When this posts I’ll be back on the bluff, where a stiff breeze keeps things chilly even on the sunniest days. I want to remember sitting outside, being warm and typing in the shade, waiting my turn with the Sweet Baby. She’s feeding with her mom.
I want to preserve the whole magical week with this new, tiny baby – not quite three days old when we arrived, and eleven when we left (temporarily). We fell into a rhythm that never seems a rhythm in the midst of it (when interrupted by new behaviors, adventures on the changing table, or landmarks like a first bath) but is a rhythm, directed by the Sweet Baby.
The early morning is my favorite. Delicately transporting the egg-shaped package, one of her sleepy parents would bring her to me. Sweet Baby and I would be together while her parents went back to bed or to work. I love being the extra pair of arms and warm lap. I read my book, shift position occasionally, watch the tiny face in awe, and keep her warm and close to my heartbeat.
She smells so good, makes muffled noises, and facial expressions – flashes of the animated person to come – a certain skeptical eye-rolling with raised eyebrows like her dad, a beautiful sweet smile like her mom, and an intense wrinkled brow “frowny face.” When in their arms she gazes with rapt attention at her parents – staring into their eyes. She knows these people matter.
The routines are all familiar from Lady Baby’s first weeks – but not the California weather. Constant sunshine, too hot and bright for a little baby outdoors, the opposite of January Alaska cold and dark for Lady Baby! The pleasure repeats though, and the privilege of watching people you love turn into devoted parents.
This family’s small house sits on a busy street with close neighbors, but a large covered veranda in the back expands the space. It’s edged on one side by the guest bedroom (now also office) and on the other by wooden lattice. Screen doors lead out from three rooms, and bamboo shades roll down against the afternoon sun. When we eat meals out there, the wood floor warms bare feet.
The Sweet Baby arrived two weeks ahead of schedule. The expectant parents had transformed their office into a room painted a perfect, pale pink and put together a crib and dresser, but jobs awaited. My good-natured husband constructed IKEA shelving with determination, if not enthusiasm. He assembled baby equipment, a gliding rocker, and an office chair (and went often to the grocery store). We helped move bookcases and rehang pictures. Our son’s big request and the last project – overreaching a little – was to put long-overdue polyurethane on the veranda floor, turning it a burnished, reddish color recalling the tropics.
I could sit in the corner of a big blue couch in the living room with the Sweet Baby tucked close and imagine a toddler life lived in that space. And in the garden beyond where butterflies and bees work the lavender, and the urban dawn chorus sounds as intense as in our woods. It’s good place for an early riser like the Sweet Baby.
Into the world two weeks ahead of time makes for a tiny baby, but complete. And very, very sweet. I’m so glad to meet her.