25 May 2006
last night, as i was placing cosmo gently into his hammock bed, being careful not to disrupt the early stages of sleep, i recognized a new emotion...or awareness. i felt, in that moment, like a super hero--with super powers. he was having difficulty falling asleep that night. obviously very tired, but unable to shut off his urgent curiosity, he kept pulling away from nursing, scanning the room with his eyes, then looking up at me smiling. it was very sweet, but it was way past time for bed, and after a couple of unsuccessful tries, i was determined this time to get him to fall soundly into sleep. I did not employ any special tricks really, i just considered his mood, and the environment, read the situation, and made subtle changes to match where he was, and voila! within moments his breathing became deep and steady, his limbs became still and relaxed...he had fallen asleep.
i know there is nothing particularly extraordinary about putting a baby to bed at night. what makes it feel so incredible, must be that somehow i know how to do this, and many other things that pertain to cosmo, and the WAY that i know them is through intuition. yes, i am the kind of person who does a lot of research about anything big and challenging that i take on (like having a baby, for instance) and i read about stages of development and learn tricks and secrets about childrearing from friends, bloggers or so-called experts. but i find that most of what i know i haven't heard about or read about--it just occurs to me. probably just like it has occured to mothers of babies throughout the history of humankind.
last night i was filled with pride and confidence and a recognition that what i am doing is profound and extraodinary, while being quite simple and quotidian all the same. maybe the reason i feel like i have superpowers now, is that i feel more capable (and powerful) than i ever have before--about anything. a friend of mine, from many years ago, wrote a song--the lyrics return to me now:
...i don't know all i know
but i know i've known it long
long long time
before i ever
cry cry cried...
i know things now that i never learned. and know them deep inside of me, i don't really need to think...they just come to me. i can tell the difference between a hurting cry, a hungry cry, a tired cry, and a "pay attention to me" cry. though i could never really describe the difference. while cosmo is constantly surprising me, i can sometimes quite accurately predict what he will do next, or notice when he is about to pee (for instance). sure, i have learned these things from being around him day after day, but there are times when my response matches his need so precisely, that is seems almost super natural.
and...cosmo himself is pretty amazing in terms of what he seems to know and be able to master, with no one really teaching him. i never taught him how to roll over...he just did it. i didn't know how someone of his shape, size and strength would actually accomplish that. his technique was a big surprise to me. when he first got in the pool, he kicked his feet and waved his arms (as if to swim). now he can support his torso with straightened arms, and sort of get up on his knees into a pre-crawl position. did i show him how to do this? not really. he never sees me (or anyone else for that matter) crawling around on hands and knees, yet he seems to already have this in him. and during the split seconds during which he has maintained this posture, he looks quite proud of himself, and there is a gleam in his eye, as if he has some inkling of what this new capability might hold in store for him (MOBILITY!).
i guess this is all just animal instinct, and nothing truly remarkable. yet i can't help but respond with wonder and awe at the complexity, the ease --and the inevitability-- of learning, growing, becoming a person...
and becoming a mother.