I took a quick glance around the room before I left the house this morning, and I think the knee-high loads of laundry and scattered toys are more than a metaphor – somehow over the last 8 months I have settled into this new role of motherhood, and it’s finally beginning to feel like it’s “really” here.
After a season of euphoria and “I can’t believe we can take her home” followed by a trance of continuous sleep-walking and hormonal imbalance, I’m inching my way into the steps of becoming a certified, first-child-survival mother. It feels… unexpectedly comfortable. Predictably unpredictable. A bit hectic. And slightly sticky with rice cracker and spilled milk. But oh so good.
Each new thought and experience brings me past a milestone, and I check them off the list, folding them and carefully stacking them into my Mary Poppins’ Bag of Childrearing, helping me into the next stage.
Because I now understand that the laundry machine is the most useful item in the house. Not only does it work on a near-daily basis to clean the copious amounts of clothing covered in rice cracker, banana, and number twos, but it provides visual entertainment for up to 15 minutes (!?), whirling ‘round and ‘round and ‘round…
I can no longer tell the difference between a diaper bag and a purse. Are they not the same thing? Don’t they both carry wipes that clean up anything? Does either count as a carry on..?
Suddenly it became apparent to me that all the downtown shopping boutiques either have a set of giant steps, or an extremely narrow door-way. Either way, both stroller and I are not getting through… so it’s off to Wal-Mart we go.
My friend aptly calls them “Sanity Drives”, and I’ve seen more of the countryside in the last few months than the previous year and a half, thanks to my blue-eyed, pint-sized babe in the back seat.
I have stood awkwardly outside of a store and wondered, rather stupidly, how on earth I was supposed to shop with both a car seat and a cart… and proceeded to look ridiculous while stacking my baby with bananas, bread, and proteins. (“Don’t mind the wet wrapper, my little girl was getting hungry…”)
I’ve been in line at the grocery store, only to pull out wipes, a soother, and a teething toy in search for my keys and a credit card. But of course, my baby has the keys, and I dropped my phone/wallet down the last aisle before the checkout.
I now do nearly all of my shopping online. Because… hello, Easy. Cart and credit card problems solved.
Most of my newest relationships can talk shop about diaper sales, teething and feeding methods. “WHERE did you get that bib? I need to find one like that!” “Did you see that such and such a store is selling diapers, for 2 for 1?”
I’ve come to realize that “play dates” have nothing to do with the socialization of your kids, and everything to do with the existence of your sanity. It can hardly be called a conversation when you are bouncing your little one in the kitchen over a cup of coffee, while a toddler tries to show you her giant bear collection – but it’s a moment to look forward to each week nonetheless.
It seems that I am completely caught in the vortex of time where the months race by and the nights last foooooooorever. It’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 8 Months, and suddenly Where Did the Summer Go? But the last time I checked it was only 6 AM, the baby woke at 3, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
Watching Daddy come home through the front door is officially the most wonderful time of the day… while simultaneously the worst condensed version of Life with MakeSupperFeedBabyEatSupperBathBottleBedBreathe in 2 hours or less.
Everywhere I go, there’s another sign that this is My Life, that this is Real, that We Are Doing This – we are raising a tiny human, and we are keeping her alive!?!
It’s happening all so fast, but it’s finally sinking in.
What a Life. What a Mess. What a Blessing.