He’s 2 months old now, and more human-like (and less cabbage-like) every day.
He has SUCH a smile, and he turns it on for his daddy more than anyone, which makes me SO happy every time I see it - although he did break out the grins when Loki was licking his face yesterday and that melts my heart, too. I still haven’t quite captured the true grins, though, because every time it happens I want to be in the moment and can’t bear to stick a camera in his face.
He loves his family and his dog, and the musical cat the two year old gave him. He loves to lie on the changing table with his diaper off, sometimes for up to 15 minutes at a time, so I hang out there with him because it’s easier than trying to entertain him and sometimes I just want things to be easy. We’re having less incidents of him peeing on everything literally every time we change him, so that’s nice.
From the outside, it doesn’t look like he does much. He eats, he sleeps, he pees a lot, he poops slightly less, he has some awake time when he looks around the room, occasionally makes eye contact and realizes “Hey, I like this person!” and spends minutes with the smiles. He sticks his tongue out a lot, which I think is the cutest thing in the world. He has started grabbing on to our shirts when we hold him, or my boobs when I nurse him, which is sweet as long as his nails are trimmed.
He cries. He makes a frowny face where he turns his lip down like he’s pretending to be sad and we can’t help but laugh every time. But sometimes he looks me right in the eye and seems terrified, like he needs help, and it breaks my heart every time.
A couple of weeks ago, he peed all over my mom on the changing table and she said, “Well you’re just full of tricks, aren’t you?” To which he responded which a loud fart.
He’s sassy. And a trickster. And I know it’s impossible, but I swear he’s in on the jokes, going all the way back to his coming 2 1/2 weeks early and faster than any baby should ever be born, then shitting in my belly button when we were having our very first skin-to-skin time. Really.
I don’t think we could have asked for a better one.
From the top:
The very first picture of him - he was born so fast I didn’t have time to take my shirt off once we got to the birthing center.
Loki meeting Sam for the first time - she was instantly obsessed.
Sassy Sam perfecting his side-eye.
Moments before passing him to his great-grandma when he was 6 weeks old - I’m so glad he’s gotten to spend as much time with her as he has.
Sam on one of his play mats, last weekend.
It should be noted that all but one of these photos was taken by my sister Caroline, who has been heaven-sent. I’m glad she never succeeded in killing me when I was a baby.
Austin, TX 3/2/14.
I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.
I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, Black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: ‘Dear Lupita,’ it reads, ‘I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.’
My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.
I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.
And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.
And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.
And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.
There is no shame in Black beauty.
Obsessed with this kid.
Coral Gables, FL. 2/23/14