Monthly Archives: August 2016

Honesty is the best policy… until it isn’t

 

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Who did I just give birth to?

Numbers are a funny thing, ain’t they?

It all starts with a One who wants to be a Two. So the One finds another One and charms him with her awkward sexual puns and beer drinking prowess. Then, after awhile, the Ones spend a whole bunch of money on ridiculous things like purple tulle and officially become a Two.

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And together, the two of you will build a whole world together.

Eventually, you two will decide, probably drunkenly, to go from a family of two to a family of three. And when you do that, the entire world you built is set on fire and decimated with bombs and then drop-kicked into a black hole by an 8-pound human. Everything changes. Everything. Your house, your habits, your hygiene. Especially your hygiene. Oh…oh, the hygiene. It all becomes almost unrecognizable there for a bit.

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And yet, when you go from a family of three to a family of four, the only thing that really changes is the volume.

Everything is now just permanently set on loud. The baby is always crying. Loudly. The dog is always barking. Loudly. The toddler (tiny dictator) is always demanding a tee-tee (cookie). Loudly (and repeatedly).

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And the grown-ups are always yelling at each other in an effort to be heard over the cacophony, but yelling in that very particular parental way that says “I’m trying to avoid having an edge to my voice so as to not provoke a fight but I’m going insane and there is totally an edge to my voice.”

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Of course, it’s all worth it (modern parenthood requires I say that). But no, really, it is (and that). Every time you look down into the gorgeous, big-eyed face your lady parts made, you realize you’d do anything for them. You’d walk across fire for them! You’d die for them! You’d get into a 20-minute argument over why M&M’s are not an acceptable lunch and then LOSE that argument, all for your love of them.

But here’s the funny thing. When your kids are really young, you don’t actually know them that well. You’d kill for them, and yet, you honestly don’t know that much about who they are as a person. I mean, you know things like how much they poop and that “Little Einsteins” puts them in a trance-like state for 23 minutes and that if they eat an onion, even the smallest, barely-perceptible-to-the-human-eye piece of an onion, they’ll DIE. But that’s just surface stuff.

Of course, that all changes as they get older. Soon they are able to tell you all their hopes and dreams and fears and favorite Sesame Street characters and long, rambling, pointless stories about a rocketship that has no discernible beginning, middle or end.

But in the beginning (and I might get my Mom Card revoked for saying this) they really aren’t that interesting. Newborns are beautiful and squishy and eternally cuddly and smell amazing and are surprisingly strong. But it’s not like the little critters are known for their sparkling conversation and dazzling wit.

For example, here is what I definitively know about my newborn daughter:

  1. She’s a champion long distance pooper. If that wall in the nursery wasn’t there, I’m pretty sure she’d shatter the world record (if such a record actually exists…and it really should).
  2. She does not care that my nipple is attached to the rest of my body.
  3. She makes hilarious faces when she farts (that I’ve dubbed the Popeye, the Chris Farley and, my personal favorite, the one reserved for the really big farts, the Surprised Wombat).

Oh sure, people are always attributing personality traits to her, myself included. According to the doctor, she’s tall for her age, so naturally she’s going to be an athlete. She loves to eat, which obviously translates into a hunger for life and adventure. Her hair grows in a Mohawk shape so she’s also clearly a feminist punk rock star.

We do this because otherwise we’d have to admit that during the first month of their life, our precious little angels are really just glorified drooling meatbags (shout-out to my friend Elaina for that fantastic description that I just blatantly stole).

It’s not just with my daughter, either. All this upheaval in our lives has also made me realize I don’t know my toddler nearly as well as I thought I did. For example, I was previously unaware that his favorite method of protest to any big change is a hunger strike. I also didn’t know that it truly doesn’t bother him to sit in a highchair for three hours staring at me over a plate of uneaten spaghetti.

Nor did I know that he is not, in fact, a big fan of babies. (However, he has gone from poking his sister with a stick to petting her like a dog, so…progress, I guess).

Yet, I still love these tiny strangers with a depth and fierceness I didn’t know was possible. And hey, let’s be honest. What do these kids really know about me so far? To the one I am merely Milk-Giver at this point. And to the other, I transformed from Momma, The Greatest Human Being In The World into The Betrayer Who Brought Home The Screaming Hairless Puppy.

Luckily, we have the rest of our lives to get to know each other.

All that’s missing is the white picket fence

It was a particularly bad day to give birth to a baby.

Or, depending on how you view it, I suppose, it was a particularly good day to give birth to a baby. Which is why every pregnant woman in the world decided to do it that morning. In my hospital, no less. A birth explosion is how one nurse delightfully described it. At one point, I’m pretty sure non-pregnant women just started walking in off the street and heading to the maternity ward.

Woman Off The Street: “Excuse me, nurse? I’m not sure how it happened but it appears I’ve spontaneously become pregnant. And I’m about to give birth RIGHT NOW.”

Nurse: “No worries. I know just who to bump down the list.”

I was fourth in line. Then fifth. Then sixth. Since my cesarean was scheduled and I wasn’t in the throes of excruciating pain or life-threatening complications like the rest of them, that apparently made my case somehow less urgent.

Pffft. But that’s our broken healthcare system for you.

Actually, when it comes down to it, I didn’t mind the waiting. As much as I was done (with a capital D-O-N-E) with being pregnant, I’ve never been the kind of person who was impatient to get sliced in half. In fact, you’d be amazed how long I can wait to get professionally gutted.

However, I did mind the whole “you can’t have any liquids” rule, especially seeing as how liquid is one of the main ingredients in coffee. It had been almost 13 hours since my last cup, which was bordering on dangerous territory. But the doctor refused to even listen to my argument that coffee doesn’t necessarily qualify as food or liquid so much as it qualifies as anti-homicide serum. The arrogant know-it-all.

Pffft. But that’s Western medicine for you.

Anyway, as you can imagine, the baby-cutting-out crew was all business by the time they got to me. No one even laughed at my “I gained so much pregnancy weight, this is more like a double D-section, am I right?” joke. But honestly, you can’t blame them. The miracle of birth probably loses some of its miraculousness when the operating room starts to resemble a screaming cherub assembly line.

However, none of the above mattered. None of it. Because within a few short minutes, I finally had my daughter. My perfect, beautiful, angelic daughter.

And as I looked down at my tiny, adorable, baby girl covered in gross lady part crud, I whispered “And now our family is complete” in her ear as tears gently slid down my face, movie-where-a-teenager-has-cancer-style.

I was in love, dear reader. Oh, so in love.

Cut to five and a half weeks later…

My tiny, adorable, baby girl covered in gross baby vomit is screaming her primal Viking warrior/dying pterodactyl cry at heretofore unheard of decibels while she has explosive diarrhea all over my hand and 90 percent of the far wall. Meanwhile, my sweet, loving toddler is destroying the entire house with a cookie he illegally procured while screaming something about “da poiple cwayon broked in da half.” The dog is barking at “Serial Killer Has Entered The Home” levels even though it’s more of a “Light Wind Blowing Through The Window” situation. And my husband…my husband is…crap, where is he?

Ah, the wifi is down. I sigh. Dramatically. I sigh because my husband happens to be a man. And when you live with a man, having the wifi down means nothing else exists until the wifi is back up.

So, my husband is scrolling through the dark web that is the set-up menu on our smart TV, looking for the ancient rune that magically brings back the wifi, completely oblivious to the Hindenburg Disaster happening all around him.

I start breastfeeding the frantically clawing honey badger I’ve named Mae in an effort to shut up at least one small creature in our house. My son sees this as the perfect opportunity for me to read him every single book he owns while sitting awkwardly on my shoulder and the dog decides puking all over his pillow is the best way to deter the non-existent serial killer from chopping us all into tiny pieces. Luckily, my husband is having fantastic luck with Todd, the genius wizard over at the cable company, who clearly deserves a raise and who informs my husband “uh, I don’t know, man, maybe it’s the router or something?”

And because the universe needed a good laugh, our air conditioner chooses this exact moment to stop working. In the middle of a heat wave. That the local meteorologist described professionally as “just wicked hot, folks.”

In the midst of all this, I look down at my tiny, adorable, baby girl now covered in illegal toddler cookie crumbs and smile as I whisper in her ear “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

(Mind you, this touching moment was followed immediately by the much less charming bellowing of “STOP WEARING MOMMY’S UNDERWEAR AS A HAT!” at my son. But, hey, you take your perfectly happy moments, no matter how brief, where you can.)

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