Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Go, baby, gone.

mace and his hair

Somehow when they took those baby soft curls, it also stripped away the illusion once held that I somehow still had babies. Two boys emerged, proud of their new appearance and unfazed by the change. While I had to sit a bit and bite my lip, holding back a surge that insisted they could not grow up, how could I let them? Not that I could stop them.

pre cut

Owen was born a boy. At 6 months old I understood this feeling, the day he decided to stand up on the edge of the couch unassisted. My dad saw him and called him a toddler, I recall the wild feeling coming up and my snappish reply that he was just a baby, but I realized I could see the boy emerging already. He was taking a stand and this not even metaphorically. I cut his hair at 18 months, collecting curls, sad to see them gone forever as his thick darker hair grew out ruler straight, still silky but without that indescrible baby lightness.

Mace has always been the baby. If I would have delivered natural, he would have been first, nestled in the bowl of my pelvis scratching to get out from the day he could scratch. But they came via incision and Owen was first, pulled into firstborn due to position and size of head. Mace has always been one and a half pounds lighter, his build is slight like his father, and he bruises easier and takes longer to shake it off. And so in my mind he is ascribed baby brother status, though only one minute younger.

I was not truly prepared to meet the boy hidden under that head of wild curls, postponed the haircuts many days over. But also in Owens’s case, I forgot how much boy was hidden behind the too long bangs that obscured his vision. Cutting it seems to have released something, longer sentences and complicated pronunciation, complex play scenarios and even more independence. Or maybe I am just now acknowledging these changes. Forced by an event as inconsequential as a hair cut.
summer eats
summer eats

Mamahood can be so much about loss. Initially, you lose control of your body as it becomes haven to a growing being, foreign until they emerge to become your people. Then you lose your time, any moment you once had to sit and think and shower and brush your teeth consumed by the demands of infancy and helplessness. You may regain some of this lost time, but then comes the slow thorough loss of sanity as the new demands of toddler hood and two-ness march in, an endless flurry of messes and challenges.

But I did not quite expect to feel this loss, the one of the moving away of your child. The way each step towards growth brings a small step away from the comfortable bond that is established when your tiny little one only knows your embrace, not your commands and stern looks. I feel a bit foolish describing it as a loss, but it is the way it feels.

I watch my youngest brother Jon pack for his imminent move to San Francisco today, ready to charge into a city, a new life, his first true taste of independent living. And I feel indescribable panic. Because I remember his birth, his infancy, his toddler days….but only vaguely. And seemingly yesterday. And now he goes. And it makes me know my children will too. I want them too. And yet, that mother heart of mine does not.

All this because of a hair cut.
boy cut
bot cut


The Adventures of Carrie, Brook, Finn and Reid said...

Before I even read your post, the title alone made me goose-bumpy. It reminded me of a song by the GD (Tumbleweed/Come Back Baby) that has some memories attached to it.

The boys look incredibly handsome with their new cuts. The hardest part of the haircut aftermath for me was the nap after the cut. We had put them down...I'd gone about my business and forgot about the cuts...and upon them waking, I found little BOYS (not BABIES!) in their beds.

They'll always be your babies...but damn, they are super cute little boys!

Kate said...

This was an excellent post, and I really needed it today. I am taking Isaac to get his first honest-to-goodness big boy haircut today. I have been avoiding it like the plague. His curls are no longer cute, but man oh man do I want to hang on to them forever. That desperation that we feel to keep them babies can be overwhelming at times. It IS a loss; motherhood is so extremely wonderful and painful.

jillian said...

I can't believe how Mace looks so little boy-ish now!

Goddess in Progress said...

Amazing the difference a little trim can make, isn't it? Hair changes of any kind seem to really make such a difference in how old our kids look. Putting Rebecca's hair in our newfound pigtails gives her a completely different look, and the fact that Daniel's hair is finally filling in more, he looks like such a boy! Crazy!

Your boys are just so adorable, I could smooch them through the screen. :-)

Preeti said...

I felt that loss a tad bit too when my two had their first trims. O and M look really handsome in their new boy haircuts!

Carrie said...

what a beautiful post! your boys are so, so sweet, and I can't even imagine the feeling of watching them grow up - so bittersweet! I guess I'll know soon enough, huh? :)

Em Natural said...

wonderful post amiee. I am sad to see the wispy curls go but man oh man those boys are so darn cute!
Love you!

Claroux said...

Ok -it is now official: Mace will marry Chloe and Owen will marry Maddie. Or maybe we should switch it up and betroth your slight Mace with my tough Maddie. They always say opposites attract!

All kidding aside, this was a wonderful post. It gave me goose bumps. For me, the realization of how BIG my girls are came when Jackson entered our lives. Suddenly they looked HUGE -and so grown up. When I hold Jackson at night in the rocking chair that I spent most of my life in when the girls were babies I look down and remember when they could fit in the crook of my arm and sigh. Soon they will be getting on a school bus as I bawl! When they were babies I wished that phase away and now all I want to do is stop time and keep them little.

Precious precious precious post. Precious boys! *hugs and kisses* to them and their mama!

Sereknitty said...

They truly look like 'little men' now -- still, so adorable though.

Lola and Ava said...

They just get cuter and cuter (and older and older . . . but you already knew that). If a haircut does it for you now, give it 16 years and making a pizza will do it for you. Not a lot of fun in Chez Ava this week as the girls get ready to leave for school. But . . . what can you do?

Anonymous said...

I have re-read this post about ten times in the past week and each time I go to leave a comment I can't find the words. I just want to say yes and I know and I feel the exact same way. They ARE no longer babies even though they kinda are and every day is fascinating in how much they've learned and can show you while you were sleeping. Your boys are lovely and I thank you for the glimpse into your life that you give as it often mirrors right what is happening in mind but I don't have the eloquence to put it into words.

earthchick said...

Oh WOW, this really resonates. I so get what you're saying. Funny how little things like haircuts can bring it all up.

A friend of mine who is a doula once shared this quote with me:
"There is a sense in which all of motherhood is loss, an on-going continual separation, an unended grieving.” --Centuries of Solace: Expressions of Maternal Grief in Popular Literature by Wendy Simonds and Barbara Katz Rothman

Yeah, true 'dat.

Gwen said...

I love this post. My girls are 27 months old, and I never realized before having them how much loss would be involved in being a mom. It's ironic, because they are the most amazing gift. But already, at two, I have lost those two babies. They are girls, and they amaze me more every day when they talk to me.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

*Sob.* I am quite simply verklempt.