Songs about Stars

Posted: March 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Husbandry, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

A few hours ago Mark staggered through the door, finally home from his European business trip.

It was uncanny how Paige decided to start barfing just hours after his departure Tuesday morning, and maintained a steady stream of miserable maladies straight through to today, when I had to arrange a weekend doctor appointment for her inconsolable (and uncharacteristic) bawling.

Oddly, the doctor couldn’t find a thing wrong with her, which I could tell was bugging him. Diagnostic performance anxiety, I guess. I should have just told him she was trying to maintain a high level of drama and neediness up until her father got home.

When she wakes up tomorrow I’ll bet the college savings she’ll be pink-cheeked, perky, and all smiles. Daddy’s little girl.

The temptation to swan dive into self-pity when I was mopping up vomit while Mark dined in a room hung with Picassos and Chagalls was great at times. I won’t lie. But I know Paige didn’t set out to make my solo parenting stint extra challenging. (That’ll come when she’s a teenager, right?)

And through it all I did manage to find the silver lining to a week’s worth of Just Us Girls. The one thing I learned about myself is that it’s my instinct to move a puking child. Why do I do that? While holding a baby who is spewing forth, whatever reason would I have to want to walk her through other rooms of the house? Oh wait, honey, you didn’t get any on the hall carpet, let me quickly usher you through there!

On two occasions, instead of limiting the, well, splash zone, I took long circuitous pathways through the house to eventually get to a toilet. By which point Paige was essentially dabbing at the corners of her mouth with a napkin and giving me a well-I-feel-MUCH-better-now-that-that’s-over look.

Fool me twice! And as I was on my hands and knees maniacally Formula 409ing every visible surface, I started chanting an internal don’t-move-the-puker don’t-move-the-puker mantra. But it was like when someone always makes the same kind of nasty or hurtful or weird comment to you, and even though they’re a repeat offender you still find yourself so stunned you never manage to bust out a zingy retort. And then in the shower some morning you decide you’re not going to take it any more, damn it, and you craft a brilliant scathing response. But then you lie in wait to defend yourself and they never come back at you. Aaaargh!

Which is all to say that once I had my stay-rooted easy clean-up baby barf approach all mapped out, she moved onto other gastric issues and didn’t upchuck again. Figures.

And despite the weird role reversal of Paige workin’ some illness drama and getting all the attention, it was Miss Kate–the one who’s usually with top hat and cane doing jazz hands up in yer face–who stole the show this week in the sweetest quietest way.

I almost never put Katie to sleep any more. With Paigey still doing the pre-sleep boob thing, it makes Mark and my division of bedtime labor an obvious one. But on my own I put Paige down first, then Kate and I run through her bedtime routine.

Aside from the realization that, despite her overflowing bookshelf, she often wants the same books I read her during the day read again at night, I noticed for the first time the glow-in-the-dark stars Mark painstakingly mapped out on her ceiling. If you set aside your jaded they’re just those glowy star stickers mindset, and lie down on the bed, take maybe the first relaxing breath you’ve had all day and gaze up at them, they really are quite beautiful.

Our post-reading, pre-nighty-night moments only lasted a few minutes. But that first evening, marveling at the beauty of the stars and giving Kate a fresh interest in them, I realized she has yet to go camping and to experience the wonder of sleeping outdoors. (Something I regretfully never did myself until my twenties.) And so, whispering–as I was directed to so as not to wake her babies–I explained what sleeping in a tent that’s open to the sky is like, and promised her that we’d do that together soon, while assuring her that, no, there aren’t any tigers that come to eat you when you go camping, and leaving out the part about how maybe bears will.

The next night, Kate capitalized on her ceiling stars, an asset she knew at that point impressed me. The moment the light was out she pulled me down on the bed imploring, “Look at the stars, Mama. Look at them!” I had to remind her to keep her voice down for the barracks full of sleeping dolls lined up under small blankets all along her floor.

On Night #3 the stars were still cool and all, but what really moved me was having my little bundle of three-year-old energy in a rare sleepy snuggy mode. The girl who, understanding full well the power she wields over her adoring mother, rations hugs and kisses like bottles of bourbon during Prohibition. The same gal who recently made the weird world-weary “I have no love left to give” remark—odd and adult-like enough to make me wonder if she’s been Tivoing As the World Turns behind our backs.

Anyway, somewhere in the course of the week she determined that once the lights went out, after a brief period of admiring the constellations, she’d roll over, back herself up to get really close to me, and request I sing her a couple ditties. Namely, “Silent Night” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” (Note the theme she’s going with?)

Of course, I needed to whisper-sing, since God knows her babies are extremely sound-sensitive sleepers, despite what I’ve told her about having it be preferable to get them used to sleeping without having to tiptoe around them. But does she ever listen to her old-fashioned mother? Noooooooo.

Anyway, let’s just say that there are notes towards the end of “Silent Night” that I struggle with. And whisper-singing only seems to exacerbate my cracking voice. But Kate just burrows into my side quiet and listening. She doesn’t seem to mind my singing voice. And for the sweet few minutes of snuggles it affords me, I don’t either.

Kate and I are wired the same way. Whatever it is we’re doing we’re always busy busy busy. We’ve got things to do, places to go. But this week reminded me that I need to carve out more time for the two of us to stop and do some star-gazing together.

And while I’m at it, I should come up with a few more songs about stars to add to my repertoire.

No Comments »

Leave a Reply