My daughter Genevive was born eight months ago


For the first month of her life, Genevive slept soundly and never cried.
After that, she slept through the night. She sleeps now at the drop of a
diaper, with no pain. She sleeps in the middle of the bed because she likes
to look to her left and right. She sleeps on the floor now because she hates
the mattress. She sleeps in her crib because it’s the best.

She’s been sleeping for eight months. It’s a miracle. But now she’s a
naughty three-year-old. She can’t sleep with her eyes open, and she refuses to
eat her broccoli. If she knows she has something in her stomach, she throws it
up and I clean up the mess.

She has a few new skills that I’ve never mastered: she can roll over
and sit up. She can blow out her nose. She can suck her finger. She can use
her big toe to flip her bottle. She can grab a piece of paper with a pencil
and write a story on it. She can read. She can write words. She can move up
from her crib and stand up by herself.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I have no idea what she’s doing.

She’s sitting on a footstool at the kitchen table. She’s on the floor in her
big brother’s room. She’s standing on a bookshelf in her mother’s house. She’s
sitting on top of the kitchen dresser in my bathroom. She’s sitting on the
side of her father’s bed in a hospital bed. She’s sitting on top of my bed in
my office.

She’s talking to herself, repeating over and over and over again what she’s
just said: “Mommy, it’s cold! It’s cold! It’s cold!”

She’s talking to herself, repeating over and over and over again what she’s
just said: “Baby, I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

My daughter has a big mouth.

She will say no and make me say it back to her, as if it’s her mistake and
not mine.

She wears the same pair of size 4 shorts, even though I see her wearing new
shorty pants and long tees.

Genevive has a bad temper and is afraid of the dark.

Some nights, when she gets into bed, I am sitting cross-legged on her
stomach, rocking her back and forth, and she’s saying, “Be a rock baby,” then
hugging me with her tiny arms.

I just want to hold her. I want to cry with her. I want to snuggle with her.
I want to protect her. I want to take that bottle. I want to feed her. She
shoves the bottle away, then hits me with a toy. I always have to pick
up the toy.

When I try to feed her and it doesn’t come out, she says, “It fell out.”
Really? And if it doesn’t come out, she picks the bottle.

Genevive has a bad temper. She can’t control herself around her new baby brother.
If I have water and she’s standing next to me, she’ll say, “If I have water she
has to have water.” Then she’ll jump on me.

At first, she wouldn’t let us have a baby at the hospital because she said
she didn’t want to go to a new place. Then she wouldn’t even let her nanny go.
I went to the hospital anyway to see her. I’m pretty sure Evey had to go

I think Genevive was afraid she’d have to spend the rest of her life with a
huge person in a big room.

We’ve been in this house for 18 years. It’s our home. It doesn’t matter if
we move.

She doesn’t like to be alone, and when she is, she wanders. She doesn’t want
me to come over and play because then she’ll be all alone and she’ll have no
friends to play with.

She says I don’t give her enough attention, as if I’m not paying enough
attention to myself.

I get the feeling she thinks I’m not paying enough attention to her. I get
the feeling she thinks I don’t care about raising our daughter. I get the
feeling she thinks she’s doing all of the work.

She’s only 4. She never has to pee. She’s never stuck her bottom (in case
you didn’t know) or had a bowel movement. She doesn’t need any shots for
bacterial, viral, or fungal meningitis. I don’t need to bathe her after we
get home from the hospital because I’ll wash her by hand.

We get home, and she’s like, “Put your hands over me,” and she looks me in
the eyes and says, “Don’t touch me.”

I get the feeling she doesn’t trust me. I don’t know why.

If she were my daughter, this would be my happiest moment. Not when
she’s asleep, but when she’s awake. When she comes running out of her room,
scared about her life in the big city. When I can sit down with her and she
sits on the floor and looks at me with that wide-eyed look of trust. I know
it’s the same look my sister-in-law gets when she’s holding Misa. It’s
so much deeper, this look.

When she’s all alone she says, “Be a rock baby.” She knows that’s what I
always say.

I remember my mother saying once, “What do you expect when you live in a
big house?”

She meant what does she expect when she works at a law office?

I want to be a rock baby. I want to be a rock baby when I live in a big
house with a lot of babies. I want to be a rock baby when I get old and I
can’t walk anymore. I want to be a rock baby to my daughter. I want to be a
rock baby for me.

Genevive’s favorite toy right now is a car, an old car which she found in
the street. It has a lot of holes in it, but it still has some wheels. She
wants to keep it, but I tell her there is no point. We don’t have a garage.
She is not like her brother Ryan, who has a small house with an extra room.
Genevive lives in a big house with a lot of babies. She can’t walk anymore.
I don’t know how I’ll do this.

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