Both Sides, Now
March 21, 2006
I woke up at 5 am this morning in a dead panic about everything I had to accomplish at work today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the rest of the week stretched out ominously ahead of me with the ohgodohgod I'm so behind and so tired and I think that one guy has it in for me and is going to get me fired and I just want to go back to sleeeeeeep.
Jason got up at six to retrieve Noah and brought him back to our bed in a diaper and announced that he had to change all the crib bedding because Noah had pooped at some point in the night and the poop did not stay in the diaper and well, you know.
"Clean crib sheets in the top drawer," I mumbled as I tried to find the elusive baby-sitting-upright-against-a-pillow-while-I-remain-as-asleep- as-possible-on-the-same-pillow position so I could give Noah his bottle.
Jason gave me a Look. A Look beyond the obvious I know where the goddamn crib sheets are, woman, our child is almost half a year old. A look that said Crib sheets! Ha! If only it were that simple!
"Oh no," I said. "Not like, the bumpers and everything?"
Jason nodded grimly and sighed. "I miss swaddling. It kept things so...contained."
One of my biggest fears, pre-baby, was that I was going to regret having a child. That the never-ending cycle of thankless grudgery and no sleep and less money and BODILY FLUIDPALOOZA would wear me down and I'd look at my child's face and have one of Those Moments.
Like the moment I had when my mom told me they were putting their dog to sleep. And she sounded so sad and I looked at Ceiba and remembered how much my mom always liked her and thought, "Huh. Now THAT'S an interesting solution." And then my own jaw dropped open because holy hell, did I really just think that?
After feeding Noah, I burped him and placed him next to me in bed while I rubbed my temples and tried to ignore the minutes ticking away on the clock. If I had any chance of getting to work on time, I needed to get up. Immediately. Five minutes ago. Ten minutes ago.
Then Noah spotted Ceiba across the room and started laughing. He started dragging himself towards her -- this face-down belly scoot thing isn't new, but he's certainly mastered it -- and I pulled him back before he could topple off the bed. I held him over me and buried my face in the impossibly-soft skin of his belly.
This provoked another laugh, followed by a burp, followed by spit-up, all over the top of my head.
I silently handed Noah off to Jason, for whom I no longer had any poop-related sympathy for, and went off to shower.
I used to worry that pregnancy would destroy my body. That my belly button would never go back to normal and that I would get stretch marks and one of those kind of mushy rings of flab around my middle.
Check, check and double check. I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice or didn't care, but I think I'm getting better about not spending so much time obsessing over it. Probably because who the hell has time to obsess over a collapsed-in navel?
All my work clothes are in my dry-cleaning pile -- the pile I refuse to make any sort of dent in because that would require carrying a bag of dry cleaning out the front door with me and mess up the tentative equilibrium I've mastered (daycare bag on left shoulder, held in place by Noah's body weight balanced on my hip, purse on right shoulder, lunch in plastic grocery bag with handles threaded around purse handles, keys dangling from right index finger so as not to pinch Noah's soft thighs when right hand is used to secure him, brain trying to not think about the heady childless days when I had a free hand to carry fresh-brewed coffee to work, for Christ's sake).
I carefully lined up all the pieces to Noah's bottles on the kitchen counter and assembled each one. Bottle, flouride-fortified water, four scoops of formula, rubber thing attached to plastic tube, travel disc, nipple, ring, cap, shake shake shake. Repeat. Again.
Noah's toenails needed clipped. I still wasn't dressed. Ceiba peed on the rug and Max tipped over the garbage and was dragging a chicken bone around the living room.
Noah whined from his exersaucer, rubbing his face miserably. The new tooth caused his gums to swell back over it. His nose is running and the drool is out of control.
I was afraid of having a boy. I didn't know anything about little boys. I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy my baby as he got older and more independent. I was afraid I would just do everything wrong.
I walked over to him and he broke out into a beaming smile and raised his arms up and out to me.
This weekend Jason, completely out of the blue, mentioned that he was thinking that he might want another baby. That he could see us having another baby. A girl, even. And maybe soon.
Yeah. Noah's that great. He's that worth it.
I would do it all over again in a minute. My God, in a second.