- Family and Parenting
Baby Mama Drama...for Grandmama?
Imagine waking up one morning and finding out you're a parent. I'm not talking about waking up with some guy whose last name you're not sure you got last night and knowing you're in prime time for ovulation and rushing down to the corner store for the morning after pill. I'm talking about waking up and you've got instant kid. Not even just a kid, but a BABY, an infant. This when your last child is 11 years old and you've pretty much folded up your baby tents for good.
Have you stopped screaming yet?
This is close to what happened to me a couple of months ago when I took custody of an eight month old baby. It's a very long story, but to make it short I have achieved what I never aspired to be or dreamed possible at this stage in my life...I'm a baby mama. Kind of an unofficial one, but a baby mama, nevertheless.
Good-bye Evening News...Hello Yo Gabba Gabba
Funny all the things you start to take for granted that you can do again once your child grows up and starts acting like some semblance of a human. Like sleeping, for instance. You never really truly appreciate the value of sleep till you don't get any. The baby has now had three ear infections in three months and has screamed his guts out several nights in a row, but can somehow manage to drop off to sleep in two seconds in the car. Sometimes. I would like to do the same, but this could be a bit problematic since I'm the one driving.
Other times in the car, he's throwing stuffed animals and pacifiers and bottles to the floor, all of which he instantly wants back and are completely out of my reach in the front seat. So then he screams. And we're in stop and go traffic, so my nerves are already shot anyway. I turn on the spa channel and all it does is make him scream louder and make me think of the yoga classes I'm not going to anymore since I'm now a baby mama. Sigh...
Sleeping After Becoming A Parent...Not!
Shockingly, my boss still expects me to go to work even after being up all night with a sick baby. Even if I weren't so tired, the bags under my eyes look like those suitcases you end up having to pay $50 in overweight fees for at the airport.
And of course, he has to eat. Since breast feeding is out of the question, (thank you God) I have to buy formula which costs approximately $500 a can. Not sure what's in that stuff but it must be gold fortified as well as iron fortified. Fortunately, we have now moved on to "table food" instead of that ridiculously priced baby food that looks more like something that some other baby already ate. I have to make sure that when I make supper for the rest of the family there is plenty that the baby is able to eat. You can imagine how well this goes over with the rest of the family when we are eating mashed potatoes and green beans for the fourth time this week and it's only Wednesday. And going out for a nice, relaxed dinner has gone out the window. Both times we have tried have been disastrous with him screaming and shrieking so loud I thought the other diners were going to take up a collection and pay us to leave.
Bath Time for Bonzo
It's bath time and he's managed to pee on me and the bathroom floor before I can get him in the tub. How could a person with so little skin have so many afflictions? Diaper rash, eczema, a staph infection, the list goes on and on...and so do the expensive medications.. Instead of having the baby with the petal pink skin, I have the baby with fish scales. "Here, bathe him in this," the pediatrician says. I do and he's covered in a bumpy rash the next day.
Registering His Disgust At The Whole Bathing Process
Eau De Poopy
One of those things like childbirth, your first marriage and taxes that you try to blot out of your mind, is baby poop. There is nothing cute or endearing about baby poop and anyone who tells you there is has to be a liar. This baby must poop at least five times a day. Evey time he's fed, it comes flying out like water from a fire hose. Evidently, there's nothing wrong with his digestive process. Invariably, he does it when I'm all dressed nicely for work and about to head out the door. So despite hand washing and an extra dose of perfume, the poop smell lingers in my nostrils. And of course I'm wondering if the looks I'm getting from customers and co-workers is because they like my outfit or because I have a big baby poop smear on my skirt.
Exhaustion Sets In
Finally, bedtime comes. At least it used to be my bedtime. Unfortunately, I can't go to sleep because the baby doesn't want to go to sleep. So we've worked out a routine. We have dinner and play for awhile. Then to the bath and pajamas. Then we say night-night to the other people in the house. We take his bottle and go downstairs to rock. And I'm so exhausted I'm afraid I will fall out of the rocker or go to sleep and drop him from my arms.
He has his paci in one hand . He takes his other warm little baby hand and wraps it around my finger. His eyes lock with mine. He sighs and his body relaxes as he eases off to baby la-la land. I find myself humming "Till There Was You" for a lullaby and he drifts off to sleep. And I sit in the dark, no longer exhausted, looking at his precious little face, his long eyelashes, his sweet little mouth, and tiny little nose.
And suddenly I am lost.
So maybe it's OK to be a baby mama. Maybe I'll live through this. And maybe I'll learn something about patience and selflessness and perseverance.
And possibly love.
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