one or 2 days old
Finally growing into their heads at 4 months
Maja and Jaś have survived the winter, and are completely different creatures than they were 4 months ago. They have extracted day and night from the circadian soup they were born with. They can grab things (including each other’s appendages), lace their fingers together, squeal and giggle. They appear to realise at last that Marcin and I are people of import to them, and follow our movements as we go about our mundane tasks, breathless with anticipation of what amazing feat we will perform next- loading the dishwasher, frying the onions, doing a downward-facing dog. Last night, for the first time ever, Janek slept ALL NIGHT LONG. Needless to say, I did not, since I had keep checking if he was still alive. When it became clear he was breathing, I feared a coma.
Apparently they are also now beginning to understand cause and effect, and I see early strains of wilfulness in them. They most emphatically don’t want certain things, and make no bones about their urgent need for others. They wake up in the morning and grin up at me from their lime-green, lolly-pink sheets, and I realise at last that there’s joy to be had.
It’s late March. The temperature is below zero and it’s been snowing, but the sun is out and everyone is sure that winter can’t last much longer (not true, but we don’t know it at this point.) I haven’t yet reached the stage of terminal weather fatigue and am actually happy about the snow, because I am cross country skiing with my friend Lucynka in Las Kabaty, early on a Saturday morning.
The sky is blue and the sun shines through the dark verticals of the trees as we shuffle along. I am trying to catch the effortless gliding motion that would make skis a better form of locomotion than walking, and failing miserably. For the first time in months, I break into a sweat which is not caused by fear or hormones. It’s a beautiful sensation, and one I am loath to give up, though I tire quickly.
It’s quiet in the forest, apart from the odd distorted sound of a loudspeaker somewhere which comes to us from time to time on the wind. We see the tracks of something with four feet and a brushy tail weaving between the trees, and stumble across some sort of fun run grunting and sweating along the trail. After two hours I am utterly worn out, starving, thirsty and have not thought about my children for a second.
For the next few days I have a reassuring pain in my groin muscles, reminding me that my body, which I had forgotten about in the frenzy, exists, and that it can deliver these sweet and uncomplicated pleasures.