In 2 weeks, I’ll have a 1 year old on my hands. ONE. Ans is about to be a toddler. She even took a half step for me then another one for Hubs a few minutes later. That’s practically a whole step, Intertron! I can’t even. I’ve been trying to capture a mental picture of every baby moment I’ve got while it’s still fresh and doughy in my mind: the drooley, open-mouthed kisses, the new tricks like shaking her head, “no,” like a happy maniac, and breathily saying “hhhiiiii” to the pups, out the windows, and to my phone. She is still so cuddly and is starting to give real-person hugs by hanging on for dear life to my ponytail with her tiny, chubby arms only fitting right around the length of my neck. Ans is content sitting – imagine that – just sitting next to EB or in my lap…until she decides she needs to be on top of the tallest book shelf in the room in the blink of an eye, or through the pocket door to the bathroom that she recently figured out how to open.
I gnaw on her hands, her cheeks, her shoulders, and blow raspberries on her until she pushes me away with squawks of delight. She is my littlest baby and I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since she was in my body.
Speaking of which…My friend GS (who used to live in San Francisco and moved back to Austin to my utmost joy, especially since her new house is in my neighborhood) has asked me to take part in a storytelling series at a local east Austin theater. The topic is “creation” and I will be telling the tale of the time I birthed out a second kid.
You know how much I like birth stories. And you can probably imagine how many times I’ve recounted this birth story to the gaggle of preggo friends that has cropped up around me, much to my delight. However. I have not performed anything in public in over 12 years. Right when Hubs and I met, I was still doing performance poetry, but cheese and rice, I’m so nervous about this. GS has assured me that it’s more talking than performing, and how in the crap could I forget any detail to Ans’ entrance into this world? I’m a long-winded orator but tend to tell stories with some semblance of efficiency in writing. At the very least, I don’t have the “umms” and “likes” punctuating my blog posts, whereas I’m sure to be blushing alongside my verbal ticks during my 15 minutes on stage. I’m having a mild panic attack about this.
I do much better one-on-one. I can read the person and see if my jokes are hitting home or if I’m coming on too strong. I can share the time listening and not just blabbing. But this? I’ll be sharing one of the 2 biggest stories of my womanly existence to possible strangers and a smattering of friends and fam. I’m truly already sweating. And it’s not for 25 more days.
It’s apropos that I will be recounting Ans’s story the same month that her story came true. I’ve consolidated the three blog posts I wrote the right after (or was it the same night?) she was born, used real names, and cut out the repetitive phrases to have the words just right. I’ve read over the 6 single-spaced pages and timed it to be just about 13 – 15 minutes, depending on how many times Eebs interrupts my timed practice reading. I’ve gone over the pages at least once a day, but cannot put it to memory, and the parts I do memorize the phrasing sounds like I’m trying to act (which I’m very NOT good at). I have a reading voice and a speaking voice, and I’m decidedly not Claire Huxtable.
But maybe there’s some voice, some middle ground that I can find now that I’ve come over a decade since I was last on stage with my own writing. I used to write indecipherable poems that were softly spoken at podiums at writing workshops, in creative writing classes for my undergrad, and in coffee shops on open mic night. My interest waned and I found something rewarding in landscape architecture – which has its fair share of presentations of creative endeavors in front of large groups in grad school, who were equally if not more critical than the writing workshops. Except that in that decade, I’ve let my writing voice find respite and then a new outlet on this blog, more explicit and unabashedly telling the stories of my life as a mom, and found great satisfaction. I’ve matured emotionally in that decade, and have gained a more confidant speaking voice as well as way of carrying myself. I’m not the raw, angsty kid in the middle of my undergrad trying to find a foothold in the world. All of this growth is all very reassuring. I guess I’m not the chubby-cheeked baby anymore, either.
Although I’d kill to have that soft baby skin again. Someone get me some dang eye cream.