February 1, 2009 at 2:39 am 1 comment

It is foolish for me to sit at the computer, having poured myself a thimbleful of scotch, and attempt to write. It is 1:20 a.m. and I’ve just completed the midnight feeding (our schedule is loosening, as I’ve mentioned.) And yet, it seems important, and inexplicably I’m left with a little gas in the tank. This struck me as a special feeding, and it further strikes me that we’re at a rather special juncture in this trip. Our boys are growing. They’re no longer NBs but now 0-3s, and they exert their share of heft on the planet. They are beginning to follow shakers and other cushy black and white toys with their eyes, and their little twitchy, squinty smiles – which they either do, or do not mean to make – are increasing in both frequency and duration. Sometimes when I look at one of those unconscious little contortions of happiness, I think it is almost inconceivable that we would have been blessed with these adorable sons and that they will also smile, intentionally, each and every one of them.

We have traversed our parental path without intentional smiles for perhaps longer than most parents do (it will be ten weeks tomorrow). We have, in fact, been riding without clear outward signs of recognition altogether. I don’t have real reason, thus far, to believe that the boys can distinguish me from any other sentient being (except probably the cat), but that does little to diminish the heartrending capacity of their breath in my ear, or their weight on my chest. I do not offer this thought as complaint, and it causes me not the slightest grief. I love the boys, and if their love for me and all my specificity has not yet fully aligned itself, I know that they need me, just as they need their mama, and that they are grateful for the relief I bring when I remove their wrecked and raunchy diapers, or bring silicone nipples filled with a House Blend of my own laborious concoction (with ingredients provided by God-via-Alex and Similac) to their puckered lips, or wrest their howling and contorting selves from their spot on the mattress and pull them close to me, bouncing and singing, kissing their red cheeks and soothing their woes away. Those boys have it pretty good with me, I’m the second best thing they got, and I feel pretty secure that one day they’ll understand that.

So this is an in-between moment, or better still an on-the-cusp moment. Maybe tomorrow the boys – Pablo first, most likely – will smile unmistakably and on purpose. Maybe they’ll point at me when I enter the room and offer forth some jubilant coo that sounds suspiciously like “Da!”  But in the just-before time, these waning days during which the boys and the cat have more in common in their disposition towards me than they subsequently will, I enjoyed some specialness.

The solo late-night feeds I have described here previously. I have even posted audio evidence. They begin in chaos. I deswaddle the troops, try to keep all balls in the air, but what I really juggle are bawls, and Alex sometimes (as she did tonight) sleepwalks out of the bedroom and says she’ll help. Tonight, as always, I sternly ordered her back: “I can handle this!” The boys and I need her to sleep, to nurture her supply. She complied. And I gradually got the triple team changed and situated and feeding. I lately employ a bottle propper, just one, which I supervise closely, in order to comfortably feed three at a time. Once I got my fanny on the carpet and sucking had begun in earnest, things went smoothly. The boys ate and burped, and even almost patiently waited for me during those interudes when I couldn’t hold their bottle or curve them awkwardly and pound them to release trapped air. They managed not to doze off too thoroughly to be able to continue eating, and they all made it to the last drop. Pablo even demanded a refill – albeit one of which he did not entirely dispose. 

In the minutes after they all finished, the awake time, I had Pablo and Levi on bouncies on either side of me, and Satch dead center in a boppy. The boys were alert, their eyes glistening. They seemed somehow to expect something of me. Well, I’m a rotten story teller. I opted instead for the guitar, which basically lives in one of the cribs for now. I grabbed it and sat back down, Indian style, and offered forth a little concert. I swear to you that Satch – who seems to me to be the most musically sensitive – scowled at the first out-of-tune chord I played, but quickly readjusted his attitude once I worked my magic on the silvery knobs. I sang a few songs, all of my own composition, some old, some new. I closed up with the two recent ones that I’ve posted here on the blog. And as I’m singing these songs, one foot away from the very special audience for whom they were intended, that overwhelming word – one I’ve used before in this space – descended upon my consciousness with force. If this ain’t Lucky, I don’t know what is. I sang and strummed, and watched each boy yawn in turn, their eyelids growing heavy, their small shapes melding into the vessels which supported them.  I am singing these boys to sleep, I thought, alone here in the quiet nursery, after the witching hour, with empty bottles and used up burp cloths strewn about. This is the performance of my lifetime, the audience I have been training for for nearly four decades. It won’t get any better than this.

I let my last chord ring, an E, rich and resonant in the body of my fancy new guitar. I plunked the ax back in its spot, and then one by one, lifted the boys into their crib, where hats and swaddles awaited redeployment. As I carried them in, still singing strains of “Everybody’s going to sleep now” with new, customized and made-up words, I felt a pleasing sensation pushing through the exhaustion, and it was unfiltered happiness. How lucky I am to share these magic moments, midnight concerts in the still and stunning nursery, in the presence of those boylets who are just now learning to love me. 

Well, 1:20 has quickly yielded to 2:14. It becomes simply irresponsible if I continue (but I will edit obsessively for at least another 10 minutes, after which time the current sentence may or may not still exist [it’s still here! but now it’s 2:24!]). Just a few thoughts that amount to I know not what. In the morning they’d be gone though, so I’m happy to have bottled them here and now. And now, we sleep.


Entry filed under: deep thoughts, update.

Colors Imagine taking THIS for a test drive!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Deb & David  |  February 1, 2009 at 11:13 am

    You are a sweetie pie like your boys! & the bestest Dad in the world! Wow, singing to sleep. Love to all, D&D
    Did the baby shoes arrive O.K.? I’ll give grandma Jane a call when she gets home.


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