California Sweet Life

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.

Sweet Baby - lap

16 thoughts on “California Sweet Life

  1. Oh, I was there with you as you described your first visit with your sweet baby. I relished every moment that your words described; I was there with you! I love “Sweet Baby” just as I loved “Lady Baby,” but will you share her name?            ~Jane, another adoring grandmother

  2. Those moments watching a sleeping tiny baby are magical, and you’ve described it so nicely. And I love the watercolor. Someday sweet baby will treasure that.

    • Thanks Carol – that wonderful blanket of your talented daughter’s design looms larger in this drawing than in life – but in a way that’s appropriate. It was such a colorful addition to the week!

  3. Such a sweet post…glad you were there to enjoy and help with the new addidtion. I see many more visits to CA in your future!

  4. You have such an extraordinary way of placing us right there with you. Imagine how much we all enjoyed holding Sweet Baby with you and listening to the sounds of early urban mornings (and how nice to put our bare feet on sun-warmed flooring!) Thank you for sharing xxxooo

  5. warmest congratulations to all… and especially to grandmother Katy… we await the birth of three babies, none of them related by blood, but all welcomed with love and enthusiasm by “Uncle Dean” and “Auntie Tad” as our beloved young friends consider us… it is not the best thing, but it is the next-to-best thing … and we are grateful to be included by all, and now by you! We will look forward to all posts about Sweet Baby, as we do Lady Baby…. savor it all. xoxox Tad Bartimus Wariner

  6. How wonderful! You make me wish that my children would present me with a grandchild or two. So far it’s just dogs.

  7. The joys of being a grandmother! Once they are a bit grown it is hard to remember how tiny their hands and feet were. Enjoy this tiny baby. Your watercolor is charming.

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