Parenthood continues to surprise me with its sweet, sweet, irony. There are times when I feel like I am on a merry-go-round. The ride starts with so much anticipation and excitement, only to be met with feelings of monotony (and sometimes nausea) after going round and round for a while, to finally have it end and be struck with the nagging feeling that I want to do it all over again.
I realized the other night that many things in life, and specifically parenting, come full circle. As I sat in the rocking chair and tried to nurse Bode, he bit me. He cried and pushed away from me, acting like he was personally offended by what I had just offered him. It was like he had been offered ground beef, when he was used to filet mignon. I paused for a minute and then tried again, thinking it must be just a fluke. Again, the little bugger bit me. Ok dude, I get it. I can take the hint. I sadly surrendered and gave him a bottle. He squealed and grabbed at it eagerly and I felt a sharp pang of sadness and defeat.
As we rocked together, I thought about how ironic the situation was. Within seconds of his birth, I pleaded with him to nurse. It was a hard process at times, one that left me feeling helpless and defeated when I couldn’t figure out the right position, and worried when I thought that he wasn’t getting enough milk. Needless to say, we figured it out. But my celebratory joy quickly turned into exhaustion, as my body adjusted to having a little savage sucking on it for an average of 10 hours a day.
The next nine months were spent with Bo attached to my boob or my boob attached to a
torture device breast pump. I literally started to feel like a cow (could have been the post baby weight too), an actual milk machine. Don’t get me wrong; there are parts of nursing that I absolutely love. The quiet moments when it is just us. In those moments, nothing else seems to matter. But, with those special moments also comes chapped and bleeding nipples, leaky boobs, a baby that is literally and figuratively sucking you dry, and the devastating loss of being able to drink a bottle of wine after a long day. Did I say bottle? …errr… I mean glass. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t wait for it to be over. And now, here I am. We’re done, and the only feeling I have is sadness. All of a sudden, I am back to where it all began, begging my child to eat.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, my three-year old is trying to kill me with her words. Whoever invented “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” probably never spent a significant amount of time with a toddler.
The irony continues.
When Riley was a baby, I was so eager for her to say “momma.” I shamelessly sat with her practicing. I was so confident that she would say “Momma” before anything else. But, of course, she went with “DaDa” for her first word. When she finally got around to saying “momma” weeks later, it was still the sweetest sound. I loved it. If you had asked me then if I could ever get sick of hearing her say it, I would have said “absolutely not!”
Fast forward three years and let me tell you, I was wrong. Everyone has probably seen the Family Guy promo where Stewy (yes I know the characters, and no, I am not proud) says:
This is currently my life. To say Riley repeats herself is an understatement. This morning as I was packing her lunch, I found myself trying to hide from her in the refrigerator. As I stood there staring at the ketchup and bottle of Pinot Grigio (staples in our house), I listened to her say “momma” at least 11 times within a 30 second span. She didn’t pause. I’m not even sure if she took a breath. It was one fluid sentence. I finally closed the door and turned toward her.
Me: “Yes sweet child, what do you need?”
Riley: … “Hi.”
<<Sigh>> Face —-> Palm.
I know that we will come full circle again. There will be a day when I long for Riley to need me more and ask me for things instead of doing everything on her own. But at this moment in time, hearing her call me over and over and over again, is slowly, but surely making me go insane.
Destination, loony bin. Passengers on board, one.