Parenthood changes things:
Your body: mixed feelings of, ‘wow, you did something amazing,’ and, ‘wow, there are enough veins on my thighs to make them look like a topographical map.’
Your house: “If I step on this pterodactyl one more time….!”
Your stress: “Oh, no, they’re both crying at the same time…what’s that in my hand? ….a lump of my own hair!?”
Your clothes: you know how they shine black lights on hotel beds to show you all the human fluids that are on them? I think that if they did to my shirt you’d have the same reaction.
Your self worth: it’s hard to feel good about yourself when your shirt is comparable to a hotel duvet.
And it completely changes your awkward moments. Precisely because they get more epic. Please go read my post A Rest Stop . Not so restful. Here are two more:
“She wants to look at your baby, she just loves babies,” a mom walks up to me in the park with her four year old in front of her. The girl comes closer to us, I smile, of course I like it when people want to look at my baby. I think she’s awesome, obviously, I want to share. The girl’s curly head comes closer, a piece of hair sprouts sidewise from her head, she twirls it thoughtfully.
“She’s so cute!” the girl coos. I turn Carys towards her and we talk a bit, I glow with Madonna like grace at the child. My friend jumps off the bench to chase down her toddler. The girl climbs up next to me. Then Carys begins to squirm. Her chewing on my hand becomes a little more insistent. Her squirms become jerky and urgent. She’s hungry. She starts turning and trying to eat my shoulder and neck. I give in and throw a cover on my shoulder that is closest to the girl, I figure I can cover her and avoid any awkward questions.
“I hate the midgies,” the girl says. She is scratching her calf and referring to the little flies that keep landing on us, depositing irritating bites.
“They’re not my favorite,” I agree.
She shifts and scratches her knee, “I hate the midgies.”
“I don’t like them either,” I agree, again.
She rubs her nose, twists that piece of hair more askew, and then scratches her ankle, “I hate the midgies.”
“Yeah, they’re not great,” I’m running out of responses. And Carys is done. I need to switch sides. I do not want to be the sacrificial lamb for this girl’s first experience with breastfeeding, and I have no idea how much she knows or what her family would think if she someone nursing at the park. I burp my kid for as long as I can.
“That ladder looks like it needs to be climbed,” I offer. She scratches her shoulder.
“Have you seen that dinosaur over there?” I ask. The Madonna-like grace is wearing thin.
So I do it. I throw the cover over my other shoulder and start to latch her on. The girl hops off the bench. I relax, maybe she got the hint. I look up. She is trying to peer under the cover.
And then there was this other time…
At my six week appointment after having my second child, I was dumb enough to take both kids with me. I didn’t think getting child care for a doctor’s appointment was a necessity.
First there was the navigating a stroller one handed while grabbing and trying to verbally direct a toddler who is not used to walking, or being verbally directed. And there are so many doors in doctor’s offices, so many doors.
While I was sitting on the table, after being examined, sheet over my lap, talking to my doctor about birth control options my six week old infant starts crying. My doctor walks over to the stroller and pulls her out, rocks with her and keeps talking to me. Problem solved.
Then my two year old, who was just recently potty trained, stops in the middle of the floor squeezes her knees together squats in that tell tale way. I freeze and press my lips together as panicky white noise goes off in my brain. The doctor just looks down at her, then back up at me and keeps talking,
“Um, there poo in there,” I say not really knowing how to direct the situation.
“Oh, is she potty trained?” the doctor asks, as my daughter keeps squatting. Well, apparently not.
“Um, I need to…”I gesture uselessly at my lap and then down at my child.
“Oh…OH! Okay, I’ll take the baby and you get dressed. There’s a bathroom right there. I’ll send a nurse in with pads.” I hear her say as she walks off,
“She’s so tiny I thought there was a diaper in there.” I leapt off the table, threw my pants on, and check the damage on my kid as she’s shouting,
“She took our baby!” Yep, because you crapped your pants. I usher her into the bathroom and a nurse shows up in a moment with wipes and pads. I love nurses in emergencies like this, it’s part of their job and most of them have kids, so they know the panic. The nurse coos at my daughter,
“Oh, you don’t feel good do you?” Only then does it occur to me that Emma might be in intestinal distress, because the diarrhea I was cleaning up wasn’t already evidence.
I do wonder if medical school ever prepared my doctor for THAT type of emergency.