Saturday, August 20, 2011

Baby Lessons...

I had a dream late in my pregnancy that I gave birth to what I called “the Big Buddha Baby”. In the dream, Claire came out fully formed, chubby and smiling.

I found my dream funny because I had read that some women dream of giving birth to babies with green heads or to animals like fish. And 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 me.

I also thought that the dream couldn’t possibly be prophetic, because babies generally come out scrawny, misshapen and not so happy to greet the world. With the exception of the smiling part, Claire did look a lot like the baby in my dream, 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 only matched by the roundness of her cheeks.

But her Buddha-like qualities go beyond the physical. I’ve had several people ask me if Claire is on a schedule yet. I am so perplexed by this question that I don’t know how to answer. She is fully in the moment. Instead of me training her to be on a schedule, she is teaching me to be in the present. There are times when I’m holding her, and she’s just fallen asleep. I quickly start making a list in my head of all the things that I’m going to do while she’s out (most are very exotic, from doing the dishes, to checking my email or going to the bathroom)…

She wakes up. “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 baby. Sometimes, I get so ahead of myself, I’m sure I can predict the future.

Claire usually finds a way to surprise me. 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 over two hours”. He’ll reach out for her and say, “Here, let me try”. She’ll be asleep in five minutes. “Wait! I just tried the same thing. It didn’t work!” Would I rather be right or have her asleep at midnight? The latter, for sure.

Of course, there are things that need to get done. But I can get lost in my own head thinking about this problem or that. Suddenly, I look down at Claire in my arms and she is beaming a radiant smile at me. Her bright blue eyes are piercing me, while her nose crinkles. Then, her mouth forms a circle and, wide-eyed, eyebrows raised, she let’s out an “Ooh!” in my direction.

That moment contains a lifetime of fulfillment. I almost missed it.

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Photo Source: Jowo Sakyamuni, Flickr


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