I had a dream late in my pregnancy that I gave birth to what I called “The Big Buddha Baby”. In it, my daughter entered the world full force, all round-faced and chubby, happy and smiling.
I found my dream funny, because I'd read that some women dream of giving birth to babies with green heads or to animals like fish. I'd heard that the cause of this psychedelic dreaming is fear of the unknown and anxiety about giving birth. My dream was quite optimistic, not normally like my usual doom-and-gloom self.
I also thought my dream couldn’t possibly be prophetic, because I believed that babies generally come out scrawny, misshapen and not so happy to greet the world. Sure enough, with the exception of the smiling part, Claire was the epitome of "The Big Buddha Baby" -- weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces and with a full shock of hair. She continues to be at the 85 percentile of weight for her age, and the size of her belly is matched only by the roundness of her cheeks.
Her Buddha-like qualities go beyond the physical too.
When Claire was a really little baby, many people asked me if she were on a schedule yet. I was so perplexed by this question that I didn’t know how to answer. Like most children, my daughter was and is so fully in the moment. More than me training her to be on a schedule, she has taught me how to be in the present. It's not something that comes naturally to me.
She's two and a half now. Just like when she was a baby, I lie with her while she's falling asleep. I listen for that deep breathing -- the sign that she's dreaming of her own big Buddha. The breathy cadence of those little lungs breathing in and out, making that sweet, sweet baby version of a snore -- its 's a beautiful sound...when I'm really listening. Instead, I'm usually making a list in my head of all the things that I’m going to do during her slumber (most are very exotic -- like doing the dishes, checking my email or going to the bathroom)…
Then, she wakes up. I'm crestfallen. “Wait, I’ve just gotten her to sleep! What about all those things I’d planned?” I think. If I’m not careful, my expectations become more important than being with my child.
Sometimes, I get so ahead of myself, I’m sure I can predict the future. Claire usually finds a way to surprise me. My husband, George, will come home late at night and I will say pessimistically, “I’ve tried everything to get her to sleep, and I’ve been at it for hours! She's NEVER going to go the f7&k to sleep!"
He’ll say, “Here, let me try”....She’ll be asleep in five minutes.
I think, “Wait! I just tried the same thing. It didn’t work!”
Would I rather be right or have her asleep? The latter, for sure.
Of course, there are things that need to get done, and I would absolutely, 100% be lying if I said that the fact that I can't get her to fall asleep doesn't drive me crazy. The need for mommy "me" time is important too.
But that's beside the point here. The point is that I can get lost in my own head thinking about this problem or that thing on my to-do list. I can be completely sure that I know what's going to happen next.
Suddenly, I look over at Claire, and she's smiling. Her eyes are piercing the darkness, while her nose crinkles. Sometimes, she will touch her hand to my cheek and say, "Mama!"
That moment contains a lifetime of fulfillment. I almost missed it.
Linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday, "My best dream ever was..."
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Photo Source: Jowo Sakyamuni, Flickr