I’m six months in and this still seems unreal. And I don’t mean unreal in the “OMG, it’s like totally UNREAL *giggle giggle, hair flip*” sort of way. I mean like, it actually seems like it’s not real. Like I sometimes forget that I have a kid, that I’m not just babysitting, that he’s not a client’s baby or something. He’s mine.
Sweet Jesus, I have a child.
Sometimes I laugh at myself, sometimes I cry alone in a corner with the bathroom door closed so I don’t have to tell Dane what’s wrong, mostly because I don’t want him to tell me how great my life is at that very moment.
And sometimes I leave the baby sitting on the little foam mat in the living room with the cat perched next to him on the pillow, and I quietly slide the glass door to the deck open, step outside, take a deep breath, and ignore the screaming that’s happening 12′ away. He’s screaming because he’s too tired to sleep. He’s too tired to sleep because he won’t stop screaming. I quietly recite “this too shall pass” or whatever inspirational quote I happened to read on Instagram at 4:30am when Dane got up to use the bathroom, leaving me unable to get back to sleep.
I open the sliding glass door. It has not yet passed. I close the sliding glass door again. The neighbor’s cat is stalking a really awesome looking bird in my backyard, so I throw a BBQ utensil at him and am actually a bit disappointed that I missed him—especially after he clawed the screen out of two of my windows trying to win Susie’s affection. Didn’t work, Romeo. Don’t try harder next time.
I crack the sliding glass door again. I’ve recomposed my awesomeness. Silence. Hmm. I’m curious. I peek over the dining room table, not wanting the baby to see that I’ve returned. Stealth mode. He’s lying on his back eating a handful of dark brown cat hair—which means he grabbed her tail—no small feat! Too bad he can’t high five, because that would deserve one. He sees me and smiles and I can’t help but smile back at his cat tail fur covered grin. “You are a monster. Legit.” And he giggles. And then that too has passed. And we’re onto our next adventure.
That? That’s five minutes of my day. You know what my day used to be like? Of course you don’t, no one did because I did whatever the hell I wanted because I didn’t have a kid. I slept in, I took baths during the day, I walked my dog while scrolling through Twitter with old school Matchbox 20 playing on iTunes. I rode my horse—A LOT. I blogged my photos. I read other blogs. I trained for a marathon.
Having a baby ruined my life. Actually and truly. The moment he was born, I was quite unceremoniously handed a new life (figuratively and literally, actually), complete with what looked like a grey, squirmy, oversized, salamander (despite the drugs, I didn’t blurt out “What? That’s my baby?” and am really quite proud of that, to this day).
But yes, back to the life ruining. You know what a flashbang is? Those things that the FBI guys use in movies/books to stun the bad guys so they can run in and save the day? Babies are living flashbangs. First, the flash: basically you see a human come out of you. That. Is. Fucked. Be it out of your vagina, or out of a doctor-made slice just above the vajay—it was once in you, and now it is not in you. Despite being alive in your belly, now it’s alive for real in the real live world. If you have kids, you know the words I’m struggling to find here, what I’m desperately trying to convey but know that it’s borderline impossible to explain it with a few typed characters. If you don’t have kids, I’m sure you’re rationalizing the whole thing like “Duh Danique, I know how babies are born.” No you don’t. One minute they’re not real, the next minute they’re real. It’s unfathomable. Flash!
Then there’s the bang. The bang lasts a long, long time. There’s a reason that you (/most socially adept people) don’t have a baby in the morning and go back to the office in the afternoon—even if you have a steel vagina, or no soul. You’re stunned. Or at least I was. That ringing you hear in the movies when there’s been an explosion—that’s constantly in the background. It gets quieter, and louder, depending on your particular amount of crazy in a particular moment, but the din is there. Always making you shake your head just a little, wondering what just happened, even if it happened six months ago. Did it really happen? It must have—there are baby toys all over my living room floor. There are bottles by my sink. The cat is, sadly, missing chunks of hair from her tail. Dane and I are heading to bed and it’s only 8:45pm. BANG.
Let me say it again, because I’m being honest, and I don’t care for one second what you think of me (I’m looking at you, Judgy Mom, who’s reading this so she can gossip about how horrible I am with her MomClub friends while they Pinterest ideas for their kids’ 7 month birthday parties):
Having Xavi ruined my life. My old life. Yeah, it’s gone. Never to be seen in its entirety again. Never ever.
*Cue Jesus sun, with the parting clouds, rays shining directly onto my house*
BUT: I have a new life now. And it’s growing on me. I’m starting to get my sea legs with this mom stuff. The waves are rough, and the wind is strong, and my boat, she is but small, but I’m getting there. I know nothing of sailing, but I’ve kept my head above the water, and the boat right side up, so I know I’m doing something right.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s more like quick, sporadic breaks from gale force winds, and the odd seagull careening past as it tries to figure out the gusts without crashing into trees.
I’m learning to embrace my new life.
My new self. My new body. My new purpose. My new family member. I’m learning. And I’m starting to love it—love little pieces of it, moments at a time, bit by bit. And I’m accepting and allowing myself to be okay with the fact that it’s not all awesome. In fact, for me, very little of it has been awesome. The baby himself is really the only awesome part, so far. I love him dearly, more than I’ve ever loved anything, even if I’m not loving being a mom.
And that’s okay.
I’m Danique. If I was meeting you for the first time, you’d appreciate my handshake. My hair would be straight and more than likely down, and if yours was curly, you’d be jealous when I told you that all I do is blow-dry mine upside down. If it was below +10 outside, I’d be wearing a toque. For sure. I’d probably have flats, sandals, or boots on, as I have two different sized feet and buying shoes is worse than pulling teeth. I love horses, my dog, my boyfriend, my kid, and breakfast cereal, in no particular order. I’m a wedding photographer in real life.
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