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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8 Comments

  1. very excellent. that’s all i have to say about that.

    Posted 1/24/2011 at | Permalink
  2. I love this. Your journey with Atticus always challenges me to be courageous with the story we are building with my little one.

    Posted 1/24/2011 at | Permalink
  3. i forgot to say on your last post: “what a beautiful baby!” really, i pride myself on not just saying that because it’s the *thing* to say. he’s a lovely-looking baby. : )

    Posted 1/24/2011 at | Permalink
  4. A resounding YES for getting up and showering every day AND for cloth diapering. :~) We’re expecting our first little one in the next couple weeks, and I’ve heard the same things about daily showers and cloth diapering. I just smile and nod and let it roll off my back.

    Good for you for persevering through the tough hours and loving on your baby the best way you can!

    Posted 1/25/2011 at | Permalink
  5. Carol

    It would take more than a baby to keep me from taking a shower every day! If something had to go, it definitely would not be (and was not) the shower. 🙂

    Posted 1/25/2011 at | Permalink
  6. i’m so proud of you, friend.

    Posted 1/26/2011 at | Permalink
  7. Congratulations, Keri! Atticus a very handsome baby. I wish all three of you a very happy journey together.

    Posted 1/27/2011 at | Permalink
  8. Jayne Johnson

    The nice thing about approaching something like motherhood on our own terms is that it is absolutely possible to do things people will say you’ll never do, or not do things that everyone does. And then on a day you don’t follow your own map, or if you change some parts of what you first you wanted on the journey – that is also totally you. After six babies I am still satisfied with those choices of mine and glad I just just nodded wisely no matter what people said. And Atticus is indeed a very handsome boy!

    Posted 1/27/2011 at | Permalink

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