A Newborn’s Waves of Plenty
On this day after Thanksgiving, my post is not one of economic gluttony, but of a newborn’s hymn of thanks. I’m told that my milk tastes like the food I just ate, like Violet’s amazing piece of gum, all from one source. Thus, Toby’s song sounds after the feast, when the meal is re-translated into his language and he can eat it and rejoice.
I wonder about the timing–how long it takes my body to stream the meal from my esophagus to my breasts; I wonder if he’s tasted the turkey yet. But all that wonder doesn’t negate feeling like a cow. Or something a little more graceful, perhaps.
(from Lotus Sculpture)
Toby recognizes my voice, and his recognition is most evident when he’s hungry. He has visions of Hindu harvest goddesses when he hears my voice; many-breasted women, just dripping with food, smiling sickingly sweet, beckoning with nothing but good-will.
Still, my disgust doesn’t last very long; that newborn’s song is sweet. It begins with a quick tempo and continues in the zigzag line of nose and wide-open mouth on breast. It is punctuated with a thirsty gulp that is sometimes a slurp, a hum that notes how tasty this is. The lull of sound is in the wave of a small, moving chin that is also throat, that small pulse of hunger slowly satiated. Its climax is a sigh of contentment and satisfaction, the final note of a full stomach. It signals a nuzzle onto a shoulder, then the funny bump and bob that comes from a wobbly neck.
And all this happens with a minimum of mess and fuss; I often look down and see the throat moving and the chin moving, but never any proof of the liquid that passes from me. I wonder whether I really do produce anything that resembles milk and nourishment; I never see or smell it. Until I don’t coax the air out of him quickly enough and it all streams out; until he starts a meal and then pauses to catch his breath, and it comes dripping or spraying out of me, this new and foreign substance that someone subsists upon.
The result of all this effort several times a day is in the chub that is found in his cheek and wrist, a chub that wasn’t there weeks earlier. It’s also found in a set of bright and trusting eyes that are focused and staring, in a steady head that proves, for several minutes, the lifelong skill that neck muscles need.
Could it really be possible to be so proud in someone’s physical achievements, even if it’s just because they reflect all the effort you’ve put into them?