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Being a Mama

May 8, 2012

It’s another typical weekday. My Peach is with Ms. C at homecare. I’m home taking a quick break from work to find a snack and to clear my head. TG is at work, where he got a promotion yesterday (GO TG!!!).

And life continues.

Our Peach is now 15 months old (May 3) and officially weaned off her bottle! It took some time and countless retries, but we have officially bid our bottle buddies goodbye! We basically followed the same routine of progressive weaning, by offering less milk in the bottle each day followed up by more milk in the straw cup. After a week, we got rid of the bottle altogether and offered only the straw cup. Within a few days, Peach became resigned to her straw cup and has been doing pretty well with it, drinking about 12-16oz of milk per day supplemented with her daily yogurt and cheese for calcium.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about. Today, I want to talk about persistence.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a toughie. I think Peach was going through another round of teething last week becaues she was dripping drool like a broken faucet, and waking up at 5:45am!! She would start stirring at 4:30am, and by 5:45am she was ready to get out of that bed. Ohhh, the agony!

She seems to be back on track with her sleep for the most part, although she did wake up at 1:30am last night crying. After some Advil and some holding for about 15 minutes, I put her back down and she went back to sleep. Holy Hallelujah.

It’s times like these that being a mama takes persistence.

When it’s been rainy and gloomy for what feels like weeks. When your baby isn’t terribly sick, but just “off” and becomes a demanding, shrieking, fussy mess. When you’ve already eaten too many cookies and really need to fix your eating habits, but all you want to do is stuff your face with another Frappacino and a monstrous Rice Krispy treat from Starbucks. When your husband is tired and you are tired, and all you can manage to do is get through the day before you collapse on the bed.

It’s hard to be a mama when you don’t remember the last time you felt beautiful. The last time you looked in the mirror and thought, “hey, not bad!” Instead, I look and see hair twisted this way and that, smudged glasses, the same sweater from yesterday still stained with Peach’s dinner, and jeans that cling a little too snugly. Same same same same same.

It’s hard to be a mama when you have dishes to wash, a house to keep clean as you try to find renters, a baby with picky eating habits to feed, a husband to stay connected with, friends it is impossible to see because they either don’t have babies and, hence, no schedules or do have babies and, hence, schedules, and a sister you miss but never see anymore either because one of your babies is sick or she is sick with nausea from her second pregnancy or I am sick with yet another sinus infection and sore throat.

It’s hard to be a mama when your baby won’t listen. When she is the most fabulous, intelligent, spirited, fun baby you know, but that also equates to a lot of demands, a lot of insistences, a lot of overwhelming feelings that she doesn’t understand…which mudroll into a great big pile of emotional tantrums. It’s hard to be a mama when your baby wants what she wants and yet doesn’t know what it is she is wanting.

And in times like these, I stop. I make myself a fresh pot of coffee. I sit. I remember.

I remember how last night Peach was walking around, so cute with her belly sticking out. But so frustrating as well as she would just not listen! And every other sound out of her body was another squalling dinosaur sound. My little teradactyl.

And I remember how she would refuse to give me a hug or a kiss. Umma bbobbo! Umma bbobbo! I would plead. She would walk towards me…smiling…so close…and at the last moment, turn away and run.

And so I did what any mother would. I grabbed her! I scooped her up! I breathed her scent in and I buried my face in her belly. To make her laugh. To claim my kiss and to hold my baby and to love on her. I love my precious little girl.

And then I remember. My favorite part. My highest of highs from yesterday. She lay in my arms as I sat on the floor. I saw a little “bat in her cave” so I started singing a little song to distract her while I got it out. “A bat in the cave! A bat in the cave! High ho the dairy-o a bat in the cave! DING!” (I don’t know why the ding was in there…it just came out but she seemed to love it!) I sang this about two times to get the little stubborn bat out. When I had gotten the little critter, I was all prepared for Peach to run away again. But no, she lay there and gave her signature sound – EUNG! with a little pop of her body.

“More? You want more?”

“EUNG!”

“Show me. Show me ‘more'”!

Her little hands go up to meet – one index finger poking at the palm of the opposite hand.

“Good job! Okay! The bat in the cave! The bat in the cave! Heigh-ho the dairy-o a bat in the cave! DING!”

Laughter. Pure, pure laughter.

More signing. “More More More”

Over and over again. We sat there for a good 10 minutes singing this song. I felt the warmth and weight of her body in my arms. I snuck gentle rubs of her cheek between pokes of her nose. I watched her eyes watch me. I fell in love all over again.

This is what being a mama is. These moments captured in the most unexpected times. When you think it is just another night, another evening. When you are down on yourself, and questioning, and begging for some sunshine.

And then you look. And your daughter is watching. She is wanting you. And it’s all for something as simple as a made-up ditty, singing about a bat in the cave. When that time comes, when you feel like it is just another day of giving and cleaning and wiping and teaching and changing and preparing and doing…remember this: sunshine may come in the form of the most mundane. Even something as simple as a little booger, refusing to make its exit.

Hope you are having a good day, my screechy peachy. Mommy loves you.

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