Monday, November 22, 2010

Veteran

I have a distinct memory of attending my Bible study only a couple of weeks after Nate was born. I was taking him with me, of course, and was one of several women sitting around the table in my small group with an infant along. At some point I needed to do something with my hands, so I crossed my left ankle over my right knee, creating a little triangular bed for Nate, and laid him in my lap for a few moments.

It was a move I hadn't tried before, but I'd seen Arwen do it plenty of times. It must be kind of a veteran mom move, though, because the woman sitting next to me immediately asked me how many other children I had. She was surprised when I told her that Nate was my first. I guess I looked like I had things under control.

It's funny that I remember that moment, because looking back at the first several months of Nate's life, it seems like a blur of being entirely out of control--and not in a healthy, "go with the flow and just meet your kid's needs" kind of way. More in a "sleep-deprived haze punctuated by yelling at my husband for no reason" kind of way. In other words, it was ugly.

I remember the way Nate would always poop or spit up on his outfit just as we were ready to leave the house. I remember feeling like it was almost impossible to go anywhere, because he was just going to need to nurse again in less than the time it would take to run an errand. I remember absolutely loathing that stupid infant carrier, which was heavy and awkward and never did fit properly in a shopping cart.

I remember crying--a lot--and wondering whether I would ever feel like I had this motherhood gig down.

I'm not sure when I turned the corner. Maybe it was when Nate started sitting up on his own, so that he could play a little bit by himself. More likely it was when he finally started sleeping better. Regardless, I wish my earlier self could see me now. I actually enjoy taking Nate on errands or to restaurants. I'm completely happy to let him play on his own for as long as he'll be entertained. I know what he wants and needs--usually--and I'm just good at taking care of him.

I'm beginning to feel like that veteran mom I was mistaken for over a year ago. It feels really, really good.

4 comments:

Brooke said...

You've always seemed a "veteran mom" to me. I always appreciate your great advice and insight.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

Yeah! I'm so glad to hear how well it is going!

I am back in the trenches, and this post reminds me that one day -- maybe not for a little while -- but one day, I'll get back in the groove.

claire said...

My son is almost 3, but I find that I get treated differently because of only having one child. People act like I'm naive, and it drives me crazy because while I have my insecurities as any mother does, I feel fairly competent.

Erica said...

I know how you feel!