Here we are again. It’s Monday. The dishes are overflowing, clutter fills every horizontal space and the to-do list haunts me.
We rush out the door first thing to make it to the gym in time for our reserved daycare hour. I don’t want to go today but childcare is limited so it gets booked two weeks ago. I head to the weight room and the elyptical thingies. So boring. I would love a Zumba class or something but none work with the nap routine. And I have an out of control phobia of the pool, so I put on my headphones and This American Life or Freakanomics. Ira Glass is probably my closest friend.
We make it home just in time for the nap. Hunger waits. She cried on the drive home, there was a brief pause while I carried her in but she wails again as I put down for a fresh diaper. This time it has that defeated ring to it. “I’ve been trying to tell you for 15 minutes, I need to be in your arms and now you’re putting me down again!?!” she says… I nurser her to sleep and stroke her sweet baby legs. Today I am lucky – she is out in 20 minutes and stays asleep for nearly an hour and a half. Other days I am there the entire time, often 2 hours, trying to escape every 10 minutes.
I spend the time trying to figure out where to start and settle on whatever jumps out at me first. There’s probably something much more important I should do first but who knows what it is…I try and fail to be that organized. I hear her cry just as I am delving into the dishes. I take off my gloves. I take off my apron. I take off my shoes. She’ll probably want to nurse and snooze another 30 minutes.
When we get back out to the living room I probably ought to make her lunch but there are so many dirty dishes I can’t think straight let alone consider making space on the counter to put lunch together. Luckily we have balloons left over from the party yesterday. I know they will be a hit and sure enough, she’s playing and I slip off to do the dishes. Back on go the gloves and the apron…But she is sooo cute. I can’t just spend my days ignoring my baby, so I watch for a second. But I should capture this moment! The grandparents want videos. Off go the gloves. Where’s the phone? Oh yeah. Go get the phone. Take a video. I’ll upload that someday…Back on go the gloves. The balloons, thank God, keep her entertained til the dishwasher is going.
But now she’s fussing again. It makes me sad because I know she is bored and lonely. I wish we were in a tribe with a gang of kids and some elders to watch them. I would gladly do all the work…She is still fussing fussing fussing. That word does not properly convey the high pitched nails on a chalk board squeal and cry of frustration and disappointment. Nothing does. It makes me want to break things. So impulsively I am putting her in the stroler and we head for the park. At least there we can strike up brief and shallow conversations with strangers we’ll never see again. That always cheers me up.
No, no it doesn’t. But at least Ellie is distracted. For about 60 seconds. Again she wants up. Have I mentioned how heavy she is? It’s been a while since our 9mo check up, she was 28lbs three months ago. Imagine picking up and holding 30+ lbs in your arms on and off all day. It’s really heavy.
So we go back to our blanket and sit down. And she cries. And I want to cry. But I choke it back. Nothing like almost crying in public to make you feel alone. We’ll try the swing. She hates it. I struggle to get her back out. It’s impossible. 30lbs tangled in a swing – this is great for my still recovering pelvic floor, let me tell you.
She is happy to toddle around a bit now. So I pick a spot near some other moms and take a breath. I ask a woman about her carrier. Her other kid is doing something dangerous, off she goes. I suppose I should have arranged a play date for this exact moment, a week ago. We had a group going for a little while but I guess the nap routines aren’t lining up right now. It was always a little strange any way, most of us hardly knew each other. And even though you can immediately lock on to a conversation about baby led weaning it’s been hard for me to really make friends that way.
For a couple weeks now I have been trying to set up a babysitting exchange. I posted about it in the Facebook play date group. I texted a few moms in my neighborhood who I have been trying to build a relationship with. Finally I put it out to a bigger FB group. I have a couple appointments with complete strangers to talk about leaving my child with them. Probably a good idea. Not to worry, we keep having to reschedule due to sick kids etc.
I check my watch, oh thank God, almost time for the next nap. This is the most precious and important time in my life and I am counting the seconds until it is over. It’ll get better they say. Soon she’ll grow up and you will miss picking her up they say. And I know they are right. I love this sweet girl more than anything, she has exploded my heart with love. But I suppose because of that I am that much more affected by how contrived and empty this way of life is…