Zoey has lost the dimples on the backs of her fingers. Her sticky little starfish hands have been pulled into the thin dexterity of a child holding crayons. I don't know when this happened. Exactly how, or even why.
She was born three weeks early. 5lbs. 15oz., 17 inches long. Not yet tall or even short. Small. Her skin hung off her like a SharPei but I did not really know what a newborn should look like anyway. To me, she was perfect. I had never really hung on to the presence of other babies, had never eaten them up with my eyes in line at the bank. Other people's babies collected white foam in the corners of their mouths that made my stomach turn, they had acne, they stank. Zoey did none of these things. Her eyes were clear, her breath sweet, her skin soft. She cooed in key with Jack Johnson in our living room. And so I am surprised when I look back at the photos now and see spit up stains on the couch, bumps on her cheeks, her scalp scaly, her face purple from crying. My friends now tell me she looked like Smurfette. I did not see it; I had beer goggles for my own baby, took her home and have had a hair of the dog for breakfast every morning since. I am still drunk with her eyes. Last week I figured out just where my ovaries are. They live in Zoey's closet, folded up neatly in a bin with her old clothes marked 0 - 3 months. I was cleaning out her closet when I found them, and it would seem that my ovaries are printed with tiny monkeys, bunnies, that they are the soft wool of a newborn lamb. I don't know if it's so much of a WHAM as it is a WHEN, maybe a bit of a WHY but hopefully nothing to do with a HOW, but they are THERE, not looking a thing like an angry Angelica Huston but maybe resembling a Smurf if I am to be perfectly honest.
A hairy, stinky, crusty, zitty, smiling Smurf with dimples on the back of each finger. And I look at my baby now, follow her 90% percentile tall toddler body when we are in line at the bank and she is pulling at the velvet dividers knowing full well she is not supposed to. I feast on her skin, her scent, the turn of her neck, the memory of her and the fingers that are no longer sticky fat starfish as much as they are thin electric eels getting into it all. And I want another one. I want her. I want her, I want her, I want her and I watch her become her own person and it is like watching butter harden. I know now where everything is. I don't know exactly how or even why, but it is THERE and I am hungry.