We celebrated Beta Boy's tenth birthday this past week. He spent the day reflecting on his "first decade" and contemplating life in the "double digits". (He then went down to the club to play bridge with Marty and Sol; they hit the early bird and called it a day.)
I've been looking back and thinking about how daunting his first few months were. I had no idea at the time how common my fears and insecurities were. I was not a graceful new mom. I wore motherhood like a wool sweater that had gone through the dryer. It didn't fit right, it was itchy and uncomfortable, and I felt as though I was always struggling with it.
The worst for me were the grocery store visits.
Grocery store visits with my newborn had to be timed with the precision and skill of a military manuever, as he was nursing every hour and a half or so. And if the bar wasn’t open when he was thirsty, well he was going to raise holy hell, and I would have to suffer the angry glares of other shoppers, who clearly had NEVER HAD CHILDREN. Oh no, that would not do.
So I would feed him.
One hour, thirty minutes to go.
Then change him.
Then get him in the forty-seven layers he had to wear because it was winter.
One hour, fifteen minutes.
Then he’d poop.
Undo layers, change diaper, redo layers.
One hour, five minutes.
Run to bathroom and pee (knowing that this might be my only chance for the remainder of the day). No poop for mommy. No time. Make a mental note - remember to poop when baby’s older.
One hour to go.
Untangle straps on baby carrier. Strap baby in.
Take precious minute weighing the pros and cons of letting him stay in his poop.
Conscience wins, take baby out, undo layers, change diaper, redo layers, strap baby in.
Fifty minutes to go.
Grab diaper bag, make sure it has the following contents:
Diapers (the need for which I think we’ve already demonstrated)
Wipes (good god, are there ever enough?)
Binky – take extra five minutes looking for a binky. We DO NOT leave the house without a binky.
“What to Expect The First Year”– should my baby come down with cradle cap, whooping cough or thrush during our shopping expedition.
A change of clothes – in case we are invited to dine with the captain at his table and we need something more appropriate for evening. Or if his diaper leaks.
AT LEAST five different developmentally stimulating baby toys.
Forty minutes to go.
Put carrier in car and drive to store. (Let’s not even think about how I look in my Winnie the pooh sweatpants, glasses, sneakers and baseball cap.)
Arrive at store – take carrier and bag out of car, find a cart, spend a good couple of minutes trying to figure out how exactly the carries fits into cart.
Thirty minutes to go.
Try to remember what it was we needed. Wading through sleep deprivation, looking for clarity. I think I started a list. Where was the list? What was on the list? Food. Yes, there was food. What food? What to cook? How to cook? We need meat, yes meat. Look, there’s some pepperoni - that’s meat! More protein. A dairy product. Look how pretty the Wispride Cheese Spread is, all orange and yellow and pink. Perfect. Oh, how proud Beta Dad will be that I am shopping. I am AWESOME. What else? Vegetables – we need vegetables.
Baby gets restless – my heart starts to race – must go faster. Twenty minutes to go.
Where was I? Vegetables. Oh, look, there’s a whole end cap with canned olives. Olives – plants – vegetables, right. Good. What else?
And so forth and so on. Baby fusses. Lactation begins. Time runs out.
I race my cart full of pepperoni, cheese spread, canned olives, not to mention cool aid, taco seasoning, macadamia nuts, and applesauce through the check-out and race home.
Un-strap screaming baby. Leave groceries in car. Feed screaming baby. Change diaper. Remember that there were groceries in the car. Get groceries. Wonder what to make out of pepperoni, taco seasoning, olives, Wispride and apple sauce.