August 28, 2012

City College.

So glad it abuts us. The trees. The neo-gothic thing. College campuses have good auras and this one swells even into our part of the sidewalk and street.

August 26, 2012

My favorite subject.

I know, I know.

It is in her most awkward faces I see myself the most.


August 24, 2012


She was staring. It was intense - with big bulging eyes. Had the look of an 80's aerobic instructor, compact - tight, wearing neon. She probably had been that - she was the right age. I thought she was seesawing her head up and down to get a better look at the street sign to see which avenue she was at. I was right in front of the street sign. And she was looking up and down to get a better look alright - but she was staring straight at me. Colette was in a sling sitting on my chest. Wide, popping eyes, accusingly: "IS you white?" I looked confused. I was confused. Repeated, "IS YOU WHITE?" What? I kept walking. She replied to herself in two loud syllables, "OK." Vindicated for something.

I felt injured walking away. I wanted to reply, "It isn't that simple anymore." It felt like an idea out of a story from the past about Harlem. Here in Harlem, it isn't - that simple anymore. We are a mixture, something I appreciate and seek out. The antecedent to my pronoun isn't clear though - and I am not even sure if I can situate Colette in her baby carrier and myself in that "we." I thought about Colette growing up here. Lots of questions, schools, the neighborhood, the subway up here. The fact that most of the kids on our very residential street in Hamilton Heights go to private schools in other neighborhoods of the city. Yep, we're white. But I so want it to be more complicated than that. The complication is redeeming. But then the question is for whom and maybe the answer is convenient for me.

Colette 1 ----> 2 -----> 3 -----> 4 -----> 5 months.

August 23, 2012

August 18, 2012

August 16, 2012

This girl has developed belly skills now. Rolling all over the place - airplane winging arms.

August 15, 2012

I am pleased to report that work/baby has gone surprisingly well. Maybe it is just her age but she seems to transition between people flawlessly. I feed her before I leave - she gazes up at me and throws her head back with her wide open smile (her mouth forming a bottom heavy half-moon) wishing me a good day. I return and it is the same thing – that half-moon is there advertising that she and Claire flourish together. Claire – our nanny – is a wonder. Her smile is as wide as Colette’s and her songs are in Malagasy (she is from Madagascar) as she lulls Colette to sleep or carries her up and down the stairs of the house or pushes her along the streets of Harlem. She is a narrator – clucking to Colette in French what is happening around, little details in English. Lucky Colette – she is getting a mixture of three languages all day long. When Xavier takes over – same thing – except maybe Colette’s smile gets even deeper. She seems to think he is the funniest person in existence (his noises have really won her over). I am delighted that Colette is happy and loved; with humility I realize that I am not the only person who can do that for her (seems blatantly obvious, but it wasn’t to me).

When I return in the evening (and blessedly, I have been able to break away pretty early almost every day) we take long walks together to catch the Hudson in its best light.

August 11, 2012

August 6, 2012

Dancing hands.

A baby shadow puppet show.

So funny.

I put Colette in a little holding tank in the hallway upstairs while I grabbed some things needed to put that bath to use. She sat happily there kicking and baby-ing. When I walked back up the stairs, she turned her head toward me with the most sociable and good-natured grin.

August 5, 2012

Colette will survive.

Of course she is going to do just fine - look at those thighs. And this week was challenging. The work part went great - I started a new position in the same company, which was making me a little jittery on top of fretting over little baby. The mixture of a new person caring for Colette, pumping, commuting, concentrating on something else made for what felt like a great pile of things at once. The train ride home the first day: subway was stuck underground. Tension rising in my throat. The longest commute ever. I didn't know if I could do it. At each interminable stop - I was compelling the subway doors to close. I wondered if every single day would feel this way. Every day probably will feel like that a bit. All I can say is this is love - heart breaking love. I don't think my situation is special or unique. It is the reality for many - I know that. I got a lot of advice after that last post on the going back to work thing. Everyone sits in their own camp and has very specific reasons for being there. I appreciate all of those spaces and I feel like I could occupy each one of them actually. "Balance" feels fictitious and absurd - unreachable. Maybe there won't be balance and every part of my life will now just be waterlogged with whatever that part is made of. At least Colette has her little elfin friend above, whom she adores.
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