Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baby therapy

I was angry for all the usual reasons this morning. Because it was 8:30 and I still was wearing my nightgown and smeared eye make-up. Because I hadn't had a chance to shower. Because I had spent the previous two hours fixing dinner and baby food and pie crust for later in the week. Because I was doing all this with The Lad. Because the husband had been out for what seemed like a ridiculously long run, as usual. Because when he came back he didn't immediately take The Lad off my hands. Because dust coated the furniture, fingerprints marked the windows and cabinet doors and spaghetti sauce splattered the kitchen floor. Because I had started a dozen chores and finished less than half. Because The Lad needed to sleep and I knew I was going to have to stop what I was doing, again, and put him down. Because the sweaty husband still was stretching from his run.

So, I snatched up the fussing Lad from his seat in the jogging stroller and muttered a sarcastic, martyred comment in the direction of the husband. Rough and hurried, I changed The Lad's diaper. I plopped into the rocker and pumped the chair hard as I nursed him, my mind running through all the things I still had to do before a mid-morning playdate. I felt pinned to the chair. When The Lad came up for air, I assumed he was done, glad to be free, only to have him fuss and wriggle because I had rushed him. Resentfully, I put him back to the boob. Singing softly to The Lad as he, finally finished, drifted into sleep, a rush of love pushed my to-do list to the back of my mind. One last cuddle and I went to settle him into his crib -- where he instantly woke and pushed up off the mattress squawking.

Angry again, I grabbed him and flopped back down into the rocker, practically flinging the chair back and forth. I clutched The Lad, straining and struggling, against my chest. "It is nap time," I said in the steely, mean momma voice, and hearing myself, realized how ridiculous I sounded and how pointless it was to command a five-month-old.

I took a deep breath, as we're always telling The Boy to do when he's angry, and forced myself to relax into the curve of the rocker's back. The Lad settled against my chest and I let the weight of him sink into me. I rocked slowly and hummed, my lips against his soft forehead. Muscles I didn't even realize were tense -- forearms and shoulders and the slope of my neck -- relaxed. The Lad fell deeper into sleep, flopped onto my shoulder. I smelled his milky breath and saw the dark crescents of his eyelashes. How can I imprint this forever in my mind? I rocked slowly and watched The Lad and thought of my grandmother telling me after The Boy was born that she felt like she rocked her own babies so much she had rocked around the world and back.

But, she told me, you don't mind.


Amanda said...

thanks for posting this.

the robot goes for bike rides most mornings and during the week i don't mind but on the weekends when he doesn't return home until 9 or 10 and i'm just ready for a break - i find myself doing the same thing. last weekend he came home and was going out straight away to mow the lawn. my house looked like Iraq and i had to just stick my head out the garage door and say, "You know what? I need you in here to occupy Quinn while I get things done. When she naps, then you can go mow." I think it's just remembering to ask for those things when I need them and remembering that this time of crazy running around is only temporary (like 20 years temporary.) ;)

The Mama said...

This post is great. My own husband had to go work out this morning too and then go get a haircut. Sometimes it feels so nuts. I took our daughter to the store and I was feeling martyrish but when we got back we had a great time just being together and then I rocked her down for her nap. Babies are hard work but so amazing.

d e v a n said...

well said

Sarah said...

Ah, yes, nothing like WILLING the baby to sleep when you're feeling frustrated! Been there. Eli's come so far, but it is still right there in the back of my mind, the nights of frustration, rocking and rocking and ROCKING him. But now, two short years later, I'm always trying to get him to let me hold him!

Two Braids said...

This is why we "mommy blog" to share those insane moments that truly make us MOMS! It can be so frustrating but so rewarding through the frustrations. Well said. And way to learn through the difficult times.

Gerbicks said...

rocking around the world & back--so true! it seems every parent can relate to this post (well, not so much dad's as they don't have the boob in the mouth part down).