Oscar Wilde said, to paraphrase: we recoil when we don’t like what we see in the mirror. “The rage of Caliban.” I’d argue, however, that some things become funnier, more precious and deeply touching when you have the insight of self-recognition.
I’m having revelations almost daily.
My new barometer of ‘clean’ relies on questions like, ‘well, how much pee was it?’ Just a little? Okay, then I’m not changing. I said this after realizing that my son had secretly peed a little on me as I was finishing his bare-bum tummy time, right after I’d changed two diapers. How dirty could my pant leg be? Urine is sterile, right?
I have mini arguments with my wife about how tired each of us is, and even though we are empathetic and understand each other’s different work stresses and day-to-day, I still have moments where I resent having to get up to breast feed – FOR AN HOUR three times a night – while she dozes, interrupted and fitful … or not.
I am watching the show “The Letdown” and am finding so much overlap with my real life. There is a scene where the frustrated parents are tearfully discussing the failed attempts to sleep train (ep. 2) when the husband declares, ‘If we’re being honest, she (the baby) is the one being a dickhead’. Which sends Mom into a weepy ‘Don’t call her a dickhead!…’
This is echoes of last night in our own bed: we know we have a sweet, content little guy… for the most part. Yet, there are these intense minutes, sometimes hours, when bouncing on an exercise ball, or after singing, rocking, walking, shusshing, swaying, reading, and everything you’ve tried still results in a not-asleep, possibly just squeaky, but maybe also crying-intermittently baby. Allia said, “I love him so much, when he’s not being a shithead.”
And he is SO cute. I can’t get enough of his faces; his squirmy waking up body movements; the voracious way he attacks my boobs, like he is a Walking Dead zombie, blindly lashing out with his jaw flapping, or like an old school Nosferatu, creepily drumming his long fingers on my ribs and breast while he sucks deeply, or other times… it’s like he is making a Zoolander model face, trying to seduce the nipple. Sometimes it’s lip-smacky and funny, others he seems milk drunk and fumbly. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of him, even if sometimes I don’t want to be stuck with a tiny person on my person.
We took him to get his passport photo yesterday. He looked like a baby-burrito, wrapped in a swaddle to obscure my hands that held him. The guidelines are semi-ridiculous; they prefer that babies are ‘square to the camera, ears visible, no shadows, white background, eyes open, neutral expression. *although some variations of expression are permissible for newborns. Oh yeah, and the person holding him can’t be visible.
The whole thing was comical – holding him aloft as the photographer tried to catch him in frame with ALL of these requirements being met simultaneously.
Also, the new daily gong show is all about avoiding poop explosions (blowouts, or whatever you’d like to call them) and pee pee surprises that prevent you from getting anywhere on time. I sometimes think I’m running on schedule but then I’m hijacked by a sudden need to feed, again, or a wet diaper even though just changed it. Or I suddenly feel that my foot is wet and wonder how on earth he managed to pee without me seeing it, or that maybe I’ll be able to eat this toast with one hand while I hold him on my breast with the other hand and my elbow. Not.
I’ve peed with him attached to the boob. I’ve bounced him with my foot while unloading the dishwasher in a routine that would impress Cirque du Soleil. I have sung hours of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Christmas carols, which (it turns out) are the songs I know all the words to.
In other words, I am killing it. We have kept our sense of humour about all of it and I honestly have doubts at times that this new normal is going to be something I can handle… but then I have some small success, or look at his face, and feel better about whatever doubts I’ve been having.
Cheers to breast feeding in parking lots, eating with the same hand I changed a pee pee diaper with, not washing my hair for six days … and cheersing with cold coffee.