When I think of my experience as a mother so far, these are the things that come to mind:

Small, pink, upside-down feet, toes turned inward, I want to kiss them.

Picking lint from a squirming, screaming head.

Being enamored by long lashes sweeping over chubby cheeks.

The kiss my child worked hard to deliver.

Arms, entire lap and whole heart filled by a son and daughter.

Urine drying on my clothes, breasts leaking sticky sweet milk, afterbirth bleeding, fatigue, and always needing a glass of water. (Motherhood is fluid; milk, pee, blood, poop, spilled things, spit-up…).

The day my child couldn’t wait to get to the park then threw a fit as soon as she got out of the car.

Sleeping in a chair four nights in a row because the newborn couldn’t nurse lying down yet.

Various backaches, headaches and heartaches.

The excitement of watching a 21-month-old make circles and spirals.

The day Katie painted herself from head to toe with yogurt.

Happiness when the newborn’s bellybutton stump fell off (no more alcohol swabbing or funky smell).

Leaving the cream cheese finger-painting of a fish on the kitchen window because it’s actually really good.

Feeling touched out and tired of meeting everyone else’s needs all day.

Looking forward to taking a shower by myself.

Cleaning the funk out of the baby’s neck fold.

Stepping on a plastic Big Bird on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Reading The Lorax (“Da Woa-wax, by Doka Suess”) three times a day.

Food fights (only yogurt, only bran flakes, only shredded wheat, only cookies, today I hate jelly, the milk I asked for isn’t juice instead).

Funny dancing to Captain Beefhart, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and the Pixies (hearing a toddler running around the house screaming, “I gotta broken fist, aha aha aha aha oooooooooooooooo”).

Holding a shaky child freaked out about the garbage truck.

The sweet little smacking noise babies make when they nurse. The chubby little rolls on their arms and legs, the warm, soft baby head that makes such a good place rest my nose.

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