Last night, feeding Dragon Girl in the quiet darkness, I welled up with a moment of pure gratitude at how lucky I am to have small children. And while this sentimentality might well be extremely short-lived -- say, until breakfast -- and was certainly triggered by sleep deprivation, I did think: how lucky are we to have time with these new lives, a time in which where the home is their whole world, and a time in which to reassure them that they are always loved.
At our last visit with Dragon Girl, my pediatrician mentioned the following study findings*: when a mother picks up her baby, some huge majority of the time -- let's say 87% for fun -- she holds the child turned face-inward, close to her, sending the message this is your world; you are safe. When a father picks up his baby, an equally huge majority of the time, he holds the child turned face-outward, facing the room, sending the message this is your world; explore it!
As a family, definitely are turning inward this fall. DH has been furiously spinning plates on the end of sticks for most of this year, and has been running even faster since Dragon Girl's arrival. His nesting instinct has seriously kicked in. And he finally has succeeded in making two huge business deals. We are not really celebrating until all the checks clear and closing concludes, but DH is optimistic enough that he's pulled the trigger on a huge, massive, major project: Looking at Houses.
We started on Monday, and accordingly Dragon Girl is not to blame for all of last night's sleep deprivation. I had a squiggly-Christmas-morningy vibe going all last night about today's lineup of viewings. Five! We will see five maybe-homes today!
Ooooh, a home of our own,
to paint as we please,
to plant as we please . . .
. . . and, since we're not first-time homebuyers, I must add from experience . . .
to fix when it breaks . . .
to rebuild what we hate . . .
but ours, our own!
I am so excited to have a "growing-up home" for our girls, a place of goings-out and comings-in, and a cozy space for Dragon Girl that is more than a bassinet in the TV room.
So last night in the wee small hours, in the cozy dark when I really should have been sleeping, I planted and re-planted endless herb gardens, elk-proofed them, and re-planted them yet again; excavated a fire pit; painted the girls' rooms walls four or five times; ordered new furniture for same; stripped that headboard; ordered storage for the mudroom; and had two very firm discussions with DH about his penchant for wildlife artwork and heavy Victorian furniture.
It's time to turn in. Winter is coming. The air is honeycrisp at night. The porch plants have been taken in. Our neighborhood mama bear is perched atop the neighborhood dumpster every night, trying to get fat for the winter. Nuthatches are fluttering over the feeder. Chipmunks are fat-cheeked with thistle seed. It's time to turn in.
*OK, it made for a nice introductory paragraph, but between us, dear reader, I have some serious questions about this study. For example, did the designers statistically adjust for the fact that fathers -- around here, at least -- seem to live in utter fear of getting spit-up on their shoulders or piddle on their shirts? Or that fact that the female is often feeding the baby either by breast or bottle, so why pick up the child face-out only to twirl them around for a feeding? Plus, if Dragon Girl is any indicator, the parental message has a pretty narrow channel of travel. So far, the only messaging that Dragon Girl seems capable of processing is "I'm being held! Yay!" or "I'm NOT being held! Dammit!"