Friday, January 29, 2010

Year One

I tell friends who are big and pregnant for the first time, things like, "You're gonna be great!" and "It's awesome!"

What I really think is, "Oh shit, I do not envy you."

A year ago last week, I went into labor with the G. T and I walked into the hospital calm, smiling and holding hands. We walked out three days later exhausted, clueless and totally annoyed that we could not figure out how the damn straps on the car seat worked. (My brother actually had to drive to the hospital to help us.)

G floored us.

The lady popped onto the planet all crinkly and red and weird looking. I was embarrassed of her nose. There was something weird about it and I wondered if everyone else thought the same. T left my side immediately to be with her and I felt replaced. I wasn't all aglow and in love with her. I was hormonal and trying desperately to figure out this weird, new planet on which I had suddenly found myself. And G was literally sucking the life out of me: The hungry girl was nursing every two hours! grappling for my boob like some sort of blind rodent. I would look out the window into the alley at midnight, at 2 am, 4 am, 6 am...and I'd wonder how the heck I was gonna do this.

Our favorite survival story comes at the end of a G screaming day-into-night marathon. We were so fed up and exhausted and at our wits' end that we threw on some jeans, threw G in the stroller and walked to the bar for a much needed beer. G stopped crying. And we stopped being totally annoyed. T's advice to anyone now with a colic baby is simply, "Keep a six pack in the frig."

"Why do people do this?" We'd say to each other. "And on purpose! And more than once!"

G turned one this weekend. The year has felt like both the fastest and the slowest year of my life. She has opened up my heart. She has demanded the best of me. She has seen the worst of me. She has made me a better person. She has exhausted me and challenged me. It's been tough, but I sort of wouldn't want it any other way. After all, anything truly worth doing requires real effort, determination and strength. I am proud of our battle scars.

Today G sleeps a bit more. We understand the workings of a car seat. And T and I both think our smart, strong, highly vocal lady is the coolest thing on the planet. Even better, (and thankfully!) we're pretty sure she likes us too.

Happy one year my crazy lady!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cookies for Breakfast

We went to our second music class the other day. G likes the percussion instruments, but she seems sort of freaked out by all the weird high pitched "Weeeeeeeee!" and "Boink!" sounds the teacher makes. It is pretty strange the way adults behave with kids, so free and uninhibited in ways that they never would be in real life. I wonder when it is we start teaching kids the opposite, when we teach them control! and discipline! and inhibition! No wonder life is so confusing. We learn one thing and then we learn the exact opposite.

I dunno what sort of disciplinarian I will be, and I wonder if I should have that figured out at this point. I did give G cookies for breakfast this morning and I know that can't be good. (There is a mama-police angel that sits on my right shoulder that quietly scolds me for such things.) But it did get G to stop crying and the cookies did have oatmeal in them. And they were homemade! No preservatives!

Waiting in the airport this weekend, G and I watched as one mother over and over again told her kid to stop sitting on the floor. G and I were both sitting on the floor, eating M&Ms. I am sure that mom and I were totally judging each other.

G and I have had many battles at this point in our relationship; battles of sleep, battles of moods, but yesterday we may have had our first Mom-Daughter battle. I tried to get her to understand, "no" to biting me. I pulled her away and stood her on the floor and shook my head, firmly reciting, "no, no, no." She turned her back to me, walked to the door, looked over her shoulder with those deep, dark eyes and shook her head. The woman, I am quite certain, was mocking me.

There is always so much discussion and strong opinions about who is harder to raise: girls or boys. Many women seem to favor sons over daughters, including my chick cousins. This has always disturbed me a bit since 1. I am a girl and 2. not liking girls just because they are girls seems totally backwards to me. It's sort of like not rooting for your own team. My own Mom, I think, has always valued her strong friendships with women, so it wasn't until later that I realized how hard women can be on other women. Some women look at me and seem to totally hate me when I am running down the street with G, for no reason, other than, I guess, cause I am a fit chick.

I think the G has already learned how far a smile will get her. It's almost a game with her to try to get strangers to look at her. She has no concept of who she is smiling at on the street: black, white, short, tall, rich, poor, man, woman. She is not competing with anyone or judging anyone. She has no concept of any of that. All she wants is a smile back.

However I discipline G in the future (or whatever I let her eat for breakfast) I hope that I can keep that kind of openness to other people, (and to other girls) alive in her. The world could learn a lot from ma G.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scream Town

If I thought at this point I would be a totally together mama, I also thought at this point G would be a totally together kid. Another day, another scream-fest.

G and I have yet to master nap-time. It's like this elusive plane that I know many kids go to and G gets there every now and then, but she doesn't stay for too long and she'll never get there without first a nice, long visit to Scream Town. That's where we are right now: In Scream Town. It's loud. It's wet with tears, fraught with boogers, and chuck-full of some good mama guilt.

I have written about the loss of innocence, the loss of time, the loss of a your old life, but how about the loss of sleep? T and I used to scoff at parents who noted their exhaustion. "Ok, right, we'll be tired. We get it," we would say.

A couple nights ago, G screamed on and off again from 2 am-6 am. Sounds like an exaggeration, right? It should be. It sounds crazy. Well, it was. Recalling the number of eff bombs I dropped in those wee hours, I realize that G's screaming is no exaggeration. It was like some sort of circuit training or track workout. G would scream for about 20 minutes, then go to sleep, then wake up, remember that she was pissed and then scream again. 20 on. 20 off. This went on all morning. It was incredible and impressive. And I couldn't say eff enough.

I wonder if the mom-police would get on me for G's screaming. (Although, from my experience with the mom-police, it seems as if the women on the force are not moms at all, really. I will admit, however, that taking G running in the rain was a bad call and the non-mom-police should have glared at me for that one. Lesson # 2356 learned.)

I digress. We are here in Scream Town again today. I feel my blood pressure ascending.

Shoot. My grl can scream. Really, there is nothing like it. T records it and then makes his high school class listen to it as a way to promote safe sex. We call her full blown, there is a poltergeist in my room scream, a 10. Anything below that is really fine, mostly because we know how bad a 10 is.

G started her lung work outs at just a couple days old. "Well, at least she will tire herself out so she'll sleep tonight," we would say. Ah, what naive parents we were. Lady G has the stamina of Barack Obama on the campaign trail. She can just keep going and going and going.

Which is why here I am still in Scream Town. And here again, wondering about my momhood ability. Yesterday while G screamed (at only about a 6 on the scream scale) as I tried to get her bundled up and out the door for a walk, I looked at her and said, "G, I am not sure I am cut out for this mom thing." But then, I finally got her out the door and moving down the street and she chilled out. She took a nap. I got a run in. And G was ma beautiful lady.

I just went in to G's room, picked her up, rocked her to sleep and successfully put her in her crib. We have made it again, at least for the time being, out of Scream Town.

And I just spoke too soon. eff.