Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On love and frustration

Ahhhhhhh!!! *punches wall* *kicks chair* *smashes plate* (a spare, of course)

There, that feels better. Nothing like getting out a little aggression, even if it's only in my head. 

Because that is how I feel most days. Usually by 4pm but also sometimes around, oh, 9:33am. After I've put the baby to sleep about four times. After she's woken five minutes later, four times. After she's started screaming bloody, shocking, murder while nestled in her swing. The swing that all babies are supposed to LOVE.

Aw, what's the matter Beautiful?  Can't be without hearing Mommy's heartbeat for a hot second?
Not this little lover. This one prefers to lay flat against my chest, bottom resting in my palm, legs sprawled froggy style, hands gripping the collar of my shirt, and milky breath puffing on my neck. Or in a cradle hold. Scrunched in the crook of my elbow with one hand under her chin and the other nestled against her ear. That's it. She's not picky or anything.

And I don't mind holding her. In fact, I think it would be lovely to stay in bed all day, just snuggling my girl and letting her sleep whenever she wants to. But that will never happen. Because there are siblings involved. Other children that I love just as much, but who make this mothering an infant thing that much more challenging.

And if I was to be perfectly honest, the whole sitting still wouldn't work. At this point in my life, the messes and needs don't bother me. It's not having the freedom or ability to deal with them that really brings out my inner-plate-smasher.

"Mom, look at my bubble tree!"
If I was somewhere else, or even if just my mind was otherwise occupied, it might not be so bad. But it's the sitting there, in the striped chair that commands the broadest view of the house, with the dust bunnies and finger-printed walls so clearly visible.  Knowing that I can't get to them now, probably won't be able to get to them later, and most likely will forget about them during the 10 minute freedom interludes that Joci affords me throughout the day.

Little Miss Accessorize in her dressy-dress, super hero cape, and sun hat.
It's shooing my kids downstairs, where I can hear them doing "things they shouldn't be doing" but where I'm stuck pacing the longest, straightest stretch of my house, bouncing a baby, and completely unable to address whatever is going on in the family room in more than a whisper so I don't wake the just-fallen-asleep babe.

He got annoyed that she didn't seem to enjoy his puppet show.
Or even being incapable of responding to an email on my phone or turning the pages of a book with my kids, because one hand is holding Joci and the other is furiously smacking the gas bubbles out of her one way or the other!

But it's okay.  I'm past the point where I cry whenever I think about all the things that need to be accomplished and just aren't happening.  And I suppose that's something to be thankful for, no more crazy post-partum hormones!!

And now that I've written it all out, it's not that bad.  Sure, it's taken me two weeks to get the kids seasonal wardrobes switched out, but really, not a big deal.  And that layer of dust on the mantle can easily be camouflaged by a crunchy leaf garland.  And now that the ants and fruit flies have left us, I think it's safe to leave dishes in the sink overnight.  All in the name of a peaceful little one.  Yes, I have a baby that is a bit of a cuddle-bug during the day (but have I mentioned she's been sleeping at least 9, sometimes 10 or 11 hours STRAIGHT at night!?!?)  Some people may say I'm spoiling my baby.  I know one guy that says it about every other night, while he sits in his favorite armchair, cradling the sweet thing himself.  I don't care.  Because when your husband says no more babies, FOR REAL THIS TIME,  you start to think twice about putting her down.

Something happens around 9pm in which she suddenly shuts down and nothing wakes her, not even the suggestion of a bedtime snack.
So why does it bother me so much?  This whole "I feel like all I do every moment of every day is hold a baby" season?  I've been thinking it over (because if nothing else, I certainly have time to think right now!) and I've realized motherhood is one big mourning process.  Because when you give birth, your body does more than shed a tiny human and a couple of pounds.  You give up a large portion of yourself as well.  That girl that never had fingerprints on her wall and washed her hair every other day?  Gone.  The perky little thing with cute, stylish clothes that she actually had time to go to the mall and shop for?  Haven't seen her in years.  That mega-organized mama with the color-coded meal planning/grocery listing/rock-bottom-pricing spreadsheet?  She was here not too long ago, but hasn't been around since July 21.  And, man, sometimes it's hard to say goodbye.

The great seasonal clothing switch.  My most-loathed mama chore.
I miss that bread baking, project sewing, savvy-shopping, makeup wearing woman who would have never dreamed of kicking a stool across the kitchen after a kid dropped it on her foot for the 100th time this year.  But, as I sit here on the couch, perfectly balancing a baby and laptop, peering at the screen over a little pink hiney, alternately typing a sentence and kissing a fuzzy little head ... that girl's not gone forever.

She's just hibernating.  Taking a step back from it all.  Waiting to be called back in to action, slowly, of course.  It starts with the little things.  Like the chance to get three rooms vacuumed.  Or having the baby nap long enough to fold a load of laundry.  Or, today's win, two in preschool, a baby contented in her bouncy seat and a 2 YO distracted by the TV just long enough to mix up a batch of pumpkin muffins ALL BY MYSELF.  It was glorious.

Many things change when you become a mother.  And some things will never, ever be the same.  But just like wearing a different size doesn't alter WHO you are, neither does taking a break from your old habits.  If nothing else, motherhood has given me a new appreciation for the person that God made me to be.  Because during these seasons (some longer than others) in which she lies dormant, I miss her more than words can say.  Goodbye girlfriend.  See you soon.  Maybe.

I've tried and tried to get a video of Jocelyn smiling without much success. Turns out, Sister loves the Doxology.


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