When people would say “I’m praying for you”, I would think “Well, its not working.” I was praying that H would get better. And he wasn’t. But since August, I have been asking for different things – strength, patience, peace, comfort for my baby, wisdom for the doctors. Ever since I changed my prayers my whole self has changed. I feel much more peaceful, thankful, calm, and capable.
I recently read a great book by Anne Lamont called Operating Instructions. She tells the story of a family whose daughter has sbina bifada. They were being interviewed for 60 minutes because each year they went to Lourdes in order to pray at the shrine there. The reporter apparently was quite belittling towards the family and asked repeatedly what they were praying for. Finally, he asked the mother why she kept coming back, year after year, to pray for a miracle. The woman looked at her daughter and replied, “You don’t get it — we got our miracle.”
I hope I never loose sight of what a miracle H is. He is perfect. Yes, his joints swell. Yes, he has been through more than any 9 month old should ever go through. Yet somehow he still smiles, laughs, plays and does everything a baby should do. He is the bravest little baby I know. And I wouldn’t want him any other way.
So H and I signed up for our first class together. A swimming class at our local gym for babies. It was as if we were meant to take the class — it was in the afternoon on a Friday — perfect timing for a working mama. The day of our first class arrives. I am anxiously rushing around the house making sure we have everything we need.
First item – swimsuit for mom: Usually this wouldn’t be a problem however it is the end of February, I am pale as a ghost and my fantasized daily trips to the gym have turned into the reality of a biweekly run – so I am not quite in swimsuit shape. However, I do manage to rustle up a one piece which is only slightly too big having been stretched out when I wore it to the beach the summer I was pregnant with H – it will work. Then the thought pops into my head – don’t forget the swimmy diapers.
Second – change of clothes for both of us: easy for H; there is already one in the diaper bag. I am quite proud of myself when I realize I will only need undies — wet bathing suit can be wrapped up in a towel. Well done mama. Oooo – don’t forget swimmy diapers.
Third – snacks and milk: Just in case. Oh gosh – don’t forget the simmy diapers.
Fourth – Towels: H has a nice monogramed one that we got as a gift – I take a bath towel. Note to self – get beach towels before summer starts.
Swimmy diapers in bag. Check. We are ready. Let the adventure begin.
We arrive at the gym with plenty of time to spare. I am feeling quiet accomplished as we walk into the family changing room. I get H undressed and am making note of what a good little munchkin he is being as I slip on his swimmy diapers. Perfect. Now time for the adorable swim trunks I got him with the little lobsters on them. The blue ones. That must be buried at the bottom of the diaper bag. Oh no. The bag is emptied on the changing room floor. No trunks. Darn.
H and I enjoy our first swim class. Me in my just about too big swim suit. H in his diaper. Me laughing each time I lift him out of the water. Perfection.
While I was on maternity leave, every Friday was “Nanna Day”. My mom was able to come and spend time with Baby H and I. It quickly turned into one of our favorite days of the week. We all loved it. H loved it because he loves his Nanna. I loved it because it meant a day free from worry and anxiety — everything was much less scary when my mom was there. Hubs loved it because he came back from work to a wife who was not completely exhausted and might possibly even be called refreshed.
Since returning to work, Nanna Day has continued; only now H and Nanna spend the day together while I go to work. It is at times excruciating to be at work and know that H and my mom are at my house without me. However, it remains a favorite day of the week in our house. We don’t have to worry about getting H to day care, we know he will get his naps (in his own bed!), and we know he is getting the same TLC we would be giving him ourselves if we could be home with him.
On some of these special days my mom brings visitors along – my sisters and aunt are the usual suspects. Yesterday, my aunt (or Tia F as H is going to call her) came for the day. She and my mom were truly ruthless – they cleaned the entire house, did all the laundry (including the duvet cover!) and did all the dishes. It was amazing. One of the best parts was this morning, as H was napping, I was able to take a shower, have a second cup of coffee, read my book and write this journal without worrying that I should be cleaning, vacuuming, doing laundry, or the dishes. What a gift!
We came back from a few days at my Mom and Dad’s today. Heaven. I feel so much more confident when I am there. I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps being in the house where I grew up. Having my Mom there to help, laugh with, chat with, and adore my little boy with. I always leave feeling refreshed.
I feel like I can do it all. I can clean the house. Clean the baby. Clean myself. Get the dog exercise. Get myself exercise. Feed the baby. Feed myself. Cook a delicious dinner to feed the hubs. Clean the dishes of said delicious meal. Get the baby to nap in his bed. Get myself a nap in my bed. And I can do all of this with clothes that are not sweats on, my hair perfectly coifed, and a smile on my face.
Somehow my reality never quite turns out that way. At the end of the day I find myself with a knotty mess on the top of my head, wearing clothes that smell of sour milk, eating a bowl of cereal for dinner, and ready to collapse into bed. BUT I do have a full, (mostly) clean, (usually) sleeping baby in the bedroom. An unconditionally lovable 80 pound labrador in my lap. And an equally tired, incredibly supportive hubby on the couch.
At our two month appointment the doctor told me that Baby H was beginning to develop a flat spot on the right side of his head. A what? I had never heard of this – perhaps evidence of my lack of baby preparation (can you ever really be prepared?). She told me all I had to do was make sure he slept with his head facing the other way and to have him spend lots of time on his tummy.
No problem. Got it. I can do this.
Problem #1. Baby H does not like tummy time. He has progressively gotten better but usually can’t last for more than 5 minutes at a time. He is happiest, for the longest amount of time, while awake, on his back. Awesome.
Problem #2. Keeping Baby H’s head on the correct side involves moving his head once he has fallen asleep.
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
Anyone who has lovingly rocked their baby to sleep for goodness knows how long, knows that the absolutely LAST thing you want to do once that baby is peacefully asleep in his bed is touch him. Especially when it involves holding his head firmly in your hands and turning it so he is facing the other way.
So far I have been lucky that he rarely wakes up when moved. But I hold my breath every time.
During my maternity leave, Baby H and I have had the luxury of visiting my parents a few times. We go during the week while hubs is working – it gives him a full nights sleep and me some guaranteed naps. Plus, there are few things I love more than relaxing with my momma – maybe only spending time with my new little family.
This visit, Baby H had his first true laugh with his Nanna. He was laying on his back on the changing table and made a coughing sound. Mom laughed and then did the sound back to him. His grin stretched from ear to ear and he let out a giggle. This went on for some time – back and forth, back and forth. It was incredible to see him joking around with my mom. But then I wondered why he hadn’t done this with me. Was I not fun enough? Could he tell that I was constantly worrying about him? Could he tell I was almost too exhausted to laugh most of the time?
I don’t think I have an answer. For now I am letting go of those questions and am enjoying the sound of his laughter. I am still the one who can calm his cries the fastest; the one who he turns his head to find the most often; and the one he smiles at all day long.