Feb 22, 2013

Just Like Old Times.....

I have been a bad blogger.  Well, it's winter, and as you know I would rather be hibernating.

Recently, I kept both Abigail and 4 month old Adriana while their parents went out for a few hours.  We are calling Adriana "Rose", and she is quite fetching.  She is at the age where if you happen to catch her eye, she grins and it spills out of her, washes all the way down and she giggles and waves her hands and feet.  I am, naturally, very taken with her.

We got a long famously...... until we didn't.  She may have been hungry, I don't really think so, but as she didn't settle down, I warmed up a bottle.  This is no small feat when you are dealing with frozen breast milk, but I got it ready and offered it to her.

Bless her little heart, she has so far learned that when she wants her mother, and therefore to be fed, all she has to do is cry a little.  Well, she cried, I offered her the bottle, and she cried some more.  Abigail dove into action and performed all her tricks.  Her tricks did not work either.  That night Rose learned an important life lesson which was captured perfectly by the Rolling Stones in the song You Can't Always Get What You Want.

Miss Rose ratcheted herself up louder and louder.  She got to the point where she was stiff as a board, she made little fists, and she screamed for all she was worth.  Personally I had to admire her tenacity.  This girl already shows signs of deep commitment and the courage of her convictions.  I think she is going to be one to watch.  She doesn't give up easily and compromise is not yet in her repertoire.

At one point, early on, Abigail started screaming too, I guess figuring that she was speaking her sister's language.  I got that stopped.  Abigail decided she would brush my hair "for" me at this point, and I let her. I was holding screaming Rose, bouncing on the edge of the bed, and when Abigail brushes your hair, you are not allowed to turn your head. It went along pretty good until I turned my head and she caught the brush in my earring.  No harm done, but no more brushing my hair either.

Poor Shadow, who you may already know pretty much runs this house, about lost her mind.  I wish I would have thought to take a picture of her eyes because they were pouring empathy out by the bucketful.  She would look at the baby and then look at me, like "What should we do?  Why don't you know what to do?"  Jack just laid on the floor and sighed a lot.

At one point My Youngest Baby got up and said "I can't take this", and I actually laughed out loud.

When this happened with my own babies, I felt just like poor Shadow, which is to say, I felt like I should be able to figure it out and stop it immediately.  You get better with practice, of course, and by the time the twins were born I was much better at it.  But My Youngest Baby was a child who could not settle down if he could see or hear ANYTHING.  I finally figured out that if I put him in the bassinet, draped a receiving blanket over the top so that he could not see any visual stimulants, and then rolled him in by the dishwasher that the gentle WHOOSH.......WHOOSH.......WHOOSH of it would lull him to sleep.  I once saw a commercial for a dishwasher that made no noise (so they said) and thought that would be a bad choice.  It would have been for me, anyway.  I told him that story and he looked at me like there was no way that could possibly be true.

About 20 minutes into the end of the world as we know it, I called Rose's mom and Daddy told me that Rose prefers her bottles warmer than I probably realized.  It turned out that he was right.

By this time I was sweaty, Rose was sweaty, the dogs, twins, and Abigail were stressed, and all I could do was be glad that I could handle this.  This was not my first rodeo.  It made me remember what was, in reality, the most miserable time of my life fondly.  Not unlike a seasoned soldier looks back at boot camp.  Yeah, it was terrible, but you survived it and just look at you now!  You can do this, and you know you can do this.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Or like how much you hated going to school until you had to get a real job, when all of a sudden you would give anything to go back to that place and do it over.
I was equal to the task.  I am like a baby screaming ninja now.  I saw her screaming and raised her a bottle that was not quite hot but much warmer than I thought it should be.  And she folded.  After 35 minutes of giving it all she had, she learned the art of compromise.

The silence was deafening.  Everyone's shoulders went down about 2 inches, and that baby went to sleep like an angel.  I laid her down in the cradle that my own babies slept in and sighed a contented sigh.

Around midnight, she rolled over, or maybe just moved her hand.  In any case, she made a noise and I shot out of bed like the ninja I now am and got a bottle all ready.  Defrosted and too hot (for me) but just right (for her), I was ready.  The only one up in  my quiet house, I waited. I thought about reading but didn't want to wake my brain completely up. It's a fine line between getting up and doing what you have to do and being able to go right back to sleep.  One I apparently have still to master.

I waited so long that the bottle was no longer the right temperature.  I stood over her and observed her closely.  She was out like a light.  I waited some more.  I put the bottle in hot water to keep it warm.  The water cooled, and still she did not move.  Her parents came home and she slept on.  I felt, for some reason, like she had one-upped me, and if I went back to bed she would have her revenge, so I waited some more.  After an hour I started calculating how much sleep I was missing and finally I went back to bed, still believing that she would wake up as soon as I drifted off.  Then I remembered that I did this same exact thing with my first child.  If I would have just left him alone, I would have gotten a lot more sleep!

Well, that baby slept right through until 4 am and the only one who was really happy with that was her mother.  She said she never did that for her.  I laughed and said "She never has to do that with you, you're the mother!!"

I guess the lesson is that no matter how good you are, you are never really in control of anything.  Better to be ready, of course, but don't be surprised if what you are ready for doesn't ever happen.  Oh, and roll with the punches, because I can promise you they will keep coming.  But you will get better with practice, and there is no finish line, or ceremony, or prize that you can keep on a shelf and show your friends.

Mothers don't need that kind of recognition, not really.  Mothers know that no one judges them as harshly as they themselves do, and that no one will ever know the victories they win.  All you can do is the best you can, and that is enough.  More than enough, sometimes, even if you are the only one who ever know it.