Dear Anya,

This last month has been a challenging one for me, but not because of you. Despite dealing with a touch of PPD, the death of your great-grandmother, adjusting to life with multiple children, and making the decision not to go back to work, I have felt through each step as though you make the dark bits glow just a little bit brighter. I delight in being able to read you. I love that I know what your different sounds mean. I didn’t get that with Lily; she was always your daddy’s child. He could take one look at her and tell me what she needed and I would stand there, tears in my eyes feeling like such a fool for not being able to understand her. But it’s not like that with you. I know that when you make a hooting noise like an owl you are saying, “I’m tired, dammit!” I know what your face looks like when you are hungry and understand the way you whirl your arms. I know how much you love to stand up on my lap and wave your arms around like a seasoned boxer while I whisper, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I watch others hold you and anticipate the moment to tell them to face you outwards as you start to fuss.

You are working very hard at rolling from your back to your front, spinning around as you push your hips over, rotating your face into the floor and manically rocking towards your goal. You are SO close with just the problem of that lower arm getting in the way at the final stage. Daddy filmed you tonight as we watched you try over and over again, giggling as you would let out a frustrated howl and then quiet down so you could try again, a look of concentration creasing your brow. Your dad commented that you would likely break-dance before you crawled with all these styling moves you are making.

trying to roll over

You also have discovered your hands in this last month and take great delight at shoving them into your mouth and making loud slurping noises into your fists. They still occasionally whack you in the face and you look at me shocked and betrayed… “Why, mama? Why would you hit me?” your little face asks. I don’t know, baby. Why would I do such a thing?

But the truly joyous thing this month has given us? Your smile has become a regular part of our day. This morning you were nursing while we lay in bed waiting for the day to get hot, your little eyes closed lightly and your fingers dancing across my flesh. Your daddy and sister came downstairs to wake us and you opened your eyes, not letting go as you grinned at Daddy’s beaming face from around my nipple. Your daddy and I laughed and you looked startled but delighted from such a response, your grin growing ever wider. That smile makes the world for me, bursting into flame when the darkness gets oppressive. I can’t thank you enough for that toothless grin but I do try with smiles of my own, happy whispered words and raining kisses all over your face as you squirm underneath my affections, cooing with delight.

We left you for the first time Saturday night and I was pleased but not really surprised at how well you handled it. We went to see a benefit production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona by New Village Arts and were thrilled to sip wine (your dad) and Italian soda (me) while snacking on exquisite food under the stairs; Shakespeare before us and the sun setting over the Pacific to our right. Your dad and I giddy with freedom but eager to get back to our girls once the play had ended and we had made the required rounds. Luckily for us, Vikki and J had came to care for you and your sister and you both behaved so well that I think they might some day come back. I asked Vikki if she would be your fairy goddess mother and she was happy to accept. Had you both been monsters she might have said no!

Vikki, Jeff and Anya

We started a wishing book in which we write all the things we want for you, ourselves, our home, our life as a family. We are manifesting for you and Lily a future you can grow in; a future in which your parents will play a very active part. There may be times when you are older that we wished we gave you more time alone but know we will have strived for the balance, doing the best we can. Nothing is as important to us as being able to share your childhood with you. We want so deeply to shepard you through your youth so that we may not have to carry you through your adulthood. We want to raise strong, confident children who love their life and believe in our hearts that being with you as you grow is one path towards your future happiness. We apologize if we have it all wrong, but this is the foundation for all we have done and will do.

The girls first bath together

With your sister, this was the month that we finally started getting our night rhythm down and we started to flow through nocturnal feedings without really waking, enjoying her warm sweet body pressed to mine throughout the night. For some reason I feel like you and I have always had the rhythm… like we’ve been through this before and it’s old hat. Each night as we ready ourselves for bed, I light a candle and watch the light flicker across your sleeping body, marveling at the beauty that is my child. I wake for your first feeding in that light and it warms me as I know my wishes for you and for Lily are burning with sacred intent in that flame, going heaven ward to the Great Spirit, conveyed in Mother Earth’s fire. Lily taught me how to be a mother and to her I am forever indebted for such a wonderful gift. But to you my little love, I am so grateful because from you I am learning how to mother with grace.

More sleeping Anya shots



P.S. Thanks for easing up on the desperate hatred of the car seat. I know you still think it evil, but at least you’re not protesting quite as loudly or as long as you once did. I'll take that as a gift!