By: Allison Norris
I’m watching The Bachelor on abc. Of course I am. It’s what stay-at-home-moms do, right? Watch young women throw themselves at a short guy with an “interesting” accent (is it Texan, or Dork? I can’t be sure). It’s what I wait all week for. I scream at my television and comment on the terrible decision making that went into a bathing suit choice or how bad her hair looks with curls.
“Nice baby talk… she doesn’t really talk that way, I know it.”
“Who does this girl think she is? Why is she telling him that she LOVES him? She doesn’t even know him, and he’s wearing grandpa shorts!”
“You are dancing? No. That’s called the 8th grade hump-grind.”
My neighbors must think that I am terrible, as I scream such horrible things about people that I do not know. I hope they can’t hear me.
It’s a fascination with love that I have and being able to watch it on tv is like a car wreck that you can’t take your eyes off of, no matter how gruesome it is. How does it work? Will it last? I watch the show and think about how much I didn’t know about real love prior to having Baylor. Putting every bit of energy I have into another human being – my needs are met last, if at all. Can someone find that in another adult? The desire to completely give, and care for someone seems impossible – especially when you have a child.
I look at these young women on this show kissing in a penthouse suite with a private pool off of the patio. Of course they are in love! I want to rub some poopy diaper on their shirt and then leave a little pureed banana in their hair to find totally hardened 3 hours later. I want them to smack their head on the side of the car because their leg gave out while hoisting up the car seat on the side of the car to open the door.
Do they ask this bachelor character if he leaves yogurt containers out when he’s done eating out of them? Does he pick up his underwear off of the floor? Does he pee in the shower? I’d like to know! I guess I am wondering how many peeves make up one big deal breaker. Do we reach a point where we stop being so picky and accept the little things that bug us because we are looking for a partnership, and realize that we aren’t exactly perfect either? It’s sort of like signing up for someone whose annoying habits bug you the least.
I think about the things that I will teach Baylor to make him… well… perfect. Napkin on his lap and waiting until everyone is seated to take the first bite. Details that will help him at his first dinner with future in-laws. But are there things programmed into him that I will have no control over?
Control. I remember that… I think I used to have it. Now, I get a thrill about what temperature the dryer is set to – it’s all my decision. It’s like I am God of Laundry. Nobody will tell me what setting to put it on! See, I am totally in control.
Relationship books and couples therapy can try to close the communication and expectation gap between couples, but it may be a whole lot easier to accept that nobody is perfect – not even on a tropical island with a camera crew filming you frolicking in the surf, awaiting your “final rose”.
[photo credit: Flickr- Vancityallie]
By: Allison Norris
A whale jumps completely vertical out of the water and leaves a huge splash behind. The tip of his tail disappears into the ocean and we watch to see if it will show its massive body again.
Bay took his first trip on the airplane. His first terrible cold came along for the ride as well. I thought Bay would leave “cold” behind, but he decided to have him come along to Maui to test my skills as a mother – I am sure. Green snot slid into his mouth faster than I could grab the tissues from my purse, and then he squealed at the sight of his mucousy relief. I was nervous to bring him onto the plane because of his cough and runny nose… and I also couldn’t get the thought of our plane crashing into a mountainside out of my mind. What is wrong with me?
Morbid thoughts have become a daily occurrence. I had never thought about dying, or getting into a serious crash until I became a mother. I actually had a case of immortality. My thoughts take me to horrible places where I play out a situation and consider the worst possible outcome.
If I take Baylor into the ocean, he could be slippery, and then I would drop him, and then the waves would take him under, and then he could be taken out for miles into the ocean.
If I step too close to the edge of the bluff (like 20 feet away), I could trip on a root (there are no roots), and then I would fall, do a backwards roll, and then Bay would fly off of the cliff and land and I wouldn’t be able to get to him in time.
If I sit in the back of the plane, I won’t be able to get to an exit fast enough and Bay could be ripped from my arms and he doesn’t have wings, so he probably couldn’t fly, and then the beverage cart would fly backwards and he could be there… sooooo…
I am not joking when I say I want Bay to wear a helmet until he is 35 years old. The thought of something happening to him can become daunting and too much to think about. As he is becoming mobile, and my ability to zone out in front of the tv is becoming a thing of the past, and as I was once a warrior, I have now become a worrier.
The thought of him driving a car drives me mad, and I could pass out at the thought of him skinning his knee and walking into the house with blood running down his leg. I don’t want him to get hurt is all. I remember when my mom would make me call to check in and I thought it was ridiculous… now I get it. Sorry, mom.
The whale sees light and leaps with full force into another world of wind and waves. He crashes back into his home and is safe, leaving a splash behind.
As 2009 came to an end, I took a moment to reflect on what a wild ride the year had been. I remember sitting on my girlfriend’s couch on New Year’s Eve 2008, 10 weeks pregnant, scared to death, and absolutely not going out on the town to celebrate the New Year. I was depressed. I had gotten into some fight with baby daddy and had decided to dramatically exit the relationship the final morning of 2008. I was asleep by 10 after wishing my friends in their tiny dresses a farewell and a confident “oh no, don’t worry about me, I’m fiiiiiine!”
We really put pressure on New Year’s Eve. So many facebook status updates reading “goodbye 2009! I am so excited for 2010… it’s going to be way better!” Sort of like a grown up, bonus Santa visit – here, take this new life and forget your old, shitty one! People think that the way they welcome the new year will dictate how the rest of the year will be. Sad and lonely? You’re screwed. Fabulous midnight kiss from the man of your dreams? It’s going to be a wonderful year! I suppose I technically should have had the worst year of my life…
Looking back, 2009 brought me some of the most challenging times that I have ever experienced. It also brought me more joy than I know what to do with.
Receiving my very first Value Village valued customer punch card.
Peeing every hour.
Growing a human.
Living in my zero gravity patio chair.
So many walks.
Birthing a human.
Fitting into my skinny jeans once again.
A lot of blurriness (thank you, sleep deprivation).
Starting a non-profit.
Giggles in the morning.
Strollers and car seats.
Talking to myself.
Remembering Barney songs and singing them all day… out loud.
A healing vagina and cracked nipples. OUCH.
Breakfasts on the weekends.
A new vocab… pack n plays, the snap n go, exersaucers, nipple shields and PEPS!
I am realizing that everything on my list has to do with my baby. The year of the baby. That’s what I’ll call it.
Heaps and mounds form in all areas of my room. It seems as if there is a magnet underneath every empty place on my floor, pulling clothes to it. Growing by the minute, I wonder if the piles will eventually cover my bed as well and if I will become one of those people who just sleep with their clothes… because there isn’t any more room on the floor.
Colors and whites, baby socks and onesies, granny panties and nursing bras. Laundry is taking over my life.
I have a dilemma. Most of my clothes are in the “hand wash only” category and the rest are a “lay flat to dry” making my pile of dirty laundry a daunting task. There is the top that you know will shrink, even if it says “machine wash cold and tumble dry low” so you’ve never washed it – ever. Until someone comes over to help.
Trying to juggle a clean house and a healthy baby by myself at the same time has proven to be harder than I had ever imagined. My clothes are everywhere. I can load the dishwasher… and even unload it (it may take a few days). I can wipe down the counters and throw baby toys in a bin. But the laundry, I absolutely cannot get motivated. In fact, I am writing instead of doing it right this very minute.
My friends are the best help and when they see these piles overflowing into the hallways and peeking around every corner, they try to get me ahead of the game. I love them… until they shrink my favorite Anthro shirt, or wash a load of whites with one red onesie that hasn’t been washed yet.
How do I politely tell them that washing everything and then leaving it folded in my room means disaster? Sure, the pile may be clean, but it does NOT mean that I will be jumping at the first opportunity I have to actually put it where it belongs. And so it sits. It gets dug through. It ends up back in the dirty clothes pile because I can’t remember if it was clean when the two piles accidentally combined.
I hate laundry and I am the only one who can do it. It isn’t a matter of control; it’s a matter of survival. Which stretchy workout pants will survive the longest after accidentally being dried because someone was just trying to help?
Alright, I am going. I have a mountain of laundry to climb… and then another one… and another…
I am sitting on the couch ready to go to bed, but the thought of actually getting up, brushing my teeth, washing my face and putting in my night guard keeps me sitting here. My leggings are cinched at the ankles making them really (cute) hard to get off, too. And where is my tank top with the built-in breast pads? I think it’s dirty. Crap. I’ll have to rig something up to absorb my leakage that oftentimes leaves me soaked in the wee hours of the morning. I’d rather doze on the couch for a bit while a completely mind numbing program is blaring in the background instead of getting up to get the rest that I complain about not having every day. This sort of craziness is easily justified while seriously sleep deprived.
I had my friend over last night and had nothing to talk about… or contribute, rather. She is dating a new guy and had that twinkle in her eye… that feeling that he could call at any minute and that they could talk about nothing, but it would be amazing. He’s met a few of her friends, and he’s told her that he likes her and although they haven’t had any talks about exclusivity, they are definitely seeing each other quite a bit! This friend of mine hasn’t had a boyfriend in almost a year and has sort of floated around keeping her options open. Every night is a possibility for Mr. Right! I listened to her last night and found myself envious of her butterflies. I remembered the mornings that you shave your legs in the shower because you know you’ll be seeing him later. Now I’m lucky if I shave my legs once a month. And who cares if I shave them at all? Baylor? Nah… he likes me just the way that I am.
I woke up this morning sort of yearning for that excitement. And then I talked to Jen. My best buddy was dating a guy for about a month until she realized that he wasn’t for her and she let him swim off into that big pond… or sea… or whatever. Of course, she is the crazy one and he tells me so in a facebook message. That’s right, he wrote me a message, here in Seattle, about why Jen dumped him. I’ve never met the guy! He said that he was worried about her. Worried that she may not know that not everyone is perfect and that one day, she will realize that even the man that she deems worthy of her time may actually have a flaw, but to not let that flaw ruin her life because he could be the man of her dreams! OH! Thanks for the enlightening bud. Where is your crystal ball? So nice of him to make sure she knew that she will never be completely happy. So settle? So thoughtful.
I was shopping today when I ran into a friend who is having trouble with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend seems to have a wandering eye… or thumbs, as he has been a sexter texter with other ladies, and we aren’t sure what else. She caught him, confronted him, and is giving him another chance. I think my favorite part was when he asked her “ok, so I messed up. What do I need to do now to get us back to where we were?” It was as though there were an equation or a planned process that they needed to follow and POOF they would be back to where they were – happy. Everything forgiven, but not forgotten. It’s just not that easy.
Back to being sleep deprived and missing butterflies… it’s not so bad. Right when I start to wonder if I can survive another day of poop and puke, I am reminded that I’ve got it made. No weirdos with a hypothesized vision of my love life and no sexters with a need to have a harem of women in their inbox. I have a perfect man who laughs at everything that I say and never wants to leave my side! I guess it’s my job to develop my little man into a grown man who is emotionally stable, successful, handsome, polite, honest, funny, kind, loyal and faithful…. and on and on.
Should be a piece of cake… I am his mom, aren’t I?
And now it’s time for bed.
By: Allison Norris
Baylor can see. He sees colors and shapes and people… and can no longer be entertained by the freckles above my cleavage. I used to be able to toss him into my front carrier apparatus to hit Nordstrom or the grocery store, but satisfied he is no longer. He wants to check out the action happening all around him.
Grocery shopping has become somewhat of a task. I can’t really bring a stroller into the store because I need to push the cart. Bay hates sitting in his car seat attached to the cart and will scream the entire time – quickly ending our shopping experience. I did this once and made it half way down the first aisle before turning around and leaving the store. I started leaving him with my sister or trying to shop a little while he is with his dad, but I decided that I had to look that temper tantrum square in the face and say, bring it.
I unloaded him from the car and placed him in my Ergo carrier (similar to the baby bjorn) and grabbed a cart. He seemed to be happy and we carelessly cruised the meat section until… oh no… a screech of a sound coming from my neckline. Here it comes… the meltdown.
He arched his back and wailed like someone was sending jolts of pain up through his toes. His crinkled forehead and curled lip revealed his toothless gums, are surrounded by his clenched fists next to his face. He let out a scream followed by a snort and I knew our ergo time had officially ended.
I stopped in the middle of the aisle and managed to unclip myself to get him out of the carrier to bring him to my hip, and he was cured. Each aisle provided an incredible world of shapes and colors that kept him mesmerized as he gripped onto the shoulder of my shirt. I finished my shopping holding my drama king in one hand, while pushing my cart and reaching for items with the other. I can’t believe my biceps aren’t bursting out of my sweaters.
Finally to the counter after what seemed like a journey through a supermarket jungle, the checker grabbed my cart and started scanning my items.
“Cuuuuuute lil guy you have there.”
“How old is he?”
“3 months…” now shut up and bag my groceries, I thought.
“3 months!? I remember when my boys were that little. Here, I HAVE to show you a photo of them!”
Great. Now I have to stand here with a dead arm even longer to look at photos of a guy’s children who I don’t even know.
“Oh, they are just cute.”
“Do you need help out today, ma?”
Why is he calling me “ma”? I’m not his ma.
“Uhh… sure, I guess that would be great.”
“No problem, ma.”
Should I say something about him calling me “ma” because it’s really freaking me out.
“I’m just the silver car over here, but put the groceries in the back seat because I have a million strollers in my trunk…”
“Don’t you worry about a thing, ma, I’m a pro at this stuff. I’ve got your purse and I am putting it in the front seat so you don’t lose it, ma.”
IS HE KIDDING RIGHT NOW?!
“Ok. Great. Thank you.” I got in my car and drove home. Apparently I was everyone’s “ma” that day. Weird.