The Menschkin
Sunday, August 15, 2004
That's what daddies are for
Hey, folks. I had to let you know that times don't stay hard for long.

Right now, for instance, Petra is being ferried around on her daddy's shoulders. Yes, she's 2.5 months old, and she loves it. She also loves it when he talks silly-talk to her, counts her body parts, makes her "fly" when she pushes off with her feet, shows her around his home office, and so many other things.

She loves "flying" so much that she pushes off almost every time she ends up on his lap. The other morning, Tim said to me, "I'm doomed, aren't I?" But you can tell he loves it, too. And as I keep telling him, it's a built-in upper-body workout, with built-in gradual increase in resistance as she grows.

I used to think I would feel jealous when Petra discovered, as so many kids do, that her daddy inevitably had more energy for rough, all-out play (after Mommy had done 8 or more feedings in 24 hours, carried her around most of the time, et cetera). Right now, though, I mostly feel grateful. I feel grateful because there's something Tim enjoys doing with Petra and is good at, I feel grateful for the breaks that their play gives me, and I feel grateful that someone else is helping her go through her ever-growing supply of energy. (I swear, children must still be connected to some cosmic source of energy that grownups gradually forget how to tap. If only they were erudite enough to preach about it, they'd convert the world in no time.)

So I love watching them play. And at least until I get the rest of my strength back, that's what daddies are for.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Hard time baby, don't ya know...
Some days, babies (and their parents) sing the blues. Tonight was such an evening for us. Petra was inconsolable for short stretches throughout the evening. At one point I was inconsolable along with her.

What causes these bouts with the blues? Actually, it's not knowing that's the hard part. Probably she has gas or some other internal difficulty. Often the hard times end with a loud, satisfying poop. But in the meantime, Petra has no way of telling me what's wrong, and I often have nothing I can do to make her more comfortable. During these episodes, time slows to a crawl and the screams seem like they'll go on forever. You can despair of ever being able to be entertaining, or comforting, or useful in any way to your child. You wish you'd read the owner's manual more carefully. You wish there were an owner's manual. You sink emotionally, and as you sink, you become even less useful to the child, who may need creative thinking and/or a smile to help her out of the woods.

I do realize how good we have it. Knowing a bunch of other moms through mom's groups, church, postpartum yoga, and so on provides some perspective. I know moms whose babies are failing to thrive, or have colic for hours every night, or have seizures, or.... What I'm saying is, I know it could be a lot worse, and I'm thankful it isn't. Also, after I go through a few hours of singing the baby blues, I'm usually rewarded with a sleeping angel. Or even better -- tonight, Petra ended her crying jag with a good session at the breast, followed by soulful looks and calm smiles at me. When that happens, I feel like the luckiest mom alive.

But just for a little silliness (as it often provides relief in my experience), here's a little 12-bar blues for the time in between.

Oh she's a hard time baby, hard time baby, don't ya know.
Yes she's a hard time baby, hard time baby, don't ya know.
I can't tell why she's screamin', and it's wearin' me out for sure.

Oh she's a hard time baby, hard time baby, don't ya know.
Yes she's a hard time baby, hard time baby, don't ya know.
But when she gets to smilin', feels like findin' that ol' pot o' gold.

Oh yeah.

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