because I have to think about something when heartburn keeps me up at night, but they’re there, all the same.Read More »