|The Eyes Have It: Lily at a fundraiser dinner, taking it all in. That’s not Jodi holding her…she sucked in countless others that evening to do her bidding. (Photo: Michelle LeMonds at Michelle LeMonds Photography)
monsterpiece – n. – a perfectly created monster;
the pinnacle of a monster-maker’s handiwork*
She drinks you with those eyes. Draws you near in dumb adoration, cute-struck, closer and closer. Her spit-shined pink lips part in an open-mouth smile, toothless except on bottom, and saliva pools on her dimpled chin. She’s close enough now you can smell her baby-ness; she’s reaching with her long little fingers for your clothes, your hair, whatever she can grasp, all giggles and gasping shrieks of delight.
She’s got you.
* * * * *
In earlier December, I made the following prediction: “[W]e are having our tomboy, an active girl of about 10 pounds (plus or minus two ounces; 9-15 like her daddy would be just fine), 21 inches long or so. She’s gonna sleep alright, but when she starts moving about, she’ll be our first climber. We shall have our hands full. She will have a Thorp head, of course, and Jodi’s hazel eyes that look green in the right light.”
Dad always cautioned me that when it comes to children, “you get what you expect.” Six days after the official prediction, we were blessed with Lily, who emerged a little lighter (9 pounds, 4 ounces) and a little longer (23-1/2 inches), but very much an active girl and every bit a handful, with a Thorp head and captivating eyes. She sleeps alright, by which I mean not great, and she is fickle, demanding, and persistent. Perhaps we didn’t get a tomboy, but a diva…
If she sees you, then loses sight, she cries. If you initiate eye contact or conversation, then look away or fall silent, she cries. If you pick her up only to put her down – whether in her car seat or among her toys – she cries. If you hold her close and sit, she wants to stand; if you stand, she wants to move…and again, if you look her in the eye, don’t be the first to look away. She cries.
Until two weeks ago she refused to take bottle. She wanted to nurse, exclusively and often, and would accept no substitute. To give Jodi a moment’s peace, for the first time in five children, we decided to try a pacifier. She bit it and spit it out.
Finally her insatiable appetite got the best of her; now she demands the bottle. And when she wants it she wants it: four ounces at a minimum, no matter how much she’s nursed. Sometimes she still screams when you give it to her, but just try to take it from her…she cannot get it to her face on her own, but lie her on her back and she will clasp it to her chest with both hands. Sometimes if you try to help, she gets agitated — but step away, and invariably she will drop it and scream.
She won’t swallow baby cereal. She’ll eat a little pureed green beans, grimacing and shuddering the whole way — as though she knows the adage, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Whereas Trevor often insisted, verbally and mentally, the world match his ideas about it, Lily makes it so. We’ve tried to wait her out when she gets owly. Thus far she appears to have more time than we do. She’s like a first-quality air-raid siren: made to be heard in the worst conditions, and just as loud an hour or more later.
And she knows what she likes. One night while pacing the kitchen, trying to get her to sleep, I found myself unable to keep from nuzzling the black fuzz on the back of her head. Our other kids would duck away when I do this – they couldn’t stand the prickliness of my clipped goatee. Lily, by contrast, moved her head slowly side to side against my whiskers, then pressed it deliberately into my chin. I turned away, then back to her; again she rubbed her head on my chin, then leaned hard against it.
Over time, she began to put her bare cheek against my whiskers, then her open mouth, and now, her nose and rapidly blinking eyes. She can barely stand it, but she persists nonetheless. That which does not kill you…
Will she be a climber? Time will tell. She is strong; she rolls easily, quickly, and repeatedly, and as of last week, spins quickly on her belly to orient herself toward whatever she desires, then arm-crawls across any terrain. If she reaches her objective, she grasps and consumes it, first with her eyes, then with her gaping, smiling mouth, toothless except on the bottom.
She’s our monsterpiece. As I’ve said countless times now: “Good thing she’s cute…”
|Daddy’s Girls: Y’all realize the only thing keeping Lily where she’s at is the friction of my whiskers on her fuzzy little head — that’s why my head is tilted to hers. Not snuggling…nosiree! (Photo: Katrina Nielsen at Spiritus Capere Photography)
*”Monsterpiece” was coined by Rose and me a few weeks back, specifically to describe Lily.