A Very Special Episode: Mama Snee’s Thin Skin

Don’t Worry
Today was Birdy’s 9-month checkup with the pediatrician. All looks good, we’re moving on to Cheerios (met with poor reviews and some gagging, but we’ll get through that), head still gargantuan, no pressure from the doctor to introduce meats, now or ever (love her), hates getting her finger pricked to take blood, falls in love with her naked reflection in the metal trash can and has to be peeled off of it several times. Oh, and she has a slight heart murmur.

Which is driving me nuts. The doctor said it’s very common in little ones to have a heart murmur and grow out of it, that we’ll check again in a year to see if it’s gone, and if not, it’s off to the Cardiologist we go.

I’ve explained it now to three people, and now you: it’s not a big deal, it’s common, it’s going to be fine. And I think that doing crisis intervention as a job for so many years has made me this way: compartmentalize the information into digestable pieces, focus on the reality, reality, reality, speak softly and make sure nobody gets upset. Don’t look worried, or other people will be worried. And if other people are worried, they will ask you questions, and you will have to answer them, and then it will be a real thing, and then you will have to worry.

This evening, my brother told me that he couldn’t discuss his wedding invitations with me tonight because he’d just found out that his cat has a heart murmur and it was just too upsetting for him to discuss this huge project with me. And it’s perfectly healthy and normal for him to be upset by that. But it made me realize that yeah, okay, for real, now: my own flesh and blood has a FUCKING HEART MURMUR. Temporary or not, it’s there, and all I can picture is Birdy’s little heart in her chest, fluttering away, murmuring, murmuring, murmuring. Regardless of the severity, there is a real flaw in my perfect baby. There is a thing lurking.

If you have a kid that has/ has had a heart murmur, I’d love to hear from you.

Yo’ Mama
In other news, I’ve been insanely motherly-emotional all week, maybe because my own mama has been visiting for a couple of days. She’s been hanging out with Bird, washing our windows, mopping the laundry room floor, buying groceries, cleaning the bathtub. For reals. How wonderful is that? She’s so incredible, so patient, so perfectly Granny with our Bird. And somehow, it makes me feel just a leeeeeeeetle incapable, a little embarrassed about the funk in the tub. About my not-always-budget-conscious-even-though-hello-we-have-no-money grocery choices.

How fucked up, really. She drives five hours to do nice things that she knows I have no time to notice, let alone complete. I’m pretty sure she knows why my windows have cat-nose prints all over them. It’s because I have a 900-pound damn cat. And a baby and a job and school and a husband and dogs and constant visitors. And I am so thankful for all of that madness, and for her. And yet, I still feel a little pinch about it. And that is totally my very own problem, not anybody else’s.

More about Birdy Snee
Birdy was nine months old yesterday. On the outside as long as she was on the inside. And I’m constantly baffled by how this has happened—how she became herself in no time at all, so brave and so smart and so funny. Showing me her tummy when I ask. Trying to tell me things. Understanding me when she’s elbow-deep in the dog water dish and I say “no.” Being amazed by bigger kids. Giving sloppy kisses. Wearing 2-piece pajamas. Making the sign for milk.

I know I’ve said this before, but at the risk of generating instant nostalgia: I really am trying to squeeze her long and hard at night so that someday, when she’s asking for my car keys, I’ll remember how little and warm she is right now and how she fits just right on my body, with her four strands of hair and that one proud tooth, all snuggled up under my neck, sucking on my shirt. It feels like a vague and powerful homesickness, already.



  1. Anonymous

    Besty,You have to stop writing such eloquent and detailed blogs which seem to come directly from MY life and emotions.I am currently combating a huge lump in my throat because here I sit at good ole Hoosier House (needed a second job for moolah) and my baby is at home.I totally feel you (to borrow slang that I don’t normally use) in the area of “how did this all happen?” and how time is quickly slipping away…Oh well, just thought I would say hi.-Maria in B-town

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