Friday, April 27, 2012

The Other Times Vol. 2

Over on the couch, Jack sleeps soundly, bundled up in a blanket next to his dad.  "Big Bang Theory" is on TV and the only other sound in the room (aside from Howard Wolowitz) is the soft hum of this laptop.  It's peaceful tonight.  But last night was a very different story.  For this is a tale of a virus, some yoga pants and the night I most likely flashed my neighbors.

Jack didn't have dinner last night.  Trevor and I commented on how his little daycare report card mentioned that he was very hungry all day so we shrugged off this little blip on the "our kid is totally normal and healthy" radar and went on with our night.  We bathed him, changed him into pajamas and Trevor said, "I'll take care of the dishes if you want to nurse him downstairs."  I suppose I should mention here that, oops, I have not yet completely weaned my son.  I knew there was something I forgot to do!  And since he hasn't yet learned how to tie a little napkin around his neck, walk up to me and unbutton my shirt, I'm still ok with nursing (especially considering my nipples are like titanium now).  So we nurse and it's a very peaceful way for both of us to end our day.

There we sat in our little nest, the dim light of a lamp creating a golden glow.  Why is life always so wonderful before it's so incredibly horrible?

I heard the garage door open and my sister Mary peeked down the basement stairs.  She had decided to pay us an impromptu visit for the night.

"Shhhhh.  Jack's sleeping."

He stirred in my lap and tossed and turned.  Mary AKA "Bean" quietly came down the stairs.  I looked down at Jack, something was coming out of his mouth.  My sister noticed also and said "Oh!  Jack's spitting up."  And then...oh then...

At this point, I would kindly ask you to open up a new window or tab in your browser and play this music for ultimate effect.  I can wait...

I saw Jack start to vomit on the pillow.  "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

This must have startled him because he turned his head toward me and a fire hose of puke came raining down on my chest, shoulder, arm and...oh, did I mention I was nursing at the time?


Our Lady of the Most Excellent Timing or the Most Unfortunate Timing, depending on how you look at it, took Jack into our basement bathroom to wash him off as best as she could.  Meanwhile, I sat on the couch, paralyzed, arms outstretched like a scarecrow while pieces of banana? bread? apples? fell onto my lap and bounced onto the floor.  The pillow Jack had been laying on was completely drenched.  Trevor poked his head downstairs while Bean and I looked up at him.  "PUKE!!!"  He sighed.  A sigh that says "this night was going way too smoothly."

Trevor came downstairs to bring Jack to the bathtub.  I remember saying "Take him to the bath!!!  Babies never puke once!!!  Goonies never say die!!!!" (I didn't actually yell that last one, I just didn't want you to forget)

St. Mary of the Defiled Boppy took the pillow and placed it on a towel on the basement floor.  With all the gracefulness of a marionette, I attempted to rise from the couch with all of my pieces attached to me as to not create a bigger mess.  I threw my tank top onto the sloppy Boppy.  I walked into our kitchen with my arms folded over my chest (remember when I said I had been nursing?) and looked right out the kitchen window onto the street.  My head whipped over to the open curtains in the dining room and living room.


She ran throughout the downstairs leaping over chairs to close the drapes for me so I could wrap my hands in paper towel mittens and clean up.  I ran into the bedroom and immediately disrobed only to find myself standing there naked with nothing to wear to go back out into the kitchen.  I spied a pair of yoga pants on the floor and pulled them on yanking them over my chest like so many grandpas on the beach with shorts pulled up to their collar bones.

I checked on my little family- Bean sitting on the toilet, Jack in the bath and Trevor kneeling next to the bath.  I did a little jig for them in my makeshift yoga pants jumpsuit and then went back to the basement and into the shower.

At this point, feel free to stop listening to Carmina Burana, the night got calmer from here...

The night ended much like it began.  The soft glow of the basement lamp, Jack sleeping softly, but this time in Trevor's arms with a plastic wastebasket at the ready, which he used...3 times.

The bug made it's way out of his little body over the course of the next day and 4 outfit changes later, his little body finally got a reprieve.  He never lost his smile or his happy spirit.  Throughout the whole ordeal, he only cried when it first happened.  I don't know how he does it, how he stays so happy in the face of such unspeakably smelly horror, but he does.

We learned a lot from our last Pukepocalypse and it showed in how few towels we lost and how we kept that trash can nearby.  Not that there weren't some rookie mistakes- never get naked without an exit strategy.  You won't always have pants that stretch up to your collar bones lying around.

Even in the other times, the times when you just want to cry, it's so calming to look at this little person who's confused as hell about what's going on, who just keeps smiling because to him it's all just some exciting new adventure.  It's also a new adventure for you, so you just keep smiling too.

There is magic in the peaceful times, the soft glow of a lamp, cuddling your baby to sleep.

But some of the funniest, most unbelievable memories lie in the other times.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Boy

Trevor was the odd man out in our family for a year.  For one whole year it was all about me.  I was the comforter, the food source, the balm, the only one who could get Jack to sleep.  This is not to say that Trevor wasn't a very active and involved dad, but that first year is really about mamas and babies in many ways.

This week we were all playing in the backyard.  Me in my heels from work getting stuck in the mud while I followed Jack around the yard.  I spotted a lilac bush in the back of our house that I always forget about.  I went over to pick some blossoms and came back to show Jack.  And what did I find?  Trevor and Jack picking up sticks and Trevor showing Jack how to use the stick as a sword.  

"Jack, look at the pretty flowers!" 


"Jack, aren't they pretty?"

Blink.  Blink.

Trevor started throwing sticks over the fence into our little wood pile.  Jack dutifully carried his over and poked it through the gap in the chain link to make his contribution.

I took my flowers inside and put them in a little vase on the windowsill- the odd one out.

I do not write this with a sad heart, I write this with a joyful heart.  My son and my husband are growing closer.  Soon, they will be sharing more adventures.  Jack starts swimming lessons on Saturday morning and Trevor will be right there in the pool with him, his strong arms holding him up.  (Is there anything better than a good father?)

It can be scary being the mom of a boy, thinking of the many ways that he will eventually leave me.  Will I have the same bond with him when he's an adult that I have with my mom?  Are there just certain things that only play out between a mother and a daughter or a father and a son?  And I think the answer is- yes!  But I guess that's true for all relationships.  I share special things with my brothers and special things with my sisters.  It doesn't make it bad, it's just different.

This morning, after Trevor and I tag-team changed and dressed him, Trevor held him and he started crying.  I took him and he hugged me- tightly!  He kept hugging me until it almost brought tears to my eyes.  This incredible act of affection was so meaningful to me in those last few moments before he leaves for daycare.  He left for daycare all smiles and Trevor texted me a photo just to prove to me that he was happy.  I sure do love that Trevor.

My grandfather used to tell stories of WWII and one in particular always stayed with me.  He recalled vividly hearing the cries of "mama! mama!" coming from wounded soldiers.  The mere thought of their mothers was a memory they always came back to and they cried out for them when they got scared or got injured.  In a very miniscule way, I got that this morning in that ferocious hug.

The world needs more strong, kind, and curious men.  I'm so glad this little soul chose Trevor and me to help see him into adulthood.

Two shadows stand against the sun
A father and his little one
And all the mother’s world held tight
In silhouettes of absent light

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Carry it in My Heart

"You can be a mom and work, I guess it all just depends on how much you love your kids."

Says the anonymous person commenting on the latest article designed to make my heart shrivel up inside me because I work outside of the home.

I sit at my desk on a break from lunch surrounded by photos in cheap plastic frames.

Jack on a walk

Trevor and I smiling at a wedding

Jack laughing on a blanket

Trevor and Jack at the beach

The 3 of us smiling on a blanket of fall leaves

I listlessly pick baby carrots from a sandwich bag staring at the screen remembering how I packed that lunch in the hour of quiet I get every night after Jack is asleep and Trevor is reading in bed.  I do a lot in that quiet hour so that I can enjoy all of the noisy, joyful hours of wakefulness I get with my family.

I wonder if that person knew that somewhere, someone would read that sentence and their words would break her heart.

The tap of their keys like gunshots designed purposefully? accidentally?  intentionally? unknowingly? to hurt so deeply?

In an instant, everything around me seems shallow and empty.  This tiny desk, these photos, this coffee, these carrots.

I close out of that page, that awful page and that awful article written by a man, no less, telling me that I secretly hate myself because I'm sitting here while other people raise my child.  Thank you little red "x" at the top of the page.  You did what you could to get rid of those thoughts, but yet, they linger into my day.

I don't have any answers for you who find yourself reading this.  I don't understand why the world, but especially women have begun a civil war on the complicated journey that is motherhood.  For decades we have joined together to fight the indignities heaped on us from men who didn't know better and now we know better and yet we still fight.

But what I do know is that I love my son with every fiber of myself.  I love how free-spirited and independent he is.  My guess is that he'd be this wonderful whether or not we shared every day together or not.  

But then again...

We do share every day together.  How can we not?  A full 1/2 of that little boy is me, an extension of me and an extension of Trevor.  When he hurts, I hurt.  When Miss Heather or Miss Sarah or Miss Andrea call me and tell me that he's sick, they can't even finish their sentence before my keys are in my hand and I'm shutting down my computer.

So to the men and women so set on breaking my heart and the hearts of every mother or father who works outside of the home- don't you ever, ever, ever tell me that my love for my son is compromised because I eat my baby carrots out of a sandwich bag instead of at home on the floor with my son.  And don't you ever, ever, ever assert that because I don't always occupy the same space he does, that it's the same thing as leaving him.  And to the men and women who don't think parents who stay at home with their children "work", try it for a week.

The children I worry for aren't the ones whose parents go to work every day or the ones who stay home.  The children I worry for are the ones who are growing up in homes filled with unrelenting judgment and anger.

My little family is turning out so well.  I just need to remind myself of that every now and then. 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)