Friday, August 6, 2010

August and everything after.

Lily and I recently journeyed to the my old home in Marin for a good, much needed dose of fresh air and outdoor quiet. She waded in a creek, tasted a wet rock, had her first burrito, and met one of her dad's favorite dogs of all time, Harpo. I wondered if maybe Lily smelled like her dad - if it was a smell Harpo recognized. Curious.

Hoppo? Doggie? Baby?
Hoppo? Doggie? Baby?
Hoppo. Doggie. Baby.
Baby-O. Baby-O!

Her sitter asked yesterday what Hoppo meant.
She also met Baby Henry (who was overshadowed by Harpo's licks), she was doted on by big girls, fed ice cream and cheese puffs by her cousins, raged at a 1st birthday party for a "baby" Maddy, who in truth is just 5 months younger than Lily - but put up very well with Lily's older persona. (And hijacking of barely unwrapped toys). She watered plants with her Jiji, had her first dim sum with her grandpa, and ate mac n'cheese - natchee, she calls it,(From 8am on, I might add)for almost 10 days straight. She acquired two more hand me down babies who have now been strolled, chewed, kissed, fed cheddar bunnies, and stripped of their clothes. New words are teacher, happy, shoe (jew), elbow, rinse, whoah!, wow! and an abridged version of octopus. She has graduated to one nap a day, has attempted multiple climbs out of her crib and will now only eat meals in her little chair, positioned at the coffee table - so that our once white shag rug is now the receptor for couscous (goosgoos) and strawberries that never made it to their destination. And she insists on laps around the room between bites and I am a tired mama trying to remember she is still just a babe.

We SIT when we eat, Lily.
No Lily, sit please.
Lily?! Please come back.
No Lily, no keys until you finish eating.
Lily, I don't think Baby wants couscous.
OK. That's nice. Come sit Lily. Sit Lily, please. Sit with Mama.


She will not give up her three daily bottles and refuses milk in any other container. If it isn't the way she wants it she indignantly hands it back to me or she casually knocks the milk sippy cup off the table out of her site. She is happy without milk but she has a jones for the baba. Milk in a box? No. Milk in a cool new cup? No. She doesn't really even engage in the debate. Baba or bust.

WOW. Which battles to choose.

In the tub she likes to wash her hands repeatedly ("watch, watch, watch")and she will forever attempt a sip of soapy wawa. She also tries to blow bubbles a good few inches above the water's surface. A few inhalations, in the water, have set us back a bit...

And so she grows.
And learns.
And explores.
And defines herself.

Nearing 18 months, going on 12 years.

Nothing slows our girl down, not even 95 degree heat with a heavy dose of humidity. Ahh August. But Summer is full of long days, sprinklers and fun, so it's a season I never like to leave - and Lily seems to grow in the sunlight.
But Fall? It will be welcome, whenever it comes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

So long, Papi.

July kept up it's reputation for being a difficult month. Alan's dad, Lily's grandfather, my father-in-law passed away after a rough bout with complications related to cancer treatment. Another link to Alan lost, another man in our family, lost, a relative who Lily loved and loved her back, lost. I think I always comforted myself when Alan passed by imagining special moments in her life when she'd be accompanied by other immediate family members. And Papi, was to be her soccer coach, and a part of her entourage during her first days of school among countless other events I look forward to witnessing. Just recently the two shared mashed potatoes and laughs together at a diner and shortly before that, she had mastered his name. She would often say it so many times I'd have to call him so she could demonstrate her developing communication skills. But now, he's in our hearts and memories and photos. How I wish he could have seen Lily grow up just a bit more.

The other night while we were in California, Lily awoke about 3am, inconsolable, and ended up in bed with me for a bit. It's strange how you can lie in bed next to someone in the dark and hear them thinking. And I could tell, despite Lily's stillness, that she was quietly awake.

Mama. She whispered.

Yes Lily. I whispered back.


Yes baby. We love Papi, and Papi loves Lily.


Later that night as I was carrying her back to her crib she said in her dreamy voice, Tio.

Yes Lily. Tio loves Lily too. We'll see him soon.

Thankfully Lily has two uncles in her life who love her, and her Tio Robert sees her often. He is our last male link to Alan and Alan's roots and I cherish the connection the two of them have. I just wish. I just wish Alan and Gary could be here too - so that we could really feel whole as a family. Lily loves men. She does. It's the most interesting thing - I often wonder if it's because of the absence of them in our everyday life or if it's just a girl/boy developmental thing. But Lily has a habit of stalking sunbathing men in the park, waving to them on the subway, and charming them in restaurants. She is a consummate flirt when it comes to men. While out in California, she called for Dada many times. She saw a man that could have been Alan and called him dada and then one morning as she ran down the halls heading out to the pool where my brother was - again, Dadaaaaa, Dadaaaaa.... She looks for the man she has seen in so many photos and heard so much about.

How painful it is to witness the ends of lives. It is new loss combined with old loss - so much comes up to fester old wounds.