The expected transformation of person into parent was usurped by a different transformation: one from human into animal. Labour the appropriate start to this transformation. Labour seems to fit into that subcategory of human experience: along with death and sex and hunger and thirst, in which we are, in so many ways, no different than the rest of the planet’s mammals: But I am surprised that the parallel has continued, grown, after Ives’ birth. Our relationship is so physical, so intimate. It doesn’t, in almost anyway, resemble any of my other human relationships. The extent of his hunger effects my milk supply. The restlessness of his night affects the cycles of my sleep. His cry stirs me to act. It is hard to reflect and analyze the way I feel, or recall the motivations for my decisions. My decisions don’t feel like decisions. They are not grounded by reason, but by drive. They are responses. Reflexes. Like when the doctor taps your knee with a hammer and your shin flips out.
South/ North/ South
Ives, this is the sea. See how it smells like salt? See how your skin feels different? Do the sounds put you to sleep? Ives, this is a cow, a horse, a goat. See how peaceful the cow seems? See, the big one feeds the small one. They are related, just as you and I are related. Ives, this is sand. It looks like snow but is very different. One is rock, one is water. Ives, these are shadows. This is the wind. That is a cloud. This is a tree. Here is ice.
Since Ives, life is sweeter. And life was sweet before. He is the cream of our hearts. The sweetness, I think, is partly in the ceremony of it all. Before Ives, we had our small rituals and chores. But everything has become more ritualistic. Waking, rising, eating, washing, dressing, cleaning, sleeping, walking: all of these things involve more steps. I have gotten to know my hands and arms better, as they are now used in more ways. It feels like working hard, but also like meditation - to establish the steps and repetitively take them, sometimes leaving my mind behind. It feels healthful. It is therapeutic and physical and tiring and it keeps getting better.
I ask Ives every morning of his dreams, but every morning I am left guessing. When he can tell me his dreams, if he wants to, I think my world will grow twice the size. We are taking him, tomorrow, on a small trip south. Back to another place that feels like home. To introduce him to the sea.
// 2nd photo: Ives at 7.5 weeks.
// 6th photo: by Christie.
"the presence of the child tied her body to the earth, the cottage, the fire."
- J. Urquhart
the shape of our thoughts are changing with the shape of our family.
this trailer (over and over and over)
10.5 months ago (when Ives had just begun to grow but we didn't yet know)
"i carry your heart. i carry it in my heart."
fasting, for the coming weeks, from this space and from the internet.
We bathe him in the morning when there is light. He opens his eyes wide and his breath deepens; his body shaped like a frog. Sometimes in the middle of the night there are bedside lamps on, the whole family is awake and soft words are spoken. There are so many new methods of communication Thom and I never knew. Ives is heavier when he is tired. His breath gives information. When I feel scared, Thom knows before I tell him. Before Ives sneezes his eyes get a little glassy. The floor boards know our dance by heart: the choreography of steps rocking Ives to sleep. The whole house feels alive and is learning along side us, a forth member of our family. When Ives calls out, Thom thinks he sounds like a winged dinosaur. We are all learning so much. We need new words for happy, for love. Suddenly all the old words feel insufficient.
Ives Herbert Reimer
born December 30th
He fits into the ordinary world the way miracles do - at first not at all, and then so easily, so certainly, that the ordinary world itself becomes miraculous. We are transfixed. I feel like his life grounds me. The fact that he exists makes me both stronger and weaker. He has bound us to each other, and to our ordinary lives. "A world full of wonder."