Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still The BA MOFO You Know and Hopefully Love (Or Kinda “Like” on Facebook)

Yesterday, I posted how “sometimes it’s mandatory to pick your baby’s nose.” 

Besides being a fantastic status update, it’s just one more thing in an ever-expanding list of things I’ve learned about motherhood. On that subject, I still find it a little strange to call myself that, and by that, I mean M-O-T-H-E-R. In the past, that title only applied after B-A-D-A-S-S and before the mother of all swearwords (plus E and R). 
Dear Samuel L. Jackson:
I may dig on swine, but I also own the wallet.
Your BFF,
BA MOFO II (AKA The Chopper, AKA Amie)
I guess there’s part of this mother that still feels like an impostor. I might be having trouble with the title because I hope to never own jeans that sit too high on my waist. While that’s true, another reason I’m shying away from the name could be because we tried for so long to produce a kid, and then **KABOOM**, my husband and I sprinted outside just in time to catch a swaddled baby girl shot out of a cannon. (Remember, swaddling = safe sleeping. Safety first, people.) Given we had less than one day’s notice of Ava’s arrival, I think this analogy seems more appropriate than a stork landing. 
Most people get at least nine months to “prepare” for the arrival of their child. I use the term “prepare” loosely, as I know, I know, no one is ever “prepared” for parenting, but nevertheless, I do feel our situation was (and is) different. After the initial phone call from the agency, and the sixty whole minutes we had to decide whether to pick up Ava (she wasn’t named yet, but Baby Girl sounds too sterile and distant now), and the sleepless night of all nights, and the frantic drive to Southfield, and the tidy signing of many white papers with many intimidating words, and the trip to some hospital we’d never visited, and the brief chitchat with some overworked nurse we’d never met, we were handed a newborn. 
We weren’t even asked if we wanted fries with her. 
Maybe that sounds insensitive, but it did feel a little like drive-thru delivery. I might be wrong about this, as I personally have never given birth, but don’t expecting parents get at least a day or two in the hospital to, um, learn how to care for their newborn? Yes, I know you can’t master the childrearing ropes in that timeframe, but I’m pretty certain our nurse wouldn’t have told us how to feed or change Ava if we didn’t ask (protest might be a better word choice). 
Many of you are probably now thinking, duh, how hard is it to insert bottle into mouth or detach diaper from butt, but to say my husband and I were (and still very much are) rookies is an understatement. Though our inexperience is the result of our own doing (we weren’t exactly goo-goo for babies in the past), it’s funny how scant instruction we received, especially considering the microscope we endured to become “expecting” parents. (We’ll be under that microscope, by the way, for well into 2012. Thankfully, we have very resilient mitochondria.)
Despite our absent Ava Manual and our present naiveté, we’re learning, and we haven’t encouraged our baby to go ahead and play with matches (yet). In just over six weeks, we’re getting the hang of Ava, she’s getting the hang of us, and someday soon, I might stop wondering who the hell people are talking to when they call me M-O-M. 

This is your baby.
This is your baby on Boppy Pillow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Good Nipple is Hard to Find

No, this isn’t a blog entry about the pros and cons of certain bottle (or human) nipples. Yes, I just thought the title was funny, and Flannery O’Connor, well, her short stories are perfection. Yeah, I said perfection. 
To this day, I can’t read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” without the hairs on my arms standing up, and now that I’ve managed to sneak something literary into this post (insert virtual patting on the back), I’ll drive around the block and enthusiastically wave at the irritated, but hopeful point. (You may remember from an earlier post how much I value digressing.) 
Perhaps I’ve got nipples on the brain because with less than 24 hours notice, Al and I drove to the east side of the state to pick up Ava Harper, the baby girl we hope to adopt. You may think “hope to adopt” sounds strange, but it’s simply a layer of linguistic protection until Ava’s birthmom and birthdad’s parental rights have legally expired, something we’re trying with all our might to keep tucked far, far away in the back of our minds. (November 23 is the date.)
There’s so much to say about what we’ve been through to get us here. I don’t know where to begin or where to end. I just know I need to put something down on paper. Even if I know it probably won’t touch how I’m feeling or how Al is feeling. 
With so much to say and so little time, I’ve decided to talk on the latter. Since the arrival of Ava, time has turned into an even greater mystery. Seconds turn into minutes, minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days turn into nights, nights turn into wizards with white beards and purple hats. Rinse and Repeat. Seriously, I can’t understand how I used to complain about not having enough time. Caring for a child, you officially become Time’s bitch. Cross one thing off that to-do list (not including feedings or diaper changes) and you should be awarded Employee of The Month Millennium. (Yes, this should include a commemorative t-shirt, preferably bedazzled organic cotton.) 
If this sounds like I’m whining, well, I guess I am. I don’t think whining is all that unexpected, considering I spent 38 years and 354 days (I think I’m right on the math, but who’s counting?) caring for me, myself and I. (Yes, I care about and care for my husband and dog, too, but babies deserve a category of their own.)
People say blink once and your kid is out of diapers, blink twice and your kid is off to college, blink three times and your kid is mocking your haircut, blink four times and your kid has your haircut. I don’t know who these people are, but I’m sure they’ve said something like that at least a few times. And you know what? These people are right. No, they’re genius. It’s hard to believe Ava is already 1-month-old, and it’s even harder to believe she’s allowed me fifteen minutes to sit here and type. Granted, she’s sort of napping on my chest in a sling, but it’s progress. (Pay no attention to that wet diaper behind the curtain.)
Besides writing, one of the things I should do more in my nonexistent spare time is take vocal lessons, because I’ve been singing a lot more often lately. As it turns out, babies like singing, and they don’t give a rip if you’re way off key. Okay, they might rip one, but they won’t judge you, and shame on you if you judge them. 
Ava has been “enjoying” plenty of Son Volt these days (Trace is one of the CDs I dug out of haphazard stack next to my outdated stereo. I still feel such an immense sense of peace and nostalgia when I listen to that album.) With her in my arms, when I sing “Can you deny, there’s nothing greater, nothing more than the traveling hands of time?” the words mean something entirely, amazingly new. 

Warning: I'm just resting my eyes.