Today I told Esther that Daddy was photographing a wedding where two men were marrying each other. She made a very funny face, looking alarmed, and finally said, “Men can’t wear dresses.” That’s it. It all comes down to the dress, the fancy shoes, the princess outfit.
The other morning in a rare moment of alone time, Esther asked me what it was like when she was born. I did my best to describe it to her in the greatest possible detail and I eventually started to weep. We sat on the floor and I held her and told her the story of how beautiful she was and how amazing it was to meet her for the first time and I couldn’t stop crying. Just four years ago, I gave birth to this child. Now she was sitting in my lap, asking me grownup questions and understanding grownup thoughts and emotions. Or at least she is doing a great job of humoring me.
Baby Isla continues to sleep and I continue to write about Esther as if the new baby didn’t exist. We are still in the honeymoon stage of things here. Isla just sleeps. When her little eyes do open she looks around like a curious little monkey. Her small round head rests on my chest after nursing and her wide eyes calmly take it all in. It makes me wonder what in the world is going on in her little mind. What is she thinking, feeling, seeing, experiencing? Something is so animalistic about her manner. She reminds me of a frightened little bird, taken in by the warmth and gentle touch of the human being that is caring for her but still scared shitless about the vastness of the world around her, the foreignness, the newness.
I can’t stop writing about Esther. She has miraculously transformed into a delightful, verbal, interesting, spontaneous, relaxed, humorful, happy, helpful, loving, gentle, borderline patient-child. Praise the lord.
She is almost four and the change has been phenomenal. I am convinced that all the pre-Isla unrest had to do with her being unsure of what would happen once we had another baby. She kept hearing about this “new baby” and perhaps she thought that she was being replaced. That she was going to be sent back, traded in, recycled. Once she realized we would live here together in relative harmony, she relaxed and let her true, lovely personality shine through.
Mornings, when we are all in bed together, Esther revels in the scene of the “us”. She takes such comfort in that and so do I. I am really liking this, the newly-expanded family, so far, though the darkness that comes this time of year is never far away. Having a small baby in the house can be so completely life-giving then extraordinarily energy sucking and isolating at the same time.