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Selfish, Attached, In Love–Not With My Massive Zit–and Elvish (Week 8)

Selfish, Attached, In Love--Not With My Massive Zit--and Elvish (Week 8)

parenting4.15.13

This happened today. This is happening right now.

I keep staring at the graphic photos and video, the explosion and frantic voices that are hundreds of miles away, occurring in this moment, in this very moment where I’m sitting comfortably in front of my laptop, staring past it at the robins bouncing around under the sun rays, your little self swaddled tight and pressed against me, warm. Calm. Safe. Loved.

Thank you, God. We are so lucky, so blessed, so so fortunate. And it’s so easy to thank Him now, thinking of how glad I am to have what makes me happy. You.

Before you existed I knew that I’d love you. It was a technical understanding—I knew I’d love you because, well, that’s just how it is. The sky is blue. I’m a twin. Golf is boring. Spiders make me man-scream. Ice cream and your daddy without his shirt make me drool. Moms love their babies.

Still. I was worried I wouldn’t be a good mom, that I’d look at you and fixate on the question of who you are going to be, what up-hills we’re going to experience together . . . how many curfews you’ll break and o-m-g is that alcohol on your freaking breath don’t dare lie to me oh you hate me do you now well good that’s great just great go to your room I don’t care if you’re twice my size I said GO TO YOUR ROOM don’t laugh don’t leave oh don’t you dare walk out of this house! . . . how you’ll affect—as selfish as it sounds and is—me. My easy-breezy sleep-at-night world.

That was it. Me being selfish. Simple.

It’s all good in the backwoods hippie hood, little (LOL) lady, mini iced-out Freud perv says on my right shoulder, opposite the mini sloth named SuSu who is constantly yelling hyperboles through her lisp at me. Chillax: Our nature is to be self-centered a-holes, many a psychologist, sociologist, whateverologist can proffer to all the braless literati grad student types serving up medium rares at Applebees (okay, maybe it was Country Kitchen) and Dreaming Big, Dreaming Big they are. Survival of the fittest, right? It’s our most basic, primal understanding that we have to fight, to win, to survive. It requires cunningness and endurance to survive. Get away from that there berry bush or I’ll bludgeon you with that there skull I bludgeoned with that there femur! An understanding of oneself and your needs (I need that promotion because my kids need larger college savings accounts, screw your little dummies) are of the absolute essence in order to flourish.

But maybe sometimes the selfishness is there for another reason. Like, to hide the hurt and fear. Maybe?

I’ll give you a country fried steak* if you bear with me here, just bear with me. I’m not going to probe too much deeper here, either, because I think I’m getting the runs from all the fermented tea I drank and all this thinking. So yeah. Moving on.

Original Plan: I’d be a mom at a more mature age, somewhere between 37 and my Type A personality expiration date, dangerously close to the time my uterus turned to dust, and I’d have it all figured out by then. Yup, all figured out, all good to go, from the memories that haunt me, the obligations that saddle me, the inexperience that scares me, figured out, yup, good to go. Then, because surely Figuring It All Out means forgiving and loving and repackaging oneself and probably getting a Corvette and dying the tips of my hair purple and all that other stuff with self-discovery and “letting go,” I could focus on loving somebody else, really, fully loving somebody else.

Then I would be unselfish. Scan me, TSA. See? No selfish in this girl’s bones.

Truth? I didn’t thank God the day I found out I was pregnant. There was no smiling in the mirror and calling up my friends and cooing at waist of my Luckys. No. I fell to my knees and slobbered out onto the carpet guttural Why? Why? Whys.

My uterus grew; my peace of mind didn’t. Who would you be? How would we be? Things were going to change. I don’t like change, I’ve never liked change. Change requires work, endurance, self-modification. It’s not comfortable, and it’s not easy. It’s not a walk around the block: it’s always a freaking marathon even the sweaty, sinewy ones with rhino hearts aren’t fully trained for.

Not. Comfortable.

Then there was the birth.

NOT. COMFORTABLE.

Then there was The Birth.

Of me.

And you can take that Pssh, how cliché and shove it, if you must, people, because something so true really needs a good spot to stick.

Little Man, I couldn’t have fathomed the depths of an eternal inferno of unfathomable, otherworldly misery I’d happily travel to on a dime if your weeks-old self required it. But does that make me unselfish? Knowing I have no limits to what I’d do for an extension of me?

Re-born me is still selfish. More selfish, in fact.

The more you love, the more you have to lose. The more you have to lose, the more you fear losing it. The more you’d sacrifice anything to keep it. It’s easy and it’s difficult to thank God right now, in this moment, but I have to. I don’t believe there’s ever any situation in life where a person is so fully ready to surrender all that they are for all that somebody else will be as a parent is ready to do for their baby. Little Man, I’d do anything to keep you safe, I’d do anything to keep you happy, healthy, alive. Because of what you mean to me, sure, but isn’t that okay? Selfishness and Altruism are duking it out to the point that I don’t know which I’m talking about anymore; the line between desperation to preserve love for self-satisfying reasons verses knowing what one would do for the ones she loves because of purely who they are and will be . . . it’s lost in the din of this unfair, undeserved peace. I’d do anything to keep you safe. I’d do anything to keep you happy, healthy, alive.

Which is why when I watched this, a previous version of me echoed, ever so technically, ever so selfishly, “Wow, that’s awful, tragic, so sad,” and the current version cried, “Those people are somebody’s baby.”

Those people have people who are dying to take their place.

Because they love them as much as I love you.

Thank you, God. We are so lucky, so blessed, so so fortunate.

baby boy

* Yeah I don’t have any country fried steak for you.

4.16.13

See thisssssssssssssssssssss shard of lyrical brilliance right nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and know how much I looooooooooooove you.

baby playingdad and boy

4.17.13-4.18.13, because I didn’t realize night happened

What do most parents do when their babies cry in public? Try to calm Baby, I’d hope, but then what? A look-around to see who’s watching? Carry on? Exit the store like it’s on fire? I did a combo of the first, a look-around, but it was more of a if-you’re-getting-judgy-because-my-seven-week-old-is-over-stimulated, I’m-going-to-hunt-you (Okay. Kidding on the hunting part: I don’t know what I mean by that, but I thought it sounded a little intimidating, a little.), and the last.

And don’t get all judgy on the fact that I ran out of Hobby Lobby; thou shalt not judge self-sacrifice at its greatest, mmk?

Adios (Spanish, right? Told you we’re getting quite good at it.), fluorescents and scrapbooking paper and 50% off the knobs and pulls and metal décor oh my gawd life is too good why is this happening to me. Who really needs to pursue their hobbies in a lobby of them . . . at fifty percent off . . . “Fred, did you see the spring section that’s 60% off?” . . . Fred wipes eye as she types—it’s watering because it’s bright in here really bright yeah that’s it . . . with a bunch of Carol Duvall* types, anyway? Constructive hobbies that help with self-identification and the maintenance of relative normalcy are a huge waste of time. No mom needs them.

Fred sniffles.

Fred gets spoon.

Fred goes to freezer.

There’s a diaper in the freezer.

Fred goes to overstimulation land for all ages and looks up a good local therapist. Does he perform electroshock?

Hobbies. Overrated.**

Sniffle, sniffle.

*You will not know who Carol Duvall is, Little Man. I just pulled it from the memory bank by looking up Old Lady Craft Show Host, not sure why I felt the need to capitalize each word. I used to love old lady craft shows. Zeke and I would watch them between our Barbie soap operas and clawing/hair-pulling/door-splintering matches. Anybody have any new lady craft show recommendations? Materials I have available to craft with are as follows: river rock; miscellaneous tibulas and fibulas, a little dried road kill muscle still attached; butt wipes; frozen diapers.

**I still have hobbies–I do, Mom!–and I will continue to have hobbies. Loving you is at the top, Little Man. Complaining because I’m sleep-deprived, emotional, and going through a post-preggo hobby crisis is also up there.

Also, Little Man, maybe one day I’ll let you cry a little and not get all loco (SPANISH!) myself. But not yesterday, not today, and probably, odds say, not tomorrow. Attachment parenting (Dr. Sears, yup. Going there.) . . . crying it out . . . we all do what we do because it’s what we know. I’m Team Attachment on steroids and 50 shades of crazy, only not literally, but don’t get all hissy about it; I’m pretty attached to Attachment, so if you’d like to rant, please, go ahead, impress yourself.

Now, as long as you don’t cry, koala cub, I’m going to go Modge Podge some small skulls onto a canvas to give straight-faced to Daddy tonight.

Curious about attachment parenting? Here are a couple books I recommend (and, yes, get a menial but appreciated kickback on if you purchase via these links. With each purchase, you help me pay for a diaper wipe. Thank you for helping my child have a clean butt.):

errands with baby

You liked Hell Hole just fine.

baby sleep

4.19.13

Today was a day, Little Man, quite a day.

Today I screamed in the bathroom until my fake teeth* literally rattled.

Today: You know how you strip the spit-up sheets off the bed and even the mattress protector with it? Then you go do dishes, make coffee, sweep the 15435 ticks the dogs homed until juicy popable, baby perched on shoulder  all the while, and, because you’re operating on sleep debt, you forget you’ve got the sink clogged and the water on, so, baby spitting on bare shoulder, you toss a dozen towels on the floor to clean the water that’s fountained out the sink, down the wood counters, over the floor, where you notice not ticks but tick splatters all over the floor, too, so you slosh the dishsoapy water around to try to clean the mess and then $*%# AHHHHH $%#%& SPIDER!!!!!!! so Daddy runs to the kitchen and all calmly says, “Oh. You met my new pet,” and you, baby digging into shoulder, shrieking, too, run to the bedroom where you’d, you know, stripped everything down to the pristine mattress so you could watch the three-legged Chihuahua ralph something furry and twice his size onto it.

I screamed in the bathroom until my fake teeth literally rattled.

Somebody pissed me off online. Quarterly taxes taunted me on the table. ThorCat kept trying to harass my face. I said no. So he shat in a plant. I put the crap and soil in the toilet. Clogged the toilet. Plunged it one-handed. Got toilet water and cat crap on the bathroom floor. Got peed on by you. Said why a lot. Napped none. Watched a little Francis Chan in order to stop moping and get some perspective. (Even if you think we came from an amoeba or guerrilla or reptile or inexplicable bang, you can appreciate the lessons here.)

We cried and ate and said our thank you Gods and I love yous all day.

*Cheerleading.

parenting

4.20.13-4.21.12

If I titled these posts this one would read something like this: “Sometimes moms need to shut up. This one especially.”

Here I go:

SHUT UP, FRED, CASE I:

I don’t really know what day it is besides a perfect one because I’m with you.

That’s kind of something I might  roll my eyes at if another mom said it. Not that it’s not true for me or any mom–of course it is–it’s just like hearing, I don’t know, that you look so beautiful, Fred, so so beautiful (your daddy’s full of crap, Little Man) because you’re smiling even though you have a zit the size of Kentucky on your chin. Not that I’m comparing you to a zit, Little Man, no-no. Unlike pimple pus, you’re wonderful, perfect, sometimes a bit of a mystery, which I guess is similar to Zit, because oftentimes I’m wondering how my health-nut self can get a zit when I drink all these purifying things and wear all this purifying clay and take all these purifying showerrrrr–

Oh. The zit thing isn’t such a mystery after all.

The eye-rolling, though. I suppose we all earn it from time to time just as we dole it out from time to constant time (this girl). Like, the other day when I read about calming techniques because I’d pulled out every stop, and I mean every stop (“Fred, are you speaking Elvish to our son?”), and you aimed to continue rattling the windows with your epic baby slightly-less-than-wooo-weee! sounds. A mom on some obscure forum, maybe Babycenter, said she just pulls her little one close and whispers sweet nothings like, “I’ll protect you. You’re loved. You’re safe.”

Well CRAP. I’ve been doing this all wrong all along! Okay. Easy enough. Magic bullet cure coming right up, I thought: Thank you, forum mom, thank you. This is really too freaking easy–I was just over-doing it. Story of my life (did you see my makeup in high school?).

To my hopeful grin I pulled your writhing, convulsing, beet-red baby body. Between the smile my voice was sweet as molasses. “Little Man? Little Man? I’ll protect you. You’re loved. You’re safe.”

Yes. Yes, that’s right. I said it I did it we’re good you’re happy I’m happy everyone’s happy, happy, happy! Smile, smile, smile.

You, Little Man . . . blinked your tears into your lashes and looked up at me. You gargled and you farted. You reached your hand up ever so gingerly, probably preparing to stroke my cheek in thank you to my altruistic, wonderfully recommended ever-so-true sentiment.

Happy, happy, happy! Smile, smile, smile!

Scratch. SCRATCH SCRATCH SHRED.

I’m pretty sure it was audible, just like that.

But it’s k. I have another cheek. I didn’t much care for that side of my face anyway.

(FYI: Eventually a boob solved the problem, whatever the problem was. I hope you’re keeping a journal somewhere, too, because I’m very interested in reading about the true culprits behind your epic baby slightly-less-than-wooo-weee! sounds.)

SHUT UP FRED, CASE II:

All in the space of a day . . .

Picture this: It’s butt-short weather, the evening sun breaking through the canopy of tree branches that hold spring’s promise in their green, purple, and white Dogwood buds. Daddy cradles Baby while Mommy, adorned in a 25-pound sand-filled weight vest, wrist weights, and ankle weights, looks around for a flood to stop. (The look is about to take off, serious, you’ll see.) The dogs that have four legs are leaping ahead, chasing butterflies and squirrels and–Oh. Good God. What was that?

“I love you,” Daddy smiles to Mommy.

“Love you, too,” Mommy replies.

It’s such a good day. Such a good evening. Such a perfect little family.

Mommy lifts a wrist weight to her head and scratches.

“Could you lift his head a little higher? Don’t want blood to rush to his head, you know.”

“It’s not. He’s perfectly comfortable. Look at him sleep.”

“Oh. K.”

Fred pumps arms up hill. Pump pump pump.

“Honey?”

Honey is smiling, taking in whispering leaves and the trickle of the creek.

“Yeah, Fred?”

“Maybe take smaller steps. I feel like you’re going to bite it, and what would you do then?”

“Take smaller steps? Seriously?”

Fred does a squat and a jump in middle of the gravel road. Nbd.

“Do you see how I’m holding him? How my elbows would land on the ground first? He would be just fine.”

Fred stops jumping and squatting and tries to hasten the pace so her fart can get lost in the breeze. Or can she blame you?

“Your ELBOWS would guard his FALL? Are you FREAKING kidding? Dude. If you fall, it best be on your back.”

Daddy skitters to a halt. “You want me to fall on my back?”

“I don’t want you to fall, but if you have to, I do suggest it be on your back so you can absorb the shock and maybe I can have time to catch him.”

Daddy looks Mommy up and down, up and down, incredibly unlike the times she dons nothing at all.

He shakes his head.

Keeps walking.

Taking huge steps.

Mommy bites her lip, incredibly unlike the times he dons nothing at all.

Minute pass. Birds sing. The Beagle, Trudy, leaves a brown Great Pyramid in front of the nearest house. The little perfect family arrives at their lake. They stop, take it all in. It’s such a gorgeous evening. Perfect temperature, perfect geese duo forming a wake in the water, perfect–

“Holy smothering! Can you PLEASE lift our baby’s head higher over your shoulder?”

“Fred . . .”

“Hello, SIDs!”

“FRED.”

“His sock is coming off; I don’t want him to get cold. Can you pull his hat over his right ear too please thank you.”

Daddy hands Baby to Mommy.

Baby cracks eyes open under evening sun and looks at Mommy.

“WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“Oh my God. God in Heaven. Our kid doesn’t like me!”

Daddy takes Baby back.

“He probably didn’t like the feel of your sandbags. Or maybe the smell of them–they smell weird . . . Or maybe he was at a weird angle? The sun was getting in his eyes? Wait–probably the shadow of that huge Oak was scaring him. Maybe you should have moved away from that shadow. Or what if it was because his sleeve is pushed up higher on that wrist? Maybe you can adjust his sleeve next time?”

Mommy smiles a little. “Shutting up.”

baby on walk

dad and baby

P.S. because why not: I have some SERIOUS catching up to do, wouldn’t you say?

mom

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