It’s quite disorienting to live in fear of a 22 inch, 10 pound baby. I creep around his bassinette at night, cringing at the smallest creek of the floorboards and nudging Z at the slightest hint of a snore. My eyes and ears sense the baby monitor intensely during nap time, my shoulders tensing at every whimper Ike makes and my heart dropping when all the lights glow red, indicating an unhappy and uncooperative babe. My life is currently ruled by a 1-month old dictator who often wakes up with drool tracks leading to crusty hair plastered to the back of his head.
These things are disorienting because I haven’t had to deal with them in years. I find myself eating as if I’m still pregnant, like a retired NFL player who continues to dine as if he were on an active roster. All the nutrients Ike has been getting are courtesy of Veggie Straws and Little Debbies. My belly is soft and pudgy and I’m unsure how to dress it, so I hide it with loose shirts and even looser sweaters. Crying it out – a method I believe in especially because of my proclivity to spoil and dote – feels like an exercise in infantile torture in spite of my beliefs in its efficacy. Still, I pace and wring my hands whenever we’re counting down the minutes as Ike rallies against the sandman.
As I’ve said before, time unoccupied by Connor’s needs, Ike’s needs, or housework is time suspended like a bubble floating in the air – I stare at it in childish awe while remaining fixed, unsure how to act upon it or if action is even necessary. The phrase “I need a hobby” has reentered my life, as if watching tv and digging into a bag of chips at 11:00 o’ clock at night aren’t real past times. “I need to cut myself some slack” is another phrase that has been bouncing around in my mind, but that one typically gets ignored unless I notice my hair is exceptionally disheveled at work or I’ve left the house in clothes covered in baby shmurp.
Regardless of all of that, I have started to find true love with Ike. It’s taken several weeks because I didn’t feel that immediate warmth at birth, but it’s there now, running with the frustrations of his hit-and-miss nap times and struggles at bedtime. Love truly saves us all.