In the parking lot of a mini mall, a well dressed, well put together (clean) woman saunters by with a newborn tied in a mai-tai (baby hawk) carrier, looking totally comfortable together. Kate misses seeing the mom tie the baby carrier on, but the baby is peaceful and asleep, so much so, that the mom shops slowly and deliberately in the second hand store...
In the grocery or target or wherever, it seems millions of parents are there WITH THEIR BABIES-- most in car seats, some (once sitting) in nifty little germ protecting nests of brightly colored cotton... nearly all are peaceful.
Coffee shop-- women with babies, sitting and talking, their babies asleep in carriers or on laps or nursing or in car seats. How is this possible?
All of which I am now considering to be evidence of some serious parenthood MYTHOLOGY on the hoof.
Well, in my real life, I have a baby that does not like to be put down, ever, for longer than a few minutes... I cannot soothe her like Doug does unless it involves one of my (borrowed and enhanced) body parts... In the carrier, I need to be in motion. HOW do people do this?
So, the other day, to celebrate 3 weeks, I took Della out in the car. Just the two of us. I live in a drive-to place, since we live sticks (I envy Sprogblogger's walk-to city life sometimes).... so I bundled Della into the car seat, wrestled the car seat into my sub-compact for the first time with an actual baby in it (I have an old Scion Xa that has 5 doors. 5 doors = forethought no kidding, I really thought about the baby seat issue even way back when, but shallow back seat is NOT amenable to giant Graco seat base or seat, which will only get bigger as she does...)
We drove for about 45 minutes, around the block. There was some crying but none of it was mine.
Then home safely.
Last week, Doug and Della and I took a ride that required that I nurse in the car in parking lots, twice. And I needed to learn to tie on the mai tai myself while sitting in the passenger seat (awkward but not at all awful). Doug did the turbo cold weather back seat diaper change. We did take his bigger car since mine will not allow a passenger any comfort when the baby seat is in the car.
There was some crying, but none of it mine.
Today I am hoping to do this:
I am hoping to have the umph to bundle Della into the car seat, wrestle the car seat into my car, drive downtown (15 minutes) and bring her into a coffee shop with me (in my arms or in a front carrier), order something (tea? I am currently off of soy, and therefore also off of my occasional soy chai lattes to see if I can help Della's stomach be calmer). Back into the car and back here.
Friday, I will do a solo trip that includes nursing in parking lots at least once, and at least one diaper change ... and this is after our Dr appointment where I will do something similar but with Doug as my wingman.
Incremental baby steps, out into the world. Learning learning learning. I am not sure how long (if ever) it will take to feel comfortable or remotely competent or capable. This seemingly simple stuff is really surprisingly hard.
Days pass where I literally do not step out of the house (which for me is nutty).
So today or tomorrow I hope to take a walk alone, even though it is long underwear cold with a biting wind. Start the incremental treks up my hill that I somehow equate with mental stability. I don't have clearance to exercise but I can walk. So I will walk uphill. Slowly. Until I realize I need to stop.
B--although we have walked, I have yet to hike with Della since she does not quite have the stamina (nor do I, I bet). And even in the front mai tai carrier, I am not sure how to dress her to be warm enough but not too warm since our bodies are against one another. Hats and hoods just fall into her eyes (her hair is like teflon), zipped up jackets end up biting her under her chin.
And thank you for the moby offer, but I think we're good. I am open to a cast off Ergo carrier though-- anyone? Pretty much dislike the Bjorn, but love its simplicity.
I am stuck by just how much feels foreign. How do I.....?
But somehow, we do. We all do.
We figure out how to stick needles in our bellies. Over and over and over.
We learn new languages.
We show up for weird invasive procedures. And then show up and do it again. And again.
We use GPSs to find our way to new clinics.
We get creative with finances and debt.
We somehow do foreign and crazy things each step of the way, don't we?
And we do it. We just do. Because it matters to us so much.
We figure out how.
So, if I can just get Over It, and realize (with my actual non intellectual self) that this not knowing is a life long thing, and expected, and totally ok, and all will be fine....
just try it, figure it out, if the baby cries, you can leave a 2o on the table and walk out.
If the baby cries you can leave a cart full of groceries.
If the baby cries you can turn around and go home, make another choice, change your mind, adapt to the situation.
OF COURSE THIS IS TRUE.
So I wonder why it is so hard to remember it?
It is because I have images of competent women mothering in the world and figured you either are or aren't and I fear I know what category I am in?
Thanks culture, I appreciate that.
Sort of a marthastewarting of the parenting process.
no poop just gold dust and (well arranged) flowers.
(It is not culture's fault really, it is mine for buying into it even a little, subconsciously, unconsciously, in spite of my advanced age and all that I know to be true- just enough to feel like I must be doing it wrong)
Isn't it interesting what mythologies we create for ourselves? What impossibilities we set out for ourselves to never be able to live up to? (dangling participles notwithstanding?)
So yes, finding my way. And yes, this is oddly about me. Della will be Della, she is not tied up in oughts and shoulds. Hope I can allow myself to move more and more toward her way of being, which is so blissfully unfettered and weighted down by expectations and assumptions. Her way of being is just that: BEING.
She may be my littlest teacher, but her voice is mighty.