This morning, I put Evelyn down for her nap and when, five minutes later, she complained loudly about having to fall asleep, I picked her back up again. I tucked her under my chin and we paced the floor, snuggled together, while I listened to Neil Gaiman talk.
She snuffled my neck and wound her fingers into the tufts of hair behind my ears, tugging gently.
The talk finished and I put Evelyn down, patting her gently. She fell asleep and I was left looking at her. Baby soft cheeks and milky smell and I am so worried about her.
She has no depth perception, you see. She flinches when we walk in front of her, or we wave our arms, or something moves. She can’t judge where that thing she wants to grab is. Every new thing I notice is like a check mark against her; against the possibility of normality.
Last night, I rubbed her tummy while she fell asleep, feeling so lucky to have her. I watched her while she seized and seized and seized, thinking that if we end up having to go to hospital every time she seizes for longer than five minutes, I’m never going to spend any time at home.
Her tongue trembles, and she holds the tip of it arched up to the roof of her mouth. Her gross motor skills aren’t improving. She still has head lag when I pull her to sitting. Her shoulder joints slide around under my hands.
I worry about her, because no one know what is going on.
And yet – when I leave the room, she cries. She is amused by kisses. She watches her siblings avidly. She soaks everything in like a sponge. Her mouth moves in response when I talk to her. Cognitively, she seems very much like an almost nine month old baby, even if physically she can’t master anything she’s meant to be doing.
I like facts. I like to know what is going to happen. I like plans and progress and an idea in my head. I like these things because they give structure to my unbridled imagination that is always darker than my reality is likely to be. Because if someone says unequivocally “Your baby has X” then I know what X means and I can stop waking up at 3am, worried that she is dying.
This is what it means to be waiting and seeing. It means I pace the floor with my baby, listening to Neil Gaiman talk about throwing things to the wind like dandelion seeds, while I try to impress the smell of my child into my brain, just in case.
Because like he says, no one knows what will happen. No one knows where an idea will land.
And sometimes, that is the scariest thing of all.