Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reason 24

Why I'm a Mother: Reason 24

by Denise Shea

I love your sleepy smell—a warm, human scent. Part drool, part breast milk, part baby—it permeates Sapo the stuffed frog that Papai bought for you when we brought you home from the hospital. Your little green friend needs a good washing, but I hesitate to clean him up. As I sit in my studio you are napping. I picture you in your crib—head tucked into the corner against the soft bumper or bottom in the air—thumb in your mouth half the time. As much as I want to be working on my art I don't want to miss the chance to wake you.

I creep up the stairs and gently crack the door, knowing that you'll wake up not matter how quiet I am. I'm never actually fast enough to catch the tumble-roll that you do in your crib as you quick-shift from sleep to point-setter alert. You stand and grin at me with six teeth and dimpled cheeks. Your long, blinking eyelashes try to shield you from the light. In your tight grip Sapo hangs cheerfully by his left foot and you present him to me.

I get on all fours and crawl in. I pretend to be a tiger, which makes you squeal. We play for a little while, looking at each other between the crib rails, before I swoop you up into the air. I bury my nose into your downy hair. I inhale slowly and deeply.

Denise Shea ©2009


  1. Denise, I love reason number 24, now I want to hear reasons 1-23! What a gorgeous picture you paint of your little love affair with your little doll! We are by your side as you climb the stairs. I loved the line. . . quick-shift from sleep to point-setter alert. I love your use of "present" him to me - instead of give - stronger, deeper word. I love the play at the end, and your return to the beginning - wonderful scent of baby! Beautiful piece of writing, Denise.


  2. The first time I read this there was no picture there. Now I see one has been added. As a genealogist and family history recorder I was going to suggest your lovely essay, along with a picture of your baby with Sapo, would be a wonderful scrapbook page. (I'm up to writing "Why I'm a grandmother" but have forgotten the reason number)!

    The six teeth leads me to believe your child is around the same age as my youngest grandchild - full of giggles and smiles that changes any bad hair day to at least a just a little messy hair day.

    Take care of your precious baby and keep writing about your times together! Thanks for sharing. I felt the joy.