I think if I ever move toward publication, perhaps an e-book or two, I’ll start with the sentiments from this post from October 2008. Most of my content is written. The first year of motherhood is entirely transforming. I want to tell my frazzled self in this post what some of the folks who commented did – girl you’ve got this. All of this? Normal. Embrace and learn… some day she’ll be three and a half and the best snuggler ever.
“Why are you going to a coffee shop?” My husband asks as I quickly grab the coffee shop essentials: journal, Bible, one or two books, and my laptop. “For my sanity,” I reply. JD was asking because he knows a small fortune is donated to coffee shops out of our paycheck each month. This morning’s iced coffee will come out of my birthday money though. I need it. Ellie tricked us into thinking she would sleep through the night for good, and then a week later began waking up around two or three each morning, hungry as all get out. This confuses me because I am pretty sure she just had a growth spurt. Unless she has growth spurts every two weeks, she isn’t due for another month or so.
Back to the drawing board. I’m not really sure why I ever leave. Just when some sort of normalcy begins to settle into our day, Ellie up and changes everything. This is motherhood. Well, this is motherhood with El. I don’t know about other mothers. Probably they have their babies all figured out and know just why their baby might be screaming at the top of their lungs in the middle of nap time or waking up at the hours God created for rest. Probably. Probably not, though. Because if I’m the only mom constantly calling my mom or mother in law or consulting the books or calling the doctor after four harmless spit ups, then I need to turn in my license. You know, the license they give you to be a mom just after delivering a watermelon out of your nostril while you stand outside the hospital on the sidewalk convinced that your entire bottom is going to fall off. Where did I put that license anyway? Oh wait, THEY DON’T GIVE YOU ONE.
Motherhood is a good deal of instinct. It’s also a good deal of trial and error. Sometimes the hardest part is learning to be ok with the error. Like maybe I should stop telling Jess that I ruined my child from cuddling by promptly putting her into her crib at nap time when she born. She’s fairly great at taking naps, but try to sit with her and rock her in a chair and she’ll chew your head off. Literally. This is all very disconcerting to a parent. It hurts our feelings a bit, as if our three month old is already out to get us and prove us wrong in everything we say and do. This morning Ellie was just starting to get tired and JD took her to the rocking recliner for a bit of cuddle time. Yeah right dad. The second he sat down she began screaming bloody murder, but JD was determined to rock and cuddle his daughter, and so for about forty five seconds he rocked, she screamed, and then he obliged.
It’s personality, I’m told. Awesome. I don’t know what this means. Maybe I should buy ear plugs.
Of course, there are the tender moments too, like when you first walk into her room in the morning and she gets so excited to see your face that her entire body goes into little happy convulsions and you are convinced that if she flapped her arms a little bit harder she’d fly right up to you. Or while she nurses and latches off just to give you a great big smile, a slight chuckle, and then latch right back on and off and on and off until mom pretends to ignore her so she will finish eating. Or just after eating when she smiles real big and says “geeeee” until you say “geeee?” back and then you create your own little mommy/daughter language (this is the only time I use baby talk – I promise).
These are the moments I cling to. The moments that tell me I must be doing something right amidst all the “oopses.” Motherhood is a great deal instinct, a great deal trial and error, but mostly motherhood is a constant state of extravagant love, labored through, worked out, stretched, tested, and purified… love.