I gotta get it down, I know I do. I look back on all the entries on Oliver and I know I would remember less than half of what happened had I not documented it here. But so far, I’ve written so little on Georgia.
The story with G is both more complicated and simpler than with O. O was and is so outrageous that his exploits demand a public venue. And writing it out makes it easier to laugh than to cry; the two emotions are so close when it comes to parenting O. I am rarely, rarely quietly soaking up the best of O: I am hit over the head with it, sometimes literally. He either makes you want to pull your hair out or cover him with kisses. The other day at a christening: “Mama, can you pull my pants up? I just peed under the table with Molly” (and ripped up all the grass to boot). The other night in the tub: Me: “Should I get out now to make some room for you?” O: “No, I love you too much.”
With G, things are quieter. Of course part of that is that she’s only eight months old; but O was yammering and yelling his head off at eight months. G coos, and cries, and laughs, but mostly she smiles. Mostly she concerns herself with letting you know you’re the sweetest thing she’s ever laid eyes on, and every time she sees you, it’s like she’s surprised to have been blessed anew. She looks up and simply beams. You smile back and she looks like she might topple over from gratitude. When she’s really thrilled with something, G succumbs to a fit of snorting and sniffling that scrunches up her whole face and her toothless grin doubles in size. She’s normally a beauty, but this show of ecstasy is almost creature-like in its bizarre adorableness.
Like all second children, G watches her elder sibling closely and is particularly chuffed when she’s allowed to follow in his footsteps, like when we guide her down slides or push her slowly in a baby swing. She struggles for O’s attention when he’s not bestowing it vigorously of his own accord; if it’s won, she gets a look of pure satisfaction and adoration. If anyone’s going to make Georgia laugh, it’s Oliver.
I am writing this in bed, in the dark, with Georgia dreaming beside me. We have at most three nights left before she leaves my bed to be sleep-trained, away from me and nursing, into her crib in another room, soothed for the first few nights by her dad and eventually by no one but herself. It seems impossible. I can’t imagine not sleeping with her, though she now wakes at least four times a night and I can’t function most mornings I’m so tired. In the night, when she cries out expectantly, whether it’s for the first or seventh time, I turn over lightning quick to put her back to sleep. And stroke her downy hair. And hold hands. And listen to her breathe as she settles again.
I will miss this. But I have written it.