Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today my firstborn child turns 11. I don't know how to articulate how his entrance into this world affected me. I always wanted to be a Mom, but I never could have foreseen what an incredible journey Motherhood would be. And during the sleepless nights, the colic, and the somewhat irrational fear of SIDS, I would never have guessed that the baby stuff was the easy part.

He was born at 35 weeks. They prepared me for the worst, but he was born strong and healthy, breathing on his own, and able to latch on with no problems. He weighed 5 lbs., 14 oz. and was 21 inches long. For a 35 weeker, he was pretty big, and all the doctors and nurses exclaimed over his size. He was my baby and I loved him, but to me he looked a little like a plucked chicken. His arms and legs were impossibly skinny, and since he hadn't had the opportunity to put down a healthy layer of fat in utero, his skin kind of bagged and wrinkled like too big pantyhose. Since I labored for 24 hours, his poor little head had been molded into a bullet shaped mound covered in soft, dark hair. The hospital issue knit cap would not stay upon his poor misshapen skull, though I tried repeatedly to stretch it down over his pointed pate. It would simply shoot off and sail accross the room; a powder blue projectile that did little damage, but caused lots of snickers among the hospital staff.

After a couple weeks of breastfeeding, he prettied up, and I marvelled at how rounded and rosy his cheeks had become, and how his little knees dimpled. I was inordinantly proud of the fact that MY breastmilk had wrought the change in him. At his two weeks checkup, he had gained a full three pounds, which the pediatrician was very pleased with. Because of his prematurity, I had been given strict instruction to nurse him every two hours without fail, even if I had to wake him to do so. I took this very seriously and so, for two weeks, I did not sleep more than two hours at a time. So I couldn't help but feel as if I had passed some kind of test, and I beamed with ill-concealed pride when the Pediatrician complimented me on a job well done. It was then that I started to believe I could in fact, adequately care for my new baby, and that maybe it hadn't been a grievous mistake to allow me to leave the hospital with him.

He was a good baby for a first time Mom. He nursed well, he slept well, he met all his milestones early or right on schedule. He was a happy baby. Still, I had all the worries that first time Moms do. My most overwhelming concern was his tendency to go for long periods of time without pooping. Then he would let loose a landslide of poo that no diaper could contain. Much of his newborn clothing is stained that peculiar yellow color of breastfed stool. The pediatrician assured me that this was perfectly normal for a newborn baby, but I couldn't stop worrying about it. Once he went for two weeks without a bowel movement. I started calling the doctor around day 5 and called every day thereafter.

Finally, when he was literally, full of shit, he moved his bowels with such force that onlookers stopped to stare. They were no doubt looking for an adult male upon whom to cast blame as the sound that issued from his bum was so explosive that it almost certainly was generated by beer and/or bratwurst, both of which were in plentiful supply at the Renaissance Fair we were attending at the time. After that, I made sure to always care a complete change of clothes, including blankets, as well as a supply of wet wipes and a Ziploc bag to transport soiled baby things home.

I did that until he was year old, because it turned out that not only was he a prodigious pooper, he was a champion spitter upper. I became "that passenger" on a plane trip to visit my parents when he was about 5 months old. Shortly after we had reached crusing altitude, he began to fuss a bit. I took him out of his infant carrier, held him up to my shoulder and patted his back. I knew people behind us were admiring my beautiful baby, and I revelled in the comments: "Ohhhh, isn't he sweet??" and "Such a beautiful baby!" and "I remember when mine were that little." I was eating it UP. Suddenly the appreciative murmurs became a collective gasp of horror, and I didn't have to wonder what had prompted it, as I felt the warm, semi-glutinous mass sliding down my shoulder. I smelled it too. Everybody did. I cleaned us up as best I could. I had packed a change of clothes for him, but not for me, and so, I sat in reeking shame for the remainder of the flight, acutely aware that we were responsible for the greenish tinge on the faces of many of our fellow passengers.

Despite the trials and tribulations of being a new mother, I remember his infancy as an idyllic time. I had no job, and no other children. I had no schedule to keep, I had no responsibilities other than him. I could sleep when he slept. I could easily plan my life around naps and nursing. Since one small baby doesn't make much of a mess, and since we had a miniscule two bedroom townhome, I didn't find it all that difficult to keep up with my domestic chores. I spent hours upon hours talking and reading to him, playing with him, and just admiring him.

When he was just a few months old, another new mother moved in next door. Her baby was just a few weeks older than mine and she was a stay at home mom too. For the next year we hung out together with our babies nearly every day. We would take a blanket or the playpen outside and drag every single toy we owned outdoors. We would sit outside, drinking coffee, smoking (a respectable distance away from the babies, hence the playpen) talking, and playing. There were days we sat outside all morning long, put the babies down for a nap, then re-emerged to play outdoors until dinner time. Sometimes we would go to the park or the mall or the library. We did what we felt like doing when we felt like it. It was a gloriously carefree time in my life and his, and sometimes, when the craziness and the chaos overhwhelms me, I dearly wish I could have it back.

When my second child was born, I felt sad and guilty that he would not get that kind of attention from me, and that my oldest, who was used to the attention, would now have to share it. I felt a great loss, as I knew that life would never again be as simple as it was in those days. But I couldn't have known just how complicated things could get and even now when I struggle to keep up with the ever increasing pace and complexity of our lives, something tells me that I ain't seen nothin' yet. We are on the cusp of puberty, and I am experiencing a kind of dread that I have never felt before.

Right now, though he is growing into an adult with frightening speed, he still likes me. He still talks to me. He still lets me kiss and hug him. He still occasionally comes to me in the night to crawl in bed with me. He still thinks I'm smart and cool. I'm still the most important woman in his life. I don't want that to change, but I know that it will. And soon. I don't think I will handle it gracefully. I'm not sure I can be nice to the other women in his life. I'm sure I will think they are all slutty, or snooty, or manipulative, and that's when things will get ugly. It makes me sad, but there's not much I can do about it except remind myself that it's normal for him to prize sex (even if it's just touchy feely) over his relationship with his mother.

So, umm, I meant this to be a really profound statement about what mothering him has meant to me. How he changed me from a self-centered girl into a Mother. How he brought me joy I never could have imagined, and sorrow I never wanted to. How I love him more than life itself and how, when he was born, I knew what it was to be willing to die for someone. Well...maybe when he hits the big one three, I can think of something profound to say. For today I just want to remember.

I love you my firstborn child. Happy Birthday.

1995



2006

8 Comments:

  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Beautiful post! Right now I'm wishing I had a neighbor like you to share these early days with.

    As for your perceived lack of a statement... In my opinion (like you asked for it!) profundity is unnecessary when it comes to writing about our children as they often offer enough of it themselves. I'm sure your two boys have given you enough profound moments to fill a book. Nudge, nudge.

     
  • At 9:23 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Oh, shoot! I almost forgot...
    Happy Birthday First Son!!

     
  • At 9:40 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    I'm sure that were he to read this, he'd be mortified as all hell and hate you for life. But come a few years, he would look back at this and the love with which it was written and smile broadly at how lucky he is. Happy birthday to BA Jr.

     
  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Kristen said…

    I love reading about moms that are past the old "crazy 2s" and into the crazy "10s" (as my brother used to say when he was little).

    Congrats on making it this far reasonably well in tact. I hope I can say the same for myself.

     
  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    Happy birthday to him!

    What a beautiful post. So honest heartfelt. You sound like a great mom with a solid relationship with her little man.

     
  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    Yeah, I want one of those moms to move in next to me! This was particularly lovely for me to read, since my son is so close to being here.

    And your son is gorgeous. AND, I work with 13 year olds, and a lot of them STILL totally prize their moms above all else. It's awesome!

     
  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Chicky: You crack me up. I don't think I have the self-discipline to write a book. I'm more of a short story writer or essayist.

    Mrs. Fortune: It does my heart good to hear that about the 13 year olds. I wish you all the best as the Mother of a Son. It's a special thing.

    Everyone else: Thanks for the kind words on my "feeling really old" day. I still can't believe he's 11.

     
  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said…

    Happy Birthday to your litttle man and another fabulous post. Like Kristen already said, it's wonderful to read about kids past-toddlerhood. It's hard to believe they grow up, sometimes. Happy day!

     

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