Wanted: Baby Chauffeur

The Chauffeur

The Chauffeur (Photo credit: Paparagazzo)

The soft roar of the engine.

The car seat snuggly creating a cocoon.

The inconsistent movement as we bounce across miles of pavement.

This, my friends, is the Holy Trinity of baby sleep.

We have all heard the horror stories:

“He just would not go to sleep!”
“It was 4am and she had been screaming for hours!”
“She was teething and it screwed up her sleep cycle!”

The answer: Driving in circles around the block.

Not actually going anywhere, just driving. My sister-in-law (mother of a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old) called me the other afternoon, “Are you home?” she asked. After I had confirmed, she proceeded to drive over. Why? It was her only way to win what she is affectionately referring to as The Nap Wars.

The problem with all this driving (other than the high impact on global warming) is that the mother of the inconsolable child is the one behind the wheel. This means:
a) the driver is most likely exhausted/frustrated/delirious
b) the driver is spending more time looking in baby mirrors to see if she has claimed victory than actually looking at the road
and
c) the driver is not accomplishing anything else (like a nap for herself, perhaps!).

Thus, I would like to propose a new career path.

A baby chauffeur.

A kind soul with excellent earplugs to loop around the neighborhood for hours on end. For an hourly rate, just snap your child(ren) into their seat(s), kiss them goodbye, and then go take a hot bubble bath.

I absolutely realize it is the fuzzy haze of sleep deprivation that makes this seem like an answer to pleading prayers.

But, imagine how many little car seats could fit into a limo…Stretch limo

As extreme as this may sound, this would get many mothers I know one step closer to regaining balance in their lives. Because, frankly, motherhood is code for crazy. Why? I believe it comes down to the fact that once you become a mother, pride and vanity get thrown out the window, replaced by a new protective, primal, instinctual being that guards her young with the ferocity of something out of Animal Planet. Once shy women now bark at strangers who almost knock over the stroller, once loud and boisterous women hush and coo with the calm caress of a gentle breeze.

But, as much as we snuggle, sway or swaddle, sometimes, getting that little one to give into gentle dreams means taking a drive.

So, fellow moms, I am calling out, for the sake of sanity, let us join together, admit that we haven’t relaxed since we were pregnant, rent a limo and a fellow named Jeeves, fasten our children in for a soothing drive and claim an afternoon for ourselves, in golden silence.

Who’s with me???

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The Ghost in the Pool

Confession: I don’t like to get my face wet.

Not in pools. Not in the shower. Not even when washing my face at the end of the day.

Combine this weird fear with the fact that the sun is my #1 enemy and, well, one can come to the conclusion that swimming has never been my sport. Not that I have a sport, per se, unless you count the repetitions of my biceps curling as I lift my coffee cup to my lips each morning.

So, as any good parent would, I signed myself and my daughter up for newborn swim classes. Because, by golly, I am going to enjoy things vicariously through her.

One of the most wonderful things about carrying a giggling, smiley newborn: you are instantly hidden under an invisibility cloak. You are simply the holder of the previously mentioned cuteness.

This led me to believe that it was okay to squeeze my postpartum self into a modest one piece and try to forget about my stretch mark stained thighs, my not-so-firm stomach, the varicose veins resembling a map of Amazonian rivers, and my translucent skin (this one has nothing to do with pregnancy). Nevertheless, I shoved all my insecurities aside, wiggled into my suit and went to our local pool.

I stood there, waiting for class to begin, saying hello to the other parents, meeting the kids, wondering how my little one would do in the water and trying to ignore my pulsing blue veins that could act as a living demonstration of the human body’s circulatory system.

This is when Malibu Barbie walked out of the changing room. Holding her daughter on her sculpted hip, she sauntered her tan skinny self towards the group, chatting with her mother.

“Oh, Mom, I just CAN’T believe it has taken me THREE WHOLE MONTHS to get my stomach back. You never told me it would take THAT long.”

SERIOUSLY?!?

Ferruginous Duck Deutsch: Moorente Polski: Pod...

When I look at the body that once housed my little miracle, yet now resembles a discarded chrysalis, I wonder if it will ever return to normal. And, to be honest, my normal was, well, just normal. I had what good friends refer to as The Duck Butt, and had never known pigment (except, of course, for a few freckles to break up the monotony).

Throughout my life, people reassured me that looks don’t matter. I had a charming personality – that would carry me through. But, whether I like it or not, I realize we live in a judgemental society. One that sees cottage cheese on legs and hairy moles on chins.

So, how do I give my daughter self-confidence?

How do I enforce that even though we live in a world where people judge you first on looks, then on personality, that it is the latter that makes you beautiful?

Will she believe me when I tell her that I will ALWAYS love her, no matter what she looks like?

How do I assure her that her body is a beautiful creation, one to be respected and loved, despite what we might see as its imperfections?

And, perhaps most importantly, how do I teach her to not judge? To look past the packaging and discover the hearts of others?

At the end of the day, I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. However, I hope and I pray I can model confidence in myself and love for others.

So, here we are, ready to swim. May my fears and insecurities never get in the way of me being by her side, ready for any adventure.

swimming

A Mile in Her….uh, Slippers

I feel I should preface this post by admitting the day prior to me writing this was not a great day of motherhood. I woke up feeling nauseated, my daughter was uncharacteristically fussy all day, and my husband came home early feeling not all that hot either. So, our household cranky quota had been met and then some.

In all honesty, I feel it was a day destined to fail. Combine the previously mentioned crank factor with a diaper malfunction that resulted in me being soaked in urine, and well, yeah. It was one of those days where the morning had melted into the afternoon, I had yet to shower, I had accomplished nothing, and dinner had been demoted to leftovers. My daughter had been doing ’emotional eating’ all day, where she nurses simply to nurse, which due to a stomach the size of a walnut, results in ungodly amounts of milk being upchucked onto mommy. In these situations, I often imagine her with an accent of a dirty Frenchman saying something along the lines of Dis? Dis is your offering? Ah-phew. That is what I think of what you call milk. Try again, mommy. She then proceeds to hurl milk curds on me.

So there I stood in my slippers, 1:30pm, still not showered and realizing that, no, the milk had not gone sour, that smell was merely me.

It was in that moment, staring blankly into the refrigerator, hungry, dirty, and exhausted, I realized just how judgemental I had been in the past. I admit, I used to think motherhood was a fairly easy job. After all, you just have to keep a little human alive, right? How hard could it be? I used to raise my eyebrow at moms who were late to meetings, how they showed up to events disheveled with whiny children in tow.

Well, universe, I apologize.

I get it now. I understand how sleep deprivation is not one or two nights with interrupted dreams, rather it is made up of months years of not having eight glorious hours in one continuous chunk. I understand how this little person in your life is EVERYTHING to you. How when they cry, you ache. (And not just because your milk has let down). I understand the frustration that comes when you want nothing more than to hit the snooze button, but no matter how many times you put the pacifier in, they spit it out and continue to cry. Although I still find it disgusting, I understand when moms say they don’t know if they brushed their teeth that morning…*shudder*. I understand how you can end up at the end of another day, still in slippers, wondering what happened.

And, I understand that even with all of this, you would never trade it for the world. How one gummy smile still makes you tear up with joy. How the clench of little fingers wrapped around your thumb can counterbalance the piles of laundry and the rank diapers. How to coax out one squeal, you will throw pride out the window and dance around your living room singing 17 rounds of The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Prior to motherhood pregnancy, I wore cute shoes. Peep-toe pumps, strappy sandals, beautiful boots – I loved them all. I used to think a day in stilettos was challenging. Little did I know, a day in slippers can trump that and then some.

Life has once again taught me to think twice before I judge. To put away my sneer and to remember the age-old proverb:

Before you criticize a person, walk a mile in her milk-soaked slippers.