It’s been almost three months since I waddled into Winnie Palmer as a party of one and walked out as a party of two. And let me tell you. In three months of motherhood, I have been taken to school.
And the first semester was a little rough, ya’ll.
Week One Lesson Plan: Mourning Milk and Size 12 Jeans
Home from the hospital, and as it turns out, Nugget didn’t comprise all of the 25 pounds I gained during pregnancy. In fact, his contribution was more along the lines of holiday weight-gain. A little too much turkey and casserole in the big scheme of things. Unfortunately, the leftovers hung down below my belly button in what appeared to be a deflated, frontal fanny-pack made of flesh. Adding to my sex appeal, it appeared that a bobcat tried to scratch its way up my body, leaving deep purple ridges in tic-tac-toe patterns.
Go to hades, Kate Middleton. Those beautiful post baby magazine pictures should be shredded and repurposed as kindling. Or toilet paper.
The only thing beautiful about my post-baby body was the child attached to it 21/7. The other three hours I briefly detached him so I could pump for breast milk. We didn’t have a successful go-round the au natural way, so I became a human dairy cow.
You know that saying “there’s no use crying over spilt milk?” Yah—whoever created that narrative can shove it. 3 days as a mommy and 30 minutes into pumping, I’m sitting in the nursery talking with Mom. I set the little pumpy thingies on the table.
Mom: MK, you should probably not set those there. They are going to tip over.
MK: It’s fine mom. They are heavy enough with milk in them. They won’t tip over.
Mom: Okay, honey. I would just be extra careful because–
MK: MOM! I know what I’m doing, OKAY?
3, 2, 1…..
Yes, I cried over spilt milk. Ugly-faced, snot-nosed, donkey-heaving cries. To the everlasting credit of my mom, all she did was hug me as I wailed, “He’s gonna starve, momma! You TOLD me they would fall….he’s gonna STAAAAAARVE!”
No “toldcha so” necessary, I suppose.
Week Two Lesson Plan: Sleep, schmeep.
I microwaved my cereal because I thought it was oatmeal. There was a metal spoon in the bowl.
I called a veterinarian to set up an appointment for Ben’s immunizations. I was two minutes into the conversation before I realized I needed a pediatrician.
Oh. And I peed my pants. Not because I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time, but because I was so tired I forgot to pull them down.
I may regret sharing that later.
Meh, probably not. #NoShameintheMommyGame
Week Three Lesson Plan: We ALL Become “That Mom”
At three weeks it occurred to me that I’d posted roughly 50 photos/statuses on Facebook and Every. Single. One. is about my son.
How does crow taste, might you ask? Get back to me later when I’m done reading all the comments about how beautiful my child is.
Week Four Lesson Plan: The New Normal
(Sung to the tune of The Nightmare Before Christmas)
What’s this? What’s this? There’s fat rolls everywhere! What’s this? I think I’m losing hair! What’s this? There’s bags beneath my eyes, I must be dreaming, let me SLEEP this isn’t FAIR!
What. Is. THIS?
Week Five Lesson Plan: Speaking BSL (Baby as a Second Language).
Like most relationships, it takes time to learn somebody’s personality. Even a little nugget-sized human.
That cry? It means “diaper.”
That cry? It means “hungry.”
That cry? It means “tummy ache.”
Believe me, it took a lot of troubleshooting to get that information. Try shoving a bottle into the mouth of a “tummy ache” crier. You get a whole new cry.
That cry? It means “somebody get me a mommy that has a stinking CLUE.”
……Oh, and that cry? It means “get me out of this hotdog costume!”
Week Six Lesson Plan: Life as a Working Mom
Family is gone and I’m back at the job, working half-days. I’ve started a little bed time routine with Nugget (his official, adopted moniker). My favorite part is his bath.
Seriously, if Heaven created a line of baby lotion and slathered it on cherubs, and those cherubs flew amongst cotton candy clouds in the warm, floral breeze of spring…that smell would be called “Baby Ben after a Bath.”
Now on the other hand, the whole “bathing” thing was practically foreign to me at this point and it took a while to get re-acclimated.
What is this? A hot pair of oversized tweezers with a wire tail that fits into the wall? It has a blinky light!—Oh, I used to straighten my hair with it!!
I put on my makeup in the dark, trying to keep the baby asleep (as he sat on the bathroom floor, pooping in his car seat). I loaded him in the car, slid into my seat and adjusted the rear view mirror.
OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY!
My eyebrows have grown in like Oscar the Grouch and my make up looks like that clown from a Stephen King movie. I would do something about it, but Ben starts crying in his car seat.
So I start singing “This Old Man”…and it works. Between the eyebrows and the singing, I look/feel like a muppet and I’m fairly confident that Orlando traffic is staring at me. I want to roll down my window and yell at them.
ARE YOU ENTERTAAAAAAINED???????
It takes exactly 50 stanzas to get from my front door to the church.
This old man, he played 25
He has a fro and he’s Stayin Alive!
This old man, he plays 44
He acts dainty and eats petite fors.
One can get pretty creative.
Week Seven Lesson Plan: Improv
Third day of 8 hours at work and I arrive home just before 7:15. Traffic was a beast and a Florida monsoon is rolling in. I unload the car and set everything inside the front door. I return to grab Ben from his car seat only to discover that I have LOCKED house.
Option A: Wait for Ian on the front porch in a complete downpour.
*problem: Ian may not get home for 4 hours.
Option B: Doggy door.
*problem: The doggy door is behind the 7 foot gate in the backyard.
Solution: Form a papoose out of dress shirt and bra. Tuck baby into shirt-papoose, face to face with mommy. Assume the stinkbug position. Crawl through the golden retrievers’ front door.
Nanna: Oh hey mom! OH-HEY-OH-HEY-OH-HEY- LOOK—it’s the human PUPPY! Let’s sniff and lick and bark and sniff!!
Gus: BARK BARK BARK BARK
Nanna: OH HEY are you having trouble standing up?! HELP YOU! HELP YOU!
Gus: BARK BARK BARK-BARK
Nanna: Lick and wag and sniff and —-HEY!!!
As I wipe the tumbleweeds of fur from my clothes and pull Ben out from inside my shirt, I notice that a little grin has spread across his face. I am rewarded by a sudden downpour outside, and all of the sudden don’t feel like a horrible mom. Yes, it was unorthodox, but Baby and I are safe inside from the rain.
Week Eight Lesson Plan: Life Math
Here is some high math:
Ben is at daycare ten hours a day
+ my paycheck barely covers daycare
+ Ben gets sick at daycare
+ I stay home to be with Ben
+ I lose more money off my paycheck
+I reeeally miss my son
“Honey, we need to talk.”
So we tightened the belt on our budget (more like severe liposuction) and I put in my two weeks notice.
Here’s goes nothin’.
Nine Week Report Card: Cinnamon Twists and Alien Abductions
I feel like this is a good place to stop. 9 weeks was a standard assessment period most of my adolescent life. I dreaded it. I wasn’t exactly a shining beacon of public school pride. (That would be my sister: Karen Leigh, MD).
While the “A” and “A/B” Honor Roll kids were busy getting Taco Bell coupons for Free Taco, Nachos and a Medium Drink…I was lucky if I got the “Super Effort” coupon for Free Cinnamon Twists.
And really…who the H-E-C-K drives all the way to Taco Bell for Cinnamon Twists?
But I digress. If I’ve learned anything about being a mom it is this:
You can’t be too hard on yourself.
In the beginning, I aimed to keep my Little Nugget alive. Fed and Living, that was my goal.
So, yah. I set the bar high.
After a few weeks though ,I learned that not only can I sustain life–I can enrich it.
On September 30th, when my son showed up to the party, another person I didn’t yet know arrived —like an alien abduction.
Good ole MK was just a host for this Mommy Imposter. She took over my normal self kinda like that analogy of boiling a frog…slowly, slowly, cranking up the pot as I obliviously floated around.
Singing nursery songs. Changing diapers while making funny faces. Cleaning bottles and washing baby clothes.
Before I knew it, Chill ole MK was gone. This Mommy Imposter took over with fretting and stressing and worrying.
What if the car seat isn’t attached correctly? What if the daycare teacher doesn’t answer his cries quickly enough? What if I’m short-changing his future intelligence because I have to supplement with formula? Is that ACNE? What if it SCARS?? What if?
Then Witty ole MK with the funny Facebook posts bit the dust. Mommy Imposter was there, posting pictures and videos and trivial updates.
Ben just drooled! OMG ADORABLE!!!!
Ben is wearing a blue onesie!
Ben cooed when I changed his diaper! –he’s SO ADVANCED!
Mommy Imposter, who I admit can be a little annoying at times, is just doing her dangdest. She falls short like any other human, but unlike Good ole MK, she doesn’t let go of her shortcomings very quickly. Instead she stews in them, wondering what kind of devastating effect they will have on her Little One.
In short, Mommy Imposter doesn’t really deserve a bad report card. In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and suggest that most of Mommy Imposters (there are a lot of them, you see…) really need a hug and some reassurance.
We are trying to raise a generation of children who are well -adjusted and kind.
…and and and….
You know what I just realized? Good ole Mk isn’t gone at all. In fact, she’s standing in her 5th grade lunchroom, lined up by the stage and hoping to hear her name called out for the Super Effort honor roll.
Except this time, if my name is called, I’m taking that frappin’ coupon to Taco Bell and cashing it in.
I deserve it, after all.