Archive for September, 2010

Required Reading

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

mood: calm | drinking: agua

mckinley_small

Books have always been a huge part of my life. I grew up without a TV, and my mom would take my sister and I to the Dixon Public Library once a week. We’d fill an apple box with books, take them home, and by the time we returned the next week, we had read all the books (some of them twice).

I had an early affinity for fantasy. I devoured fairy tales (the Grimm versions, not Disney), Greek myths, Indian folk tales starring Ganesh and Kali, Lewis’ Narnia, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Baum’s Land of Oz, George MacDonald’s stories of the Princess and Curdie and the goblins who lived just beneath a layer of earth, like moles.

With all these visions of mayhem and magic and brave, bold girls like Lucy Pevensie, I have no idea how I missed out on Robin McKinley. But I did.

I only discovered her by accident a few months ago, thanks to a vampire tale (her only book featuring vampires) called Sunshine.

I was intrigued by her writing style, her fully-realized alter-world, and her strong, stubborn female heroine. So I started poking around the web for a sequel or prequel to Sunshine, which doesn’t exist. I found instead the rest of McKinley’s ouevre, most notably The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.

I read Hero while still pregnant, and finished Sword while in the hospital after delivering Lucette. And I decided then and there that McKinley’s books would have a prominent place on Lucette’s already packed bookshelf. They will be required reading.

Enough of these namby pamby Disney damsels in distress, whose only hope is a handsome, vapid prince to come along and kiss them, so they can live out their lives in pampered, dull luxury behind the walls of glistening stone turrets.

If Lucette wants to be a princess, I want her to model herself after Aerin in The Hero and the Crown, who gentles a wounded war horse, goes off dragon hunting, and saves her entire country from doom. I want her to favor Rosie in Spindle’s End, who hates the curly golden ringlets bestowed on her by fairy godmothers…

“When she was old enough to hold minimal conversations, the itsy-bitsy-cutesy-coo sort of grown-ups would pull the soft ringlets gently and tell her what a pretty little girl she was. She would stare at this sort of grown-up and say, ‘I am not pretty. I am intelligent. And brave.’ ”

So far this month, I’ve worked my way through four more of McKinley’s books, and I have the last few that I haven’t yet read on order. I’m going to be dreadfully sad when I read the last page of the last novel, though.

McKinley feels like a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, and I pity the poor author whose book is the first to follow my McKinley binge. They will suffer horribly by comparison.

-Lo, who will always find time to read, newborn infant or no.

Post Partum

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

mood: quiet | drinking: water

pumpkin2

With the exception of one poem called “Good Dog,” written shortly after LeeLoo’s death, all the poems I’ve written in the last nine months have been all about this change, this life, brewing inside of me.

That includes a series of 13 poems titled after fruits and vegetables, starting with “Kidney Bean” and ending with “Pumpkin”… the idea being that the size of the titular piece of produce corresponded with the size of the little one in my womb.

Someday I’ll publish all 13, but I thought now was a good time to post the final poem in the series. So here you are…

Pumpkin

early
I bare my toes to the ocean
and wait for the waves,
salty and cool against my skin
steady and measured inside my womb.

active
There are women
who proudly tell stories
of profanity in the labor room,
of squeezing fingers to pulp, of
screaming fault lines
at the nearest person
possessed of a penis,
of blood, chaos and drama.

But in Room 203 I am falling in love,
knowing we have never been together
quite like we are on this night.

push
They tell me to push just one more time
and I find his eyes and bear down
quivering with effort.

“That’s great, now do it again,”
they say, and I do and I do and I do
and I think “This will never end.”

But it does, in a rush, and you slide
purple and wailing from that world
to this.

He sees you before I do, and turns to me,
eyes welling with the wonder
of having finally met
the person you made
and finding her utterly perfect.

post partum
I am halfway to the drugstore
when I remember
you are no longer with me.

After 10 months of cohabitation
the shock of your absence
is devastating.

A song comes on the radio
that has nothing to do with us

but I weep nonetheless
for the sorrow of solitude
and the joy of delivery.

***

(written September 1st and 2nd, technically weeks 40 & 41)

-Lo, with a little less writing time on my hands.

This Little Light of Mine

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

mood: transformed | drinking: cranberry juice

lulu_day2

She’s finally here.

Lucette de Luna was born at 7:58 am on Thursday, September 2nd. She weighed 7lbs, 5oz and was 20 inches long.

Her first name means “little light” in French, and her second name means “of the moon” in spanish and italian. So (very) roughly translated, her name is “little light of the moon”. (She’s very multicultural that way.)

Of course, there will be nicknames. We’re getting a head start on those by calling her Luci and Lulu.

mom1Labor lasted 27 hours, and if you told me that going into it, I would have been completely freaked out. But we just took it one contraction at a time and we all made it through just fine.

Of course, it helped that the first 12 hours (from 5:30 am Wednesday morning until 6pm Wednesday night) were spent at home. It was gorgeous in San Francisco that day, so we actually spent a couple of hours at the beach, with me standing ankle-deep in the ocean, waiting for contractions and watching the waves come in. Not a bad way to be in labor, really.

I’m writing this from our hospital room. We’ll go home soon, but for now the three of us are in a little cocoon of post-delivery joy.

dad1Bruce (I should call him Bruce on this blog now, not Boy. No need for subterfuge, right?) was an amazing partner, not only throughout labor and delivery, but through my entire pregnancy. Scratch that, through my entire life. He’s just pretty much the most kick-assingest person I know.

We’re both just beginning to find our way into parenthood, but so far Lulu is making that easy. She’s beautiful and sweet and the top of her head smells like heaven.

I know I have thousands of unknown days ahead, full of their own terrors and joys. But right now, at this moment, I couldn’t be happier or more peaceful.

Lucette’s here, and that’s all that matters for today.

-Lo, from babyland.