This Grand Vista

At dinner last night, Corey and I were pondering the size of our new niece. At six pounds and change, she’s the smallest baby ever born in our extended family. (I think the cantaloupe I cut up for breakfast weighed more.)

While we were talking, Teyla walked over to Corey and climbed into his lap.

“Then again, it’s hard to believe that little monkey weighed only 7 pounds when she was born last year,” I said, nodding at the toddler squirmy next to Corey's chest. “Just look at her now.”

That led to a nostalgia tinged conversation about how small our children used to be, back when they were fresh from the womb, floppy and warm and unknown. We laughed that Natalie, our largest newborn at 8 pounds, 11 ounces, went on to be our smallest toddler. (This contrasts with Teyla, who started small and is now perfectly situated at the 50th percentile.)

But Natalie, who was bigger than I ever dreamed my firstborn could be, was so small she didn’t even start wearing 12 month clothes until she was 18 months old, and even then, she wore those 12 month clothes for a year. (I distinctly remember that she was still wearing her 12-18 month shorts the summer she turned 3.)

The next thing I knew, we were pulling up the My Pictures folder on my laptop, which was sitting next to crusty roasting pans on the kitchen counter. We meandered through Natalie’s baby pictures, alternately being stunned and then delighted at the tiny creature she used to be.

“Is that Teyla?” asked Natalie, peaking over my shoulder.

“No, honey,” I laughed. “That’s you. Look at how tiny you were.”

She leaned in close to the screen.

Ooooh. I was so cute,” she cooed.

And she was.

One of the most mystical things about being a parent is watching a person form from beginning to end. This scope, this grand vista, is hard to keep in focus when one lives in the day-to-day. Even I barely recognized the infant Natalie last night when her picture brightened the screen of my computer. She seemed like an echo from the past, far removed from the Natalie I see in front of me today, all giggles and legs and adventure.

But when I step back for a moment and try to take in the whole horizon at once, it leaves me breathless.


  1. "watching a person form from beginning to end...." Beautiful. And you're right, the view of the horizon is breath taking when you step back. (Now I'm off to go get nostalgic over my kiddo's baby pictures....) :-)

  2. Beautiful.
    I am a bit heartened as my three year old just got big enough to fit into 18-24 month swim trunks. It's good to know he's not alone.

  3. Yep. And just wait 'til they're in high school. Sigh.

  4. *sigh* I remember that impish face.--and Natalie's too. :) what a wonderful post to start my day.
    Love you!

  5. Wait till Natalie goes through that year of change, when they become unrecognizable to the casual observer. We've had that with Elliot, who is now taller than I, complete with deep voice and hairy cheeks. Ilsa is starting it. Sigh.

    And your niece is still bigger than the twins were! Which is good, don't you think?

  6. Our screensaver scrolls through pictures at random, and I'll often sit and watch pictures of Bubbalu or Lil Chick.

    I'll think....that was LESS THAN A YEAR AGO. How did I forget how small they were?

  7. I very carefully avoid looking through older pictures of my kids because that way lies heartbreak, really.
    BEAUTIFUL post too, by the way. You REALLY can write.

  8. I remember Natalie's first moments on this planet. What a privilege to live in your home during her first few weeks of life. (Did you REALLY let a homeless vagabond friend continue to crash at your house even after you had your very first baby? Now that's love!) She was such a cute little peanut propped up on your blue striped couch out there in San Jose. And what a lovely little girl she's become.