Monday, April 30, 2007

Elsa my heart, Clio my soul

Sometimes I love these babies so damned much I just don't know what to do. It's amazing just how much...I don't know...personness a chubby, toothless little being can exude.



When Elsa smiles it is with unabashedly innocent amazement and delight. Sometimes she'll smile or squeal out of nowhere, with no one even looking at her. Who knows what she's thinking about or reacting to? You get the feeling she's simply thrilled to be alive.

This weekend, when we were down visiting A's parents, we think she laughed for the first time, sort of. One of their dogs snatched her pacifier, and as we all laughed about it, she let out a screech that sounded an awful lot like laughter. Squawky, dolphin-like baby laughter.

But when she cries--God, how distraught she sounds! And how deeply hurt and upset she looks, her face puckered up, her eyes squeezed to slits, streaming tears. As if her little heart has been shattered; the universe has betrayed her. All I want to do is hold her close and reassure her and make everything all right, forever and ever; to shield her from the cruelty of the world -- which is impossible of course. She'll soon experience meanness and violence and thoughtlessness and heartbreak, and I dread having to see her hurt.

If Elsa's outlook on the world is amazement, then Clio's is (most of the time) amusement. Life is a hoot, a game, a joke she's in on. You get the sense that maybe she's done this whole life thing a few times before. She's an old soul, and she knows the score. Not that this makes it any less funny when mom and dad make goofy faces at her -- though sometimes we think she's not so much smiling at the faces we make as the fact that we're making them. She humors us.

And she's got things to say, Miss Clio -- ever true to her namesake, the muse the Greeks called the Proclaimer. Lately she's been talking an awful lot (as captured on film here), cooing and gurgling with great focus and serious intent. I'll sit her on my lap and look down at her and we'll have whole conversations together, consisting entirely of the sounds "goooo" and "llllluuuuhhh" and "eeeoooo." She seems to think she's speaking English. We humor her.

But oy -- that girl can go from smiles and coos and sweetness to an all-out screaming fit (and back again) in a matter of seconds. She arches her back and goes stiff as a board and yells and yells and yells. Sometimes the culprit seems to be gas. Sometimes boredom, hunger, fatigue. But sometimes she just seems to be mad for the sake of being mad -- or for reasons we can't possibly understand -- and no amount of bouncing or singing or rocking or feeding will help. She's just being Clio, all piss and vinegar. It's infuriating and exhausting and I love her for it. She's so punk rock.



It's still hard, this whole baby deal. They still rarely sleep more than 4-5 hours at a stretch, and they still cry and kvetch and fuss plenty. But it really is getting to be more and more fun. They've started to feel like our children.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous post!

The girls are growing up and changing so quickly! I want to see them...

Ellen

10:30 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

Nice. I love it when you can start to see the person in the baby.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Eva said...

At some point, a couple of months ago, my husband said, they really are little people now, aren't they? It was very similar to how you're describing things. I'm glad they're doing so well and are giving you so much joy, even if they're also giving you sleep deprivation as well.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Marie-Baguette said...

they are so cute!

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great blog title, and what perseverance before the wee ones morphed into your very own offspring.
But if Elsa is your heart, and Clio is your soul what's that leave for dear old Dad?? ~buster

4:09 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Buster -- my body, of course!

;-)

7:35 PM  

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