Friday, February 9, 2018

on mamahood: month two

Dear Birdie,

Oh my gosh. Look at you.

Look at your fingers! Your expression!

You are no longer my wee, grunting newborn. When I first met you, I loved you but I didn't know you.

60 some odd days later -- I know you now. We know you now.

I stare at you so much that it would be embarrassing or awkward if you were anyone else. I feel like I know your face more than I even know your Baba's, because all I do anymore is watch, riveted, while you sleep, eat, cry, poo, smile, laugh, think. (I've never stared at him as much. That would be creepy.)

Your cheeks have been kissed 1 billion times by Mama. I told your Dad the other day that you are now one of the top three dudes I have kissed most in my life (the winners being you, Baba, and the ex that shall not be named, LOL.)

You are sleeping as I write this, and I stop typing every few minutes because I think I hear you.

It's as if my heart literally falters for a minute-- I catch my breath and freeze. Is he crying out for me? Both of the last times this has happened in the past hour, it was a crow in the backyard.

Oh, Birdie.

Things that make you sad in Month 2:

- If I am even 5 seconds late with boob
- The pain of your fart gas bubbles.

As you can see, this list has not veered much from last month. You are predictably simple, pure, easy to please.

Things that make you happy in Month 2:

- Seeing Mama's face after she feeds you and cleans up your butt. It's as if you didn't know it was her doing it all this time, and then once your primary needs are met, you go "Hey! It's this lady again! I like her a lot."

- Bath time with your Dad. He gives you massages and is so careful and loving with you.

- When we play, "Who's that baby in the mirror?" You love your reflection and it is the cutest because you think it is another baby, and whoever you think he is, you get so bashful and sweeeeet in his presence.

- Pretending to participate in conversation. You are babbling up a storm, with all manner of expressions on your face. The other day, I was belting out Beyonce and you joined in with me at the top of your lungs.

This month, we went from the three of us goofs, pal-ing around every day to just you and me.
Baba had to go back to work after 7 weeks off with us, and it was really sad. It was and is a huge transition, since we all three got so used to our tight family unit. He was pretty bereft about it the night before he went back, and when he told you his big feelings, you looked at him as if you understood his pain.

Rest assured, not every day is magical. We are under slept, for sure. Sometimes I gesture for your dad to just take this baby from me, exasperated, but it is not from a lack of loving you. It's just that we used to have different identities before becoming your parents, and we are blindly finding our way to seeing if we can own both at the same time.

And yet -- We have been lucky peaches to get this baby bubble together.

Babes, I can't believe you and I have a 2 month old!

Some words from your beloved Dad:

"Things I hope not to forget:

The rewiring of neurons when the wet cloth hits his tired and hungry body, a cry like no other, unforgiving, a bottomless call to serve, so strong that I must do everything, so dissonant I lose motor skills.

The look of surprised interest in his own bowel movements, like developing a taste for tuna sashimi with wasabi, kinda of painful at first, but then wow, that's pretty good!

The guilt of letting him squawk or fuss a bit longer because I really, really REALLY just want to pour this fucking coffee and get some toast in me.

The awe of his growth rate. His every change being so important and yet for every other parent that's said "he can hold his head up for almost 5 seconds" it's been like, "whatevs".

The hard truth that you, my wife, are so so so tired and just fell deep into that sweet and oh-so-needed sleep, but he's hungry again, and I know you will not get back to sleep for the day has begun, and naps are hard to find, and I always get more rest than you, more time than you, but there you are, 20 minutes later, shining your love down on him, I hear your sweet words, and am filled with pride and wonder at how truly completely you love him, regardless of all the above.

The paranoid checks when he burrows deep in my chest, limp-spined and curled into the Ergo where I can not see him, so I have to put fingers in his hand and gently squeeze until he startles, moves, sighs, or shows other signs of life.

The sense when he smiles that I am one of the precious few - that this moment is distinct from the multitude of frowns and cries, that his love is beaming back at me, matching mine and somehow amplifying it beyond measure.

The realization that maybe watching Black Mirror or TV in general while he naps on the couch next to us may not be perfect parenting.

Him on my chest, the soft weight, the slack contentedness of his body, helping ground me, to focus on this, and breathe, and lose myself in the feel of his soft head in my hand, his tiny arm draped over my ribs, his beautiful sleep telling me that he knows he is safe, and loved, that I'm doing my job, fulfilling the best and most cherished role I could ask for, that of Papa."

I know, right? He is pretty great, that one.

In the daylight hours, it's mostly me and you now. Po Po and Gong Gong pop by a lot, and are a huge help to us. They are completely smitten with you and will teach you to speak Cantonese, hopefully better than I can.

On the days that it is just us, I feel my confident spine growing taller. I can fulfill your needs. I can push past fatigue and change your barfed-on outfit, just one more time. I can survive the hours of the work day until your father comes home.

I thank you for being patient with me as I sometimes flail. You forgive me so quickly.

Love you, Goof.

You are my favourite child I've ever had.




  1. Kai, you are my favourite grandchild I've ever had.

  2. Your words (both or yours) are so beautiful and true. Brings me right back to my own first days of parenthood.

  3. Love the mom-&-kai mirror-gesture photos.. they're all really sweet. You guys are awesome parents. Thanks for this... Lots of love, ❤️ Karen

  4. Little Kai has gained 4 lbs since the day he came to this world, getting a little heavy for us, but we are thrilled whenever he smiles or laughs. He only cries when he is hungry or wet, when Joann feeds him, when we change his diapers, he will stop crying right away. He knows how to behave, he is a darling...

    Lots of love, from grandpa/kungkung