Thursday, April 03, 2008

Early Days - Maya

Over the next couple of weeks, I think I'd best give a fair warning here -if you don't enjoy looking at lots and lots of pictures, then my blog might not be one you want to read all the time.

I've decided I'm going to try to give a run-down, via photos of Maya and Kurt from their earliest days up to the present time. No, I don't intend to post every single photo we've ever taken -or had taken of them - over the past four and a half years. I'd be here till the cows come home trying to post that many and you'd REALLY never ever want to see my post another photo or tell any more of my Maya and Kurtis stories either!
This is me, the very first time I saw and held Maya -one day old. I think I may have mentioned this here before -or someplace anyway -but the very first time I held her, I felt a connection to her unlike any I'd ever had before with any of my own children or my older grandson the first time I held any of them. I can't explain it but when I held her the first time and when she opened her eyes and seemed to be looking at me, it was a feeling that she was telling me she expected me to not just love her but to see to it that she was protected and cared for to the best of my ability. And, I made a promise to her at that time that Grammy was always going to be here for her, to see that she got the very best love and care possible.

This was Maya's very first visit when she was five days old. She's being held here by her great-great-aunt - Anna Mae -but better know to all in my family as "Aunt Mike." Aunt Mike is my Dad's baby sister and is the one who is now in the nursing home. She will be 91 years old on April 22nd so that would have made her 87 then when this photo was taken. She wanted so much to hold Maya but was afraid at the same time that maybe her arms didn't have enough strength to do that either. But Mandy helped get her situated on her sofa and placed Maya in her arms and you can see for yourself then how well she did -and also, how pleased she was to be there to be able to meet her littlest niece.

This is Maya with my son -her Uncle Clate - when she was a week old. He was still living in Gettysburg when she was born so didn't get a chance to get up to meet her until she was a week old. When he first saw her, you could see his eyes filling with tears -love and excitement at being a part of his little niece's life. Mandy asked him if he wanted to hold her and at first, he too was very nervous, afraid, but Mandy convinced him to give it a try and you can see, he adapted quite well to the task. That fear of newborns -so often many men do seem to have that and Clate, in that respect, was much like his dad who was terrified of handling any of our kids when they were newborns. Come to think of it, he wasn't all that keen on holding them until they were more toddler size but it didn't take Clate quite that long to get over his fear of Maya -or of Kurtis either then when he came along. He does do much better with them as they get a little older though too.

This is me again -with Maya when she was about 10 days old. I look at that and think that is how old I was when my Dad saw me -the only time he saw me before he died a week later. He was very sick at the time -cancer -and weak but I have often wondered over the years and especially when I see this picture of Maya and me, what thoughts must have passed through his mind at that one and only meeting. I know each time I have picked her up and held her over the past four years -even to this day - the feelings I have for her are almost overwhelming. Just such a wonder all children are but little did any of us realize just how much of a marvelous little girl this baby would become to all of us here.
This is Maya at two weeks with my next-door neighbor's daughter, Alina. "Lean Bean," as my kids and I often call Alina, was fascinated with the new baby and loved to come over and just hold her any chance she got. Fortunately, from the start, Maya was not a difficult baby to hold and cuddle. Well, most of the time anyway.

This is Maya with "Aunt Cindy." Aunt Cindy isn't really Maya's aunt but she is Maya's oldest sister, Kate's great aunt and a very good family friend too. This was taken on the first "outing" where Maya got to go to lunch with her mommy and me and Aunt Cindy at the restaurant in Phlipsburg that is owned by a good friend of Mandy and Clate's. She was often a very pampered little guest at the Gaslight Cafe as the Jen, the owner and her staff would always make a big fuss over Maya each time we stopped by there.

Here's Maya at about 3 weeks being held by her Pappy - Bill's dad. He lives up the road and on the street that runs parallel to our street, on the hillside behind us and back when Maya was very young, Pappy used to stop in here and visit with her almost daily. His fingers are very crippled so when she was very small he couldn't reach in and pick her up -someone had to do that for him - but he had no qualms and no problems about holding her once someone gathered her up for him.

When Maya was a little over 2 months old, she met her cousin, Lizzie, for the first time. Lizzie is my ex-brother-in-law's granddaughter. Her mother, my niece, Angie, is a year younger than Mandy and the girls have always been very close. Lizzie is four days younger than Maya. On this picture, taken over at Uncle Tom's house are Tom's girlfriend's nephew, Lizzie, Maya and Bobbi, Uncle Tom's girlfriend. My kids -all three of them - are very close to their Dad's brother, Uncle Tom. He's been there for them over the years -frequently more of a father to them than their Dad was -and unlike his brother, Uncle Tom's never exhibited a fear of babies -likes to pick them up, cuddle 'em, play with them too.

Now, I know I've said what a good baby Maya was -and for the most part, that was the truth. But, the first week or two, of having Maya around were a time of a lot of adjustments for everyone and especially for her big sister, Kate. This picture was taken when Maya was about a week old and the look on Kate's face was one of a very tired person. We learned the very first night Maya was home, at about 11 p.m. when Mandy went to take her upstairs and put her in her bed there, that one other thing Maya was -very early on -LOUD, very, very LOUD! Actually, it seemed as soon as Mandy stepped into the bedroom, that Maya instinctively knew she was going to bed and she let out a cry that was more than a cry. It was a very shrill, ear-piercing scream-type cry. Rocked the rafters type of noise if you get my drift!

To be honest, I really think that cry was a sign to us that there was something just a bit different about this baby. She still has the capacity to cry like that. Sometimes now though, she could pass for one of those sirens on emergency vehicles in England or Germany - know what type of sound I mean there? I remember when that happened her first night home, my gut reaction was wondering what on earth is wrong with that baby as I'd never heard an infant with such a shrill shriek cry as she exhibited then. During the day, when she would fuss, it was generally rather low key but when it came time to go to bed, she -and her sounds - took on a whole new personna, or so it seemed. That first night, Kate had gone to bed about two hours earlier and normally, she sleeps like her dad too - very, very soundly. We often joke that an earthquake with an 8.0 on the Richter scale might not phase either Kate or her Dad but that night, that screech -it even woke Kate up!

That's my pictoral today of Maya and roughly her first eight to ten weeks with us.

When I think back to those early days, she often would look at us and it seemed that she had a somewhat puzzled expression on her face. We used to joke about it then too that she would get many of the same expressions as did her Uncle Clate when he was a baby too. We tease him that he still gets the same confused look quite often even today. But in retrospect, I wonder too now if maybe that may have been a very, very early indicator too of the autism that within a couple of months, my older daughter and I both began to suspect might be present.

More on that later.


Casdok said...

Lovely post :)

Raven said...

Your beautiful Maya is certainly wrapped in love and if she has come into this life with extra challenges, her soul self has had the wisdom to surround herself with an army of loving arms. Beautiful post. Beautiful family.

Dianne said...

I can't get enough photos jeni!

I love the one of her sitting on the sofa in that wonderful little newborn slump that babies do. they look like mini versions of little old ladies.

Travis Cody said...

Love the photos and the stories. The one with Clate reminds me of the first time I held my niece. I was nervous, because I didn't have a lot of experience with tiny babies. Still don't.

But we were pals right from that moment.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're posting pictures and I'm looking forward to more stories of the little ones!

fermicat said...

Everything I have read and heard about autistic children has challenged my perceptions a bit. I am glad for that. You have a lovely grandchild. She is lucky to have you in her life.

Paula said...

Love all the pictures, Jeni. This post is written with so much love for that little grandbaby of yours. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Aw, love all the photos! Looking forward to lots more :)

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Beautiful post about Maya. I love that photo of her big sister. You can just see... "What have we got ourselves into.." expression on her tired face.

Linda said...

I, for one, love all the pictures!

I bet your father was thinking a lot of the same things that you were thinking about Maya when you held you for that first and last time.

Minnesotablue said...

Keep posting all those great pictures. As I've said many times your grandchildren are so lucky to have you in their lives.

Linda Murphy said...

The pictures are beautiful and I definitely look forward to seeing them!

You are right-the indicators as little tiny infants were there-the crying and inability to be comforted in the normal way. My son didn't sleep through the night until he turned one and he still doesn't sleep well. He would scream if we were not standing upright and holding him upright over the shoulder and bouncing him. Allusions to his sensory problems from the start. I love the comparison to earthquakes-you make me laugh.

Keep up the great writing.