"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." ~Mary Jean Iron
The mommy blogs I faithfully read are http://eyesofmyeyes.wordpress.com and http://enjoyingthesmallthings.blogspot.com. This quote appeared today on the latter. It was called to my attention by someone in my "Fertility Friend" May Mommies online group and I became addicted to it. The friend posted the link for us because there was an amazing birth story. Not just amazing because of the events in it, but the way it is written. It’s so gut wrenchingly painfully beautiful. And no, it’s not one of those horrible dead baby stories. I swear to God, when I was pregnant and when I had a newborn, all people wanted to tell me was horrible stories of stillborns and accidental deaths. People are horrible. I have always said so. No, this story is about a baby born, unexpectedly, with Down Syndrome and the very honest and raw way her mother reacts. It’s truly amazing. Additionally, she’s a professional photographer and the photographs alone are life changing.
But enough about her, let’s talk about me.
It’s an amazing cloudy Friday morning after a week of unseasonably hot weather. Oh, who am I kidding? We have no "seasons" in L.A. so nothing is unseasonable. It was hot. Damn hot. I hate the heat. I am very fair skinned and 30 pounds overweight. What is there to love about the sun? For me, I mean.
Today I opened up the 8 interlocking gates that make up the Thunderdome and used them to block off Baby V’s escape routes from the living room. I looked up from the computer and for the first time, I didn’t see my baby. I have no doubt it will not be the last. She found the ONE corner where she’d be out of my sight and that’s where she went. Now, she’s crawling around the table where I’m sitting. TONS of head bonking possibilities here. I was excited for 5 minutes that I could let her crawl around the whole living room while I drink my coffee and write. She hates being confined and it doesn’t take her long to figure out that while here little play area APPEARS to have opened up, the gates are still up and she goes to them, pulls herself up and SCREAMS ABOUT HER CAPTIVITY. It is so very unfair.
So I nursed her, hoping she’d take her nap, but she didn’t, so now she’s playing on the floor again. She really has a talent for finding the places she shouldn’t go: banging on the glass door, bumping her head on the underside of the table, pulling chairs down on top of her.
Every morning, The Dog barks at every person who walks by our house. Our neighborhood is full of dogs and dog walkers, so it is A LOT of barking. Usually I am holding Baby V, so while she startles, she takes it in stride. But being on her own, crawling around the floor, she hears the barking and cries with fear. It makes me very angry at the dog, even though rationally I know she’s only doing what comes naturally to a dog: defending her territory. HER TERRITORY! I have yet to see a rent check from her.
I’m feeling disappointed that Baby V slept so late and is consequently still up. She should have been napping 52 minutes ago in order for us to have a full nap before Baby Gym class today. Alas, it will not be. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to get her onto MY schedule, but she remains stubbornly on hers. Putting a baby on any sort of schedule involves some amount of letting your baby cry and I just can’t do it. I’m still haunted by my last attempt. Her haunting, helpless wailing and crying for "Mum, mum mum mum!" in this tone of WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME? Everyone said "stick with it," but I gave up. I’m a sleep training drop-out. I also can’t bring myself to wake her from her blissful sleep. Often it’s fruitless anyway. She just goes limp like she has no bones and falls back to sleep anyway. I’d like to have a bit of time to myself while she sleeps instead of always either sleeping beside her or holding her while she sleeps on her own. I envision her being one of those mythical babies I read about in books and on the internet where you lay them in their crib "while they are drowsy, but awake" and they fall magically asleep before your eyes. My baby flips, rolls, crawls to the edge of the crib, pulls to standing and SCREAMS in protest. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? WE ARE ONE!!!" she seems to say.
There’s that goddamn dog barking again. That sound and Baby V’s whine/wail are two noises that are worse to me than any nails on any chalkboard in all of time. When Baby V cries her hurt cry, like when somebody leaves the Pack n Play too close to the wall and she falls and bangs her head (just sayin’), the mother lion in me goes into action and I can calmly assess and soothe. But the whine/wail is more of an "I’M BORED!" or "I’M NOT GETTING WHAT I WANT!" Not what she needs, what she WANTS. Very very different, as it turns out.
It’s 11:04 a.m. and her class is at 1:15. Even if she fell asleep this minute, she wouldn’t get a full nap. Her morning naptime is my only break all day long, so I feel a keen sense of sadness and loss that it isn’t happening today. It seems so silly because other people have real tragedy in their lives and I’m bitching about not getting my free time today. My reality is the only one I know, however. I’m grateful for my lot in life, but I know that even when Odie comes home from work and offers to take her while I do something else, she will whine/wail for me the entire time. He will grow frustrated because that noise is no treat for him either. I have trouble taking my break at such a cost to his well-being. He only has so many hours of freedom between work and sleep. There is no break for me for a while. Not while she is in this stage. None.