Monday, September 06, 2004

Growing up and growing tired

I'm a mess.

I probably shouldn't even be taking the time to do this, to blog. I should be sleeping. But I need to empty my head before I can rest it peacefully.

(There's always so much to say when things are busy, but no time to say it. By the time there's time, the words are always less intense, less important, less real. Remind me that I have things to say about Brick Lane, which I finished days ago — is the book leaving me already, or is it in me now?)

Helena starts daycare in the morning. I'm pretty excited by this, but I feel so sad that this weekend was so full of nothing special and some plain old shit — that I couldn't take her to the park, spend a day doing our favourite things, and maybe some new someday-to-be-favourite things, like buying her an ice cream cone. As if we'll never again have a day to do those things. As if life has changed forever. And I squandered my last days with her on work.

I tell myself the weekend doesn't count anyway — our last stay-at-home-mom day (rather, stay-at-home-baby day — I'll continue to sit at this desk in the apartment) was Friday, and though eventful, in spirit it was typical.

Saturday morning she had her innoculation, against whatever weird diseases the government requires us to combat. The usual cocktail for 18-month-olds, though it's been a couple months since she was 18 months old. Yes, I procrastinated, then was busy, then forgot — I am an awful, negligent mother.

The stats: 13.45 k, 89 cm. At 21-and-a-half months, she's a big girl. The nurse says her hair is incredibly long too.

The shot: Helena wailed inconsolably, but then she got over it.

Neat stuff about my baby

When Big Bird's counting while Ernie's hiding, Helena puts her hands over her eyes and makes noises that sound a little like numbers. Very cute.

She mimics words like they're going out of style. Popular words this weekend: slinky, Lego, cacoor (calculator), and something I couldn't possibly replicate that means "shiny elephant."

Helena was served some leftover pasta for lunch, and I swear she said, "That doesn't look very good."

For the first time, Helena asked for a cookie. She took me by the hand, pointed to the cupboard, and said "cookie." Not sitting at the table, questioning the meal in front of her, discovering percussive uses for her "fook," babbling in a fidgety kind of way "babacookie?bana." This time, her intention was unmistakable. I give her "cookie" (Farley's biscuits) as an occasional snack — Helena can take it or leave it. Cookie is definitely more fun to say than to eat. But this one — she wanted it and relished it.

We had a cherry tomato incident. Helena was helping to unpack groceries and it seems she decided to liberate a few. I thought the basket looked rather meagre when I tucked it away, but it was 24 hours before I discovered there were runaways stashed in all corners of the living room.

"Manate." Tomate. This is the word her rendition of which is, in all her vocabulary, furthest from the actual word.

The summer I was pregnant with Helena, all I ate was tomatoes. I've always loved tomatoes, but that summer they were particularly plump and juicy. That smell when they're fresh off the vine drives me wild. I wanted Helena to share my appreciation for the fruit, but I was afraid that after all her in utero consumption she might swear off them for life. My worries were unfounded. A couple of months ago she came 'round. Manate.

So we're playing with my old Fisher Price schoolhouse, specifically the magnetic letters of the alphabet and the tray that houses them, when I made some innocuous comment about whether they would stick to a particular surface in Helena's room. Helena looked at me, left in a hurry, and came back a moment later with her (plastic toy) hockey stick. And she raises the stick to the surface in question. I'm flabbergasted. She heard "stick" and understood "stick" the noun when I meant "stick" the verb. How complicated is that tiny mind! How sophisticated the human machine and its language!

Today, she drew on the soles of her feet (her legs in general, but her soles were the focus, with some spillover onto the sofa cushions) with a black pen. I saw it about to happen, then happening, and I'm guessing I probably should've stopped her (is that what a good mother would do?) but I was somehow living a vicarious thrill. Pen! Writes on the body! Boy, was she proud.

Weird stuff about the blogosphere

I'm a voyeur. That's what the Internet is for (I mean "internet," lowercase 'i' — I never understood that well-it's-a-proper-noun argument which everyone denies ever existed, yet I have trouble breaking the habit), to peer into others' windows.

(So, yeah, this blog is a fort. It's ostentatiously private: how much am I telling you? You don't know what my apartment smells like, for example. Not that I expect you to care. Only, having a blog sets up an inside and an outside; otherwise, it would be all inside, or all outside, and there would be no reason to look. Our computers are the peephole, and the whole (can I use this word?) blogosphere is a vast international warren of forts, like a hamster-run, connected by an elaborate system of tunnels.)


Over the last month, it's become uncomfortable. I almost want to turn away, close my eyes, navigate the browser to a virtual happy place. I've read about the intimate details of strangers: mothers dying, wives leaving, rapes and miscarriages. People turned inside out.

Public, yet anonymous.

Where was I going with this? Something about my personal angsts. That I don't mind for the world to know them. That in the grand scheme of things they're not to be taken very seriously.
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