Out & About Without the Baby

with baby

When you’re out and about WITH the baby, strangers smile at you. Or, rather, they smile at your baby, and you smile back because otherwise it’s just kind of awkward. It’s not like the baby regularly smiles back. Plus, even if you look like hell, you’ve got a twenty-pound excuse on your hip or in your shopping cart, and it’s an automatic pardon for wearing a sweatshirt with snot tracks all over it.

without baby

But when you’re out and about WITHOUT the baby, people ignore you. You’re ready to smile & answer questions about how old he is, or whether he’s talking/walking/doing magic tricks yet, because you’re accustomed to interacting with people in the grocery store or Target or the library or…okay, those are the only three places you go. But nobody looks back at you. You’re in an invisibility bubble. Because honestly, what’s interesting about a frumpy, slightly overweight woman who looks too tired to give a damn?

Friday Five, the Whatever Edition

1. I have read oodles of good books lately, some of which were described in my last post. And there are more on the horizon! If I ever am not holding a book, little Maverick probably won’t recognize me.

2. “Little” Maverick is growing up! He’s got three little teeth nubs (very sharp), he’s crawling like a big boy (i.e. not “commando” style anymore), and he’s pulling himself to stand up against pretty much everything: me, the coffee table, his sister, our cat, the sliding glass door, his crib, the toilet…. I look at him and I look at Z, and I can’t believe he’s going to grow up, that I’m not going to be able to control him pick him up and cuddle him whenever I feel like it.

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And Maverick makes me giggle with the tried and true “pull all the toilet paper from the roll and bunch it on the floor” move.

3. Inspired by friend/fellow writer/health coach Jamie Weil, I made a vision board! Now, vision boards fall under the heading of “really cool creative things I could do to put off writing.” (Keeping vision boards company are things like character collages and detailed maps of fictional settings. And blog posts (see #5, below)). But I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with everything going on, and I have all these goals. So I got out some boxes of craft supplies and went to work. I’ve got family, healthy lifestyle (eating and exercising), and writing on there. There is no chocolate cake, because, unfortunately, chocolate cake does not support my goal of choosing foods that make me feel good in the long run.

4. Going along with the vision board & healthy eating, I made it through 21 days in a row of eating vegetables at lunch and dinner! And even though I accomplished my goal of 21 days, the habit carried through, and I ate vegetables with both of those meals yesterday. It feels great to succeed at something.

From habitforge.com

From habitforge.com

5. Despite that success, I’ve been feeling like I put the “suc” in success these days. Everywhere I go on the webternetz, I’m feeling insecure and like I have nothing good to add to conversations, and I’m really seriously considering giving up this blog because I haven’t been enjoying it. I love you all, I truly do. It’s just an added pressure lately, to come up with something to say that I don’t wholeheartedly hate. (And doesn’t sound like whining. Like this. See?!) This means it’s time for another Internet Blackout! The rules: I get 30 minutes per day to check email over the course of the next two weeks. No blogs, no Twitter, no Facebook. It’ll be tough but I think I’ll be mentally healthier for it. And my house might be cleaner, too. The Internet Blackout will commence tomorrow, and I’ll be back (maybe!) on Friday, February 22nd.

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Fortune Cookie, 3:40 a.m.

As many people in my online writing circles already know, I gave birth to Maverick (that’s his code name, not his real name) early Thursday morning. My water broke a little after midnight, and four hours later I had a new baby! (Like it’s that easy. And didn’t involve lots of shouting and disillusionment and internal requests for a cesarean section and/or lots of drugs. But I didn’t say those out loud. Mostly I said, “Get it OUT!” and “I’m never doing this again!”) (God bless patient nurses.) (Who are probably investing in ear plugs, if they haven’t already lost their hearing.)

Z is doing great with Maverick, she just LOVES him, wants to pet and kiss him all the time. And poke his little eyes – I don’t know what that’s about. (Actually, I have a few guesses. It’s hard sharing Mommy and Daddy.)

For some reason, his cry doesn’t bother me as much as Z’s did. Maybe because it’s a different pitch (he sounds like a baby pterodactyl, or, as Homes said, a Swainson’s Hawk). Or because his scrunchy little face looks so funny when he does it. I feel kinda bad, because sometimes I laugh when he cries.

He’s still learning the difference between nocturnal beings (creatures that are awake at night, i.e. NOT US) and diurnal beings (creatures that are awake in the day and sleep at night, i.e. US), so I’ve been awake a lot at night. Once, on a trip through the kitchen for ibuprofin, I spotted a bag of fortune cookies. And thought. 3:40 a.m. Not a bad time for a fortune cookie. I wish I could say the fortune was something illuminating and dreamy and perfect for my situation, but I think it was actually about riches coming my way next month.

And that’s okay. Because not everything is illuminating, or dreamy, or perfect. Sometimes things scream, and don’t sleep when (or where) they’re supposed to. We love them anyway.

Friday Four – Ghost Blog Edition

1. This has become a ghost blog. Or it’s felt like that the past week, anyway. I didn’t consciously set out to ignore the internet and get so behind on everything, but it happened. I’m getting a little burnt out, I think (obviously: I’m too lazy to do a full Friday Five, so I’m abbreviating it to Friday Four). Not to mention, as soon as I sit down to do anything, I feel an overwhelming urge to take a nap.

2. That said, posts will probably be a little random (or not at all) over the next couple of months. You know, because of the BABY. He’s not out yet, but there isn’t much room left for him to grow in there. My skin is stretched to the breaking point, belly button is in a freakish flat-nearly-an-outtie stage. Maverick’s head is down, locked & loaded, ready to go. With so little time left, I want to focus on the more important things, like visiting with friends and family, reading lots of stories to Z, and revising my manuscript for the eleventeen-hundredth time. Oh, and napping.

3. The show “Hoarders” is really effing with my nesting instincts. I don’t usually watch reality television of any kind, but for some reason I find myself repeatedly sucked in by “Hoarders,” often when Homes isn’t around to make snarky comments about my viewing habits. It’s really hard to want to collect things for Maverick, and revel in the onesies I so cleverly/tightfistedly/hoardingly saved from when Z was a baby, when I see mentally ill people making similar decisions about tax books from 1998 and bags full of unworn clothing and five-year-old containers of yogurt. I’m compensating by throwing out old magazines, but I usually flip through them first, which puts me into another, yes, NAP.

4. Maggie tagged me with this Lucky 7 Meme, and it sounded like fun.

Open your novel-in-progress and do the following:

  • Go to page 77.
  • Go to line 7.
  • Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs as they are written.
  • Tag 7 new authors. [I’m not doing this step, because I’m a (lazy) jerk. But if you’re a writer, feel free to  post your lines in the comments below. Or if you prefer, put them in a blog post of your own and link to it in the comments.]

Here are some lines from my newest work-in-progress:

After we find my van and Kyle finds my keys in my purse and gets me settled in the passenger’s seat, I chatter to him the whole way to my house. I have no idea what I’m talking about, but he’s a really good listener.

“Is your mom or dad home?” he asks.

“Yeah, my mom.”

“Will she be mad that you’re sloshed?”

“Nope.” [In the interest of parallelism, I very much wish this excerpt ended in the word Nap. “Nope” is close, but not quite it, so I will just have to cheat.] Nap.

Dear Pre-Mommy Me…

There’s a fun blogsite called Dear Teen Me, where authors write letters to their teen selves. Perhaps there is another site for people writing to themselves before they were parents, but I haven’t come across one yet.

Guess we’ll just have to fill that niche, now, won’t we?

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Letter to my Pre-Baby Self

Dear Pre-Mommy Me,

Being a parent is hard.

Wait. Stop. Read that first sentence again, because I don’t think you’re actually getting it. Being a parent is HARD.

You still don’t get it. Really, there’s no way you can. Maybe if you did a ride-along with another new mom, sleeping in her bed (or, rather, NOT sleeping), following her into the bathroom for the showers she can’t take in peace, experiencing the excruciating pain that is a poorly-latched breastfeeding session, and then the crazy-making times of being so super-in-love with this baby and also having to remember to keep your cool and NOT SHAKE THE BABY who will NOT stop crying and now you can’t stop crying and why couldn’t you just have been happy with your husband and a cat? Maybe then, you might get it.

You’ll want to scream shut up at every person who tells you, nodding wisely and nostalgically, that “it goes by so fast,” because it doesn’t feel that way when it’s actually going by.

And free time? You’re gonna have to fight for it. Nobody’s going to wave the magic Free Time Wand and hand it to you. Don’t forget to ask. Don’t forget to tell people what you need (because twelve months is an awfully long time to take to learn that lesson).

You will come to depend on your family and friends in ways that are thoroughly humbling and teach you the meanings of grace and compassion. Remember to thank them often [Dear Me-of-the-right now: thank those folks!].

Babies aren’t for everyone, but babe, once you have one, you’ll know there’s no going back, and even if you could, you wouldn’t.

With love, pity, and a surplus of picture books,

In-love-with-my-beautiful-family Me

PS: Your body will never look the same. Do us all a favor and get over it.

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Invitation

Annnnnd…because I’m going to have my hands full with a new baby in a few weeks, I’d like to invite other parents and aunties and uncles and friends who would like to share their own letters to themselves before their lives were taken over by kidlets. Your letters can help me out while I’m busy on the babywagon. If you’re interested, send me an email or use the contact page above.