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Parenting vignettes

His dad and I have braved the wilds of Weekend IKEA for the sake of buying Matei a Big Boy Bed. Less in the hope that it would make him stay in it the whole night, and more in the expectation that when he woke up at some ungodly hour and decided he wanted to get out of it he could do it by himself, without disturbing either parent.

It's worked very well so far. Already this morning Z and I woke up from a deep and beautiful slumber to find ourselves sharing a bed with our son and a collection of toys, shoes, and art materials without having any real idea of when or how any of them got there. And that's the way we like it.

And truly, most days all the GBH inflicted by a sleeping toddler seems a small price to pay for the mornings. The stretching and the snuggling and the string of imperious commands. A leg thrust into the air with the stern edict of "Kiss it!" followed by "Now the other one" and the joy of negotiating.
"But I want to kiss just one."
"Kiss both!"

I'm enjoying him so much, the talking, reasoning, mimicking child.

Last night I served him lovingly chopped up creamed leeks and he looked at them and looked at me and went:
"Grass?"

and this morning while I was getting dressed he waved at me and said:
"Bye bye! Matei going to work!" and he went and he sat at his little table, scribbling on it and waving around a retired computer mouse and I came and tried to play with him and he waved me off with a stern - "Matei working!" and all the way to the kitchen my shoulders shook with the effort of repressed laughter.

I don't know what I've done to deserve him, this child. Although come to that I know even less what I've done to deserve his nanny, a magical woman who inhabits my life for three days a week and spends his naptime attacking dirt on every surface with the zeal of a crusader. Thanks to her ministrations my house has become shiny and unthreatening to visitors, and my grandmother has stopped rolling in her grave.

************************

I love midwives. But I don't love the notion that birth was the most important event in shaping my life as a mother . Birth was important, and I feel so lucky to have been able to have the relatively-uncomplicated birth and that I was so well looked-after in those hours of intensity and vulnerability.

But in the grand scheme of things, compared to everything that followed it, birth was nothing.

My life as a mother was shaped by feeding and answering that screaming child month on month on month, despite the boredom and the anger and the mind-numbing exhaustion and the longing to do some screaming myself and be anywhere else but there. But I stayed, and he grew and the pact was honoured.

It was shaped by every single night I spent soothing and holding him because he was afraid, and by all the songs I sang, and all the footsteps that I paced with his small fevered body under the neon lights of hospital rooms.

It was shaped by shared laughter, and his hand on my face, and the first time he looked at me and smiled and by every time he said Mama and meant it. It's been shaped by every scribble I admired and every story that we read and every sky that we stood under hand-in-hand, and by every single time he stopped my heart with either joy or fear.

By this and this and this and this and this and this. And most of all, by the gift of language. By the sharing of questions and answers and stories, by his chatter both elaborate and inane. I was reborn as his mother when he started to talk and reason and listen to reason. I continue to grow by every moment of joyous togetherness shared such as the sitting together at the end of a long day of running around, watching an episode of Mad Men - him leaning against me and keeping up a stream of bright running commentary: "Man wears hat. Man kissed lady. Lady kissed man. Man angry", and me thinking: This. This is all I ever wanted out of parenting.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
biascut
Oct. 16th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
Gosh that midwife link is manipulative. The subtext might as well be "Go into debt or you'll never bond properly with your child!"

I love the way you talk about motherhood.
trinity_gal
Oct. 16th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Gosh that midwife link is manipulative

I know :((
On other hand, if you read lj-community like birthtrauma, the less than ideal birth experience often seems to hang like very dark cloud...
rainsinger
Oct. 20th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
the less than ideal birth experience often seems to hang like very dark cloud...

True. I just resent the notion that trauma can necessarily be avoided by sufficient education or doing it in the right way, which can bring its own trauma that people for whom the arrival of their children happened differently feel that they have in some way failed.
trinity_gal
Oct. 20th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Oops, I suck at context. Hand on my heart. read the article again. Seriously, urgh.

I remember feeling the pressure too that community midwives are just obstetrician spoons and cannot be totally trusted. I do feel my birth was great even when tearing could be avoided, but if I posted story anywhere like in lj-community naturalbirth, it'd be like OMG you had inbterventions! Go away.

Or go into debt to hire a doula.

Can't win.
trinity_gal
Oct. 20th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
spoons are meant to be written as boons

anyway...
rainsinger
Oct. 20th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Can't win.

Unless you do an intervention between your fist and their face. :)
rainsinger
Oct. 20th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
The subtext might as well be "Go into debt or you'll never bond properly with your child!"


Yes, exactly. "You will have been robbed of proper motherhood if you don't do it the X way!"


I love the way you talk about motherhood.


Thank you. :) It's always so surprising and gratifying to hear that.
avilacain
Nov. 21st, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
Well Mis Rainsinger, I know On other hand, if you read lj-community like birthtrauma, the less than ideal birth experience often seems to hang like very dark cloud...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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