Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Clementine at Nine Months + My First Mother's Day!

Somehow it's been nine months already. Astonishing. And yet, in a way it feels like it's been longer than that. Memories of Clementine's newborn tininess are fading. Today I was holding her sideways across my body and I caught sight of us in the mirror and she seemed gigantic. She's grown so much, and every day now brings new developments. The motorcycle mouth sound (brrrrrffffffvvvvvvvv), like little boys make playing cars; the squiggling becomes a commando-crawl; maniac sleep rolling, so she covers the surface of the bed; feeding me tastes of her dinner; fake-coughing, and then laughing at herself; total resistance to the changing table, for some reason . . . and so many little things, minute by minute.

It scares me that my memories of the past nine months are not crisp and in order, like the pages of an album. I want to remember everything, but what I'm finding is that new memories are overwriting old ones. Details blur. Photos help, and I started belatedly keeping a little journal of landmarks -- wish I'd done that from the beginning. I feel this mania to record it all, like it's the most important thing in the universe, but I just can't get my act together. Sometimes there's not enough time to both live the days and record them, alas, in which case one must choose to live them, and hope to remember.

Speaking of recording things, my blog has hit a slow patch. You may have noticed that I haven't updated much, and that when I have it's either WRITING or CLEMENTINE. Well, yeah. Pretty much. Add Jim in there, with some friends, some walks, and a smattering of cake, and that's life these days. (Mm. Cake.) I cruise around (occasionally) to blogs and I feel this thing I've felt ever since I started blogging (and before, but more clearly since blogging), and that is a frantic desire to DO EVERYTHING. To fit six or seven lives into my one life, not end to end, but side by side. I want to have the hiking/outdoors life, the arts and crafts life, the beautiful lifestyle/decorating life, the garden life, the thoughtful book reviewer life, etc etc. I envision my blog a certain dreamy way that I don't have time for, and that means I guess that I envision my life a certain dreamy way that I don't have time for.

Choices, dagnabbit. I could take a sewing class and make adorable baby dresses, or I could work on my book. I could go garden-crazy and make a great play/lounge space for summer (and I reallyreally want to!!!) or I could work on my book. It goes on like that. Life has gone fairly narrow right now, which doesn't mean it isn't incredibly rich. The more the river narrows, the more powerful the current. True of rivers, and maybe-sometimes true of life? Can't let it narrow too much though.

One of the great things about having a child is that it makes me see each moment and day as precious for Clementine's sake. If it were only Jim and me, we would go on in our routine of working all day and evening, and not getting out and moving in the world. We would put off that whole "living" thing in favor of working, like life is going to start at some later date, once we're "ready". But for Clementine, we want to build a beautiful childhood with hikes and geese and playmates and toes in the grass and all the wonders that are out there, so we do stuff. Stuff!

On Mother's Day we got out for a little bit and discovered a fun new place to eat, and we walked in the sun and bought gigantic flowers, and we shared a pineapple float that was ridiculously good!

In Portland, food carts are kind of a big deal. We don't go to them much, because we never think of it, but the other day we drove past a cute-looking court of food carts on upper Mississippi Ave, and we needed a snack on Mother's Day to tide us over until dinner with my parents, so we went there. And oh my. So. Good. We chose this one nondescript silver trailer (Garden State) because of a good-sounding sandwich (chicken and cured lemons with goat cheese and asparagus! Cured lemons were the kicker. So good!), and it was DELICIOUS, and we found out after that this cart had won the Willamette Week's "Carty Award" last month for overall tastiness. If you're a Portlander, go by and try this sandwich, though they're more famous for the chickpea-cake sandwich, which looked awesome too. After that we had a pineapple float from the "Sugar Cube" cart = pineapple ice cream + house-made ginger syrup + ginger ale. It was perfect on a warm day. I will go back just for that. Seriously.

And to make this an even more perfect lunch spot: it backs up to the sunny beer garden of the German restaurant Prost, who invite you to bring in your food, so long as you buy their drinks. Done and done.

Here's me with my girl on my first Mother's Day:
The three of us strolled around, bought giant peonies, got coffee, loved our city, loved each other, and then stopped at the Pastaworks deli to buy an assortment of salamis to bring along with fig & anise rolls to my parents' house. It was kind of silly: we made the girl shave us off a couple of meager slices of a bunch of different salamis. (There are a lot of kinds of salami.) She endured good-naturedly.

Somebody slept through the whole thing:

Later, lolling and opening presents (so many presents! Like a birthday. I was seriously spoiled!) and playing with the cats at my parents' house. Here is Clementine offering coconut marshmallows to Bea:
And meeting my mom's tortoise, who is the most *loving* tortoise you will ever meet:
And, my sweeties in mom's garden:

And a couple of recent shots, marking time:

Clementine at nine months, you are our delight. Beautiful and hilarious, determined, sunny, silk-soft, sweet-smelling, and endlessly fascinating, I have not experienced a moment's frustration with you in nine entire months. Even when you're crabby, which is rare, I feel only tenderness and a desire to make you un-crabby again, to which end I will do preposterous dances, invent silly songs, nibble your toes, run for the Cheerios, or just show you yourself in the mirror. Even you can't look at your adorableness and stay crabby!

Welcome, last week, to tooth #3, and to the first hints of sleep-resistance (joy!). You are revving up to crawl in earnest. You aren't quite doing it yet, but you are locomoting in your own squirmy, determined way. The best bait to lure you to crawl? Library books, new ones with crisp crinkly wrappers. Ah, the crinkle! Favorite foods? Steamed carrots, hummus, pear, guacamole. And you were a fan of the pineapple ice cream float!

This next month will bring even more and faster changes, I think. Whatever they are, I'm sure they will be even more fun that what came before them. I love you.


Weronika Janczuk said...

So glad you had a marvelous day, and what gorgeous photos. That daughter of yours is just too cute. :-)

Martha Brockenbrough said...

Great post, Laini. That feeling of wishing for many lifetimes seems to get louder the older you and your kids get. As frustrating as that can be at times, it serves to make everything more beautiful and precious. I still look at both girls when they're sleeping and see the babies they once were. I love them as kids even more.

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

*sigh* I am there....so much living to do, so little time. The best we can do is to love, and appreciate what and who we have while we have them. I don't understand people who complain of boredom....

tone almhjell said...

See, you DO have the kind of life one wishes for and the kind of blog that shows it. Clementine is a marvel, and so are you, and your whole little family, whether in routine or on outings. <3

Katie Anderson said...

Oh my. One of my favorite, refreshing, wonderful posts!

Happy First Mother's Day :)

Sarah said...

Wonderful post, Laini - thank you for bringing back wonderful memories of my baby's first year and my feelings about motherhood (that baby is now nine - how I wish I'd written and recorded more).

Glad you had a brilliant mother's day!

Sarah said...

Also meant to say, I loved Blackbringer and passed it on to my nine year old and she adored it, too. Brilliant, brilliant book whether you are nine or thirty-three, apparently ;o)

Myrna Foster said...

You are making me hungry.

Being a mom is the best. Snuggles, kisses, funny noises - even grumpy faces - are so much fun. Gwenyth makes up songs all the time and sings them for me. I love it.

Clementine seems to get even more adorable every time you post a picture of her.

Sarah Beth Durst said...

Happy 1st Mother's Day, Laini!

Best wishes,

Enna Isilee said...

Laini, is that girl EVER sad? Seriously! She just looks like the biggest bundle of joy!

persnickety_jen said...

Every time I see a picture of Clementine, I think she has a face that was made for wearing a pointy little knit hats. And she has such a bright smile, she must spend her days chasing butterflies and whispering secrets through a faerie door in some mysteriously overgrown garden somewhere...

In other words, ADORABLE.

I'm glad you had such a wonderful first Mother's Day. Those pineapple floats sound absolutely delicious.

Anonymous said...

Clementine is freakin' gorgeous!
What a lovely mother's day!

And I know what you mean about choices, uhg.


Sage Ravenwood said...

She's a little beauty! A friend of mine wrote a letter to each of her daughters every month. Listing things they had accomplished and all the little elements that made them who they were during that time. She would then seal the letters in an envelope and put it in a trunk specifically for that child.

When they become adults she plans on giving the letters to them. It's an amazing way of seeing your child and remembering those fond memories as they grow. (Hugs)Indigo

Charlotte said...

goodness--she is really starting to look more Person and Less Baby, although still, of course, utterly adorable! Happy Mother's Day!

lkmadigan said...

Gorgeous, soulful post, Laini.

I must comment on the wary glint in Jim's eyes as he studies that tortoise for signs of sudden toe-nipping.



Shelli (srjohannes) said...

happy first momma's day - there is nothing like it...

Lori L. Clark Art said...

Happy first mom's day... I would love to know what you use on your hair to make it so beautifully pink? :)

Vijaya said...

"Sometimes there's not enough time to both live the days and record them, alas, in which case one must choose to live them, and hope to remember." This resonates.

Happy Mother's Day, Laini.

Heather said...

Happy first mother's day, Laini! Clementine looks such a delight and the time seems to be slipping away so quickly. I was never much of a journal keeper when my kids were young, but did jot little notes into a daytimer as things occurred. I found it was enough to jog my memory for later when I have the time to put together books for all of them. I did Hannah's last year for her graduation and it turned out great! Give it up for digital scrapbooking, yo! And blurb.com

Amber said...

I am happy your Mother's Day was lovely, Laini! This post made me smile.


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