Doing It Our Way
One of the best things about finally having your own kid is you can parent him any way you want to. For some, that means feeding Junior a sugar-free diet, or not allowing him to watch t.v. until he's fifteen, or loading him up with household responsibilities as soon as he's able to satisfactorily jostle a cocktail shaker. For us, it means we can put silly things on our child's head, sing him demented lullabies, lick his fat fingers, monch his fat feet, and use his face as an easel.
Oh, COME ON. He likes it.
My souffle has fallen!
As predicted, Tuesday was a classic Day Four. I woke up exhausted and was a grouchy, crabby grumblepuss for the majority of what followed. The obvious solution would have been to get back in bed, sleep for a bit, and then try it all again from the beginning, but it's never that easy, is it, especially when you're supposed to be all "grown up" and "responsible" and "conscious" and stuff. On top of that, the baby was being particularly boisterous (read: fussy and LOUD) and I was feeling physically ick as well (I suspect from a combination of too much tea (decaf, what up?) and too much 30 Day Shred,) and try as I might I just couldn't shake the blahs. (Shaking the blahs is particularly hard when your deltoids are so sore you can barely lift a toothbrush.)
Simon doesn't work on Tuesdays, and he wanted to spend the afternoon exploring the new California Academy of Sciences, but I had to back out at the last minute after I came to the "grown up," "responsible," and "conscious" conclusion that if simply getting dressed was such a colossal struggle for me, we'd all be better off just staying home. So we stayed home and I grumbled and groused and then, when I was feeling marginally better, we went to Ikea and bought a rug and some toyboxes and an ice cream cone, the last of which made everything more bearable--especially me.
I know that lately I've sung the praises of getting out and being active with a baby in order for Mama to feel like a human instead of a milch cow, but sometimes a getaway is not what the doctor ordered. On Tuesday, for instance, there was so much chaos in the house and in my head that the only real way to be free of it was to take care of it, not escape it. I felt bad that it was Simon's day off and I wanted to spend it doing chores, but I felt less bad when I remembered that Simon has several days off each week and I would be a fool to feel obligated to spend each one of those in recreation. Just because he's off work doesn't mean there isn't still work to be done.
Part of my guilt, though, must come from my wanting to be as accommodating as possible to someone who is still disgustingly accommodating to me. I thought that with the end of pregnancy would come the end of the foot rubs and the prepared meals and the "no, honey, you can hold the remote"s, but here we are almost two months later and I'm still getting the royal treatment, mainly due to my non-negotiable role as Milk Lady. If baby ain't milked, ain't nobody happy, and so I find myself yet again glued to the couch with a baby squashing my midsection, just on the outside now.
(Last night I couldn't fathom feeding him AGAIN--the hospital lactation consultant called the cluster-feeding before going to sleep for the night "nursing the third breast," but with Womabt it's more like nursing the twelfth breast)--but the poor thing was crying and crying and crying, and Simon couldn't get him to go to sleep, and we were all going crazy, but I just couldn't feed him again (I was nursing (ha!) the early stages of a plugged milk duct--ouch!), so Simon did the only thing he could think of: he opened his wallet and offered me all his cash ($64) if I would just put the kid on the boob one more time. Desperate times, desperate measures.) (If I accepted the offer does it make me a whore or just smart?)
Anyway, it seems we're both feeling guilty about things. Simon likens his breastless helplessness to survivors' guilt; so in lieu of feeding the child, he feeds me (and gives me foot rubs, and lets me hold the remote, and lets me disappear into the computer for an hour). The problem is that then I feel guilty because he goes to work all day only to come home to wait on me and take over every baby chore he can. I was prepared for the newborn months to be physcially exhausting, but I guess I wasn't prepared for the mental challenge, all these little negotiations. Still, I can't complain that our post-baby relationship problems consist of us both feeling unable to help the other enough. Besides, this--and everything now--is just a phase. By the time we figure out how to balance his working life and my mat-leave life, it will be time for me to go back to the office and we'll have to start all over again. So it is and so it shall be forever and ever and ever and ever. Soon, though, we'll at least have a child who'll know what the heck he's supposed to do with a bottle full of milk. (Put it in your mouth and suck it and suck it.)
Lucky for us, we're not so wracked with guilt that we're paralyzed and miserable. We'll still get out, we'll still stay in, we'll still get things done on both lists: Need and Want. Guilt will not defeat us. Nor will it keep us from having fun.