I can't believe that I'm actually in charge of a baby. Who let this happen?
Things sort of came to a head yesterday afternoon when I got home from a very nice lunch engagement to find Chris not at work, and not in his office, but in bed, either having a bad reaction to an allergy pill or sick with some kind of nasty bug. I was exhausted from walking to and from the lunch, Gwen was screaming because she hadn't had a nap yet, and to top things off I was supposed to be heading out to see a friend. I called the friend to cancel, got Gwen down for a nap, and then lay down myself with my invalid husband.
To talk about - what else? - baby poop.
Seriously, I never understood what a constant topic this would be. But ultimately, when you are in charge of a creature whose only methods of feedback on health are weight and poop, you spend a lot of time thinking and talking about these two things.
I won't bore you with the actual conversation, but it led to the revelation that when I decided to have a child, I somehow hadn't thought about being the guardian of someone's physical health. I thought a lot about the socialization aspects, about how to teach a child the things I thought were important in life. I daydreamed about sharing special times together, about enjoying each other and building common interests. I never thought about the fact that I would have to take my own habits and beliefs about health care, add in a person who can't talk to tell me how they feel, and somehow produce not only a wonderful person but a healthy one. How'd I miss that?
The other thing about having a kid is - there's no way out. I know you're all nodding along like, Well, duh, but hear me out. I'm a quitter. I have a lot of things that I'm really good at, all of which I have a natural aptitude for. Never in my life have I worked and practiced to acquire a skill. The things I have to work for, I just don't do, because I hate spending time on something I'm bad at when I could just stick to the things I'm good at. And sometimes, I question whether I'm any good at this parenting thing - when she's had a case of thrush that's been going on for nearly a month, and her poops look weird, and she's not gaining weight*, and I'm just not totally sure what is the right thing to do. I don't like that feeling - I like being confident.
A couple of weeks ago when my mom was here she got sick with what looked like the Norovirus, and Chris and I got pretty worried that we were going to get it again too. Breastfeeding at that time was just starting to not hurt, and at one point I threw my hands in the air and said, "If I get the Norovirus again, that's it, I just quit." But short of abandoning my baby in a subway station, I kind of can't quit. I have to keep doing this, every day, making these decisions blindly, hoping for the best and trying to learn bit by bit. The kind of shit I usually despise.
The weird thing is, I somehow find it kind of liberating.
PS: While I may be growing as a person, I am also shrinking. My wedding ring fits again today, for the first time since November. Hooray, I'm married!
*I called the Nurse Line on a whim to see if they had any brilliant advice. I really shouldn't have bothered. All they do is type your statements into a computer and bring up some matches on their database - the guy didn't tell me anything I couldn't get from Google. With one exception.
He told me I should feed Gwen more often. When asked how many times a day I fed her, I kind of balked as this is a fairly meaningless question. She sleeps for about 15 hours a day, and I maybe spend 1 hour a day changing her diaper and making googly faces at her. Other than that, I'm feeding her. That's about 8 hours a day. Let's see - morning feed, post-morning-nap feed, post-afternoon-nap feed, pre-bedtime feed, and two middle-of-the-night feeds ... that's five times a day. He suggested I bump that up. "You're only feeding her every four hours," he told me. "Well, yes, but I feed her for three hours out of those four hours," I replied. He responded that I really ought to try and feed her ten or twelve times a day, or every two hours. Unless I start pulling her off the boob to walk around for five minutes while she screams, then come back, start again, and call that "two" feedings, I don't really see how such a thing is possible.