Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dirty Details of Motherhood

Today I'm on snot detail. I have an intimate relationship with the phrase "her nose is running like a drippy faucet" but to be more accurate it's not dripping so much as spurting, bubbling in bursts of sludgy goo. And of course when I go to wipe it up she gets even more upset and then out comes more snot- requiring more cleaning. I am a walking cliche. I have snotty tissues in ALL possible pockets- cardigan, front and back pant's pockets, I have streaks of yogurt on my sweater and usually it looks like a banana sneezed on my sleeve (yes it is banana in this case and not snot). Here it is - "motherhood". And those are just the physical surface details, the signs that I take care of a budding toddler all day long.  There is also the noise factor that is not translating here (you're welcome!)...

I once read that taking care of a toddler is like wearing a helmet made of screams. WORD UP.  I will add to that and say, there is no better sound than the silence that follows the screams and crying... when all is calm, the baby is happy (and better yet- asleep!). When you look around and just melt, exhale, and decompress from the torrent of noise that was just inhabiting your head, your core, your being. Sounds dramatic but it's true. It's designed this way, it's suppose to be so upsetting and rattling so you actually help the baby instead of run away. During these moments you wish you could open a door, a window and let the NOISE out of the room- to have it dissipate like smoke from burnt toast... but it's a helmet after all and not as easy to get rid of. Are my ears bleeding? really, are you sure, because they should be bleeding!

The past couple of weeks the baby has been teething like crazy and has had a cold, our dog, Millie, has been having a bit of a hard time with the increased noise level around here. To be honest she's never really been the same since the "new dog" came to stay. This week we have found her cowering in the corner of the laundry room, practically hugging herself, rocking back and forth while muttering some mantra to comfort herself. And as much as I want to join her some days, I tried to be a bit more proactive to help comfort our "first child". I did a little googling and found some stupid ideas to help your dog adjust, and then others that gave me pause.

Por ejemplo: The idea to play a tape of a baby crying for your dog  to help them adjust to these sounds before the baby is born.  It's sort of cruel, like boot camp- breaking your dog down inch by inch so they can with stand the new noise level.  And then my mind pondered the idea of a parent boot camp... what would that look like (parents having babies thrown at them during an obstacle course?) and would it even work? There is nothing like the real thing- i.e. a real baby... and taking care of a newborn is a hellavuh lot different than a 13 month old.  At the beginning you are pretty much thrown into it- you have to adjust in record time to less sleep, etc but honestly for the most part a newborn sleeps A LOT, and then when they are awake they are more or less pleasant. They aren't unrolling the toilet paper, playing with the trash can, throwing food on the floor, you don't have to wrestle a newborn during diaper changes and to put on one single sock... Yes you have 13 months to build up the various layers of your parenthood callus so you can handle a toddler.  It's still not easy, but your bond is strong like bull, allowing you to manage and navigate the road blocks a little easier.

But if motherhood has taught me anything (besides love, patience, and gratitude, blah blah blah) it's that we should get back to the commune/ it takes a village- way of life. The days I have a "playdate" are often the best medicine for a fussy, teething baby. Their is often a change of scene and playing with another little one really helps their mental state, because let's face it they get bored of us too... so whose with me!? Who wants to buy a chunk of land, live in a yurt and raise our babies together in one big pile of banana sneezes? It could be Fuuuuu-uuun!?


Prudence said...

Totally agree with the commune.

Katy said...

This is an awesome post. I can totally picture everything you talk about because you use such crazy descriptive words. It does seem like maybe a toddler needs a team of handlers.


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