Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Imprinting

I was thinking last night about how my passionate relationship with Esther was forged from the first few weeks she was here. I can remember walking the floor with her, dancing, waltzing, swaying, bouncing her little fussy body around well past my bedtime while she was going through what we liked to call her “witching hour” thing. Every night, just as Ian would be getting home from work, she became maddeningly inconsolable and we, neophyte parents, became baby jugglers in our very own family circus trying to find some way to get her to stop crying. Of course each of us thought we had the secret touch but in all actuality, neither of us had a clue. Ian would be convinced she needed the daddy "football hold," and I would try my lounge singer routine, going through my sad repertoire of old Bonnie Rait, CSN and Bob Marley songs again and again.

I can remember one night when I was seeing double with exhaustion and Esther wouldn’t settle down. I paced back and forth in the bedroom like a drill sergeant using heavy steps and abrupt turns. My rage was palpable. Ian luckily intervened and I all but slammed her into his arms and ran downstairs crying and ashamed of myself. I then had to go outside and take deep sobbing breaths of icy January air to still the demons. Even then I had to keep my hands over my ears to stop the sounds of her car alarm wail.

I think of this night, and many other similar nights, and how Essie and I have a tinge of anger flavoring our relationship. Her anger towards me this summer while I was pregnant was extreme and I can’t say I didn’t feel it too. Then Isla came into our life and her effect was like a gauzy veil of peace had been draped over our home. The yelling stopped, the arguing stopped, and the anger dissipated. Isla, it seems, is our little peacemaker.

I took her out in the front pack on snowshoes this morning. I might be imagining it but I think she likes the sound of snow crunching underfoot. She seems to smile and get all peaceful as soon as she hears it. Her little cheeks grew pink as we walked. Stray snowflakes floated down to meet them. In the front pack her face is always turned up towards mine, so all she sees is mummy's face and sky and snow.

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