My how quickly three months has flown by. On Monday, Mama K heads back to work part-time after the fastest 90 days she has ever experienced in her life. We are fortunate enough to have options available to us, but that doesn’t make being at this juncture any easier. Mr. Frost, what says you about the daycare dilemma?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This just in from my good friend, Farmer Karin, who couldn’t resist having a little fun:
“The babies in my house: I wanted to share with you that we have 42 5 day old chicks in our house, living in a huge cardboard box, that feed themselves, go to sleep on their own, can be left home alone all day and stay alive, and I’ve only had to wipe one butt one time. 🙂 Not bad. And in 3 months they will be full grown and will become many amazing dinners.”
I have a confession to make, friends. Before the baby I was what one might call a bit self conscious. I tipped not to reward good service, but to make the server/valet/barista think I was nice. The dogs would get a long walk not because I loved them so dearly, but rather it was to avoid running into my good looking, well dressed neighbor while I was still in my pajamas.
So when I am thrown into a situation with so many comparisons to be drawn, such as parenthood and all that goes along with it, the paranoid side of me is in constant battle with the rational/let’s-keep-things-in-perspective facet. Opponents, tap your gloves and let’s get started.
First, there’s the battle of the baby carriers. Ergobaby vs. Baby Bjorn. Don’t even come to the field if you have any other off-the-shelf brand claiming to be worthy of cradling your kiddo (joking!). Oh, and if you have a tribal sling of some sort, you are in your own league: the one that walks Downtown without shoes on (…not joking).
Next is the stroller strut. It’s funny how Kate and I didn’t even want a stroller, and now we are part of the collector’s club. Don’t judge. Surprisingly, I’ve found that these things are more of a calling card than anything I have ever come across. Do you have one that looks like a kid’s toy, or one that looks like it could be a Swedish medical implement? If the latter, you probably spent a quick four figures on that puppy. Us? We have a sensible all-in-one for the mall and a very inexpensive folding shark stroller. Seriously, you can’t put a price on comedy. Kate has also recently acquired a Thule (yes, the roof rack company) running stroller to assure others that we are fit and oh so adventurous. And most important, that we now pronounce “tool-ee” correctly.
Maternity clothing? I saw designer jeans in the motherhood collection for brands that I wouldn’t even spend money on for regular wear, let alone a limited 9-month span. Kate was a champ by wearing hand-me-downs and Goodwill finds, however I feel that she retaliated by stretching out a couple of our shared clothing items. The brand new fleece jacket and some of our more expensive workout shirts are now a tad bell shaped thanks to being force-molded over a protruding baby bump. Yes, Kate squeezed herself into non-maternity clothes all the way through month nine.
Speaking of gestation, while Kate was pregnant, I could sense other pregnant ladies literally sizing Kate up, as she was fortunate enough to limit her weight gain to her midsection. Not that I really cared one way or another, but I could tell other people did. Now, Kate is below her pre-baby weight, which is fun to exploit when we’re together and watching people try to figure out which size 4 woman just gave birth to the baby.
I know that our future holds many rounds of these comparison moments, so I should just learn to deal with it now. How about just accepting that our ability to parent is strangely based on our baby’s arbitrary willingness to not cry in a public place. Soon we will be benchmarking the milestones, as if we have anything to do with Lucie’s aptitude for rolling over or even where she places in heighth percentile (it’s 90th, by the way). We are judged on the cuteness of our baby, with half of the points gained from the outfit du jour. Little do the judges know, our friends and family are actually the winners, as they have really great taste in baby clothes and we have yet to buy any clothing for our daughter.
Anyway, in a few years it will be more than just looks. People will compare Lucie’s intelligence, talent, manners and athleticism to their own progeny’s. Other parents will judge us based on how much we contribute to the booster club and how often we attend our daughter’s activities.
My response to this, I would hope, could be similar to when a friend asked me about how we revealed the gender. First I had to clarify what he was asking. Then my answer was: we told people when they asked. His answer was: he and his wife gave the ultrasound results, in a sealed envelope, to a baker in the trendy NoPo district. They had a party with all of their friends and relatives as the Cake of Fate sat idly in the corner, smugly holding the secret under its frosting. Then they cut the cake and the interior color (pink) revealed the gender of the baby.
So the attitude that I hope will carry over into the comparison game that parents play is the same one that flowed through my mind during this conversation: “oh, alright then.”
Apparently, an infant can resist going #2 for seven days without a pediatrician being the least bit concerned. On day seven? Let’s just say the previous week is cashed in with dividends AND interest. I suppose the noise is very similar to a dollar bill counting machine…
There are milestones that parents look forward to, and ones that we dread. I thought Lucie’s first fall might be a flop from the monkey bars or even a comical over-bounce a la teenage Mama C off of a trampoline. Alas, it was much sooner than I thought it would be and much more emotional for me than I had ever imagined. (Let me pause to say that everyone is healthy and well.)
Earlier this week, the evil stars aligned to create a symphony of unfortunate circumstances, resulting in a thud I never wish to hear again and a face-down infant on our (thank God) carpeted floor. For Lucie, it was probably no more traumatic than being awoken by my rogue sneeze (see previous blog post), but for a helpless observer, it was torture. I took two hours to calm down–and this was after having to leave the house for a meeting and secretly gathering my composure in the presence of strangers. Luckily, my much more rational parents were in town to serve as a tether to my otherwise flapping emotional kite. They also watched over her while Kate and I stepped away for an hour, giving us status updates, but most importantly, keeping me from driving Lucie to the ER to run a gamut of unnecessary tests.
So the short of it is that I now understand what protective motherly love is, and how it would manifest in a crisis. Let’s just say a commandment would be tested if someone ever intended to harm.
Here’s a huge thanks to the mothers who assured me that not only are babies stronger than we think, but also that they (fellow parents) have, at one point or another, been there themselves. That community raising a child? Sometimes I feel that they are lifting me, too.
Our friends hosted Kate and me for a Mother’s Day brunch when they informed us that they were working on minimizing the barking that their otherwise perfectly behaved golden retriever did. To clarify, this was not simply to increase the overall lovability of their paradigm pup, but also to create a quiet and peaceful environment for their newborn, due this fall.
Though we are usually slow to advise (if not totally mum) when it comes to parenting, our friend’s comment was quickly met with a “DON’T!” True, some things we’ve done in pregnancy are lamentable (e.g. waiting until the third trimester to begin searching for daycare), but others are quite noteworthy, if I do say so myself. The continuation of our noisy lifestyle was a good call, especially since we couldn’t guarantee a quiet household post-partum. So, bark! Bark your fool canine heads off, all ye dogs!
Things that don’t wake Lucie:
– car alarms going off in the middle of the night for 14 minutes straight
– smoke alarm going off in two different rooms
– Harley Davidsons roaring down the street
– laying on one of the mamas, shaking up and down with laughter at a “Parks and Rec” episode
– airplane takeoff or landing
– rolling a stroller over light rail tracks at a running pace
– vacuum cleaner running five inches away
– barking dogs, humans telling the barking dogs to knock it off
Things that couldn’t possibly wake Lucie but do:
A covered, stifled sneeze. Seriously! This actually resulted in high pitched screaming to give Nancy Kerrigan a run for her money. Oh, the drama.