detroit, part two

bear in mind that through all of this, i was wrangling ramona solo because jared was at a conference in toronto. i seriously don’t know how single parents do it. i’d be selling ramona for parts if i had to handle her all by myself all day every day & into the night. nighttime was the worst. at home, it’s jared’s job to put ramona to bed & get up with her in the night. we used to take turns, so obviously i have done it, but i was pretty rusty & i found it so horrible & stressful. i’m much better at handling her during the day, playing, keeping on top of her naps, reading stories, going for walks, etc. plus i was stressed about her crying waking up jessika rae (even though she said she didn’t mind, & that she’d get up to help if i needed her, & that she actually expected a lot more screaming than what she got) or her neighbors (because it’s an apartment building–at home, we have our own little house with only one neighbor).

& to top it all off, ramona was so much more difficult to handle than usual! she would cry around her bottle, she would scream if i held her in the usual shoulder hold, she completely lost her shit when i ended tummy time before she was ready (but she kept spitting up! i thought she needed a break)…she was only happy when she was being held cradled in my arms so she could look all around & walked up & down the hall like that. i thought my arms were just going to fall out of their sockets. i was also permitted to sit on the floor & hold her in a sitting position on my lap so that she could drool all over my hands. it was exhausting.


the dreaded sitting position.

 our last night in town, some of jessika rae’s neighbors decided to have a party. i guess they’re in some weird marching band & they had a big bonfire in the backyard & were running up & down the stairs, drunk & yelling all night. ramona went to sleep anyway because she’s a NICU baby & she’s not that sensitive to noise yet. but you just never known when she’s going to suddenly be affected by it, so i got jessika rae to go ask them to keep it down in the stairwell. they were like, “what? you have a baby sleeping up there? oh yeah, we’ll totally try to be quiet! we didn’t know! can you hang out & drink beers with us until she wakes up?” i had to explain that i wouldn’t know when my baby, up in the second story, was waking up if i was in the backyard drinking beers around a bonfire with a bunch of punks. they were like, “…oh yeah.” that eventually decided to move their party to some other house. so, you know what’s an even bigger party foul than putting on bruce springsteen’s “nebraska” record? having a baby hanging around.

thankfully we are back home now & things are getting back to normal. she again lost her shit completely while we were driving home from the airport, perhaps because she chose to remain awake during the flight so she could look out the window. she was really good again, no screaming or crying, but she probably should have slept.


ramona violating FAA safety regulations by sitting in an airplane seat before she can really sit up yet.

thankfully she was kind of jetlagged so she went to bed an hour earlier than usual & then she just stayed asleep. for eleven hours. it gave jared & i time to unpack, do laundry (trying to get that smoky smell out of everything), devour an entire large pizza, & even dick around on facebook a little. because, oh yeah, jessika rae didn’t have internet. it was so weird to be disconnected from the world like that. i try to read at least a few stories in the “new york times” everyday so i can be conversant in current events & not just hot topics like how many sleepers ramona drooled through this morning. but honestly, she was such a wild animal, i wouldn’t have had time to go online anyway.

it was really nice to have some quality time with jessika rae though. we hadn’t seen each other in five years. & 2013 marks ten years of friendship, so that was pretty special for us. i only hope that i didn’t bore her into an irreversible coma talking so incessantly about ramona & the birth & everything. i hadn’t really talked to her since ramona was born, so i had a LOT of baby news to catch her up on.

but oh my god, i am so relieved to be home. this week: jared’s parents come to visit! ramona meets her grandpa & nana for the first time! also, four-month check-up & vaccinations on wednesday! & i get my charlotte memorial tattoo finished on friday! oh, & jared & i have our sixth anniversary this week too! we’re hoping that his parents might be willing to do some free babysitting so we can go out to dinner or something. i joked, “maybe we’ll get to make ramona a sibling,” (gross, i know, sorry, guys) but after my week in detroit, i am wondering if ramona might be destined for the lonely life of the only child. not that i’m insane enough to intentionally get pregnant when my baby is only four months old anyway.

oh, also? we kept her in cloth diapers the whole time. i’m just gonna go ahead & give myself a little pat on the back for that one, because lord knows no one else is going to give me a trophy for doing three loads of laundry while i’m on vacation.


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

10 thoughts on “detroit, part two

  1. Well played, mama!! Travelling with a little seemed tricky when thinking about it from my couch, and you have confirmed my musings. Good on you though! And who are you travelling with cloth diapers?? I can’t even manage that at home with a tiny washer…Congrats! You have beat the level 1 cloth diapering boss! Continue to level 2!!

    So good she was fabulous on the plane! It makes the post flight meltdown almost okay, eh? My fear is baby meltdown in confined places. (Such as while breastfeeding in public washroom stall in a mall while 2 ladies were shooting up in the stall next to us…. Worstfuckingnightmare. Happened the other day…I was totally as cool as a proverbial cucumber too…)

    Now, here’s a question (as you love swimming) do you take Ramona swimming? If so, can you explain to me how you manage the after-swimming hullabaloo – getting her dressed, getting you dressed – where do you put her when your hands are full? I really want to take my little swimming but feel I need a solid game plan because she will for sure lose her shit upon exiting the pool and i will for sure panic if I don’t have a plan… And also, I feel like you won’t judge me for planning ahead….(if you haven’t taken her yet, how would you go about it? I don’t want the change room experience to ruin swimming for us, know what I mean?). Thanks!!

    1. I’ve taken my 5month old swimming twice and she was great but they have no changing table so i had to change her on the floor on a changing pad. It was kind of an ordeal getting both of us dressed and all of my stuff was wet and gross. She was completely happy the whole time but it would have been amazing to have another set of hands.
      It was worth it though because she loved the pool.

    2. i have not yet taken ramona swimming. i enrolled her in a swim class that starts in june, so i’ll have to figure out the whole mommy/baby pool thing then, but it’ll be warm then so it won’t matter if i take her home wet (especially because the pool is like three blocks from my house). i will say that when i just generally take her out (to restaurants, the airport, whatever), i don’t think twice about just laying her down on the ground. usually on my coat or hoodie or a blanket or something…but i’ve also just put her on the ground. she doesn’t roll yet so i’m not worried about her going anywhere. i imagine i’ll do the same thing at the pool to pull a simple dress on over my suit for walking home. we will see.

      honestly, the difficult part of traveling with ramona was being in such a baby-unfriendly space. if i’d been staying somewhere warmer, with more reliable hot water, & maybe a larger table, it would have been ten million times easier. & i found out later that ramona is teething, which could explain the screaming. that & the fact that we took her traveling right when she got to the developmental age where she won’t just nap as needed. & i hadn’t realized that. had i known, i would have brought a teether & some baby ibuprofen for her discomfort, & i would have been a lot more vigilant about naps from the start. but hey–lesson learned!

    1. I don’t know about other only-ist kids’ experiences, but I was hideously lonely as a child. I was an only, with no cousins and an only mon who was on the older side when she had me…I have a teeny-tiny family (mom, grandma, aunt) and they are all 67+ now and I just turned 30. It sucks for my kids too, as they won’t have any cousins (or much familial connection on my side by the time they’re old enough to forge a good connection)…

      Everyone needs to make decisions about family size based on what works best for them – and I’m sure my experience is not the norm, but I really want to give my daughter sibs, as her extended family is bound to be small (no cousins on her dad’s side either and his folks are older too). On the otherhand, good family is all about quality, not quantity right? Haha..


      1. thanks for weighing in on your perspective. i know kim has an only child, so maybe she’s feeling a bit defensive about it?

        i really don’t know if we’ll have more or not. on the one hand, i LOVE having a baby & would love to have another…maybe several more. but on the other hand, i definitely don’t want more than one in diapers at the same time, so we’re looking at waiting at least three years…& i’ll be 36 then. & ramona was hard enough to conceive when i was 32, you know? so more than one may not actually be an option for us. we’ll see.

    2. i think the hyperbolic nature of the statement makes it obvious i was joking. though it’s certainly true that some only children are lonely & wish they had siblings. (just as some people with siblings wish they were only children.)

      1. I not only have an only child, but I was an only child until the age of 10. At that time my step-mother gave birth to my half-brother. He died at age 5, and about four months later my half-sister was born. My mother never had any other children, so I remained her only child.

        Given that I am 15 years older than my half-sister and left home at the age of 18, she essentially grew up as an only child. We are not close; she sleeps with a gun and votes Republican. I do not. Although I had nine cousins on my dad’s side, we all grew up in different states and have not had much contact since our grandmother died in 1995. I have four cousins who are 15 to 25 years younger than me on my mother’s side, two of which I have never met. They all live in North Carolina – where, I do not know.

        Having family is no guarantee for close relationships. My husband’s four older siblings tend to drive him crazy at times and all hell broke loose when their mother died. While I did have problems when it came time to bury my own mother, having no other siblings made things simpler to deal with. And frankly, I would not wish my childhood on any other living soul – my mother had mental health issues. It wasn’t awful, but it was hard, and another child might not have been as resilient as I was.

        I wouldn’t say I’m “defensive” about this, I just don’t like to see people judged by a label. I will concede that I am more introverted than most, but I have never felt lonely. And I hate for women to feel pressured to have children. The minute I had my daughter, people started asking me when I was going to “try for the boy.” UGH. Unbeknownst to them, my daughter was the result of my SECOND pregnancy – I miscarried my first and was damn lucky to get through my second.

        Last, but not least, my daughter likes being an only child. Granted it’s the only life she knows, but she observes the drama in larger families and is grateful she doesn’t have to deal with the same.

        1. i have two siblings & we are not terribly close. we get along all right, but they seems to be closer to each other than either is to me. so i am well aware that having siblings or other close family doesn’t mean that you will have a friend for life. i don’t know how i would feel if i was an only child, but i do like the fact that i have siblings, even if we are not the kind of siblings who visit each other & talk on the phone regularly (or at all–i don’t think i’ve had a meaningful phone conversation with either one in six or seven years). i am so divorced from my childhood since i left ohio, since my dad died when i was only 22, & since my mom is fucking crazy, it’s nice that there are two other people in the world that went through the same stuff & get what i’m talking about without having to have anything explained.

          i think i would like to have at least one more child (not right away, i’d prefer to wait until ramona is out of diapers), but less for ramona’s sake than just because i really enjoy ramona & i’d like to do this whole mom thing again. i already miss the newborn baby stage & ramona isn’t even five months old yet. & if i did have more than one child & they grew up to be friends with each other (as my partner is friends with his brother), so much the better! but if it doesn’t work out–ramona was difficult enough to conceive–that’s okay too. i think only children can be perfectly happy & well-adjusted, & i enjoy her so much, i won’t feel like i am missing anything.

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