Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why did the turtle cross the road?

In addition to adapting to my new, very dark at night, rural residence, I am also trying to adapt to being a mom. It is a very strange experience. I constantly think about the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda has her baby and when they hand him to her she says something to the effect of, “It’s like there’s a giraffe in the room.” I realized that quoting SATC and trying to pretend that it is somehow profound is mildly annoying, but it is one of the better analogies I have heard about being a brand new mom.

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, and am astounded by my own stupidity on a daily basis. How many times do you allow your infant to fling her feet into her own excrement before you start being proactive about the issue? You would be very surprised at the answer.

So today I was supervising some tummy time in Annabelle’s crib, because I feel like a much better mother when there is some sort of structured activity for the baby. Sometimes this structured activity involves me 'encouraging' her to grasp a rattle in her little hand followed by watching her smack her own head with it followed by me apologizing profusely and checking to see if anyone saw.

Currently, she is painfully close to rolling over. The amount of effort this child puts in to trying to roll over amazes me. I don’t put that much effort into anything. On one attempt she was so close that I decided to give her a little helping hand...just a little shove to give her a taste of freedom.

Let me tell you that when I gave her that little shove and she rolled from her tummy to her back, the look on her face led me to believe I had made an error. It was the unmistakable look of “WTF?” It was a look of shock that very quickly evolved into anger. It was as if she was working so hard to remain on her tummy and I just ruined everything, and possibly her entire life.

It reminded me of the time I was in high school and my friend Eric and I were driving in his minivan and passed a turtle standing the middle of the road. Eric, being the person he was, turned the minivan around so we could go back and help the turtle across the road so it wouldn’t get run over. Me, being the person I was, could have cared less but was grateful for the opportunity to have a cigarette.

Eric very kindly picked up the turtle and took it to the grassy area at the other side of the road. And then after we were back in the minivan Eric said “I really hope that we didn’t just take that turtle back to the side of the road it started from, because that would be really unfortunate.” It didn’t occur to either of us that the turtle had spent the better part of the day trying to get across the road and now would have to start that perilous journey all over again.
This afternoon, it was possible I did the same thing to Annabelle. The parenting books available do not address this subject.

To further complicate things, the dogs are not yet used to life with a baby either. Milton believes all of her stuffed animals, blankets, teethers, etc. are his own personal items. So today, as a self-serving early Christmas present, I bought Milton and Bernie their very own dog bed. I bought them a bed to share. I don’t know why I thought this would be successful. See picture at right. Poor Bernie is just happy to have a corner of the bed to place his paw on.

So today when Annabelle was working hard at, what I now believe to be the breaststroke, I was squealing words of encouragement at her. The dogs, of course, assumed I was addressing them in a high squeaky voice so they came running from their bed where they had been laying(actually Milton came from the dog bed and Bernie had to drag himself off the cold floor as demonstrated in the above photo). The dogs running in our house always results in frantic Scooby-Doo feet on the hardwood floor.

You will hear me complain about dog toenails on hardwood floors A LOT. The sound of dog nails on a wood floor has become my most deeply loathed sound on the Earth. I hate it because it occurs at its loudest and most frequent at approximately 3 o’clock in the morning, and again at 5:45. Which results in my beginning each day by saying “I hate these fu*king dogs.”

So when I squealed encouragement at Annabelle, only to learn she just wanted to be left alone, the dogs came skating at full speed into her room which ended with me standing over Annabelle with camera in hand shouting “NO! Quiet! Stop it. Lay down!” I am certain Annabelle was seconds from rolling over until those dogs ruined it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The point of all this is that it doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. I have resigned myself to the fact that when Annabelle reaches a milestone I will not have the opportunity tear up and clap my hands and say, “Honey, bring the camera!” The moment will inevitably be ruined by either a miscalculated parental intervention on my part, or by me screaming a string of obscenities at our dogs.

Incidentally Annabelle’s structured activity time apparently ends at 6:00pm because right now as I type she is lying on my bed intently watching QVC. Sigh.

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