Text-only snapshots

24 10 2013

Everybody knows I take a ridiculous number of pictures of my daughter.  And nobody who knows me is really surprised; after all, I also take a ridiculous number of pictures of my cats, and E, having been raised primarily by the cats, is so much cat it only makes sense for the pattern to continue.  AND she’s also cuter and more human.  It’s easier math than 2 + 2.  Anybody who’s ever had a kid (or a cat, really) also knows, though, that no matter how many pictures you take, how often you have a camera in your hand, poised and ready, you can’t capture all of the picture-perfect moments.  Some of the images always slip through the sieve of time and otherwise-busy hands, flickering too quickly against your retinas to burn the way you want to believe they will.  For the lucky among us, these moments inspire a rush to the page to execute the capture in another medium.  For most of us, there’s never enough time for that either, but sometimes, to hell with it, you leave the laundry in piles and the mugs in the sink even if company’s coming, because thirteen months will be thirteen years some thirteen blinks from now (and there will still be new laundry in piles and more mugs in the sink nonetheless).

Snapshot #1: yesterday evening, pre-bath.  I grabbed one, on the phone, as I was trying to vacuum yesterday evening, with the sky outside darkening the windows and the living room filling up with warm light from the bunch-of-cartoon-balloon lamps in their corners, of E with the black hose in hand, pointing it aloft as if she were ready to be the world’s most helpful baby, doing the vacuuming for me while I moved on to other things, but that was already too little too late, just the consolation shot for missing the best one: when I dragged the vacuum into the room, the long, pointy corner-attachment fell off, like it always does (probably because I’m not even sure where in the puzzle-game of the back of that machine it’s supposed to go), and when I first turned on the rough whirr of the little machine’s engine, as it stood in the center of the cleared rug like a black dragon, roaring, instead of running away from it to cling to my leg like she’s done before, or waving her arms from a safe distance and yelling at it, E walked right up to the fallen pointy attachment, picked it up, brandished it like a sword, and advanced upon the beast.  That’s my girl.

Snapshot #2: last night, post-bath.  When I dressed E after bathing her, and zipped her into a “new” hand-me-down 12-month fleece pulled from the bottom of her pajama drawer (because everything we usually wear is in the aforementioned piles of laundry), I was close enough to her to notice the print, and remarked to her, “well, that’s a first.  You’re wearing unicorns.  And princesses.  Don’t let it go to your head.”  Then I took her downstairs with me to boil pasta for dinner, leaving her playing in the kitchen behind me while I poured and stirred and washed a few things quickly at the sink.  When I turned around to see what she was doing, I found her straddling the base of her bouncer like a cowgirl on a blue plastic horse, with a big-wheeled die-cast jeep in her hands, running the wheels up and down the arcs of the bouncer’s supports and muttering “brrmmmm brrmmmm” in time with the wheels.  So, yeah.  I’m not too worried about the princess-and-unicorn business.

Snapshot 3 (although this is more about technology than timing, since there’s just no way to pick up the low-light life I spend half my time living, attached to a nurseling in a dim, dim room lit only by the tiny blue glow of her white-noise-generating wave-maker and the little green light on the humidifier): I look down at her after the pasta is eaten, the stories are read, the teeth are brushed, and the lights shut down for the night, and see stars.  Her star-maker ladybug is almost out of batteries, and the blue, star-shaped cut-outs on the ceiling so faint we can barely pick them out, but her little chest and arms look like they’ve been painted by a magic starfall of yellow glimmers, scattered like the new-green maple flowers that dot to mudyard at the start of spring.  The princess-and-unicorn pajamas glow in the dark, you guys, and it’s like I’m holding a sleepy little bundle of pixie-dust-kissed changeling-magic.  There’s been a fae-trade, and they’ve entrusted me with one of their own.  Silly musings, for certain, but they charmed me.  Whoever invented those things has to know the babies can’t really see their own limbs while they’re milk-drunk and lolling anyway–I think they’re painted for the mummies, to remind us how once we all had wings.

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