Got Beer?

9.01.08 Baby's 16th Week


If this post is incoherent, blame the beer I'm drowning my sorrows in. It's 8 pm and I'm sitting at my desk with a beer and a pretzel rod, cowering before the baby monitor and wondering who gave my child a triple espresso. When I catch this person, I will keep them awake--and on their feet, and bouncing, while someone shrieks directly into their ears--for a very, very long day. Aaron's out tonight, and for dinner all I could manage was to scarf down leftover Turkish salad that I made yesterday, a handful of chocolate chips, and the aforementioned beer and pretzel. The only thing I cooked was a pot full of pacifiers that had fallen on the floor.

When I blog about the things I feel down about I wonder if I'm contributing anything useful, or just burdening readers with my troubles? I felt this way when I shared my birth story too, which didn't unfold as I'd hoped. Now that I think of it, the day I was in labor doesn't seem as long or as trying as the day I just spent with my infant insomniac. At least then I knew what I was supposed to do, sort of, and I didn't have to sit around wondering which of the infinite advice-givers to give credence to this time.

It's interesting to look back at what I've written from the perspective I have now. It gives me hope that in a short (please!) while I'll be equally circumspect about all Leo's crying and mysterious, miserable daytime wakefulness. But first, there's tonight, and then there's tomorrow. Etcetera. Over dinner last night, when Aaron was the one who needed a beer, I cheerfully reminded him that this is our life. Not some "special time" where we have immunity from trouble and woe. Get real.

So we have a baby. And he's getting more and more adorable by the day, with soft, fuzzy hair like a little chick, a winning smile of pure toothless wonder, and the biggest blue eyes that ever stayed open for hour after hour after hour... It's tempting to think that with such a wonderful creature in our midst, we'd all be allowed to just sit around and admire each other. But there's reality.

There's my reality of trying to freelance, figure out childcare, and fathom the depths of Leo's needs. There's Aaron's reality of struggling with his work and constantly transitioning from the demands of the office to the demands of home. And then there's Leo's reality, where eating and sleeping seem much more complicated than we can begin to understand, and the extent of his not knowing what he needs or how to get it is overwhelming to all of us.

Why do we think babyhood should be easy and cheerful? Is it because it becomes that way later in the first year? Or because some babies (and thereby their parents) have it easy? Or is it because we take so many darn pictures? In the pictures that I snap all week, Leo is clutching a stuffed turtle with delight, wriggling around on a blanket in the park, wearing adorable new overalls, scrutinizing his mobile with wonder, or staring at me and Aaron with a look of pure love.

Oh right, that's the one. Pure love. Our reality right now is no more or less perfect than it ever was, but it is infused with a love unlike any we've known. A love that winds through and around my and Aaron's love for each other and changes everything. It's not an easy time, but it really is a special time. Imagine: a love strong enough to make us endure days like today. A love strong enough to erase the hardships of today by tomorrow morning, when we will all be so happy to see each other that we'll just lie in bed together cuddling and smiling, feeling cheerful and taking it easy.

Turkish Salad