1. The origins of Buddhist mantras. Or, at least, rhythmic chanting. Though I have tried all lullaby renditions of song about grey wolves, precariously perched cradles, consumerist parents et al, Tolly wants to fall asleep to vigorous, rhythmic, loud chanting. The more nonsensical, the better. This is the only way Tolly wanted to nap during his fifth month.
2. I'm pretty sure my landlord thinks we are crazy. Or forming a cult. He first saw my husband walk around the house, bouncing and chanting. And then he came back to help our neighbors move in, and I was doing the same.
3. And then a day later he came by to cut down our weeds and tree saplings that have sprung up in our yard, and I ran out of the house looking like I ingested a Van de Graaf generator, and told him that "we don't mind the snakes, but we must have shade, glorious shade, please don't cut down the trees, we will stay here and they will grow." I was wearing Thai fishermen pants wrapped crazily around my waist, and my pumping bra, and a baby in a carrier. I wasn't wearing shoes. The trees are still there. And the weeds.
4. I have a feeling motherhood is sounding a death knell to my inhibitions.
5. Motherhood is also joining the school bell in sounding a death knell to my perfectionism. I have failed so many times, reader, in these five months. I am glad teaching has already showed me all the ways I can fail and yet still move forward. But motherhood is showing this to me in ever deeper ways.
6. I want to get serious for a moment - I think this is important to say. I will be honest with you, reader. I was not one of those mothers that saw my child and immediately felt the earth shatter, and the angels sing, and the ground explode into rose petals. I knew I would rip the throat out of anybody who would look at Tolly the wrong way, that particularly motherly feeling was immediate. But the tender bonding, the kind that makes one cry with happiness -- it is taking practice, for me. Before Tolly was born my heart grew armored walls, and it is taking time to bring them down. It is taking intention, and quietness, and patience -- with myself, most of all. But we are bringing them down. And I have learned enough from him to know that I am enough, even as I am unfolding. I am allowed to love, even being imperfect.
7. I am also allowed to ask for help. As part of this unfolding, and as part of my quest to be a better version of myself for Tolly, I returned to therapy. A wild circle of coincidences resulted in finding someone who works remotely, allows a lot of written communication (a struggle for me in regular talk therapy), keeps my brain invested and interested, and keeps my heart from being lazy. Even though we've only been working together a couple of months, more and more I am realizing that some of the best decisions I have made so far as a mother have to do with taking care of myself.
8. ...And taking pleasure in my community. Tolly hates to miss social events. If we have company at the house, he will fuss at bedtime until he can join said company and then nod off in the carrier. He sleeps best surrounded by conversation and music. So, it makes me incredibly happy to be able to share our little village with him. I felt it so strongly when my sister-in-law Marina was here, and we had a get together for her birthday. She was singing, Leo was playing, our friends were sitting and talking around candles on the rug. Electricity was out because New Mexico and lightning storms. Our streets' rez dogs, Buffy and Lady, were parked outside, sighing in their sleep. Tolly was falling asleep, perfectly content to be in the middle of the conversation. Sometimes, it amazes me how social this child is, and how much he loves people.
9. That is, beardless people. As of this month, men with beards are suspect. Especially bald men with beards.
10. Not much else is suspect yet. I love making lists of things Tolly loves, because he loves so much, and he loves them so wholeheartedly. He loves playing with water as it pours from the waterspout, riding on his father's shoulder, eating my hair, turquoise necklaces, rubber ducks, cold washcloths, silk scarfs. He loves peekaboo -- hiding more than finding; and playing airplane. He loves when I do sun salutations over him, and tries to catch my glasses and take them off. He loves watching rain on the porch; and watching sunspots on the ceiling. He loves the sound of the bathroom fan; and his dad playing the piano; and the ocean drum. He loves the smell of oregano and oranges. He loves being carried and being swung around. He loves the sound his nails make as he scratches cement, and the sofa, and sandstone. He loves when the cat brushes past him. He loves rattles, and tambourines, and music boxes. He loves being outside, in any weather, at any time of the day. He loves falling asleep in the evenings. He loves talking ceaselessly in the mornings. He loves waking up in the middle of the night and reaching over and touching my face, and I know he loves this because he laughs.
Hey, baby, Hey. I'm here. May you find so many things to love, and keep finding more, and never stop.