Being a first time mother is a learning experience. There is no easier way of putting it. Sometimes, you make really stupid mistakes that only seem stupid after the people around you are done laughing. Over the last four months, I have not only made mistakes, but I have done some things that I may not tell people, if only I didn’t have a blog in which I promised to be completely honest.
So, here we go. These are my confessions thus far:
I don’t know any lullabies: I can carry a tune as well as a feral cat. Maybe worse, it’s yet to be determined. But, I am a mom and there is something about being a mom that makes it impossible not to sing to your baby as she falls asleep in your arms. However, since she was born I have always sung Top 40 kinds of songs: a lot of Miley and a little Katy, with some Bruno here and there.
The other day, I decided to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It went like this:
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
How I Wonder What You Are.
Up Above The World So High
…Looking All Shiny…
This is the moment I realized I don’t know lullabies. I don’t know what that star looks like, or where the tiny spider went, and I’m a little afraid to ask what happened to the baby in the treetop. I figure I will learn some of these as we go, but for now O is stuck with hyena-like renditions of “I Kissed a Girl.”
I plug my ears and hide sometimes: This sounds a lot worse than it actually is. When O was about two months, and then again recently, she went through a phase of screaming at the same time every night. When I say screaming, I mean screaming. Any mother will know there is a difference between fussing and screaming, and this was always a true scream.
As a mother, watching your little baby, with huge tears running down her cheeks, scream until she coughs is the absolute worst. And nothing worked during these times. We would walk her outside, push her around in a stroller, and distract her with everything we could think of: she screamed through it all.
So, at around seven o’clock on these days, we would change into comfortable clothes and get ready for the hell that waited. I would always take her first, patting her head, shushing and rocking. When it became obvious that she had only begun, I would hand her off to Kelly and then run. Usually up the stairs, on the landing, sometimes into the bathroom. And I would plug my ears. Because it made me sad to hear her and I needed to recharge for my next turn.
I just hope I learn some better coping tactics before her first break-up.
I don’t want to say her name sometimes: Oakley is an awesome name. It’s androgynous, strong and smart. It’s also extremely unique. And not unique in the “I’m going to spell this word backwards and call her that” kind of way. It’s unique in the sense that she may go her whole life and never meet another Oakley. And that’s rad.
But, it’s also unique in a way that freaks old people out. They don’t know how to react. “That’s different,” is a response we get a lot. Another is “Oh, wow.” Wow? It’s her name, not her choice in music.
So, while I am proud to paint her name over her crib and sew it on her diaper bag, there are a few times I get a little weary telling strangers. We’ll be out on the town and someone wants to compliment her gorgeousness and they’ll ask her name. I look at their short, grey hair and pearl necklace and think to myself, maybe, just this once; I’ll simply say “Sarah.”
But, I don’t. I tell them her awesome, weird name.
I thought babies could see in the dark: This thought was fleeting and it only happened once. I have only owned dogs before owning a baby. So, one night, in the car, I was completely exhausted and looking at her car seat and thought aloud, “Can she see in the dark?” To which my husband replied, “Why the hell would she be able to do that?”
I thought rice cereal meant rice cereal: In an attempt to keep O from spitting up as often, my doctor recommended putting some rice cereal in her bottle. That’s all she said: “Try adding some rice cereal to her bottle.” Well, I have never had a baby before. This is my only excuse for leaving the doctor’s office wondering if I should go with Rice Chex or Rice Crispies. I also couldn’t figure out how in the world it would dissolve in the formula.
So, I called my mother. And thank goodness I did before I tried to get my precious baby to drink her milk with a bottle full of Kellogg’s.
So, let’s hear it ladies. What kinds of stupid, inappropriate, mean or crazy skeletons do you have in your mommy closet? And, more importantly, what have you learned over the years?
Come on, don’t leave me hanging out here after that rice cereal thing.
Thanks for sticking with me, kid.