I made this book while my infant son napped. I could only cut the pictures while he slept so the pictures are small and quick gleanings from my new life as a mother. The dining room table became my studio. I would put down my pencil as lightly as possible so as not to disturb the baby, hoping for a few more moments of work before I, too, had to take a nap.
The alphabet was never finished intentionally; the naps were too short and life too thrilling to justify going all the way to Z.
-Nikki McClure, Authors Note from AWAKE to NAP
For nearly a week I've been feeling the itch in to get back to this keyboard and make more words into stories. It's just been impossible until now. I'm learning Salamander's language and rhythms, just as he develops them. His legs, once bowed and froggy from the womb are straight now, and stronger every day as he presses against whatever's beneath him into a wobbly infant standing pose. He does the cutest thing once erect; he seems almost surprised at his own strength, eyes widening, hands flinging upward and flailing a little. His smiles are more and more frequent. Some as big as the bottom half of his face, others are half smiles, like he's pulled off something sly, or is laughing to himself at a little joke he's played. Sometimes his soft, little tongue hangs over his bottom lip and I'm reminded of the famous poster depicting Einstein with his tongue sticking out. I supposed most mothers imagine the future greatness of their children.
Everyone tells you that the first weeks are the precious time, the most precious times of all, especially with your first born. As this time speeds away from us down the ever quickening road of the past I often find myself thinking that "precious" and "love" are not words big enough to describe this time. But I don't know of a single word that would replace these.
He stirs. I'm a parody of a parent sometimes too. Actually waiting at the front door for Hadj, and the dogs behind him, to whisper, with my eyebrows high, "ssshhhh, he's sleeping!"
If his breathy grunts should turn to insistent tiny whines I'll have to go. And so for me to remember to tell you, there's the way clothing feels like a sadness to me on his soft skin. How I am rocketed into a place of the infinite when I accidentally slip into the future and see him at 14. How I now feel even more like I understand everything about my mother, as a mother, as these days go by.