Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My girls

I just had the nicest moment with Charlotte. I sort of can't believe it.

Somehow, I ended up in the house all alone with her, and she was exhausted. So I wrangled her into her sky blue blanket sleeper and got together some stories. It's not often she'll suffer herself to be read to, because she's just so wriggly and active. But she was tired tonight. So she snoogled into my lap and I covered us with a giant afghan, and read her 4 favorite touchy-feely books. She's a tactile little thing, and loves to touch the textured pages.

Next, she asked for her bottle, and so we rocked in the big green LazyBoy (rocking children to sleep for going on 11 years now). She's so funny. I've never seen a child fight SO hard to stay awake. She actually HITS HERSELF IN THE HEAD over and over again, and pulls her hair, and twists it, and chatters, like, "wwwWWWAAAaaa wwwWWWAAAaaa wwwWWWAAAaaa," up and down the scale. She pushes against me with her feet, as hard as she can, and digs her nails scratchily into my arm, and log rolls in my lap, all the while she can barely keep her eyes open.

Finally... FINALLY, she gave a last, random little shriek, and went limp, all at once. There's the big, spazzy full-body twitch just like I get, and she was OUT. It was so quiet, at that moment, for once in I can't remember how long. I am ALWAYS in the car, or out working or just doing stuff with the kids, and honestly I can't remember the last time I was able to rock her to sleep.

My arm totally fell asleep, with that wonderful sleeping baby head weight on it, but I sat there for a while anyway, just looking at her.

When I found out I was pregnant, I just KNEW I was having another boy. I wanted 3 boys. I'll go ahead and say it. For a great portion of my life, I haven't liked or trusted girls. I didn't want a girl. I know boys. I get along with boys. I get boys. I had the stuff already. Also, I was worried Andy would fall so in love with her, there wouldn't be room for me anymore, and I would die inside from the jealousy.

So I was pretty apprehensive when the ultrasound lady told me Sebastian was actually Charlotte. It was weird.

But shortly after she was born (1 1/2 hours of labor, from 3-4:30 am, most of it spent packing, fixing Ethan's school lunch in the kitchen, holding onto the refrigerator through the contractions, and in the van driving the boys to their various locations - can I get a WOOT?!), something happened to me. Once she started looking at me, I fell in love with her. Like really looking at me, you know? I couldn't look at her without tears of queerness in my eyes. By this point, I know my way around a baby. It's old hat, right? I could've never predicted how this unexpected little girl would affect me.

Each of my children has redeemed me in different ways. Ethan taught me, through his unconditional love, that I am worth something. He also taught me about gentleness. Simon taught me that I am a great, capable teacher, and to trust my instincts. He also taught me how to play.

Charlotte taught me that girls are wonderful. She gave me back my fullest sense of my feminine self. She helped me to shed my black drapery and embrace the purple. She has made me happy in an entirely different way. When she watches me, I know she's seeing something different than my boys do. She's seeing her role model, and so far she seems to like me. The responsibility of this, and the importance of it, awes me.

I think it's no coincidence that since I have known Charlotte, I have revitalized my relationship with my very best friend in the whole world, since 5th grade. I was in the delivery room with her on July 14th, when she gave birth to her own daughter, her first baby. I was the first person to see her, and I cut the cord. What a gift that experience was. How I love them both. I have also been consciously growing my friendship with two fabulous curly-haired women, my Virgo hippy friend Erin P., and my charming, stylish, sparkly friend Ashley. Each of these chicas is in touch with a different side of me, and I love them for who they are, with all their flaws. And I know that they love me with all of mine. I believe it. I believe it because I know now what it's like to be loved by my little girl.

This is new. I trust my beautiful friends. And I trust my precious daughter. And this has helped me to trust myself.


Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Knowing my nieces did the same for me, in different ways.Stunning, ain't it?

4:51 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I have a friend who had three boys and was pregnant with kid #4 and she admitted to wanting another boy.

She, too, had a girl, and it's been the most wonderful experience for her.

Me? I always wanted a little girl. Always. There's just something about a little girl...I love my boy, don't get me wrong, and he's special in his own way.

But I think I would have experienced some sense of loss had we had another boy.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I just came across your site, by way of Belle in the Big Apple, and while reading it I was reminded of my favorite blog, Dooce. Lo and behold, you're a fan as well! Heather is simply fantabulous and I am quite pleased to read another blog as nice as her's. You both make me want to have children (and I'm a 28 year old who never thought she'd ever say that!). Thank you.

7:37 AM  
Blogger grudge girl said...

Oh my gosh! Melissa! I am blushing with pride. To even be mentioned in the same sentence with Dooce/Heather is SUCH an honor to me.

Thank you so much!

And I used to be SO awkward around kids of any variety. I didn't even like them, really. And then I had one, and, cliche as it sounds, suddenly I got it. It's totally worth it.

It's not ALL there is, in life, but it's worth it.

10:00 AM  
Blogger grudge girl said...

Hey Misfit! After I finish my errands for the day, I'm totally coming over to your place for a visit!

Isn't it funny, how our perceptions of gender, and our relationships with people of both sexes, affect our psyches? They're so fraught with potential, both negative and positive.

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to embrace the experience of parenting both little xx, and little xy.

Sounds like you do too!

10:03 AM  
Blogger grudge girl said...

Tracy Lynn! What up?! It's good to see you back!

I'm so glad you get what I was trying to express. I know I'm not the only female who was weighed down for a long time by PROFOUND distrust of other females.

I'm still not over it completely, and probably never will be, but I've definitely stopped dismissing an entire half of the population out of hand. And carrying around the self-hatred that that implies.

Oh my gosh, I can't believe so many people are reading, and leaving supportive comments, and stuff. This feels really exciting to me. In fact, I'm being a giant nerd about it right now and calling my husband to tell him. Hee!

This whole blog deal seems extremely important to me. Something revolutionary is going on. Something about language and connection and communication, and networking in new ways. As an English teacher, I feel a sort of responsibility to figure out what's going on here, and to share it with my students.

I'd totally invite them here too, but I've already slammed them as boring and lame. Heh.

Maybe next semester.

10:09 AM  
Blogger yucaree said...

this post was so reassuring to me, grudge girl! as you know, i'm having a girl in about 7 weeks and i've been (secretly) really worried about it. having been so blessed with a wonderful son i wasn't sure what having a girl would be like (even though i've always wanted a little girl).

i rationally understand things will be different ... i have to embrace these differences and just appreciate having a daughter who will, no doubt, teach me lots of new things!

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Colin said...

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5:49 AM  

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