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daily fieldnotes » Basil
 
daily fieldnotes

One Year Old 4

A year ago he was tiny and wrinkled, learning to nurse, and waking up at night to eat. Today, he is nearly 3 feet tall (yes, 3 feet, at age 1), learning to walk, and waking up at night from teething.

What a joy, to be his mom!

Happy Guy 1

This boy makes people smile everywhere we go. From the stroller he catches peoples’ eyes as we walk down the street. “Hi there” they say, “what a happy guy”, grinning in surprise, their tired, distracted faces momentarily transformed. Waiting in line to return a duffel bag, he is perched on my hip, checking out everyone ahead of us. I see first one, then another person break into a wide smile. An older, balding man with twinkling, blue eyes starts making silly noises and Basil breaks into loud, delighted giggles, causing all of us in line to laugh.

The Here and Now Here 2

Something about this post from Christina Rosalie on her beautiful new site made me sit down and show up here today. I love blogs, read a handful religiously, another handful now and then. The beauty of this medium, blogging, is how it provides a way of following stories over time, and thus a way of connecting through writing, photography, passions. I love sitting down, checking in with people, seeing creativity at play, photos, projects, daily life as it shifts and changes. But it continues to be hard for me to put myself out there, to participate.

Since I had my sweet son five months ago, I have been overcome with this feeling of how we are so easily boxed in by how we see things every day, all the time. Like a view out your window that you see every day, your perspective on life can feel so permanent, static, unchanging. We forget that the view is not permanent. Then something big happens, like becoming a mom, sending shifts in identity roaring through us like a river of snowmelt down a mountain, bringing with them questions and new perspectives on everyday life.

It feels to me like the changes in identity that come with having a baby hold both transformative possibility, and the potential for stagnation and letting myself fade behind the demands of childrearing. So with this shift, the rumbles brought by motherhood, I’m asking myself: how can I live a life where I’m not hemmed in by the way things are, the things I’ve always done, the way I’ve always thought about things?

Showing up here is one way. Having the courage to be vulnerable, to write even when I don’t know what to say, to share pictures even when I’m not sure what they say.

See you soon.

Hello. 3

I’ve been wanting to blog lately. Each time I post a comment on someone else’s blog, and it has a link to mine, I think ‘gosh, my last post was months ago’. But more than the typical guilty blogger feeling, I’ve been wanting to blog because I am writing, and taking pictures, all the time these days, and I want to share.

I am taking pictures of my Basil, every day. Capturing his expressions, his growing chubbiness, the way he looks at his dad at the end of the day like, ‘hey, you’re back!’. And I am writing about Basil, our time together, what it’s like to be his mom. How we sat this morning, in a strip of sunlight pouring through an open doorway, and felt the heat on our bare feet. How he stands already on my lap, and his legs flop a little like green beans, but he gets frustrated when I sit him down. How I settle him into the front carry, bundling up against the spring coastal winds, and we set off on an evening walk, up and down the hills around our house. And how I wanted to move so badly 6 months ago, and now with Basil here, I am falling in love with the possibilities of living where we do.

But mostly, my thesis writing fills every spare moment I have. I am writing about Barcelona, what I learned from the teachers there, about how immigration was transforming their daily lives. There is power in listening, really listening to someone talk for up to an hour, and that is what I did in my interviews with teachers. They told me their life stories, how they had grown up being punished for speaking Catalan, or feeling uncomfortable because they only spoke Spanish. How integrating or assimilating immigrants is a process of all of us changing, making a new society together. Or how integrating newcomers is about the immigrants changing, learning our language, because they are the ones who came here. Or how it’s really about basic respect, across divides of cultural difference, starting with learning to say ‘hello’ in each others’ languages. I am writing about all this, working on the second findings chapter of three, on track to finish by the end of July. If I keep at it.

So back to it, while Basil takes his morning nap. But I’ll see you here again soon.

My Basil 3

After more than 3 days of labor, my little Basil (his nickname during the pregnancy) arrived a little over two weeks ago, long and lean with his daddy’s feet and mama’s round cheeks. “Look at all that hair!” everyone kept exclaiming as I pushed him out; the hair so long in the back it scrunches up against the collar of his onesies. My days are spent now sitting in the rocking chair, learning how to breastfeed with him, alternately getting lost in the sweet curve of his cheeks, the silkiness of his hair, the downy fuzz on his ears. He was too long for many newborn outfits from birth, feet straining against the cotton toes when we tried to put them on him, the long-sleeved newborn onesies becoming 3/4 length sleeves on his long arms.

So far he sleeps a lot, and wakes to eat with little squeaks and grunts that stir me in the night before they burst into full cries. I’m getting used to being up a couple hours out of the night, nursing him in the soft glow of the star-covered night light, staring out into the dark night, or listening to the pounding rain. We combat the tiredness during the day with naps in the soft afternoon sun, slices of golden light draping across us like a warm blanket.

I feel so lucky, so very lucky to be a mama to this little one.