-The first three months of Gaia’s life are mostly blurry. They felt impossible, except that I knew they would pass. Even though I prefer when babies can walk and no longer stuff everything inside their mouths and release substances from every orifice, Gaia is still irresistible to me. What stands out about her is that she is always talking and smiling. She doesn’t have her sister’s craving for sleep. I realized that when Isla was a baby, we were mostly quiet together, but with Gaia, I talk and talk and talk because she is a conversationalist. Her attention is riveted to me, she speaks back, and she belly-laughs as though she’s had years of practice.

-Isla started attending a French Montessori daycare a few months ago. She came home exhausted every day for the first couple weeks, and would sleep fifteen hours at night. Now she’s more adjusted and looks forward to it every day. Still, she arrives home tired and cranky and retreats to look at her books and play by herself for several hours to recharge. She’s more of an observer than a speaker, but she has started interspersing French with her English and Arabic vocabulary. She says “merci beaucoup,” “bonjour,” calls her mouth “bouche,” and her hat “chapeau.” She is still most content on her own, or home with us, or out with us on walks. We know she is awake every morning when we hear her turning the pages of her books in her crib. She still rubs her sheet back and forth before she falls asleep and after she just wakes up, a habit she began when she was still a baby.

-Now I have a bit more time to write during the day, so long as Gaia’s unpredictable napping slots into place in the mornings. I’m trying to maximize it.  My desire to finish is the hare and my innate tendency to plod along is the tortoise.  Who will win out?  Note to self: in the future, never ever work on two novels at the same time.

-The weather is warming up and everything is green. Right now the market is full of strawberries, “foul” (fava beans) and fresh peas that we eat straight from the pods, loquats, and pomelos. Gaia likes to suck on cucumbers, and Isla can eat up to seven clementines per day. She has also (finally!!) begun drinking milk again after her yearlong strike.

-There is a cat that has domesticated itself and sneaks into the house whenever we open the door. She is more interested in nuzzling up to us and being petted than she is in drinking the milk or eating the fish bones we leave for her.  She follows Isla around and almost knocks her over when she presses up to her.  Isla gives her hallmark sign of affection: scrunching her face up and placing two fists gently against the cat’s fur and humming softly.  She does this to me, to Gaia, to her father when she’s overwhelmed with emotion.

-Gaia still wakes up around two-four times at night, and I usually feel tired throughout the day.  During the day, feeding her forces me to take a break, and I read on my kindle.  Right now I’m finishing up The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett.  It’s her first novel, and she drove from Tennessee to New York City to deliver it to her editor.  When she arrived, she discovered that she was missing the last 15 pages, so she typed them up from memory in the editor’s office.  Then she drove back home, and by the time she arrived, the novel had been accepted for publication.  I learned that from her memoir Truth and Beauty, so of course I had to read the novel.

-Sometimes I wonder: is it enough to wake up, eat breakfast with my family, drive Isla to nursery, play with Gaia for awhile till her nap, go for a short run if I’m lucky, write a bit before lunch, eat with Cedric, write a bit more (or take care of something else that needs to be done), pick up Isla, clean and play with the girls, bounce Gaia around while she fusses in the evening, eat dinner, bathe the girls with C and get them to sleep, watch something with C and/or fall asleep?  And to repeat this over and over, and to think, these are the days we’ll look back on nostalgically, but to also fear that there is always more I could be doing?