Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Third Time's the Charm

Probably from a random mailing list, I now have an annual subscription to an early parenting magazine. I was surprised when I saw the issue in my mailbox, as I had stopped reading any kind of parenting magazine a while ago, perhaps after my oldest turned 3. I found the content somewhat repetetive, and the recipes are nearly all irrelevent to a family dealing with a child's food allergies. Plus, the bewildering nature of babies was over for us (or so we thought!), so who needed a magazine?

My infant, nearing 8 weeks old, will sleep longer if she's on my body, so often I'm relatively immobile on the couch while she dreams away. Somewhat bored - and thoroughly jaded - I picked up the magazine and read the article "10 Signs Your Baby Loves You."

Sign number one - baby smiles. I remember those days, particularly with my oldest, colicky daughter; I kept waiting and waiting for the tiniest smile in between the screaming jags. If only the little corners of her mouth would turn upwards, it would mean she was content, even if just for a moment. The article wisely states that mothers should disregard the notion that it is just a gas bubble making their babies smile. Happiness is happiness, and so be it. Another sign that the babies love their mothers, according to the article, is their stare. It explained the vision of infants, and how at this developmental stage, they can see about 7-10 inches away from their faces. And wouldn't you know it, that's about how far away the face is of an infant's mother when she's feeding her newborn. Though they have no concept of it, the article promises that babies are in love with their mothers.

I rolled my eyes and picked up People magazine instead.

Just yesterday, I attended a Mom and Baby Yoga class for the first time. My first was far too screamy to attempt anything like that, and with the arrival of my second daughter, I barely had a chance to brush my teeth, let alone have the luxury of a yoga class with just her. I could tell I was the only Repeat Mom there. The First-Time Moms were enthralled with their babies, never breaking eye contact, drizzling teeny kisses at the toes of their infants as they swooped into Downward Dog, lifting their babies high above their heads with a "whee!!" as they elevated them into the air for Mountain.

Me? I just wanted a good stretch, to feel my body move again after a long pregnancy filled with modified bedrest, a rapid labor, and tentative post-partum weeks. I loved moving my body independently and realizing that my muscle tone, strength , and flexiblity still bore some semblance to what they had been. But I felt some pressure to do as all the other bright-faced, adoring new moms did. As I moved into Sphinx, I did as I was instructed and opened my eyes wide, my mouth too, all in rounded, surprised O's, and made eye-contact with my baby.

And wouldn't you know it? There she was, her unblinking eyes staring me down. Her haphazard, newborn jittery limbs quieted as she made micro-movements with her mouth to mimic me. Her tiny lips formed a tiny O, just like mine, and her eyes were riveted to me for the rest of the class.

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