Sunday, February 19, 2012

Might as well face it, you're addicted to baby love.

If you thought it was cool when I called my baby an asshole a couple posts back, this post probably isn't for you.

You know the feeling you get when you're falling in love? You feel so good that it actually makes you feel nauseous most of the day. "Walking on clouds" is a nice way to say you feel like you just ate 3 Taco Bell menu items while on an upside down roller coaster. You could puke anytime, but there's something magical about it. The object of your affection becomes your only topic of conversation. You're telling anyone who will listen how your new boyfriend folds his socks, then you laugh maniacally like it's the funniest, most interesting story ever told.

Or maybe you haven't been in love but you have made some poor decisions in your life (or at least watched an Intervention marathon). When you're in the midst of your addictive cycle nothing matters but getting your fix. If you even manage to make it to work it's only to get more money to pour into your addiction. Where there used to be a life brimming with hobbies, interests, meaningful relationships and ambition, there is now only your addiction.

The thing about falling in love, or being seriously addicted to drugs is that part of you is fully aware that your behavior is irrational. And so it is with loving your child. A few times a day a voice of reason breaks through the murky cloud of obsession fogging up your mind and says "What has this baby done for me lately?" (For me, this voice is Janet Jackson, obviously.) This baby scratches, bites, throws up on me, pees on me, refuses to wipe his own butt, throws the food I prepare for him all over the kitchen, wakes me up at 6:00am by hitting my face and then rasberry-ing my eye socket, and more. No matter how bad he treats me I keep coming back for more. I am OBSESSED with him. If my theme song is "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" then Holden's is "Why You So Obsessed With Me?" (I promise that is the last pop song reference in this post.)

I've recently returned to work after 5 weeks off. It's been a bit of a transition, but not so bad. The hardest part was the anticipation. After a bit of struggle the first week staying home I got in a real lady-of-relative-leisure groove and couldn't bear the thought of leaving my sweet angel baby. I have a career that I love, but it requires me to leave my house for about 10 hours 5 times each week. While on leave I convinced myself this would no longer be possible. I needed access to my fix throughout the day. I spent most days brainstorming internet businesses and other work-at-home mom schemes. Wanting to leave a great job you love, this is how irrational having a baby makes you. You know the term "rock bottom?" Keep reading to hear about mine...

There's a strip club pretty much across the street from our home (gotta love Portland) and during my desperate search for a career with flexible hours an insane thought crossed my mind. "Hmmm, I guess I could start exercising and maybe get drunk enough to just be a stripper however many nights it takes to pay my rent, then my days would be free  to spend at home obsessing over my baby." If you know me IRL you know how laughably absurd the idea of me being a stripper is. In addition to the morals/dignity territory that would make this a difficult profession, I'm a terrible faker. If someone annoys me I can't even sustain eye contact, let alone naked-body-lap-dance-contact. Plus looking and/or dancing sexy isn't exactly my forte. Nowadays "looking hot" means taking the time to put on mascara. When would I possibly find time to get fake nails, wax every inch of my body, spray tan, put a weave in, buy about 10 times the amount of makeup I currently own, and roll around in enough glitter to detract from my c-section scar? My point is that loving a baby has made me SO IRRATIONAL that for about 24 hours I was seriously considering embarking upon a seedy career as Melody the Night Mistress, or some other dorky contrived alias. (Disclaimer: I'm exaggerating for entertainment value, Mom.)

Having a baby makes you crazy in every way imaginable. I spend hours a day wishing I could have 20 minutes to myself. I'm often near tears of frustration by the time I finally get the baby down for a nap. Then what do I do? I go downstairs and flip through pictures of him on my phone, wishing he'd wake up so I can hold him and play with him and smell his sweet baby smell.

Don't let this picture fool you, he has not mastered utensil usage.

Just like an addict I love the rituals surrounding the addiction. What I think of as chores: bathtime, bedtime, meals where more food ends up on the floor and in my hair than in the baby's mouth; those are also the most precious times. I complain about having to do it, but I won't go out with my friends for dinner even one night because I can't bear to miss it. Babies, can't live with them, can't live without them.

Step 1 is admitting you have a problem. Hello world, my name is Morgan and I'm ADDICTED to my baby. I'm sorry about all the events I've missed, the phone calls I've ignored, the times you've been talking and I haven't been listening. I'm sorry about talking for 2 hours about how over-developed my 11 month old's linguistic skills are because he points to the ball in his favorite book and says "baahh!" I'm sorry for telling detailed stories about baby poop. I'm sorry for bragging, for taking the time to review baby products on the internet, and for saying things like "they really call it a bundle of joy for a reason." I'm sorry for having a picture of my baby as my Facebook picture. I didn't plan to be this person, but I have a condition. I get high on baby love, and I don't plan on coming down anytime soon.

A hit of the good stuff.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

5 Ninja Skills Moms Need

I'm sure there are some parents who aren't ninjas. Maybe people with nannies. I didn't start out a ninja, but necessity has molded me into one. Let me tell you, Chuck Norris has got nothin' on moms. Here are some of my ninja skills and their most common applications.

1. Patience, young grasshopper.
     "Redirecting" is one of those parenting buzz words. If your baby is doing something he shouldn't be, gently redirect the behavior. This means picking him up from the trash can/dog food bowl/electrical outlet/edge of the stairwell and engaging him in an acceptable non-life-threatening activity one million times a day. Non-life-threatening activities are to a baby what watching a golf tournament on TV is to me, or a baby-less person's version of listening to a couple rave about their little one's potty-training "journey". BORING! So you redirect again. And again. And again patiently.
     You think you're patient? Try spending 90 minutes putting a baby down for a half hour nap. Not for the faint of heart. This is what nap time entails at my house: Read a story, feed baby, rock to sleep with a lullaby. Attempt to set baby down in crib. As soon as you begin to lower the baby down cue blood-curdling screams. Pick baby up, calm him down, try again. Let him scream a little longer. Eventually you get him to go down with only mild wailing, gently rub his back until the wail fades to a moan, and the moan becomes peaceful sleep breathing. Remember all the while you need to be calm and loving despite the hurricane of frustration, anger, guilt, sadness, and need-for-a-strong-drink-ness wildly swirling inside you. Then try to leave the room.
Eating the mail. Time to redirect.

2. Stealth Mode.
     If you are not a ninja your baby will never sleep. After using ninja patience to get the child to sleep, one may want to capitalize on the upcoming 30-75 minutes of "you time", but to do so, one must get out of the baby's room. In my house I'm pretty sure the floorboards in the doorway of Holden's bedroom are made of rusty tin because those mother-Fers are some creaky sons of Bs. You know in Mission Impossible when Tom Cruise is lowered into the room with all the lasers? That's pretty much how I have to exit the bedroom. I backflip into the air, then silently land across the doorway into a somersault I do down the hallway. If I fail to execute this perfectly, the baby will wake up EVERY TIME I approach his doorway. He goes from snoring with his back toward me to upright and screaming in a nanosecond. If I am a ninja, the baby is a samurai.
Sharing a loving moment. 

3. Super-human strength.
     Babies expect you to carry them around everywhere. Whenever you think you've developed the necessary muscle to carry your dense sack of potatoes offspring, they gain another pound and get wigglier.
Also, there's giving birth. (I had a c-section so deduct 10 ninja points.) Ninjas wish they could do something as badass as childbirth.

4. Multitasking.
     If you think twirling nunchucks while roundhouse kicking 5 guys in the face takes focus and agility, try doing anything while caring for an infant. Take any basic task you do every day and tag keep baby from killing itself to the end of it. Here's an example: Today I need to brush my teeth and keep baby from killing itself. Instantly in addition to brushing my teeth I'm holding a cabinet shut with one foot, keeping the toilet bowl closed with my spare hand, using my elbow to hold the door open so the baby doesn't slam his fingers in it again and with a mouth full of toothpaste I'm singing a silly song that I've just made up in the moment in attempts to pacify the baby who's getting pissed that I'm a roadblock to so many life-threatening-situations.
"Let me out of here! I see a life-threatening situation I need to get all up in!"

5. Ability to handle solitude... it's a lonely life.
    You don't see ninjas out at clubs surrounded by friends while guys line up hoping to buy them a drink. Well, the same is typically true of moms. I've been invited to one party since I became pregnant, and it was my birthday. I wasn't always a social outcast. In fact I believe at one time I may have been notoriously fun. Now the few friends who stuck around no longer bother asking me to do anything because they know I'm at home working on my ninja craft. Wax on, wax off.

Baby's 1st Beach Trip

Monday Jake (baby daddy and long-time fiance) had the day off. I had very low expectations for this day because it was raining and we're low on cash funds, which usually means we lay around the house watching re-run hockey games and eating top ramen. But something magical happened, we woke up and contrary to the previous day's forecast IT WAS NOT RAINING! I jumped on the opportunity, as all true Oregonians are conditioned to do, and suggested we have some sort of great outdoors type experience. What if we drove to the beach? My suggestion was full of trepidation, as I braced myself for my idea to be shot down. Jake paused and then hit me back with a "sure, let's do it." Woah! We were going to do something spontaneous!!! Just like young single people do!!! I jumped into action, stocking the diaper bag with cold-weather gear, portable snacks, and extra baby wipes. Within half an hour we were off.

I wish I had an entertaining story to tell about some misadventure, but it was just a downright pleasant day. Here are some pictures to prove it:

Jake and baby look off into the distance. 

Here I try to compensate for my androgynous frump-monster outfit with adorable posing.

Oil residue. Beach bummer.

I call this photo Ambiguous Sexual Preference Girl Stands in the Dunes

Jake and I looked at this photo and realized how much our lives have changed. We used to be photographed looking like the sexy well-dressed life of the party. Here we look like we rode one of those oil waves on shore with some broken sand dollars. We may not be much to look at, but at least we have eachother.

Well, my clever ferret-like child has figured out how to get into our wine cabinet so I better get to work jimmy rigging a child-safety device.