Wednesday, September 18, 2013

10 things that will happen today: baby edition

Raising children is like the movie Groundhog Day, you have to get to relive the same day again, and again, and again, and again....

That can be a great thing. The thought of new mercies tomorrow often tucks me in after a particularly challenging day. It is a gift that children are generous with giving second, third, and even fourth chances to us to become better moms.

Sometimes, though, the repetitive nature of day after day after day of the same things, same fights, same meals, same messes, same everything can become tedious and discouraging.

I have not forgotten the dark, seemingly endless days of teething and five minute naps, of cluster feeding and spit up. My babies are big now, but my memory is seared with the exhaustion that piggybacks on the sweet season of tiny gurgles and precious coos.

Here are ten things that will happen today if you have a baby:

10. You will not get to sleep when you want to sleep. Your day will begin when the cries of your baby wake you up before God. Later you will lie down to rest while the baby takes his morning nap, and the neighbor will decide to mow his lawn while blasting AC/DC's greatest hits on his ancient boom box. Somewhere between the nap catastrophe and the baby's afternoon nap, you will get your second wind- also known as delirium- and when bedtime rolls around, you'll be in the middle of reorganizing every closet in the house, so you'll stay up too late again. Then tomorrow, it starts all over again....

9. You will know you are done having children. Maybe your baby will seem so perfect that you can't imagine having space in your heart to love another one. Maybe you will get spit up on your favorite blouse and that will be the last straw. Maybe you will look in the mirror and the black circles under your eyes will scream, "Give us our life back! We need to close and stay closed for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. No more babies!!" But at some point today, an end to the season of babies will harken to you with its siren song.

8. Your baby will hate you. When you decide to take a walk, she will hate you for putting her in the stroller. Or when you put her to bed for her nap, she will hate you for thinking she needs a nap. Then you'll try to stretch her next feeding to more than five minutes after her last feeding, and again, she will hate you for starving her like that. On the bright side, the minute you pick her up, and stick a pacifier, a bottle, or your breast in her mouth, she will forget she ever hated you and you will be her favorite person in the whole world. So... there's always that.

7. You will suspect your baby is teething. It's easier to blame teeth than to think that there may be no possible way your baby will ever be easy to deal with. What's that? A crying baby who can't be calmed down? Teething. No naps today? Teething. Drool running down the chin? Teething. Not interested in eating every ten minutes like yesterday? Teething. General grumpiness? Please, Lord, say he is just teething!! One of my children was teething for the first solid eighteen months of his life. In fact, he is eight years old now, and I'm pretty sure he's still teething. Poor kid.

6. You will realize you smell like death. There is a unique combination of a total lack of bathing, spit up, baby oil, strained carrots, coffee breath, baby wipe residue, and human excrement that only a mother of an infant can really pull off when she heads to Target. Work it, girl.

5. You will do ridiculously not-age-appropriate activities with your baby. My first two babies watched Dr. Phil and Oprah with me. My youngest baby went to the dentist, the hair salon, and antique stores with me. I read Jane Austen out loud to one of my babies. I danced in the kitchen to Van Halen's "Jump" with another of my babies. These activities did very little to enhance my babies' development. But it was what I wanted to do, and the baby had to tag along. I don't think it ruined my kids to learn things like how to dance to YMCA by age 1. They seem to have turned out fairly normal.

4. You will choose names for the other two children you want to have. Suddenly, you'll decide you aren't done having children, and you will know that somewhere in your future the family Christmas card must include the names, "Liam, Hudson, and Delilah". No, wait- not Delilah; Evangeline. No- your friend on Facebook has an Evangeline. You'll name your daughter Haley, or Halifax, or SchmoopsyPoo....

3. Your brain will go to mush. The mix of sleep deprivation, the repetitive nature of every day, and the total lack of adult interaction will kill brain cells. You will forget the name of your nephew or the last two digits of your zip code. You will put the milk away in the pantry. You will walk into the laundry room three times because once yo get in there, you'll forget what errand brought you there. It's sad, really. You will learn to cope, though, and write reminders down on scraps of paper....

2. The baby will become supreme ruler of your life. See #10, #8, and #6. You live to make the baby happy. Life as you know it is over.

1. You will know your baby is extraordinary. Genius. Peculiarly set apart. Uniquely gifted. Destined for greatness. Beautiful beyond measure. Obviously elite in intelligence, charm, and talent. Any baby who looks/smiles/sleeps/eats/coos/lies-there-and-does-nothing like your baby is clearly a remarkable human being. Besides, with a genetic makeup like that and a mom like you, what else could be expected?

And with a baby this fantastic, who doesn't want to do all of this all over again tomorrow?? (See? Brain cells are gone, gone, gone....)

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