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Flamboyant purple crocuses tarting up my backyard.




Monday, March 6, 2006

I feel like I sound more than a little like a broken record (that's officially an antiquated phrase now, isn't it? Sort of like "dialed" and "rewind"?) these days because I keep re-visiting the same subjects, which I would loosely describe as "parenting epiphanies, except not so much with the epiphany part". Maybe I should call this journal "The No Duh Pages: One Woman's Blundering Journey Through Shit You Could Have Told Her For Free."

I'll bet that domain is taken, though. And it probably redirects to a porn site.

Anyway, did you know that when you have a small baby, you don't really get a lot of me time, or since I've once again pointlessly switched to second person, you time? Time to yourself? Meself?

(Jesus, someone throw me a triple latte and a Strunk manual, stat.)

Of all the challenges caring for a baby, that one just might be the most bitter pill - the giant oblong B-12 motherfucker that sticks in your throat pumping out waves of effluvium. Riley doesn't care that it's the last ten minutes of the last show on the last Firefly DVD, he doesn't care that I spent an hour tootling around in the kitchen and have just produced a fabulous steak-and-salad dinner which will simultaneously chill, congeal, and wilt should it be ignored in favor of playing the "Keep The Baby Moving Lest We All Burn in Hell" game, and I can tell you from very recent experience that he doesn't care that hello, I'm trying to write a journal entry here.

I think it's the hardest change to get used to because when you do everything on the baby's schedule, you give up a trillion little comforts that individually seem like no big deal, but the cumulative effect is exhausting. I used to think working from home would be the ideal situation for me to keep Riley out of daycare while still earning an income, now it sounds like some nightmarish worst-of-both-worlds combination where I'm equally frustrated by my inability to focus on either task. I know it's possible, people do it all the time, but I really don't think I could manage that kind of day. Not without slipping some Demerol into Riley's midday bottle, anyway, and apparently that sort of thing is a big no-no along with using duct tape as a volume control.

For the most part we adapt, we pause the DVD or eat the cold dinner or learn to jiggle the bouncy seat with one foot while we're paying bills or whatever, and really, when the chief cause of my irritation suddenly beams a happy squinchy-eyed smile, it changes my perspective instantly. Books can be read later, showers can be postponed, emails can be rain-checked; the enforced time out is always worth the hassle.

Let me tell you, though, there is nothing, NOTHING that drives home the meaning of the word responsibility quite like dealing with a 6-month old while you are jettisoning ballast from both ends of your body.

(While I am sure you desperately wish I would simply move on from that sentence without diving into the colorful details, I think we both know that's not going to happen.)

My weekend started out pleasantly enough; on Friday JB and I sat down to watch Ginger Snaps, a horror flick involving a teenage Goth/werewolf/menstruation theme which somehow managed to be pretty damn good, while eating take-home sushi. After the movie ended, JB turned to me with a quizzical look. "Do you feel weird? Because I feel kind of...weird. Like in my belly."

Cue ominous, Jaws-esque cello note: Duh-nuh.

We retired to bed, but a short amount of time later JB had progressed to the stage of stomach distress that I believe is described in clinical terms as "turbo barfing". For the entirety of the night he scurried a frantic path to and from the one remaining working bathroom in our house, while I lay awake staring at the ceiling, certain I was bearing reluctant witness to my own impending fate, praying that our need for restroom occupancy would not coincide.

It was about 5 AM when I finally dozed off, and Riley awoke at 6. Since JB was still visiting the bathroom at short intervals, albeit for a different yet equally unpleasant reason, I took point on Boy duty, mentioning in passing to JB that gosh, my system must be more resilient than his or something.

(Duh-nuh, duh-nuh, nuh nuh nuhhhh!)

I guess it was around noon that my resilient system gave up the battle and also my breakfast, and I entered my own private Idaho for the day, assuming "Idaho" is a code word for "nightmarish descent into a physical anguish from which death seemed the only possible escape". I don't imagine JB felt much better, but somebody had to take care of Riley, and Dog has proven herself an unworthy parenting substitute thus far (tends to covet the mashed banana, for instance).

So that was our weekend. We blame Friday's dinner, although it may have been an unrelated flu-bug gifted to us from the boy (it seems to be going around). It hardly matters - considering the next time we'll be able to enjoy a piece of salmon nigiri will be in approximately eleventy billion years - the point is, it was a lesson in parental incumbency. Riley didn't care that his mother and father were felled by poisonous sushi, bottles still needed to be produced, diapers had to be changed, and games of "Shark Attack" performed, however anemically.

I can't say I hope to repeat the experience any time soon, but I guess if nothing else it offers a nice slice of contract to consider. Next time I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the responsibilities of motherhood, I'll just remind myself that it could be worse; that I could, for instance, be saddled with both the demands of a baby AND the disagreeable occupation of peering at a toilet bowl with the sort of critical eye that can only come from this internal dilemma: "Hmmm, what do I need to do first?"


I'm learning that I have to wait for the flash to charge between shots, and this one turned out annoyingly dark. Still, the cuteness makes up for bad lighting. to put clean diapers on Riley's head while he's on the change table. What? It's sort of a Stuff On My Cat thing.


Post-Puke-a-thon, I lovingly pass any remaining germs to the child. FYI, if it's on your face it's not a mole, it's a beauty mark. Even if you have like seventeen of them.


The Dude? Still outrageously adorable, in case you were wondering.


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