I’m not apologizing for the lack of posts these days. I’m not apologizing that I have a baby who is now more than a month old and I haven’t taken any pictures of her in over a week. We had cleaning ladies come this week (best gift ever) and my house is still gloriously basking in the aftermath of a top to bottom clean. Everyone’s drawer has at least three pairs of clean underwear right now.
I’m killing it.
Avery is not as easy as Isaiah. (Probably no baby in the universe is as easy as Isaiah was.) And so perhaps I’m functioning in a delusion that things are difficult, when really they are just normal. Some days, it seems like she cries a lot and sleeps very little. One such day resulted in a somewhat desperate moment of handing her to my neighbor, who took her and responded totally genuinely with, “Yeah. But you know babies cry. My best advice is to just try not to stress about it.”
I half-heartedly laughed and maybe cried a little myself when she said that. We are nothing alike, this neighbor and I, when it comes to patience with our children. (She is more like a saint, in that area.)
But she was right.
And I’m hearing her words more often, in moments of frustration, and actually loving that she said them. Because the truth is, I have forgotten and I continue to forget. Despite the fact that I’ve done this three times already. I’m not an expert. I don’t hold the secret to happiness for all children (or myself), and all of this goes away about as quickly as it comes on.
I forgot just exactly how tiny they are. Despite how huge they feel in that last month of pregnancy. Despite how much pain they bring with them when they enter the land of breathing oxygen in the form of air. Every senior citizen on Thursday at Harris Teeter is right. They do grow up too fast. And they are so tiny. And there really is never enough time for holding them.
But tiny and precious and angelically perfect while curled up asleep against my chest does not diminish the evil I had forgotten about, that comes from riding in the carseat. The noise. Oh. Dear God. That noise. That relentless shriek that sounds like nothing but pure, unadulterated, ten pound anger. And it doesn’t end. Those moms who are so anti-cry-it-out have clearly never been stuck in the elementary school carline with a crying infant strapped to a carseat. Fact: crying does not kill babies. Despite how many times I’ve thought it might not be such a bad thing.
There is no limit to the range of emotions that such a noise can bring out of a mom, and my button is always pushed right at the ten-minute mark. The round trip from my garage to the carline back into my garage is a solid forty five minutes. I have envisioned careening off cliffs, hitting an ejector button, soccer-style carseat drop kicks. That noise causes the worst road rage I have ever experienced. Note: if a psycho white woman in a black minivan ever gets directly on your bumper and lays on her horn while you drive 35 on Peace Haven just know it isn’t personal and she probably has a screaming baby in the back seat. Also note: if you are driving only 35 on Peace Haven you don’t deserve a driver’s license.
In addition to the noise torture that likely rivals water-boarding, I also forgot just how much poop can come out of such a tiny body, especially at 3am the minute the wet diaper comes off but just before I’ve fully opened my eyes wide enough to locate a replacement diaper. Like soft serve machines, they are, even though their bottoms are no bigger than average sized plums.
This brings me to the laundry situation, the one I had mostly under control exactly five weeks ago. And it isn’t just baby clothes complicating things. Between the baby and the boobs and the number of wardrobe changes in a day, I might as well be taking care of triplets here.
In preparation for a baby I always buy mostly three-month sized sleepers thinking the newborn size look too small for any human that has ever come from my body. I had forgotten how ridiculously huge is the three month sleeper, and how ridiculously small is the hat that comes with it. Jewish clown outfits, those things.
I had forgotten some gloriously perfect things too. Baby farts. Hiccups. The way they learn how to use their voices for good and not evil for the first time. The way they go cross-eyed when they focus on one thing for too long. The way they recognize mama’s voice (or in my case, the schlep of slippers) from across the room. The first time they smile on purpose (which happened this week and John and I both acted like the child had scored her first soccer goal). The chin quiver that is only outmatched in cuteness by the foot quiver.
I love the way I try so hard to wake her up at 11pm for that final top-off, and then work equally hard to get her to go back to sleep at 4am.
For little more than ten-pound-balls-of-goo, these things sure do operate on nothing but extremes. And in those moments of extreme fatigue, or extreme exasperation, or extremely low patience, I’m trying very hard to let the words of my neighbor ring true and I’m really trying not to stress about it.