There are a number of things I swore I would never do when I had a child. I most certainly would never, ever sniff my baby’s butt in public. I would never talk to my infant in an annoying, sing-songy voice, nor would I speak to him as if he were an adult. I’d see people at the grocery store with their barely conscious newborns asking, "What do you think, sweetums? The broccoli or the asparagus for dinner?" I longed to shake them and say, "Dude, it’s a BABY. He has no idea what you’re talking about. Nor has he mastered language, necessary to form a response. And he doesn’t even eat solid food yet!!"
Well, I don’t have to tell you what happened. I had a baby, and everything changed. Sure, it took me a while to warm up to talking to him in public. I felt like an idiot, worse than someone making an obnoxiously loud personal call on their cell phone on a crowded train. (Those people seem to lack self-awareness, and the “I sound like an idiot” gene.)
Now, I not only talk to Miles about things he can’t possibly understand, I also sing nursery rhymes loudly and poorly in public, make airplane noises when I’m feeding him, talk about myself in the third person (“Mommy said no eating dog food”), do that ridiculous counting thing (“Mommy’s going to count to 3…), and use embarrassing words like fussy, silly, potty, poopy, pee-pee and boo-boo. And I feel absolutely no qualms whatsoever about sniffing my son’s butt anytime, anywhere. What’s HAPPENED to me, people?!?!
I’ll tell you what’s happened: I’ve realized you’ve got to do what it takes to get stuff done. WHATEVER it takes. And there’s a reason why parents do all those silly and/or gross things I mentioned above: because they work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been locked in combat with my stubborn toddler, struggling to force him into his pajamas while he fights to escape to run naked around the room. Both of us sweaty, out of breath, and covered with diaper rash cream. There is seemingly no answer to this predicament, until … I collect myself and warble out the first few notes of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Suddenly, Miles turns into a different baby. His tiny voice joins with mine, his rigid body softens enough to allow me to insert him into his PJs, and both of our heartrates return to normal. It’s amazing, I tell you. Except for the times when he’s so grumpy he pushes me away and yells, “No song! No song, Mama!”
I have come to embrace doing whatever it takes to get the job done in other areas of my life, as well. I conducted a conference call from Panera the other day, my new home-away-from-home as long as our DSL’s down and Miles is at the sitter. It was loud -- the espresso machine hissed, business meetings (apparently between the hearing-impaired) were conducted at top volume around me, and the guy next to me nearly elbowed his latte into my laptop. And still, I persisted. I finished my call, got my work done, and consumed a pecan pastry or two in the process.
Now, all I have to do before we leave for a week’s vacation out west is: finish the laundry, pack for Miles, find the Pack ‘n’ Play sheet, find Miles’ missing stuffed doggy and backup blankie, locate his birth certificate, remind my husband to check in for our flight online, get my watch fixed, turn in an assignment, mail a birthday card, drop off the dog at the kennel, and consume large quantities of carbs and caffeine to deal with the stress of it all. Whatever it takes, right?
PICK O’ THE WEEK: If you haven’t heard, my new obsession is “Jon and Kate Plus 8” on TLC. Last night I watched the episode where they travel to Utah and their flight gets redirected and stuck on the runway for hours. If those parents can travel with twins and toddler sextuplets, by God I can do it with one kid!! That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway….
(BTW, who knew there was backlash about this show? Reading this, I have to wonder if the writer has ever been married or had children. I mean, what wife and mom DOESN’T berate their husband constantly?! j/k :) Love ya, C!