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Pickle Me This

April 18, 2010

The Motherverse

One day last August, I reported the following: “Now, must wake baby, feed baby, change baby. For we’re off to a program at the library that promises songs, and stories and “tickle rhymes” for all. (I’m not sure if it’s sad or amazing that this is my life now.)” And I’m happy to finally be able to report that it’s amazing. These days we’re on our third round of “Baby Time” at the library, I’m getting a reputation as “the mom who knows all the songs“, andI suspect that reputation might be way less awesome than I think it is.

I find it remarkable, the way that every mother claims she can’t identify with the mothers she encounters at Mommy/Baby groups. The way that every mother claims to be an outsider in this baby-centric maternity-leave no-males-in-the-daytime universe we all inhabit– can every single one of us really be all that unique?

Of course, I am that unique. My daughter never even had a Sophie, and I only made one friend at Baby & Me Yoga (and she was picked out of the crowd due to her pants’ lack of a lululemon insignia). My daughter is now old enough that when I hear new(er) moms’ conversation, I roll my eyes in boredom (and NO. Your child is not teething at three months. I don’t care what the book says. He just drools a lot). I am tired of learning your baby’s name (which is usually something like Jaydence), his age, but never, ever learning your name. (And I also hate you because Jaydence sleeps through the night, but that is another story).

Venturing out to the world of other-moms has been more like grade seven than any experience I’ve had since then. Everybody always seems to be friends already, better at applying make-up, they’re thinner than I am and they have better clothes. And that they’re not that interested in being my friend is usually due less to the fact that they’re mean and stuck up and has a great deal more to do with me being a loser. That I’m “the mom who knows all the songs”, and moreover, I’m proud of it. I’m the one totally rocking out to Skinnamarink– what can I possibly expect?

I love the songs though. I have become obsessed with nursery rhymes since Harriet was born, and recite them on command. I’m a regular fount of bouncing rhymes, and tickling games. Baby Time is one of the highlights of my week, so I can’t help but get a little enthusiastic. And it’s strange to now be one of the moms who chases her mobile child across the circle– the first time we went to Baby Time, Harriet was two months old, and she spent most of the program asleep in my arms. We have come a long, long way since then. (And I’ve actually met some very nice moms in the interim. How wonderful is it always, that spark, that moment of connection, when someone stands apart from the rest, and you’ve no doubt that you’ve just found a new friend?)

Harriet will be eleven months old next week, and she’s never been more amazing. The last few days we’ve gotten a great idea of how much she actually understands– if we say, “Please?” she’ll hand us an object. If we ask her to wave (without gesturing), she’ll oblige us. Perhaps because we don’t have a TV, she is obsessed with books in lieu of the usual television remote control, usually whatever one I’m reading and she’ll climb over anything to get her hands on. Once she gets her hands on it, she often doesn’t rip it. She has four teeth, so much hair, the most gorgeous smile I’ve ever seen, and a little poking-out belly. She thinks I’m hilarious, though her love for me is a bit much in the evenings when she cries if I leave the room. She loves swimming lessons. Her daddy can make her laugh like no one else can, hysterically, and it’s my favourite sound in the world. She loves the swings, though she cries when we take her out of them. She even likes Miffy! She’s amazed by mobiles, windchimes, and she loves to suck on the bottom of shoes. She continues to be an appalling sleeper, though we had two weeks off from that and it was blissful. I tried to tell her that I’m a way better Mommy when she sleeps well at night, but Harriet wasn’t having any of it. Harriet yields to no one.

I often hear women saying, “I love being a Mom,” which I’ve never been able to bring myself to say, and sometimes I feel bad about that. Though I think it would be a bit like saying, “I love having arms”, and really, what’s the point? What I do love is Harriet though, and having her in our family, and in her near-eleven-months old phase in particular, because she’s so much fun. She’s the whole reason I wanted to have a baby, and it’s been so brilliant these last few months to be reminded of what that reason was in the first place.

5 thoughts on “The Motherverse”

  1. Kristin says:

    You’re so right about every new mom thinking every other mom is either too cool for them or not cool enough. It’s such a weird phenomenon. I had difficulty making friends when my son was very small, but I started to try harder and actually made quite a few friends.

    Partly it was hard for me because I already had a lot of friends, but none of them had babies. So, while I still really valued those friendships, it became clear that becoming friends with new people who were going through the same things I was going through would be good. And this becomes essential when your child is old enough to play with other kids.

    I think it’s hard because you are so wrapped up in this new life you have as a mother; you’re tired, distracted, etc., and the last thing you want to do is spend the time and effort befriending someone solely because you both have infants! Who knows if you have anything else in common.

    Anyway, I also wanted to comment on the bad sleeping. My first child was a great sleeper as a baby, so no problems. My 8 month old is a different story. She slept very well until about 5 months old, and then started to wake up every two hours and wouldn’t go back to sleep unless she nursed. I knew that I couldn’t do cry it out, and a friend recommended a book to me. I really don’t want to be this person, but I am going to recommend this to you (even though you didn’t ask for it!), because it really worked.

    It’s called Good Night, Sleep Tight, by Kim West (the Sleep Lady). It’s basically a modified and gentle version of sleep training. It took us about 2 weeks with Emma, and virtually no crying on her part, and now she sleeps through the night, every night. If she wakes up, she cries for about 5 seconds, and then falls asleep. She’s also now an excellent napper, twice a day for over an hour each time.

    It was a long two weeks because you spend a LOT of time basically sitting on the floor in the baby’s room until they fall asleep, but it was so worth it. I can’t tell you how much better my life is in every way now that I am regularly sleeping about 8 hours straight through. And Emma is happier too.

    Ok, end of super long comment!

    1. Kerry says:

      See, the premise of that two weeks seems worse to me than waking up frequently. I’ll check the book out, however. Thanks for the tip (AND that super long comment).

  2. melanie says:

    Hmm… well, Moira really DID start teething at 3 months and had four teeth by four months, eight teeth by eight months etc (visual proof:, there are 4 on top as well) but she seems to be an anomaly – even the doctor was surprised. But I often make the same comments you are making – like, where do these moms meet each other? I see whole gaggles of them at the park hanging out together and it seems like they know each other so well. Of course, I feel out of place most places – even when I go to my knitting group I come home disgruntled because all they seem to talk about some nights are their cats (no one else has kids) or TV shows. I have no desire for either.

    And we LOVE nursery rhymes around here too. Moira is at the stage where she is reciting them and it is adorable.

    1. Kerry says:

      Of course, *Moira* is extraordinary. Other babies (including mine) just drooled.

  3. melanie says:

    Yes, because having a baby who teethed at 3 months was just so awesome! 🙂 Oh well, I guess she probably wouldn’t have slept anyway but breaking her of her oral fixation has been quite the trial. At least my nipples survived (or just went numb).

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