Published on Monday October 8th, 2012

Every day he survives without being eaten all up by his own mother is a miracle. The adorable brioche vest he’s wearing deserves better than a wimpy phone camera, but that’s what was within reach when opportunity knocked. It was concocted by my friend Jen from yummy Blue Moon Mopsy and it couldn’t be toastier. I wish it fit me.

And it’s just the right garment now that the mornings are crisp and cold. These October days we are all awake before dawn. I bring the little fellow into our warm bed for the first feed of the day, curling around his small sturdy body, hoping he’ll doze off again and we can all close our eyes for a few more minutes before the clamor begins from his sister downstairs: “I like walk through dis gate right now! I like eat some food!” But often I catch the gleam of his wide eyes seeking mine in the darkness; he is awake, and he knows I am awake, and he celebrates this simple discovery with much pedaling of legs and the performance of many songs of his own composition, songs to do with milk and moonlight and the felicity of suckable fingers. In another time or another place I’d have to be out of bed in the early dark, stoking a fire, drawing water, struggling to drive the cold out of our home and bring forth some sort of breakfast before the rest of my people woke to the day’s work. It’s a luxury to savor a sweet baby snug in my nest at a quarter to six. If only I were virtuous enough to remember this before I’ve had coffee.

Too hot anyway

Published on Friday September 14th, 2012

I tried to take a picture of Jolyon’s adorable new hat. I failed.

The little chap has mastered turning toward Mama, especially when she’s holding the peculiar black snout of the camera to her face, so I can’t show you any of the adorable details on his Pikku-Pete cap. It’s another cleverly constructed and absurdly cute baby garment from Lene Alve of Minni fame, but I’m just going to have to try another photo shoot on a day when I’ve got a prop master to distract Jolly and maybe even hold him so you can see the back. (That day will have to be soon; he’s so enormous that he’s wearing this hat a couple of months ahead of schedule and I’m going to have to make a larger one for this winter!)

And anyway, the temperature was on its way up to the 90s and we were keeping cool at the river with some friends. An alpaca hat wasn’t exactly the beachwear we needed, even in the shade under the scrubby willows.

That’s more like it!

And now for something completely different

Published on Friday July 6th, 2012

My giant baby boy is growing so fast I suspect we could capture the change with a few hours’ time-lapse photography: two inches longer, two centimeters more massive around the noggin, and already up to ten pounds. He can drink himself full to bursting in just a few minutes, then push himself up off my chest to execute a U-turn back to the taps when I make him pause for a breather, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn just how much bigger he’d gotten. The ways in which one baby is not like another astound me daily. My firstborn took about two months to reach this size. Here, by way of illustration, is my Tour de France 2010 project on Ada when she was almost six weeks old:

… and here it is on Jolly three days ago:

For this year’s Tour I’m mostly working on a Mitered Crosses blanket that I’ve told my parents will be ready by the time they move into the house they’re building. (Happily for me my parents are craftsmen who like to get all the details just so and they aren’t in a tearing hurry to leave their current house.) But I think I might be better employed in knitting a series of ever-larger hats to keep up with this strapping laddie of mine.

(Lovely blanket courtesy of my sweet neighbor Barb, for whom I made the quilt!)

Jolyon himself can clearly think of a higher purpose for Mama’s arms than either knitting or photography. But just now he’s sound asleep beside me and I think my eyelids might stay open for just a few rows. Tomorrow my beloved bike race heads into the mountains. I think I’ll celebrate with a 16″ circular, some stash wool, and a nice stretchy ribbing. Isn’t there a saying about variety being the spice of life? True of knitting and of offspring, I reckon.

With no divided heart

Published on Friday June 1st, 2012

Dear Little Dipper,

It’s now a matter of days until we meet you. (The oddity of that statement still strikes me just as strongly as it did when I carried your sister, both as regards the peculiar slippage of time when one awaits a new baby and in the queerness of anticipating a first meeting with someone who already shares my blood, my food, and my innermost space.) I have not come this far without trepidation and doubt. Am I ready to commit my body to the all-consuming effort of bringing you into the world? Can I be a good mother to two small people at once? Can I tend my relationship with Ada while developing one with you? You are shifting our family forever; I will rejoice in your presence and in our new dynamic… and I can’t say goodbye to the threesome we have been without a lump in my throat.

Your sister is just developing the imaginative capacity to see things as other than they appear. Eating a string cheese this morning, she prodded a strip of it on her plate and exclaimed, “Wom! Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.” (Then, with an enormous grin, she bit it in half, which I’m glad to say she hasn’t tried with an actual worm.) I believe the translation of Mama’s round belly to a tiny and demanding baby is still beyond her, though. Frankly, I’m not sure it isn’t a little beyond my far more experienced imagination. Who will you be? An astonishing live miniature person with punching, pedaling limbs, we certainly hope. An endlessly questing mouth. What qualities of your nature will you show us right away, and which will you reveal as you grow? Will you sleep for longer stretches than you seem to in the womb? (A mama can dream.)

This week you’ve dropped lower in my body, and having lowered my center of gravity, you’ve helped ground my mind as well. My first set of questions is the flighty set, heavy as they are. Those nervous wonderings won’t roost in content. Welcoming you is a thing I must do with no divided heart, to lift a line from Ivan Doig. So I choose curiosity and humor and incipient magic. I choose you and the family I have, all of us “gadda,” as Ada says — together — with a circling finger when we perch on tiny chairs around her little table in the kitchen for supper. Come when you will, little one.

And look, I have handknits for you:

Milk Infant Top by Brandy Fortune; matching cap improvised by your mama

These colors remind me of cinnamon toast and I expect they’ll be quite fetching on you. The hat will probably only fit for a week, and the jacket not a great deal longer, but I can’t wait to bundle you into them.

This quilt isn’t for you (more on that soon), but it’s ahead of yours in the queue because it’s for someone who already had a birthday, so if you’re waiting until everything I’m making for you is complete you might be stuck in there for several weeks more. I’ve discovered I can handstitch a quilt binding at a rate of about one yard per hour — that’s with good light and no interruptions — and there are seven yards remaining. I don’t expect you to tackle that kind of math for a few years yet, so I’ll interpret for you: your mother doesn’t lack vision or enthusiasm for this craft, but she’s by no means an adept. Then I’ll need another five or six hours to bind yours. But you’ve got a lovely quilt from Great-Aunt Jennifer just waiting to tide you over. It has birds on it. (Your sister thinks it’s hilarious to point at them and chortle, “Fried eggs!” but any object in the house is fair game for that treatment right now. The only thing funnier than fried eggs is purple eggs.)

I’m going to finish your Baby Surprise Jacket tonight. That’s how ready I am to meet you, smallest.


your mama