Natural Selection

In the children’s area of our local Louisiana library

standing tall

an armful of this week’s haul of crinkly books.

Explaining, to the appalled assembled parentage of

Madison, Ellie, Aubrey,

Brok, Brendan, Holly and Bree,

why my three year old

zebra print bow gathered up in her curls

has just leaned forward

comfortable on the blue plastic couch

to cup her hands around her mouth and clearly shout:

“Mom, did you get any books with the naked people in it?”

“It’s Eric Carle,” I say

to the suspicious mommy grandma big sister faces

“one of his books, ‘Draw me a star.”

But by the time I’ve described the artist as an analogy for God

I realize I never should have explained to begin with.

Who can explain the point, or the pulchritude, of a picture book.

There is nothing to defend, there is nothing to do but

stack up the books on top of the stroller

16 month old strapped back in below the dangerous tower of words

three year old galloping ahead to the circulation desk

behind us

shelves of books waiting their turn.


Nap Time

'The Start of Something New' Copyright 2011 Kate Forman

‘The Start of Something New’ Copyright 2011 Kate Forman

My daughter is sleeping. There are two very remarkable things about that short sentence. First, I have a daughter. She is gorgeous and strong, remarkably opinionated, stunningly beautiful, intoxicatingly huggable, endlessly kissable, and mine.

MY daughter. They let her come home with us from the hospital. No Doctor or Nurse asked as to my credentials, they weren’t concerned that I failed the high school Chemistry regents test twice. TWICE. Doesn’t it seem that a Mother should have a more basic grasp of Chemistry? I wouldn’t know an atom from  an ion if they offered to change a diaper, and yet, here she is. She’s mine to love, to hold, and to raise — Me, with all my imperfections, and short-comings, and history of goof-ups — I got someone in my life who is absolutely perfect.

Full disclosure: and my husband, she is also his, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on me. Me the mommy, me the humbled human, me the perplexed artist, me the admirer of this incredible baby girl.

The second remarkable thing about the opening sentence is that she is sleeping. Who said that infants sleep all the time? I’d like to call them up and give them a piece of my mind. My daughter sleeps, but not the long tranquil spells I’d imagined during my pregnancy, during which I day-dreamed of no day job and endless hours of nap-times in which to paint and market and even blog. Bwahhh-haaa-haa: that is the sleep deprived laugh I send back to my round naive self.

This fierce little lady and I already share some things in common, and one of them is: we’re kind of lousy nappers. She soaks up the room from the moment she’s awake to the moment she’s asleep, there is so much to see and focus on. In fact, watching her, those first few weeks, develop the ability to focus on our faces and other interesting sights was fascinating. I have trouble turning off my vision long enough to drift off to sleep too, it’s hard to let the room, the window, or the book go during the daytime. My daughter can be anything she wants to be, and I don’t want to push any career on her at all, but I expect that she is already a visual person — as shutting out the day for a nap seems a bit challenging for her too.

However: here today is a remarkable occurrence. We both slept well during the night, we made the coffee together, we had a few chats about things like patterns on pillows, and corners where things meet, and red stuffed animals, and then she drifted off to sleep, and I sat down with the end of the coffee and got things done. It is an amazing feeling.

I have a feeling that this blog will begin to be about being a mommy and making art. The balance of day-jobs and freelance art pursuits and the practical obligations of life is always on my mind, and this blog has frequently been a space for me to express my reactions to it…and now there is another piece to the puzzle. I’m already chewing on this quandary: being a Mom emboldens me, and inspires me, but also has already shifted the entire course of my day and my life, and I wonder how to continue to weave it all together. For now, though, I can hear my gorgeous girl’s soft breath and occasional whimpers and coos, and with that in my ears I’m going to go make some art.