i wrote last night about how time-consuming babies are, using the example that ramona sometimes comes between me & my desire to brush my teeth. this is the kind of thing i remember reading a lot back when i was pregnant. “i forgot to eat lunch again!” “it’s truly amazing how long you can hold your pee when you have no choice.” you know, that kind of thing. & i thought, “oh, that won’t happen to me. those ladies must just not be very good at time management. or maybe they have a really laborious way of brushing their teeth.”
well, allow me to elaborate for the sake of the still-pregnant & otherwise childless among us. it is impossible to comprehend how time-consuming a baby is until you have one. today was a good day for ramona & i–she struck a nice balance between being awake & interested in hanging out, eating well, & napping enough to allow to me to get a lot done. but in order to “get a lot done” while she was napping, i really had to set some priorities & bust my hump, & all it takes is one ill-advised internet rabbit hole & the next thing you know, you’ve squandered your entire day & it’s 6pm & you still have oatmeal teeth from breakfast & all you had for lunch was a granola bar & a packet of emergen-c.
jared headed up to school at 11am, but he missed the bus, so i offered to drive him. i had to go to the craft store anyway to buy a frame for the valentine ramona had made him (with some help from mommy).
pretty gorgeous, right? unfortunately, i used a slightly textured paper, & those glitter letters are really heavy. they keep falling off. i’m hoping that framing it will press the letters against the glass & keep them from falling off, or if they do fall off, they will at least collect in the frame, rather than falling behind jared’s desk. i mean, i think jimmy hoffa is back there. it’s just a no-man’s land.
so ramona & i went to the craft store. she was in the moby, but now that she’s so good at holding her head up & being awake, she decided to hold her head up & be awake, & then she started crying. so i was that lady with the crying baby in the craft store. i let her suck on my finger for a while & thankfully, she fell asleep.
but she woke up with a vengeance when we got home & started SCREAMING for a bottle & a diaper change. i had picked up lunch on my way home, but did ramona give me a chance to eat it? no, she did not. i tried to kind of prop her bottle against me & hold ramona in one hand & eat with the other, but the bottle kept slipping & it was a disaster. & yes, i know, all the baby literature says that if you must bottle feed, you should never prop the bottle. the baby needs to feel bonded to you while it eats! whatever, man. ramona could feel bonded to me by virtue of the fact that we were both trying (& failing) to have some lunch.
i patted her back for a while after that & read the “new york times”. i try to keep up with current events so i have more to talk about than, you know, how my baby responded to her most recent bath or whatever.
i decided to take a chance & lay sleepy ramona down on the table so i could pump. because this is the awesome thing about exclusive pumping: it’s really time-consuming. you have to pump, store the milk, rotate the milk, label the milk, wash the pump parts, wash the bottles, fix the bottles, warm the bottles, feed the baby…blargh. ramona woke up, but thankfully, she was willing to roll around & coo while i pumped. she gave me just enough time to put everything in the fridge & then she started wailing again. i changed her again, gave her a bottle, & patted her. she did not want to nap this time. she wanted to prop herself up on my shoulder & then pitch herself backward. i positioned myself so that she just threw herself into the couch when she did this & let her have at it while i uploaded photos to the internet & attempted to balance my checking account & pay bills with one arm. eventually i had to pee so i risked putting her on the table again.
amazements of amazing, she fell asleep! so i was able to wash everything from my pump session, finally brush my teeth (it was like 3pm by this point), fix my bun from where it had started coming down at the craft store, moisturize my hands (because washing pump parts & bottles like fifteen times a day gives a person severely dry hands–if you only saw my hands, you’d think i was the crypt keeper), & even write in my journal! it’s pretty rare for ramona to give me enough downtime that i can write in my journal.
then she woke up again & needed another diaper. i offered her a snack but she wasn’t interested. in fact, once she was dry & had played with her rhino rattle for a while, she fell asleep again.
now THIS was a true treasure: i was able to grab a shower while she slept on the table! this is another thing the baby books advise against. after all, if she had suddenly learned how to roll over, she could have rolled right off the table & gotten hurt. or she could choke on spit up or get her arm caught in something or who the fucks knows all the ridiculous things that can happen to babies when you turn your back on them for five seconds so you can selfishly attend to your own needs. whatever, man. i took that shower. but i raced through it so much that i knocked jared’s glass soap holder off the shelf & it shattered all over the bathroom. & just as i stepped out of the shower, my phone rang (it was the company i rent my breast pump from, reminding me that it’s due for renewal) & that woke ramona up & she started screaming. so i had to take the call, renew the pump, finish getting dressed, heat up another bottle, & let ramona snack again before i could clean up the glass.
are we getting the picture yet? i hope i’m not making baby care sound really tedious. it probably is to some people, but i really don’t mind it. i like hanging out with ramona. even though she’s only three months old, i think she’s really fun & funny. but it is pretty rough to have to race through your day, trying to fit in all your regular adult responsibilities or interests in between diaper changes & feedings. i don’t even get a break at night because ramona still wakes up at least once for a diaper & bottle, & i have to pump. i haven’t actually slept through the night in nearly a year (because when i was pregnant, i was getting up as many as ten times a night–literally–to pee).
i just tell myself that everything takes as long as it takes, ramona is only a baby once so i should slow down & enjoy my time with her, & that of course it’s unrealistic to think there’s really any prayer of just plugging baby care into the life i used to have. a baby changes everything. & at a certain point, you look up & realize that it’s almost 9:30pm & you should really start getting the little rascal ready for bed before she snoozes too long in her bouncy chair & refuses to sleep in her crib until 1am.