baby hours.

29: atticus

Today one of my friends said that baby hours are longer than regular hours. This is true, especially when you are trying to problem-solve a mysterious crying fit. Your diaper is clean, your belly is full, your clothes are warm, nothing is too tight, you are safe. So why aren’t you happy? The hours spent fixing this problem are among the longest I have ever spent. People keep telling me that it gets better. I suddenly have new sympathy for those bullied and gay teens. I realize now that the problem with the It Gets Better videos is that it’s great that it gets better. But what do I do right now?

The stories we believe about ourselves come first from our parents. Mike was told, You are the good one, and he was. Until he couldn’t be anymore, until he had to make the decisions that were right for him instead of for someone else. Until he was forced to reinvent himself. We live up or down to those expectations, and they shape us well into adulthood, whether consciously or unconsciously. I have become protective of my son’s narrative already, the story of how he came into the world, the kind of baby he is. He cries, but I cannot say whether he cries more or less than other babies, refuse to christen him a crier or a good baby. We will discover his stories together, instead.

I worried for years about being lost in motherhood. It helps that I have a better sense of who I am than I would have at 24, 25. It doesn’t make things perfect, but it helps. It gives me the willpower to get up and take a shower every day, even though I was repeatedly told that I would never manage to do such a thing. It helps me wash and stuff those cloth diapers, though people scoffed at me for even considering it. It shapes every little decision I make in ways I did not expect. That’s the story I want to tell, that I did it my way even if it was hard. So far, so good.

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