Thursday, October 13, 2005

Those natural mothering instincts took a while to kick in. . . . .

I loved my babies with an intensity that is impossible to describe. You parents will understand.

The moment I looked at them, touched them, felt their tiny little hearts beating right next to mine, I was hooked.

I knew from that moment that there was nothing they could ever do, or be, or say, or smell like, or emit from any orifice, or cost in terms of cash money or social humiliation, that could ever change this feeling of amazing love.

This being said, I was also terrified that I would break them.

Those tiny flimsy little arms and legs. . . . what if I did something wrong and somehow just snapped those flailing little suckers right off their bodies? Dressing and undressing them, diapering them. . . . I was so afraid of hurting them that some of the joy of having them was gone. . . .

It was better with Zappa, but poor Belle. She was the practice baby.

Germs. I was terrified of germs touching her. I boiled everything. EVERYTHING.

Those colorful toys? Faded now, but germless. I even boiled her wooden blocks. Yep. Boiled the letters of the alphabet right off. We still have them. If you look closely, and if the light is right, you can sort of tell what color they used to be.

With Zappa, that phase didn't last very long. As soon as he started eating leaves, smearing his own poop all over the busy box and the crib bars, and licking the cat's feet, I felt pretty positive about not boiling his germs anymore. He preferred them straight up.

I'm not even going to tell you that I boiled Belle's toys till she was almost two years old. If I told you that, you'd all laugh even harder when you found out that I stopped sterilizing Zappa's things (including his bottles) before he was six months old. So I'm not telling.

And I had absolutely no idea how to go about bathing her.

But I knew that there were "experts" out there who DID know such things, so I consulted them for almost every little detail.

Her first bathtime: June, hot, mother(me) trembling with trepidation. . . .

Baby book open to display diagram of "how to bathe a baby."

Step one. Step two. Step three.

Yes, I laid everything out on the kitchen table and then proceeded to follow that diagram step by step. I went slowly, for fear of skipping a step and therefore maybe doing damage to my baby.

After finishing each step, I went back and read them all again to make very sure I hadn't skipped any steps. Then and only then did I dare move on to the next step.

Poor Belle. By the time her ignorant but well-meaning mother got to Step 10, she was shivering almost uncontrollably, and I was a hormonal mess. Nothing in the chart said anything about the baby getting cold or shivering. What had I done wrong?

Finally, there was a step that told me to wrap a soft towel around the baby. And no, I didn't know enough to do that until a nameless, faceless diagram in a hospital pamphlet told me to do it.

My poor kids. It's a wonder they grew up with their limbs intact and their sensibilities not TOO badly strained. And without TOO many bouts of walking pneumonia

(Walking pneumonia. That means it's okay to take the child to the city and walk around in the wind, right? WALKING pneumonia? Well, that's what we did, but that's another story. . . .)

I meant well, kids.

And that incredible love? It's still there. And there's nothing else that can compare.

It's funny now to remember that I used to think I loved my cat that intensely. Hah. The instant that cat bared a claw on Belle's face, he was out in the yard and he never entered the house again.

Poor cat. He WAS precious. But if I had to choose, it wasn't even close.

Even if the cat DID take care of his own diarrhea. . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:50 PM | |


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